I haven’t blogged here for over a year, but now I have a pressing blog to write and post. It is about the Amazon rainforest which I have always felt strongly about and I believe it should be always protected.
The threat: Since the election of the new Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, the Amazon rainforest appears to have come under threat. The new president is a far-right controversial individual who has said before he was elected that he has plans to reduce protections for the Amazon rainforest and plans to develop the Amazon so that resources can be recovered, including resources below the ground.
Since the brazilian elections, many world news media have published articles commenting on what might be the outcome of Bolsonaro’s election to world politics, finance and the Amazon rainforest. An article in the CBC radio website reported that Bolsonaro pledges to ban environmental NGO’s like the World Wildlife Fund from the country, to open up indigenous lands to resource mining, and to relax environmental laws and open up the Amazon rainforest to development.
A bit of history: The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and it is home to plant and animal species that haven’t even been discovered by scientists. Yet, the forest which is often labelled ‘lungs of the world’ and the indigenous tribes that inhabit the forest have suffered a large amount of devastation over the years. This has brought about a lot of pressure on Brazil from pressure groups to step up their act and make sure to end devastation of the Amazon rainforest and life threats to the native people who live there. As a result, more than half of the Amazon rainforest is currently set aside as protected areas and indigenous habitat. According to the CBC, deforestation is now 70% below the historical average. However, I fear that all the progress achieved so far might be in jeapody.
What might happen: Mr Bolsonaro has previously suggested that Brazil could pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. He says its requirements compromise Brazil’s sovereignty over the Amazon region. The BBC article reports: “In the run-up to the election Bolsonaro had suggested merging the agriculture and environment ministries, saying, “Let’s be clear: the future ministry will come from the productive sector. We won’t have any more fights over this, he said.” When warned by activists that such a move would undermine the environment ministry’s controls on the commercial sector, he struck a more conciliatory tone saying he was “open to negotiation on that issue”. However, latest news reported that Mr Bolsonaro’s future chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, announced the new “super ministry” as details of the new administration began to emerge.
Let’s hope he will be open to negotiations or better still let’s hope the environmental pressure groups and the United Nations will make sure he will not destroy the Amazon rainforest further.
Since posting, an article in climatechangenews.com explained how the world’s largest asset managers could play a pivotal role in safeguarding the Amazon rainforest.