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COP26: Environment Minister Joaquim Leite says that "where's there's forest, there's poverty"

Ministro ignorou as altas taxas de desmatamento dos últimos dois anos

Crédito: Isac Nóbrega/PR/via ClimaInfo

13 Nov 21

COP26: Environment Minister Joaquim Leite says that “where’s there’s forest, there’s poverty”

During an official speech at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the Minister of the Environment, Joaquim Leite, said “where there is a lot of forest there is also a lot of poverty”.

The statement shocked environmentalists and opposition members of parliament, who highlighted it as an indication that Bolsonaro’s  project for the environment remains intact, despite promises of change. “This statement reveals the mentality of the government is from the 70s of the last century: to deforest, for them, is synonymous with development. As it is a government that despises science, they can’t accept that this vision has been overcome by everything science has shown,” declared congressman Alessandro Molon (PSB-RJ) to Jamil Chade’s column.

In the same speech, Leite announced that “the green future has already begun in Brazil. Two days after the minister’s declaration, Inpe released that the Amazon beat the historical record of deforestation alerts for the month, adding an area of 877 km². Throughout the event, the government has ignored the advance of deforestation in the country.

 

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Smoke Signal publishes report "Backwards with Bolsonaro" on the socio-environmental destruction during Bolsonaro’s three years in office
28 Oct 21

Smoke Signal publishes report “Backwards with Bolsonaro” on the socio-environmental destruction during Bolsonaro’s three years in office

Three years after Jair Bolsonaro’s election, Smoke Signal organized a comprehensive report that organized key points of the dismantling of socio-environmental governance and deforestation reduction policies in Brazil.

The bilingual dossier “Backwards with Bolsonaro – 30 years in Three” shows that the destruction is a political project announced since the elections and implemented from day one of Bolsonaro’s administration. The material was prepared using the over 450 articles published in our timeline since October, 2018.

The dossier will be launched while heads of state from hundreds of countries are gathering at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-26) to discuss how to stop the climate emergency. Brazil has been increasing its participation in the problem with the growth of pollutant emissions derived from deforestation and the carbonization of the energy matrix due to the water crisis — which are, in turn, linked to forest losses. 

Click here to read “JB Government: 30 years in 3” in Portuguese and here in English.

Brazil ranks fourth all-time in greenhouse gas emissions

Deforestation and cattle ranching are among the main vectors of destruction

Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

27 Oct 21

Brazil ranks fourth all-time in greenhouse gas emissions

A study conducted by the international think tank Carbon Brief places Brazil in fourth place in the ranking of the most polluting countries in the world, considering the historical accumulation of carbon gas emissions from 1850 to 2021. The survey includes data on emissions from fossil fuel burning, changes in land use, deforestation and cement production. 

In Brazil, most pollution comes from the clearing of forests and the use of land for agriculture and cattle ranching, two major vectors of the current environmental devastation underway in the country under the Bolsonaro administration. Heard by BBC Brazil, the executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, Marcio Astrini, commented on the history of emissions in the country. “If you take the last 30 years, 73% of the planet’s emissions are in the energy sector. If you take the last 30 years in Brazil, 55% of emissions are from deforestation. If you include emissions from Brazilian livestock, we reach 80%”, he said.

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Senate approves the government’s “creative accounting” for environment goals

Brazil uses creative accounting methods that will allow the country to pollute more

Credit: Sérgio Vale/Amazônia Real

25 Oct 21

Senate approves the government’s “creative accounting” for environment goals

On the eve of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-26), the Climate Observatory analysed the bill that alters the National Policy on Climate Change (PNMC), approved last week by the Federal Senate. 

As a conclusion, the organization points out that the proposed goals for carbon emissions reductions in Brazil are as insufficient as the ones presented by the government in the update of the Brazilian Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) at the end of 2020.  According to the OC, both reduce the Brazilian climate ambition for the next decades. The observatory explains that this “creative accounting” consists in maintaining the percentage of emissions cuts promised, while changing the basis of calculation.

The “creative accounting” strategy hinders Brazil’s capacity to comply with the Paris Agreement objectives, one of the COP-26 agendas. 

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Pantanal wetlands loose 29% of its water surface in 30 years

Flooded grasslands are home to many species of wild mammals

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

29 Sep 21

Pantanal wetlands loose 29% of its water surface in 30 years

A MapBiomas survey revealed that between 1988 and 2018, the Pantanal grasslands lost 29% of its flooded surface. The total of flooded grasslands was 5.8 million hectares in 1988 and reached 4.1 million at the end of the past decade. The biome also lost 1.8 million hectares of native vegetation.

In 2020, the Pantanal had 26% of its area affected by the largest fire in its history.

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Fire in the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park has already ravaged 36 thousand hectares of the Cerrado

Fire was caused by environmental criminals, according to the Fire Department

Credit: TV Anhanguera

24 Sep 21

Fire in the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park has already ravaged 36 thousand hectares of the Cerrado

The fire in the municipality of Alto Paraíso de Goiás (GO), which started on September 12th and has since spread out to the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, has burned about 36,000 hectares of Cerrado vegetation so far. The data is provided by ICMBio institute, the federal agency responsible for managing the park.

The Police has five main lines of  investigation about the origin of the fire in the region and has three main suspects. Among them is a farmer in the region who allegedly started the fire on his property

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G1 (24/09)

Forest fires rise by 116% in the Amazon between June and July

Fire struck indigenous lands, public forests and national parks.

Credit: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama

4 Aug 21

Forest fires rise by 116% in the Amazon between June and July

Even with a presidential decree that prohibited the use of fire as a forestry practice for 120 days in all national territory, data from the monitoring system Inpe indicate that July had an 116% increase in the number of fires compared to the previous month. There were 4,977 hotspots, with more than half in the Amazon states of Pará (1,372 hotspots) and Amazonas (1,173 hotspots). 

Bolsonaro’s decree was an attempt at a public response to the predicted increase in wildfires in regions such as the Amazon and Pantanal due to the beginning of the dry season, considered this year to be one of the most intense ever recorded in the country.

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Deforestation in the Amazon reaches record high for June

Biome also had an all time high in recorded hotspots

Credit: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama/via CC BY-SA 2.0

9 Jul 21

Deforestation in the Amazon reaches record high for June

Data from the real-time satellite monitoring system of the Space Research Institute (Inpe) show that in June the Amazon registered the worst deforestation rate for the month since 2016. According to Deter, deforestation alerts affected an area of 1,061.9 km², an increase of 1.8% compared to June 2020.

This is the fourth consecutive month with record devastation in the biome. Also in June, the Amazon reached a historical rate of fire hotspots for the period.

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Amazon reaches new high in fires and Bolsonaro once again summons the Army

Environmentalists say GLO missions are costly and ineffective

Credit: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama/via CC BY-SA 2.0

2 Jul 21

Amazon reaches new high in fires and Bolsonaro once again summons the Army

The Amazon region recorded for the second consecutive year the highest number of fires in June since 2007. According to data from INPE, there were 2,308 fires in the forest this year, slightly above the 2,248 recorded in the same period last year.

In a note about the situation, ClimaInfo highlighted the concern of environmentalists, considering that the biome is just at the beginning of the dry season. The prognosis is that the outbreaks of fires will proliferate with the shortage of rainfall, aggravated by the advance of deforestation, and the lack of supervision by federal agencies.

As a response, the Bolsonaro government has once again established a Law and Order (GLO) mission in the Amazon, a strategy that, according to experts, has not helped contain the environmental devastation in the biome in the previous two years. Quoted by ClimaInfo, Greenpeace biologist Rômulo Batista reinforces that sending the armed forces to the Amazon is a costly and inefficient resource. “Unfortunately, this record in June is not a surprise, considering the continuity of the anti-environmental policy and the insistence on using an expensive tool such as sending military troops, which has proven to be inefficient in the last two years,” he stated.

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Bonito, ecotourism major destination, leads deforestation rank in the Atlantic Rainforest

Over 13,000 hectares were lost between 2019 and 2020 in the biome

Credit: Bonito Town Hall

1 Jul 21

Bonito, ecotourism major destination, leads deforestation rank in the Atlantic Rainforest

A survey conducted by the NGO SOS Mata Atlântica in partnership with the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) places the municipality of Bonito, located in Mato Grosso do Sul state, at the top of the ten Brazilian cities that led deforestation of the biome between 2019 and 2020. There were 416 hectares of native vegetation lost in the period, which is equivalent to more than one soccer field per day.

Heard by G1, Fernando Guedes Pinto, director of the organization, spoke about the consequences of the devastation for the environment and for the economy of Bonito, a major destination for ecotourism in Brazil. “Besides causing cities to become increasingly warmer, the reduction of green areas threatens the availability and quality of water. The water crisis we are experiencing today is a reflection of this. In the case of Bonito, the damage can be even more serious, because it puts at risk the tourism that moves the city’s economy”, he declared.

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Under Bolsonaro, deforestation is on the rise on Xingu basin

Illegal mining campsite in the Kayapó Indigenous Land

Credit: Xingu+ Network

10 Jun 21

Under Bolsonaro, deforestation is on the rise on Xingu basin

According to a report by the Xingu+ Network published by Mongabay, deforestation in the Xingu River basin region has skyrocketed under the Bolsonaro administration.

Between 2018 and 2020, environmental criminals ravaged 5,135 km2 of forest, an area three times larger than the city of São Paulo. The data comes from Sirad, a radar monitoring system. In 2019, the first year of the Bolsonaro government, there was a 38% increase in deforestation in indigenous reserves in the region and 50% in the conservation units in the basin.

According to specialists heard by the story, land grabbers, loggers and gold diggers in the region are an old problem, but now the criminals feel emboldened and strengthened by Bolsonaro’s administration.

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Study shows that 317 measures adopted by Salles weaken environmental protection

Research shows that the minister’s goals were not in the environment’s best interest

Credit: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil

27 May 21

Study shows that 317 measures adopted by Salles weaken environmental protection

The Institute for Socioeconomic Studies (Inesc) analyzed 524 administrative measures published by the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) that reveal the method of socio-environmental dismantling in the first years of the Bolsonaro government. The study states that at least 124 of these measures have significant risk of favoring “reducing the level of environmental protection”, says the text.

The analysis points out that the attempts to deregulate and loosen the control of environmental agencies can be classified in three different types: rules that seek to weaken the administrative accountability for punishing environmental offenders; those that seek to reduce the structure of government agencies and those that aim to undermine the role of the MMA in the environmental agenda.

“The analysis of the measures published in the Official Federal Gazette (DOU) reveals that in fact the institutional capacity of the agencies to execute policies and comply with environmental legislation is being dismantled,” explains Alessandra Cardoso, political advisor at Inesc.

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Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest registers record highs for the month of April

Deforestation rose by 45% when compared to 2019

Credit: VP Office/Flickr/via O Eco

18 May 21

Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest registers record highs for the month of April

According to data from the Imazon Institute, April had the highest deforestation rate for the month in the last decade. There were 778 square kilometers deforested, an increase of 45% compared to 2019.

Amazonas leads the list of states with the largest deforested area (28%), followed by Pará (26%), Mato Grosso (22%), Rondônia (16%), Roraima (5%), Maranhão (2%) and Acre (1%).

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Climate Summit: Brazil faces demoralization and lags behind in climate goals

Bolsonaro’s administration makes Brazil fall behind on the climate agenda

Credit: Climate Summit

22 Apr 21

Climate Summit: Brazil faces demoralization and lags behind in climate goals

Jair Bolsonaro’s participation in Joe Biden’s Climate Summit, where leaders of over 40 countries united to plan strategies to curb the advance of climate change, reinforced the international discredit of Brazil in the environmental agenda, experts say. Bolsonaro lied about the preservation of the Amazon and about the efforts of his government to implement a green economy, omitted deforestation data, and announced that he awaits for international resources as a condition for his government to achieve its objectives for the environment.

“Brazil leaves the leaders’ summit as it entered: discredited. Bolsonaro spent half of his speech asking the world for money showcasing previous environmental achievements, which his government has been trying to destroy since the day he took office”, analyzed Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory.

Less than a day after the meeting, in which Bolsonaro said he double the budget for environmental control, the presidency approved a 24% cut in the Ministry of the Environment for 2021, with a drastic reduction in resources for federal environmental protection agencies. Facing the negative repercussion, Minister Ricardo Salles sent a request to the Ministry of Economy asking for the nullification of the reduction and also for additional R$ 142 million reais, according to an article in O Estado de São Paulo.

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Bolsonaro promises, in a letter to Biden, to curb illegal deforestation in Brazil by 2030

President says that he depends on “large sums of resources” to reach the goal

Credit: Brazilian Government/Reproduction

14 Apr 21

Bolsonaro promises, in a letter to Biden, to curb illegal deforestation in Brazil by 2030

In a clear change of tone regarding the Brazilian socio-environmental crisis that was aggravated during his administration, President Jair Bolsonaro sent a letter to Joe Biden in which he states his “unequivocal support” for the USA President’s environmental agenda. In the document, Bolsonaro states his commitment to eliminate illegal deforestation in the country by 2030, in addition to being willing to act to curb climate change and work in cooperation with civil society and indigenous organizations.

The promise, however, as pointed out by environmentalist Márcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, is not rooted in solid ground. In a social network post, Astrini commented on the government’s goals for Amazon deforestation, published in the Union’s Official Gazette on April 14th. According to the specialist, “the idea [in the government’s objective] is to reach 2022 with 17% more deforestation than existed before Bolsonaro’s administration.”

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Amazon and Cerrado biomes reach new deforestation records in March

Data is ignored by the government, who denies the environmental destruction

Credit: Fábio Nascimento/Greenpeace

9 Apr 21

Amazon and Cerrado biomes reach new deforestation records in March

According to data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), the Amazon and Cerrado biomes recorded critical rates of deforestation in March, the highest in recent years.

This is the worst rate recorded in the Legal Amazon region for the month since 2015: 368 square kilometers of forest were deforested, a number that has been growing steadily since 2019, when it reached 251 km, jumping to 327 km in 2020. In the Cerrado, the situation is even more worrysome. In March, 529 square kilometers were lost due to deforestation, more than double the number recorded in the month in 2019, when it hit 215 km.

As the article in the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo highlights, given the chronic weakening of environmental protection agencies under the current government, the prognosis should worsen and raises a red flag, according to environmentalists.

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New president of the Brazilian Congress Environment Commission lies about the Amazon during first speech

Carla Zambelli, Bolsonaro’s ally, endorsed pro-gold digging government discourse

Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR

30 Mar 21

New president of the Brazilian Congress Environment Commission lies about the Amazon during first speech

In her first live broadcast after assuming the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies Environment Committee, federal congressional representative Carla Zambelli (PSL) lied about the Amazon, attacked NGOs and defended gold digging on indigenous lands, according to a fact check carried out by Fakebook.eco. Zambelli also said that, until the inauguration, she did not know about illegal landgrabbing, one of the priority agendas of her commission. “I think I have little technical thinking, with little knowledge, so I’m still learning”, she said.

Among the untrue statements of the representative is the affirmation, as systematically propagated by the government, that the native peoples of the Amazon are the main responsible for the devastation of the forest.

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State governors create coalition to promote partnership with Biden for environmental protection funds

Letter sent to the American President reinforces governors role in the Paris Agreement

Credit: Gage Skidmore/ via CC BY-SA 2.0

19 Mar 21

State governors create coalition to promote partnership with Biden for environmental protection funds

A coalition of 21 Brazilian state governors are drafting a letter to USA President Joe Biden. Their aim is to promote an environmental protection agreement between the countries. In the electoral race, Biden promised to mobilize large investments to preserve the Amazon, of which the group intends to become a beneficiary.

According to the newspaper Valor Econômico, who had access to the draft letter, the initiative “seeks to promote the governors as players that are committed to forest protection, reforestation, and the development of a green economy. Faced with the states’ responsibility to comply with the Paris Agreement, the group wants to create the “largest decarbonization economy on the planet” in partnership with the US. For this, the plans contemplate not only the Amazon, but also other biomes with large carbon stocks, such as the Atlantic Rainforest, the Caatinga and the Pantanal – which had 12% of its area devastated in 2020.

Besides the reduction of greenhouse gases and investment in renewable energy sources, among the points highlighted in the draft letter, are “the fight against deforestation, compliance with the Forest Code for the conservation of forests, improving efficiency in agriculture and cattle ranching, protection of indigenous peoples and the search for ways to enable ‘massive reforestation”, says the article.

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Fired by Bolsonaro, former space research director receives award for scientific responsibility

After his exoneration, Ricardo Galvão was nominated as one of the top 10 scientists in the world

Credit: SEESP/via

8 Feb 21

Fired by Bolsonaro, former space research director receives award for scientific responsibility

Ricardo Galvão, former director of Inpe (National Institute for Space Research), exonerated by Bolsonaro in 2019 after reacting to the president’s criticism of the institute’s data indicating increased deforestation, won the international award for Responsibility and Scientific Freedom 2021 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The award “honors scientists who have demonstrated scientific freedom and responsibility in particularly challenging circumstances, sometimes at risk to their professional or physical safety,” says the AAAS website. According to Jessica Wyndham, director of the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, the physicist “acted to protect the well-being of the Brazilian people and the immense natural wonder that is the Amazon rainforest, a world heritage site.”

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Research shows that most Brazilians acknowledges the global warming and is concerned about the environment

Protest in defense of the Amazon in Rio de Janeiro in 2019

Credit: Renan Olivetti/Greenpeace

4 Feb 21

Research shows that most Brazilians acknowledges the global warming and is concerned about the environment

A survey carried out by Ibope, one of the most important research institutes in the country, indicates that most Brazilians recognize the existence of global warming (92%) and attribute it to human action (77%). 72% believe that the phenomenon can harm them and their families, and 88% affirm that it will cause great damage to future generations. The “Climate change in the perception of Brazilians” survey, commissioned by the Institute for Technology and Society (ITS) and Yale University, interviewed 2,600 people over the age of 18 in the five regions of Brazil, between September 24 and October 16, 2020.

The study also reveals that more than half of those interviewed are very concerned about the environment (61%), especially women (68%) and people who identify themselves as being politically in the left (70%). When asked about what would be more important, protecting the environment or promoting economic development, 77% of respondents answered the first option, even if it implies lower growth and job creation. Regarding the fires, which reached record levels in 2020, 77% of the people interviewed attribute the fires in the Amazon to human action, with loggers being pointed out as the main culprits (76%), followed by farmers (49&), cattle ranchers (48%) and gold miners (41%). Indigenous people, pointed out a few days before the beginning of the survey by President Jair Bolsonaro as being responsible for the forest fires, were mentioned by 8% of those interviewed, and NGOs, the target of constant attacks by the government, by 6%.

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