Brazil has unveiled its plan to protect the Amazon. Critics say it's not enough
April 15, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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The Brazilian government has presented a new official goal for fighting deforestation in the Amazon -- a first for the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro. But critics say it's hardly enough.
(CNN)The Brazilian government has presented a new official goal for fighting deforestation in the Amazon -- a first for the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro.
It prioritizes for deforestation mitigation five of the nine states within the "Legal Amazon," itself equivalent to some 60% of Brazil's territory, and previews several changes in the way the federal government and the states comprising the basin handle the vast area.
By 2022, the Amazon Plan also aims to lower annual deforestation loss to the average recorded between 2016 and 2020 -- an area of approximately 8,700 square kilometers.
However, the 2022 target still allows for about 16% more deforestation than in the year before Bolsonaro took office -- hardly a reversal of losses in the world's biggest rainforest, an essential bulwark in the effort against climate change.
According to INPE, 7,500 square kilometers of the Amazon were deforested in 2018.
Marcio Astrini, head of the Brazilian environmental advocacy network Climate Observatory, says the government's plan essentially admits to allowing increased forest clearing.
He blames Bolsonaro's government for encouraging illegal activity and forest clearing in the Amazon, noting a package of proposed laws currently before Congress would make it easier to develop protected lands.
In 2019, his first year as president, INPE data shows the Amazon lost 10,129 square kilometers to deforestation -- an increase of 34% from the previous year.
Though the President has passed several executive orders and laws to protect the Amazon, he has simultaneously slashed funding to government-run environmental protection and monitoring programs, and pushed to open indigenous lands to commercial farming and mining.
Emphasizing their distrust for Bolsonaro's environmental commitments, last week nearly 200 nongovernmental organizations publicly called on Biden not to strike any deal on protecting the Amazon with Bolsonaro without broader consultation with civil society and indigenous groups.