Amazon deforestation

Does the new Brazilian president want to destroy the Amazon rainforest?

Jair Bolsonaro, newly elected and already nicknamed "the Trump of the Tropics", worries scientists around the world. As president of Brazil, he will control nearly two-thirds of the Amazon, the world's largest tropical rainforest. But he has argued that too many ecologically protected areas are hampering the country's development.
Cike his American counterpart, Brazil's new president is a proponent of brutal homophobic, misogynistic and racist die-cutting formulas. The environment is also one of his favourite targets. He has argued that too many environmentally protected areas are hampering the country's development and said he is considering opening a highway through the Amazon. To give itself more freedom in its projects, it decided to prohibit environmental non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace and WWF from operating in Brazil. To top it all off, Jair Bolsonaro announced his intention to abolish the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment.
Worrying projects that converge to develop a policy of dismantling Brazil's heritage, which is also that of humanity: the Amazon rainforest. Bolsonaro plans to cut down a large part of the world's largest rainforest, and critics fear that it will "institutionalize genocide" in the Amazon.
" Its reckless plans to industrialize the Amazon in concert with Brazil's agribusiness and mining sectors will wreak immense destruction on the world's largest rainforest and the communities that inhabit it, and will wreak havoc on the global climate. " states Christian Poirier, director of the Amazon Watch program.
" I think we're heading into a very dark period in Brazil's history. " adds Paulo Artaxo, climate change researcher at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. « There's no point in beating around the bush: Bolsonaro is the worst thing that can happen to the environment. ".
Geneviève Guenther, founder of the NGO, a said on Twitter that the Bolsonaro election." guaranteed that Brazil would not do anything to reduce pollution emissions and that unprecedented areas of the Amazonian forest would be destroyed "while meteorologist Eric Holthaus argued in the Washington Post that the forest privatization program envisioned by the new president is a "global suicide".
According to our colleague ReporterreIn the Amazon, lumberjacks, miners, land grabbers and large landowners have joined him. They do not expect Bolsonaro to enforce the law. On the contrary, they expect him to deliver on his promise to destroy almost all environmental and pro-indigenous legislation. For example, Bolsonaro has promised to open up indigenous lands to mining and other economic activities. About 13 % of Brazil's territory is made up of recognized indigenous lands, most of them located in the Amazon, and these reserves have so far been a fragile bulwark against forest destruction,

Lung of the planet

Most scientists agree to say that the Amazon rainforest is the lung of the planet. Covering an area of 5.4 million km², rainforest plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, use it to grow and release oxygen into the air. The forest helps the Earth "breathe in" carbon dioxide and "breathe out" oxygen, critically controlling human-induced climate change. Scientists have estimated that the Amazon could contain one-sixth of the carbon stored in the world's vegetation. Environmental experts argue that this carbon dioxide suction system is one of the best solutions we have to fight climate change.
The Amazon is also the ecosystem with the most plant and animal species in the world. Yet, year after year, thousands of square kilometres are lost to livestock, agriculture and mining activities.
Despite this scientific consensus, the Amazonian forest is gradually being destroyed. According to a report published last week, WWF reveals that one fifth of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years. Tracts of forest the size of countries have been cut down. Between 1991 and 2000 an area the size of Spain was devastated. The rate of deforestation has slowed down in recent years, but is likely to increase again if we take the new Brazilian president's ranting seriously.
But if he goes through with his ideas, President Bolsonaro's strategy - which is that nothing should stand in the way of the revival of the world's eighth largest power - is in danger of turning into a pathetic scribble policy. Indeed, according to Nilo D'Ávila, Campaign Director at Greenpeace Brazil, " Reducing the fight against deforestation will cause us to lose economic competitiveness and could affect our ability to generate employment. International markets are demanding guarantees that our agricultural production is not tainted by the destruction of forests. "of the Amazon. Sanctions could hit imports of Brazilian products, a coalition of 180 agrarian, fisheries and civil society organizations worried Wednesday.
Beyond these economic interests, the question of the very status of the Amazon is raised. This territory is essential to the ecological balance of our planet and the survival of humanity. This forest alone produces 20 % of the oxygen we breathe. Can its fate be decided by a head of state alone, against the interests of the entire international community?
The Amazon could legitimately be seen as a common good of humanity whose existence transcends the notion of nation. « Brazil's policy on the use and protection of the wealth of the Amazon has consequences for all peoples and, as such, the international community has a duty to intervene in the decisions that are taken. " wrote the academic Frédéric Prévot.
A question that will certainly arise because, at the rate of deforestation envisaged with Bolsonaro, the lungs of the planet could no longer function within a decade or so. The Amazon is indeed a fragile ecosystem which, by dint of being attacked by the interest of lobbies and the madness of men, risks losing its balance and turning into savannah. Sad tropics...

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