Satellite data revealed that the Amazon rainforest in Brazil rose in October compared to a year ago. This contradicts President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledges that it is reducing deforestation.
According to preliminary data from INPE, approximately 877 km (339 miles) of forest had been cleared in October. This is a 5% increase over October 2020. This was the worst October forest destruction since 2015, when the current monitoring system began.
Brazil is pushing for the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26), to show it has stepped up stewardship in the Amazon. It vows to end illegal deforestation by 2028 – two years earlier than the previous target.
Scientists, diplomats, and activists disagree. Given the rapid increase in deforestation under Bolsonaro, to levels last seen in 2008 as far-right populist calls, they say that these promises are meaningless.
Ane Alencar (science director, Amazon Environmental Research Institute), stated that “Government announcements do not change the fact that Brazil is continuing its loss of forests.” She spoke at COP26 in Glasgow. “The world knows where Brazil is and this attempt at displaying a different Brazil is not convincing, since satellite data clearly shows that reality.”
The press representative of Brazil’s delegation to COP26 declined immediate comment. Joaquim Léite, Environment Minister, will address media at 3:00 p.m. in Glasgow (14500 GMT).
Bolsonaro has been more conciliatory on environmental issues than U.S. President Joe Biden, promising at an Earth Day summit at the White House and again at U.N. General Assembly to reduce illegal deforestation.
The Brazilian president, however, has oversaw staff cuts at environmental agencies and thrown up roadblocks for environmental law enforcement. He also deployed ineffective military intervention to stop anti-logging operations within the Amazon.
Alencar stated that the rising Amazon deforestation highlighted the need to reach an effective agreement on carbon markets at COP26 in order to unlock funding for forest preservation.
Talks entered their last day on Friday but could be delayed as no deal was reached by the time of lunchtime.