Earth’s green lungs are getting smaller and smaller. In the last reporting year, 22 percent more forests were destroyed than the previous year, according to a report by the Brazilian Institute for Space Research after evaluating satellite data.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon continues to rise sharply. The area deforested 13,235 square kilometers between August 2020 and July 2021, according to a statement released Thursday by the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), which evaluates satellite data. This corresponds to an area roughly as large as Schleswig-Holstein.
Accordingly, this is a 22 percent increase compared to the previous period from August 2019 to July 2020 and the area deforested was the largest since 2008. Preliminary data from Inpe has already indicated an increase in destruction. “The numbers remain a challenge for us and we must take action against these crimes with more force,” Brazilian Environment Minister Joaquim Pereira Leite said on Thursday. Mauricio Vojvodik, head of the World Environment Organization for the World Wildlife Fund in Brazil, responded, “Reality shows that the Bolsonaro government has precipitated the destruction of the Amazon.”
Brazil, where there has been water shortages and droughts in large parts of the past few months, has been assigned a major role in climate protection. The proportion of the South American country in the Amazon region, which is an important reservoir of greenhouse gases harmful to the climate, corresponds to the size of Western Europe in terms of area. Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro sees the Amazon primarily as an untapped economic potential.
The Brazilian government, which was under international pressure, announced at the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow that it would end illegal deforestation of the Amazon rainforest by 2028. President Bolsonaro set 2030 as a goal at US President Joe Biden’s climate summit in April.
However, the announcement posted on Thursday is dated October 27, a few days before COP26. The Brazilian government has tried to polish its image, despite knowing it has broken another record in deforestation, according to a statement from the environmental organization Greenpeace.
The European Union submitted a proposal on Wednesday to restrict the import of goods whose production has destroyed forests, which could affect Brazil, among other countries. The Brazilian Agricultural Producers Association (SRB) has issued a notice “to express its indignation at the proposal”.
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