Brazil turning a blind eye to climate change?

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Brazil turning a blind eye to climate change?

Brazil’s current president, Jair Bolsonaro, is a controversial figure. Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has continually mocked health measures made by other countries and renounced introducing significant and strict action. Nonetheless, it is not only in regards to health that he is controversial, it is related to the environment.

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The Amazon rainforest is home to more than 24 million people in Brazil alone, as well as hundreds of thousands of Indigenous Peoples belonging to 180 different groups. The mere existence of the Amazon is substantial for regulating the carbon levels in the atmosphere. Brazil’s current president, Jair Bolsonaro, is a controversial figure. Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has continually mocked health measures made by other countries and renounced introducing significant and strict action. Nonetheless, it is not only in regards to health that he is controversial, it is related to the environment.

Since his introduction, he has been cutting support and enforcement of Brazil’s environmental protections, regardless of it being home to 40 percent of the world’s tropical forests, 20 percent of freshwater reserves, and 10 percent of its biodiversity. Furthermore, deforestation rates have been on the rise throughout his administration as well as systemic invasion of protected areas, with indigenous leaders and human rights activists asking the International Criminal Court to investigate Bolsonaro for “ecocide”.

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The Brazilian Amazon has lost more than 18 percent of its rainforest in the last 40 years, and if policies continue to be cut, it could only get worse. Although it has the tools to become the home to sustainable agriculture, a bioeconomy, and eco-tourism instead of becoming a green superpower, it is choosing polluting and irreversible damage, regressive strategies as well as Bolsonaro’s constant promotion of detrimental agribusiness for the Amazon. Nonetheless, it is not only a Brazilian problem, it is a regional problem as well as it is a global problem as the future of climate change depends on the Amazon rainforest.

The Biden administration is currently working with Brazil on environmental awareness and climate change issues, a matter that has been not only ignored but condemned by previous US President Trump joining in Bolsonaro’s climate change denialism. This might bring new opportunities to Brazil, firstly, rebutting the idea of climate denialism as well as enabling more participation of the government with civil society, businesses, and producers to come up with sustainable solutions. With all that said, the ball is on Bolsonaro’s court, it remains to be seen if he accepts this support from the United States.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ft.com/content/67f547f3-fb8e-4a27-88da-78adea07d51c
  2. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/issues/brazil-and-the-amazon-forest/
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/world/americas/bolsonaro-brazil-environment.html
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