Following reports of the Brazilian Senate planning to slacken forest clearance laws, Alex Blackburne examines the predicament that the Amazon rainforest currently finds itself in.
An area of the Amazon rainforest equivalent in size to almost three United Kingdoms is under threat, after the Brazilian Senate provisionally agreed to strip protections and scrap key parts of the longstanding Forest Code.
More than 175 million acres of forestry could potentially be cleared or not restored under the plans, meaning 25 billion additional tons of carbon dioxide could be added to the atmosphere – a figure 13 times more than Brazil’s total emissions from 2007 alone.
The changes to the law have been backed by some of the country’s major agribusiness organisations, who could see increased cattle ranching and more space for agriculture, as well as being quickly passed through House and Senate.
“Input from scientists, researchers, family farmers and social groups have been systematically ignored in both the House and Senate”, said WWF-Brazil’s CEO, Maria Cecilia Wey de Brito.
“You cannot argue that a law favours Brazil’s development and well-being when so many leading experts say otherwise. The entire process has defied common sense.”
In an astonishing turnaround, the news comes just over two years after former President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, tabled plans to cut the country’s carbon emissions by 80% by 2020.
There had, up until this year, even been evidence in Brazil of a slow annual decline in deforestation figures between 2004 and 2010.
There is still hope for the Earth’s largest rainforest yet, though. Despite the law passing through House and Senate with relative ease, there are still two more processes it has to go through before coming official.
It must be passed back to the House, before the current President, Dilma Rousseff, has the final say. Her stance on the matter in the past had been to promise that she would refuse such a law – something which 79% of the Brazilian public are behind her for.
At the beginning of November, Blue & Green Tomorrow reported how a Global Canopy Programme (GCP) report had said, “If we lose the rainforest, we lose the fight against climate change”.
If we lose the fight against climate change, we lose our beloved Earth.
Investment in companies that are, for example, fighting against deforestation or developing new technologies to reduce carbon emissions, is the key to reducing carbon emissions. If you would like to invest, ask your financial adviser, if you have one, or complete our online form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.
Picture source: Threat to Democracy