BRASILIA: Diplomats expressed shock and dismay on Friday over new data revealing relatively greater deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon this year, saying it would lay on President Jair Bolsonaro’s government to do more to stem the destruction. Increases pressure.
Evidence that Brazil sat on the data for three weeks before making the announcement has also sparked outrage.
The government released the report, which was released on 27 October following this month’s high-profile UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, where Brazil signed a global pledge to end deforestation by 2030 and Made more climate commitments.
Brazil’s environment minister, Joaquim Pereira Leite, told reporters that he only reported the data on Thursday when it was announced. He called the data “unacceptable” and vowed more forceful action to fight deforestation.
According to InPe, Brazil’s national space research agency, statistics show that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has reached its highest level since 2006, an area larger than the state of Connecticut.
Preliminary data from Inpe, released earlier in the year, indicated a slight decline in deforestation, but more accurate final data showed a 22% increase.
Amazon trees absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide that would otherwise warm the planet.
A European diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity he was “very disappointed with the latest figures.”
A second European diplomat from a different country said the numbers were “much worse” than expected.
While the increase came as a surprise, Brazil has not shown that environmental policy is moving in the right direction, the person said.
“All political signals coming from the government through Congress or other means clearly show no political will to reduce deforestation,” the diplomat said.
He said pressure from the private sector and foreign governments is “only increasing” for Brazil to show a concrete plan for how to get deforestation under control.
Brazil’s presidency and its environment and foreign ministries did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the criticism.
A Brazilian diplomat attending the COP26 Glasgow summit told Reuters that negotiators were not aware of the data during the UN talks and acknowledged it would increase pressure on Brazil.
But the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Brazil had acknowledged earlier in the talks that deforestation was a problem and that the new deforestation targets were welcomed.
“We have to accept it and resolve it to maintain our ability to negotiate and influence,” the person said.
Valentina Sader, assistant director of the Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council, a think tank, said the data combined with Brazil’s goals in the COP could spur international scrutiny.
“Commitments made publicly in Glasgow will be necessary to hold Brazil accountable,” said Sadr.
Disclaimer: This post has been self-published from the agency feed without modification and has not been reviewed by an editor