Spotlight Activity: Government Supports Increased Deforestation
“In exchange for political support, the Brazilian government signals the increase in deforestation of landowners, putting the country’s contribution to the Paris Agreement at risk.” This is the first sentence of a study published on July 9th and signed by ten Brazilian researchers in Nature Climate Change. In the worst-case scenario, the environmental retreat can have a financial impact of US$ 5 trillion by 2050. The impact may be so large that Brazil does not realize its commitment. Its failure will be passed on to other countries so that the overall objective of limiting the increase in temperature on the planet to 2° C is maintained.
The basis of the study’s analysis are three governance scenarios inspired by three moments of the recent trajectory to combat deforestation, identified by the authors. The first is before 2005, when governance was weak and deforestation was high. Between 2005 and 2011, command and control policies were efficient and yielded results. From 2012 to 2017, governance was compromised with the messages given in the revision of the Forest Code and the bargaining in Congress.
Based on that trajectory, the researchers defined the “strong”, “weak” and “intermediate” scenarios of environmental governance. In the strong, there is expansion of preservation policies and total political support to the environmental agenda. The annual deforestation in the Cerrado biome would fall from 8 thousand km2, and that from the Amazon, from 9.5 thousand km2, to less than 4 thousand km2 in both biomes.
In the weak scenario, deforestation control is abandoned and there are incentives for predatory livestock and agriculture. It is in this situation that the financial impact of $ 5 trillion was estimated.
The intermediate scenario is the “business as usual” one, that is, the maintenance of what happens today. It is both not positive and contradictory at the same time, because it maintains deforestation control policies while also signals with support for predatory forest impact practices. In this scenario, annual deforestation in the Amazon would reach 17,000 km2 and in the Cerrado, 15,000 km2 by 2030. This would result in the emission of 16.3 gigatonnes of CO2 for the period 2010-2030.
Status: Falling Behind
Brazil is the seventh largest emitter in the world. The Brazilian target assumed in the Paris Agreement is a 37% reduction by 2025, considering 2005 levels, in addition to an indication of a cut of up to 43% in 2030. Between 2005 and 2012, Brazil reduced emissions by 54% and the reduction of deforestation in the period (78%) was the main activity responsible for the performance. However, in return for political support, President Michel Temer signed interim measures and decrees that lowered requirements for environmental licensing, and suspended demarcation of indigenous lands, making it easier for land invaders to benefit from illegally deforested areas.
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Edson Duarte, Minister of Environment
Ministry of the Environment (MMA)
Tel: +55 (61) 2028-1057/1289/1422
Head of Gabinet
Heitor Matallo Júnior
Tel: +55 (61) 2028-1201
Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco B, 5º andar
70068-900 – Brasília – DF