Preliminary government data showed that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest dropped 15% in March compared to a year ago. However, even with this dip, it was enough for the worst quarter in at least six decades.
According to data from Inpe, the Brazilian Amazon saw a 64% increase in deforestation from a year earlier to 941 km (363 miles) between January and March. This area is larger than New York City and represents the largest loss of forest cover since 2015/2016, when the data series began. The destruction of the world’s largest rainforest has risen since President Jair Bolsonaro assumed office in 2019. He also weakened environmental protections, arguing they prevent economic development that could lower poverty in the Amazon region.
The Environment Ministry and President’s Office did not immediately reply to requests for comment. UN climate panel’s Monday report warned that governments are not doing enough in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the worst effects from global warming. According to the report, although fossil fuel use is the main culprit, deforestation accounts to about 10% of global emission.
Cristiane Mazzetti, a Brazilian forest campaigner for Greenpeace, said that Brazil is an example of what UN climate report says when it refers to governments not taking the necessary steps. “We have a government which deliberately opposes the necessary steps to limit climate changes.”
Scientists predict that deforestation will continue to increase ahead of Brazil’s October presidential elections, just as it did in the previous three elections. According to Carlos Souza Jr., a researcher from the institute Imazon, environmental enforcement often weakens in election year and criminals might rush to deforest before a new government takes office.
A poll showed that LuizInacio Lula da Silva (left-wing former President) would win 45% of votes over Bolsonaro in round one. His administration had drastically reduced deforestation in 2000s.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.