“Amazon Rainforests belong to Brazil.” This statement came from the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, back in 2019 during an address to the United Nations. He further stated it was a misconception that its forests were the lungs of this world.
Contrary to his fallacious remarks, is Science, proving that the Amazon’s trees absorb a large fraction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to the World Resources Institute, Amazon Rainforests absorb roughly 30 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, whose absence would otherwise heat the planet further. However, this month at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, COP26, Mr Bolsonaro tried his hand at a different strategy of “greenwashing” surging destruction of the rainforest.
Hefty Promises and Grand Environmental Pledges
At the 2021 UN Climate Summit, the President of Brazil made headline-grabbing pledges to end illegal deforestation before the end of this decade. This, however, sounds more like a gasconade given the recent records of the rising levels of deforestation in the rainforest.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which tracks the rainforest, recently released the data displaying a 22% increase in deforestation since 2020. The INPE report highlighted the disappearance of 13,235 square kilometres of forest land between August 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021. What must be noted is that statistics date to October 27, 2021. This indicates that the government knew the state of Amazon forests and yet hid the failure of his government through boastful promises.
What is happening to the Amazon Rainforest?
Two years ago, arsonists and lodgers set Amazon on fire. Since then, there has been an unprecedented deployment of the military to quell fires and aid in policing deforestation.
However, the attempt was futile after the military failed to safeguard the forests even after 19 months of deployment. Government data shows that areas seven times the size of London were engulfed by the negligence of the government and its incompetence to tackle the issue.
The consequences were inevitable. As per Reuters’ interview with the environmental agents, the military wasn’t provided adequate tools nor the structure to target the ones responsible for Amazon’s destruction. The further elaboration that the primary aim of the military deviates from national defence and alienates itself from the forestry know-how required to guard the forests. Moreover, Mr Bolsonaro’s major concern is not the environment, rather the commercial extracts from the rainforest and economic possibilities in the area. This is evident from the fact that the environmental authorities have been defunded, and the protection measures slackened during his tenure.
Jos Barlow, a British conservation science professor who has worked in Brazil since 1998 asserted, “The environmental track record of Brazil’s federal government is appalling, and multiple lines of evidence show that they have been simultaneously encouraging deforestation whilst reducing investment in environmental enforcement.”
No wonder, the president painted his failures and agendas with grand commitments.
However, the Brazilian government’s greenwashing cannot hide the alarming condition of the Amazon rainforests. The world must beware of these fictitious vows, and the international community must come together to save the lungs of our planet.
Climate emergency is not just a global problem but also a question mark on the very survival of humans. Authorities, Governments, World Organizations, NGOs, and people altogether need to realize the depth of the emergency and take necessary actions without further delay.
Afforestation, sustainable development, reducing carbon emission needs to be the primary goal because then only the lungs of the Earth can be protected.
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