Brazil cuts environmental budget despite climate summit promises

Road through the burnt Amazon jungle near Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil, August 14, 2020

The Bolsonaro government wants to develop a protected area in the Amazon

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro approved a budget cut by the Ministry of the Environment the day after he vowed to increase spending on deforestation.

At the US-led Climate Summit, he promised to double the funding reserved for environmental enforcement and end illegal logging by 2030.

However, the budget approved on Friday did not include his spending pledge or additional proposals by Congress.

His government wants to weaken protection and develop protected areas.

Critics said Thursday’s presidential promise was related to the controversial deal Brazil is negotiating with the United States to receive financial assistance in return for protecting the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, and other regions. Say there is.

The 2021 federal budget includes R $ 2.1 billion (£ 280 million, $ 380 million) for the Ministry of the Environment and the agencies it supervises. The ministry had a budget of about R $ 3 billion in 2020.

Late Friday, Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said he had asked the Ministry of Economy to review the numbers and fulfill the pledge made by President Jair Bolsonaro at the Virtual Climate Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden.

President Bolsonaro’s environmental policy, backed by strong agribusiness leaders, has been widely criticized. The far-right leader encouraged agriculture and mining in the Amazon and withdrew environmental law.

Last year, Brazil’s Amazon deforestation surged to its highest level in 12 years. Activists and indigenous groups say environmental enforcement remains underfunded and condemns immunity from illegal logging and mining in protected areas.

The president rejects criticism, saying Brazil continues to be an example of protection. But at the summit on Thursday, he sought to come up with a more reconciling tone and promised that Brazil would reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, ten years earlier than previously agreed.

Burnt trunks can be seen in the Amazon jungle recently burned by loggers and farmers in Porto Velho, Brazil, on August 23, 2019.

Brazil’s Amazon deforestation surged to its highest level in 12 years in 2020

Brazilian and US officials are discussing the possibility of working together to prevent the destruction of the Amazon. Politicians and environmentalists warn that the Bolsonaro government should show results first before financial commitments are made.

Earlier this week A group of 35 US and Brazilian celebrities have expressed opposition to the deal with Brazil. He said there was a risk of justifying the government, which is promoting environmental destruction.

The document followed another letter in which more than 200 Brazilian groups told President Biden that the Bolsonaro government was the “enemy” of the Amazon and had no legitimacy to represent Brazil.

Last week, the Environment Minister said the country would need $ 1 billion in foreign aid to support efforts to reduce Amazon’s deforestation by 30% to 40% annually.

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