Senate Democrats urge Biden to refuse funding for Brazil’s Amazon

Rio de Janeiro (AP) — More than 12 Senate Democrats write to US President Joe Biden on Friday to complain about the dire environmental performance of Brazilian counterpart Jail Bolsonaro and help protect the Amazon I was urged to condition it under various conditions. Progress to reduce deforestation.

The letter was signed by Senators, including Expenditure Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Menendez. Biden will come a few days before he is expected to meet with Bolsonaro and other foreign leaders at the US-sponsored Climate Summit, which was the main plan of his campaign promise to fight climate change more aggressively.

The letter describes himself as Biden’s voluntary partner on the environment, hoping that Bolsonaro, skeptical of the far-right climate, a strong ally of former President Donald Trump, will secure billions of dollars. It seems that the aim is to reduce fledgling bids to rebuild. External assistance to promote the sustainable development of Amazon.

Senators have warned that failure to delay deforestation will also affect Bolsonaro’s long-standing goal of supporting Brazil’s bid to join the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Fifteen senators, including former presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, said they supported cooperation in the Amazon between the US and Brazilian governments, but questioned Bolsonaro’s credibility.

“President Bolsonaro’s rhetoric and policies have effectively given a green light to dangerous criminals operating in the Amazon, allowing them to dramatically expand their activities,” the Associated Press said in a Senator. I wrote it in the letter I got. to see.

The US-Brazil partnership is “only possible if the Bolsonaro administration begins to take Brazil’s climate change efforts seriously and protects many Brazilians who can help the country carry them out. It’s only possible if you support and get involved in a meaningful way, “adds Congressman.

Bolsonaro denounced deforestation in the Amazon as it supported strong agribusiness interests, cursed environmental activists, and saw the world’s largest rainforest destruction surge towards the worst levels since 2008. I groaned at the leader of.

In the course of the campaign, Biden proposed to provide Brazil with $ 20 billion to combat deforestation and said that if unsuccessful, the country should face impact. At that time, Bolsonaro labeled Biden’s comments as “sorry” and “disastrous.”

Bilateral talks on the environment with Brazil began on February 17, led by Biden’s Special Climate Envoy John Kerry. Both sides held regular technical meetings for the April 22-23 Climate Summit, which will be held online. Due to a coronavirus pandemic.

Brazil strives to make the change in the amount of rhetoric look more than an empty story.

In a seven-page letter to Biden on April 14, Bolsonaro acknowledged that his government needed to improve its performance to reduce illegal logging. He also said he is working to support sustainable development with economic alternatives for the poor inhabitants of the region and to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030.

He said Brazil would need external resources to achieve these goals, adding that aid from the US government was “welcome”.

Former Brazilian ambassador to the United States, Rubens Barbosa, said it was not yet known if Bolsonaro’s letter would match his speech at the summit.

Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles has recently sought $ 1 billion in foreign aid to support efforts to reduce deforestation by 30% to 40% in 12 months, and set a goal without that amount. I told reporters that I couldn’t. Brazil’s spending on environmental protection has been declining over the years, plunging another 25% this year under Bolsonaro to its lowest level in 20 years.

The ministry did not respond to AP’s request for comment on the proposal.

US Senator argues that Biden must see success before writing a check. They are reluctant to allow Bolsonaro to ridicule environmental regulators, impede their enforcement capabilities, weaken the protection of indigenous territories, despise environmentalists, and curb lawlessness that promotes destruction and violence. Claims to be the target.

“US support for Brazil in relation to the Amazon must be conditional on the Brazilian government making significant and sustainable progress in two key areas.

Climatologists warn that continued deforestation will cause the Amazon to cross a turning point, with subsequent decomposition releasing hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, making it even more difficult to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.

However, Brazil has shown its ability to curb Amazon deforestation in the past, reaching a record low in 2012. It began to rise in the next few years, exploded in the first year of the Bolsonaro administration, and rose again last year.

In the midst of protests from the European government and the threat of sale by institutional investors, Bolsonaro left the army to quell deforestation in 2019, despite expert criticism. Soldiers are expensive and untrained for such missions..

Preliminary data show that deforestation is well above the average for the last decade, but is beginning to decline from record levels.Vice President Hamilton Mourão, who leads the program, announced the military-led program earlier. It will end at the end of April, Return the enforcement obligation to the environmental agency.

Daniel Wilkinson, who runs the Human Rights Watch environmental program, said: “His new climate-friendly rhetoric cannot and should not be taken seriously without actual results.”

Senator rebuke arose in a fierce effort within Brazil to cast the Bolsonaro administration as a malicious negotiator.

More than 200 non-governmental organizations and networks have said that climate negotiations with the United States and other foreign governments are out of public and that Amazon’s solution cannot be expected from private meetings. I signed it. They said negotiations should not proceed until Brazil reduces deforestation rates.

A video produced by the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Association also warned Biden not to trust Bolsonaro to negotiate the future of the Amazon.

Barbosa, Brazil’s ambassador to the United States in both centre-right and left-wing governments from 1999 to 2004, said Bolsonaro was his new about the fight against deforestation and the negative consequences of the past few years. He said it would be difficult to overcome the “reliability gap” created by the discourse. ..

“These two things have to be reconciled,” he said. “Until then, no one will have serious negotiations with Brazil to transfer resources.”

___ Goodman reported from Miami.