Speaking at the climate summit held last week, Bolsonaro pledged to end illegal deforestation by 2030 and to double the funds for environmental reinforcement. However, Bolsonaro’s proposals were not novel.
In 2015, former President Dilma Roussef had already set 2030 as the date by which Brazil aimed to reach “zero illegal deforestation.” By 2020, however, Bolsonaro had dropped the pledge from the updated strategy in terms of the country’s implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Three weeks ago, Bolsonaro’s son and lawmaker, Eduardo Bolsonaro, erroneously claimed that agribusiness – one of the main culprits of deforestation – “generates clean energy and helps to conserve the forest that occupies 61% of Brazil’s territory.
Not only was the data proved statistically inaccurate. Deforestation has contributed to the Amazon rain forest being depleted by 20%.
In 2019, 99% of deforestation in Brazil was carried out illegally. Indigenous terrain accounted for 6% of the targeted land, while 11% including conservation areas.
The refusal to include indigenous communities and environmental organizations in policy making has been one of the main contentions raised to the U.S. government.
On the other hand powerful criminal networks that use intimidation and violence – with near total impunity – against those who seek to defend the rain forest.
Deforestation and progress are only linked together by agribusiness companies and the Brazilian government, as in the case of Acre where 688 square kilometers were lost to deforestation.
Acre doesn’t have minerals. It has no potential for tourism. What it does have is some of the best land in Brazil. But this land has one problem: it’s covered in forest,”Assuero Doca Veronez, the President of the Acre Agriculture Federation stated in 2020.
What Veronez was aiming at was the establishment of agricultural territory combined with industrial development.
It remains to be seen whether the international community can curb Brazil’s neo-liberal profit upon environmental exploitation.
International warnings over trade deals with Brazil – the EU-Mercosur pact has not yet been ratified and this may have implications for Brazil which relies heavily on agricultural exports.
However, if the deal goes through, it would not be the first time that the international community pays lip service to environmental concerns, while turning a blind eye when it comes to economic expansion.
Strategic Culture / ABC Flash-Point News 2021.