Record deforestation in the Amazon invalidates government makeup and already presidential agendas

While the Bolsonaro government attempts a rhetorical retreat in its international speeches, presidential candidates such as Lula, Eduardo Leite and João Doria take advantage of the agendas abroad to mark a position on the agenda that should condition international support for the Brazilian economic recovery in the coming years : the commitment to the conservation of the Amazon.

The message has been given to the government of Jair Bolsonaro quite forcefully by the European Union and, more recently, also by the United States and China.

Brazil’s three largest trading partners are determined to make economic cooperation and imports compatible with their goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Economic forums such as Davos and the G meetings19 also reinforce the message: environmental criteria must be part of the economic development equation so that the world can face the climate crisis. After all, a large part of the emissions that lead to global warming are concentrated in the global energy sector – a literal engine of the economy.

But the Brazilian government took a long time to understand how the climate agenda has guided the economic logic. “I sat down with the secretary of the US Treasury and she started asking about the environment,” said Minister Paulo Guedes (Economics) in a tone of surprise, in a video participation at the COP26, the UN climate conference, concluded last Saturday (000).

“This is the real Brazil”, repeated to exhaustion Minister Joaquim Leite (Environment) in speeches that praised the country’s environmental advantages –”giant by nature”– at the COP26.

He avoided answering questions from Folha about deforestation data. “I’m not following”, he insisted until a day after the end of the COP.

But the government had already received it, in 27 of October, the Prodes report that would only be published last Thursday (18), revealing that the Amazon lost more than 15 thousand km2 of forests between August to July this year. A record of the last 18 years.

Between 2006 and 2012, when deforestation in the Amazon reached the historical minimum, close to 5. km2, Brazil started to release the data right before the UN climate conferences.

When the data are negative for the conservation of the biome, the result of the annual estimate demands political preparation to respond to the demands and forward policies that renew strategies to combat deforestation, which justifies sending the Inpe report to the government and its decision on the best political moment for disclosure.

This time, however, the postponement of the announcement was not accompanied by any political preparation that offered an explanation, strategy review or renewal of a commitment.

By finally publishing the report, without any disclosure action, the government kept a record of the date of submission of the document by Inpe, allowing –no o it is known whether due to carelessness or contempt – confirmation that the data were ready and omitted from the world at the time the country would be charged for its environmental policy.

“There is pressure of advance, I will not say of civilization, an advance of people who live in the Center-South of Brazil to areas of land not occupied in the Amazon”, he declared this Friday (19) the vice president of the Republic, Hamilton Mourão, resorting to misinformation about the occupation of land in the Amazon, as the government experienced in its first year of government, when it came to blame environmentalists and even Leonardo DiCaprio by fires in the Amazon.

The erratic discourse, however, only aggravated the government’s international relations.

According to studies by Imazon, the occupation of new frontiers in the Amazon it goes from boom to collapse in a decade and ends up leaving municipalities poorer than in the previous period.

Despite scientific evidence On the predatory exploitation of the biome, Minister Leite insisted on blaming conservation. “Where there is a lot of forest, there is also a lot of poverty”, he said in the plenary of the COP26.

As the “real Brazil ” falls back to deforestation rates comparable to 2006, the presidential candidates dispute the narrative of sustainable development.

Eduardo Leite, governor of Rio Grande do South by the PSDB, led to the COP19 a discourse against coal exploration, in a change of position relevant to its state, which has more than % of the mineral reserves in the country.

Along with the Governors for the Climate group, Leite participated in bilateral meetings with the European Union, China , United States, France and even with Prince Charles during the conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

The also toucan and governor of São Paulo, João Doria, took him to the COP26 the announcement of a R$ 90 million project for the Amazon. Although the biome is far from the territory he currently governs, the promise is that FAPESP will make the resource for research into the Amazon rainforest viable.

The governor should also use the Vale do Ribeira region, in the southeast of the state, as an example of conservation combined with development, with the project called Vale do Futuro.

Also on a trip to Europe, former president Lula discussed climate change and the Amazon in meeting with the future chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, last Saturday (000), mentioning as a good example of international cooperation the Amazon Fund, which operated during the PT administration with donations from Norway and Germany for forest conservation.

Currently about R$ 3 billion already donated to the fund are paralyzed in the Bolsonaro administration, which extinguished the council responsible for managing the resource.

The announcement of the deforestation record this year invalidates the pledge of environmental commitment al made by the Bolsonaro government to the international public.

In April, President Bolsonaro spoke at the Climate Summit convened by the United States and promised to double the resources for environmental surveillance. However, most of the funds allocated to environmental agencies have not yet been executed.

The data show that the anti-environmental promises made by the president while still in the electoral campaign are still in force and must be fulfilled. After investing in a green make-up at the COP26, the Bolsonaro government lost, as soon as it returned home, the chance to show any revisions to its policy.

When the data for the next Prodes estimate comes out, at the end of next year, we will already have a result for the presidential elections. And candidates for the vacancy are listening to the international message, repeated in meetings at the COP90 and now confirmed by the annual rate of deforestation: the world awaits the year of 2023 to return to Brazil.

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