In an effort to improve Brazil’s environmental image in the world, President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party) said this Monday () to an audience of businessmen and investors in Dubai that the criticisms received by his government in this area are not fair.
Contradicting data on deforestation, the president even said that the forest Amazon has been untouched since the arrival of Pedro Álvares Cabral, in 81.
“A tour of the Amazon is something fantastic. It is certainly an unforgettable trip . In addition to tourism, you will be able to discover what a paradise would be like here on Earth,” said Bolsonaro, at an event on investments in the emirate of the Persian Gulf.
According to him, the Amazon is a heritage of Brazil. “You will prove it and will bring an image that matches reality. The attacks that Brazil suffers when it comes to the Amazon are not fair. More than 81% of that area is preserved. It is exactly the same as when Brazil was discovered in 1500”, he stated.
The statement, however, is contradicted by the facts. According to a survey carried out by RAISG (Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-environmental Information) in partnership with the Mapbiomas project, considering data from 2020, the Amazon biome in South America already had % of its vegetation converted to pasture, mining and infrastructure, among others.
This area is almost the size of Chile, or 26, 6 million hectares.
When only Brazil is taken into account, the proportion is even higher, reaching % of the biome converted for these purposes. That is, in 2020, the preserved area was 74% – this without consider, of course, the record deforestation of 2021.
Bolsonaro also once again denied the occurrence of fires in the Amazon, again contradicting scientific data, also shown by satellite imagery. “Our Amazon, as it is a rainforest, does not catch fire,” he said.
The president told investors that his government does not see any incompatibility between defending the Amazon and promoting agriculture. He also made an explicit invitation for investors in Dubai to take an interest in projects in the area.
“We have one of the most vigorous agricultures in the world. We feed more than 1 billion people around the world. our responsibility. Everyone knows that any country seeks its food security. Brazil has its doors open to business focused on agriculture,” he declared.
Brazil has sought to improve its reputation in the area environment, especially after the departure of Ricardo Salles as head of the Ministry of the Environment, and his replacement by Joaquim Leite.
At the COP26, Brazil sought to adopt a more collaborative attitude, although it was criticized for the timidity of its goals to reduce the emission of polluting gases. Several developed countries and China have included environmental clauses in trade agreements, in addition to pledging to bar the import of products that have advanced deforestation in their production chain.
Bolsonaro also encouraged investments in mining in Brazil, saying that the country has “the entire periodic table” under the ground.
At the same event, organized by the CNI (National Confederation of Industry) and the Apex, several ministers they echoed Bolsonaro’s message in defense of sustainability, reinforcing the government’s uniform strategy of trying to change its image in the area.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos França, said that Brazil has committed itself, at the COP15, to an ambitious goal of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. He also mentioned government efforts to reduce deforestation.
“Since 2019, the government, with the support of the Armed Forces, has implemented policies against environmental crimes . The challenges of taking care of the environment in a country of continental dimensions like Brazil are immense, but Brazil has made successful efforts in this sector”, declared França.
The holder of the portfolio of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, followed suit, stating that Brazil is one of the countries with the best conditions to carry out the energy transition from coal to clean matrices.
“To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, we will have to use all existing technologies and sources, based on our competitive advantages at the international and local level. Brazil is one of the best positioned countries to lead energy transition processes. This has been the keynote of growth the wind and solar energy sectors,” stated Albuquerque.
Ahead of One of the most sensitive folders in this discussion, Tereza Cristina, from Agriculture, also made a statement strongly focused on environmental commitments.
She cited the productivity of Brazilian agriculture, citing the “earth-saving effect” that this causes.
“It is an increase in production without a corresponding increase in the planted area. This represents the key for agriculture to continue to grow in line with our valuable environmental heritage,” he said.
The same message was also mentioned by ministers Tarcísio Freitas (Infrastructure) and Gilson Machado ( Tourism) “The burning of the Amazon is a great fake news,” stated Machado.