The future of the 'green future' in Brazil

On Friday (12), last day of 24th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP34), the content of the final report. The negotiations ended the following day, with the signing of the agreement by the 200 member countries.

Last Thursday (

), the Minister of the Environment of Brazil, Joaquim Leite, in his official speech, proclaimed that “the green future has already started in the Brazil” and promised to end illegal deforestation by 2028.

However, on the same day, figures released by the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) revealed that , in October, 200 km2 of the Legal Amazon were under deforestation alert, a record for the month since that monthly data began to be released in 2015.

The first semester of 2020 had already recorded the largest area under deforestation alert since 2015. Therefore, the growth trend persists.

The minister also declared that “where there is a lot of forest there is a lot of poverty”.

I-na-cre-di -ta-ble!

This sentence demonstrates ignorance of what the forest is, what poverty is, what wealth is, and what the Amazon is. The Brazilian government’s delegation, which arrived discredited at the COP24, ended its participation in a shameful manner.

Data from MapBiomas show that between 2015 and 2020 urbanized areas in Brazil have doubled, with an annual growth greater than population growth. About 12% of urban areas in 2015 were native vegetation in 1985, and the cerrado was the biome that lost the most vegetation cover (33% ), followed by the Amazon (13%).

In addition, about 5% of the urban growth was informal, that is, irregularly, with a lack of public services, sometimes located in areas with restricted occupation due to environmental risks.

Most of the informal growth took place in the Amazon . In the state of Amazonas, for example, 34% of urban growth between 200 and 2020 was from informal areas; among the capitals, Belém (52%) and Manaus (34%) led.

This informal growth, unattended by public policies, creates pockets of vulnerability and poverty in cities.

In the Amazon biome, this poverty does not happen because Brazil has lots of forest, but due to the perversity of the development model whose pillar is plant destruction, not conservation.

Areas of informal urban growth offer favorable conditions for the transmission of infectious and parasitic diseases. The expansion of dengue in the Amazon follows informal urban expansion, and Covid’s pandemic showed how local vulnerabilities —​poor housing, services, access, and transportation— contributed to greater exposure to the risk of infection and death. “Normalizing” this vulnerability is a social and human negligence, a threat to the meaning of democracy.

Serious discussions about the future of the Amazon took place at the COP26, led by civil society. I highlight here the Report of the Scientific Panel for the Amazon, co-led by the climatologist Carlos Nobre, and written by more than 200 scientists and researchers, several of them of indigenous origin.

In its 33 chapters, the report is the most complete work ever done on the Amazon. It discusses historical dynamics that led to the current context of the Amazon biome, presents trends and their consequences for the region, Brazil and the world, and offers concrete alternatives for policies and actions that seek conservation and sustainable development.

The window of opportunity to ensure a sustainable future for the Amazon is still open. But not for long.

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