Brazil begins first operations to protect Amazon

A view of the Amazon
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Brazil this week began the first operations against Amazon deforestation since veteran leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, according to the Ibama environmental agency.

On the campaign trail before his October election victory – when he defeated far-right climate change skeptic Jair Bolsonaro – Lula promised to end deforestation by 2030.

‘Inverting the rate of deforestation’

The Amazon rainforest suffered during Bolsonaro’s four-year presidency. The former army captain repeatedly enacted laws favoring agriculture and mining in the forest at the expense of that critically important ecosystem. Reducing deforestation is key to slowing climate change.

Ibama informed Agence France-Presse (AFP) that:

The deployment of teams for the start of inspection operations began on January 16, 2023.

Average Amazon deforestation soared by 75% during Bolsonaro’s presidency, compared with the previous decade.

Ibama added:

Read on...

The environmental team put in place by the federal government has, since the beginning of the transition period, been working to build a plan capable of inverting the rate of deforestation seen these last few months.

On 18 January, Lula told the Globo News television channel that he wanted to create a federal police force to “act in a stronger manner” to protect forests.

He also said he wanted to arrange a meeting with the other South American countries that share the Amazon to discuss a continental preservation policy.

‘By any means’

Lula said he would fight deforestation “by any means”. He also added:

I will need the armed forces, I will need the federal police force.

Since taking office on 1 January, Lula has signed a series of decrees pertaining to the protection of the Amazon.

He also reactivated an Amazon protection fund that had been frozen since 2019. This was due to a disagreement between the Bolsonaro government and major donor countries Norway and Germany over how to spend the money.

Lula also revoked a Bolsonaro decree authorizing mining exploitation in Indigenous areas and protected zones. Maria Laura Canineu, Brazil director at Human Rights Watch, previously commented:

The [Bolsonaro] government’s anti-Indigenous rights policies and statements have emboldened miners, loggers, land-grabbers, and poachers to encroach on Indigenous territories with impunity, leading to devastating consequences for Indigenous people and the environment.

Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons/Neil Palmer, resized to 770*403

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