In his participation at the 2021 Leaders’ Climate Summit, in April this year, the current Brazilian president promised to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and committed to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030. In May, Ricardo Salles, Environment Minister, became the target of a PF (Federal Police) operation for illegal export of wood, just as other public workers who hold positions at Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and the Ministry of Environment.
Since the beginning of his presidential term, in 2019, Bolsonaro has been questioned by the media, by Brazilians, and even by international authorities about his decisions in terms of environmental preservation and the Amazon Rainforest, which is important to Brazil and the world.
From his positions and opinions to budget cuts, the president, in the last two and a half years in charge, caused damage to the Amazon Rainforest, which lost thousands of hectares, preservation areas have been invaded and deforestation continues to destroy Brazilians’ forests. These are some of the times Jair Bolsonaro’s government was (and is) bad for the environment.
- Deforestation Index
In April, Amazon Rainforest had its highest level of deforestation since April 2016 according to Inpe (National Institute for Space Research), losing 581 square kilometers of vegetation coverage, which equals approximately 69 soccer fields. This loss is not only harmful because of the lost vegetation cover, but it has a big impact on the Amazon life, harming the biodiversity of the place.
- Economy Above Preservation
Bolsonaro always takes a position placing the economic issue ahead of environmental preservation, and for that, he has the support of the Environment Minister, who is responsible for the articulation of environmental protection dismantling in Brazil. Both of them put the development of the region under discussion at the forefront and the preservation as less important.
The president usually defends activities that have a huge environmental impact in preserved areas, and also attacks numerous environmental agencies, demonstrating his stance contrary to the functioning of fines and penalties to those who don’t respect the rules of preservation.
- Criticism And Environmental Projects’s Shutdown
Bolsonaro criticized the former director of Inpe, Ricardo Galvão, after the release of the institute’s data showing the increase of deforestation, in July 2019, saying that Galvão supposedly would be “at the service of some NGO”. Besides that, the president showed suspicion regarding the institute’s information, and then Galvão was fired. In the following months, the deforestation indexes increased even more.
The aversion of Bolsonaro to environmental NGOs, since the beginning of his presidential term, impacted the “Fundo da Amazônia” that financed NGOs initiatives with projects of sustainability and preservation, which was stagnant by Salles, who questioned the contracts of the organization.
- End of Foreign Aid
Some countries, such as Germany and Norway, which invest in environmental projects, and even in the Amazon Fund, cut part of that budget, which decreased by millions of reais. In August 2019, Norway suspended around R$133 million that was directed to the organization. While Germany cut at least R$150 million that were destined for the protection of the Amazon.
- Cutting Trees and Budgets
By 2021, Bolsonaro approved the federal budget of R$2 billion for the Ministry of the Environment. Thus approving the 24% cut in the budget, which last year was R$2.6 billion, according to the Official Gazette of the Union. And, in addition to reducing the investment for the Ministry, the president vetoed a list of provisions in the environmental budget, which includes inspection expenses, for R$240 million.
The decrease in the value of these budgets shows the lack of investment in protecting the environment and Brazilian forests, which are subject to mining and deforestation, often illegally.
These are some of many actions that were bad for the Brazilian environment and consequently for the world. His lack of worry about this issue is worrisome considering that 17% of the Amazon biome was already destroyed through the years.
Keeping track of president Bolsonaro’s actions is really important, and even more about the environment that is at risk all over the world, with all the negative impact of humanity on it.
The article above was edited by Laura Enchioglo.
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