Amazon rainforest

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro rejects Biden's offer of $20 billion to protect the rainforest
Jair Bolsonaro rejects Biden's offer of $20 billion to protect the rainforest

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rejected a $20 billion offer made by Joe Biden, during the US presidential debate Tuesday, about stopping deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Bolsonaro stated that the government is already taking "unprecedented actions" to protect the forest.

The Brazilian president wrote on Twitter that "The greed of some countries about the Amazon is a reality. However, the externalization by someone who disputes the command of his country clearly signals giving up a cordial and fruitful coexistence.”

Bolsonaro's right-wing government has been widely criticized for its approach to environmental regulations and its handling of destructive fires in the rainforest.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Amazon has the highest number of fires since 2010
Smoke from the Amazon fires covers the sun in Manaus, Brazil
Smoke from the Amazon fires covers the sun in Manaus, Brazil Credit: Alberto Cesar Araujo/Amazônia Real)

Data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) shows that the number of hot spots recorded in the Amazon so far in 2020 is the highest for the period since 2010. In 2020, 56,425 fires were recorded in the region, an increase of 6% in relation to the same period of the previous year.

In 2010 the satellites used by INPE detected 72,946 hot spots in the biome between January 1st and September 9th.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Greta Thunberg to donate $114,000 to help fight Covid-19 in the Brazilian Amazon
Greta Thunberg to donate $114,000 to help fight Covid-19 in the Brazilian Amazon
Credit: European Parliament from EU / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

After winning the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, Greta Thunberg has pledged to donate $1140,000, a tenth of the prize money, to environmental organisation SOS Amazônia. Besides protecting the rainforest, the organisation has been bringing relief in form of health equipment and food to indigenous territories. Another $114,000 will go to the Stop Ecocide Foundation.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil: Slash-and-burn will be paused in the rainforest
Brigadistas of Prevfogo / Ibama participate in joint operation to fight fires in the Amazon
Brigadistas of Prevfogo / Ibama participate in joint operation to fight fires in the Amazon Credit: Ibama from Brasil / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

By decree, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles have banned the slash-and-burn practice in the Amazon rainforest for 4 months.

A study published by the US science journal "Science" shows that about a fifth of Brazil's annual soy and beef exports to the European Union come from illegally cleared areas. Around 500,000 tons of soy from illegal deforestation in Brazil was exported into the European Union between 2009 and 2017. Bolsonaro is repeatedly criticized for its environmental policy by economy and environmentalists. At the moment, investors distancing themselves from his environmental policy and are calling on the government to take concrete steps against the destruction of the rainforest.

60 per cent of the world's tropical rainforest is located in Brazil. This year 25 per cent more forest was destroyed than in the same period in 2019.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
After record deforestation, Brazilian government exonerates responsible for monitoring the Amazon
Amazon fires captured from the ISS on August 24, 2019.
Amazon fires captured from the ISS on August 24, 2019. Credit: ESA / NASA – L. Parmitano (Public Domain)

Amidst the highest rates of deforestation in the Amazon in the last five years, the Brazilian government exonerated Lubia Vinhas, the researcher responsible for monitoring forest devastation at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

Last Friday, the institute published on its website the data on Amazon deforestation for June, pointing out that the pace of growth has been maintained. The Brazilian government is under pressure from foreign investors to control the problem.

Luiza Lima, from Greenpeace Brazil, said: "But it will not be hiding, putting makeup on the data or investing in advertising that the government will change reality. And this happens for a very simple reason: (Jair) Bolsonaro does not want to change the direction of his policy, after all, destruction is his project. from the government".

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian Goverment bans fires in Amazon rainforest

Vice President Hamilton Mourão announced the Brazilian Government is banning setting fires in the Amazon for 120 days. The announcement happened after a video-conference with representatives from foreign investment funds.

The Brazilian government has started new talks with Germany and Norway on the Amazon Fund and Mourão expects they will overcome differences over policy that last year stalled funding of sustainability projects.

"We managed to present positive results in the second semester in relation to the fires, it is something that can be put on the negotiating table, saying 'look, we are doing our part, now you will do your part again,' said Mourão.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Amazon fires are the highest for June since 2007
Amazon fires captured from the ISS on August 24, 2019.
Amazon fires captured from the ISS on August 24, 2019. Credit: ESA / NASA – L. Parmitano (Public Domain)

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) announced the detection of 2,248 fire spots in the Amazon during June. The number is the highest recorded for the month since 2007. Also, with an average of 75 fires a day, June 2020 saw an increase of 20% compared to the same period in the previous year.

Activists say the Covid-19 outbreak exacerbates the problem, as they believe arson is likely to be even less monitored while authorities are dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Forest fires in Brazil are mainly started deliberately by illegal loggers and farmers wanting to quickly clear ground.

Historically, fire spots in the rainforest increase throughout the dry season, from July to September.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil is losing a generation of indigenous leaders to Covid-19
Members of the Munduruku people demonstrating in Brasilia
Members of the Munduruku people demonstrating in Brasilia Credit: Marcelo Camargo/ Agencia Brasil

The death of chief Paulinho Paiakan, an iconic defender of the Amazon rainforest, was the most recent on a growing Covid-19 death toll that already took Bep Karoti Xikrin, chief of the Xikrin, and another ten leaders of the Munduruku people.

The indigenous organization APIB counted at least 332 Covid-19 deaths, and 7,208 confirmed cases across 110 communities. “We are facing extermination,” said its executive coordinator, Dinamam Tuxá.

Tuxá said Brazil’s Funai indigenous agency has taken too long to send emergency food kits to people isolating in their villages, forcing them to risk infection by traveling to nearby towns for emergency government payments.

Climate & Environment
Ashaninka indigenous people win lawsuit against illegal logging

With the lawsuit being handed in during the 1990s, the Ashaninka group has won a decades-long dispute against forestry companies that illegally cut down parts of the Amazon forest. The companies and their legal teams have agreed to $3 million in compensations and have stated publicly their acknowledgement of the "enormous importance of the Ashaninka people as guardians of the forest, zealous in the preservation of the environment".