Amazon Forest

Climate & Environment
BNP Paribas will no longer finance companies that exploit deforested land in the Amazon
BNP Paribas logo
BNP Paribas logo Credit: BNP Paribas

France's biggest bank, BNP Paribas on Monday promised to stop financing companies that buy cattle or soya produced on Amazon land deforested or converted after 2008. The bank also said it will encourage clients not to buy or produce beef or soy from the Cerrado, which occupies 20 per cent of Brazil, only financing those who adopt a zero deforestation strategy by 2025.

Population growth and rapidly expanding middle classes in countries like China are stimulating an explosion of demand for soybeans and increasing consumption of meat and dairy products.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil and record fires: Bolsonaro government withdraws firefighters
Fires in the Pantanal region
Fires in the Pantanal region Credit: Sílvio de Andrade (Public Domain)

The Brazilian environmental authority IBAMA has recalled all the forces fighting forest fires and justified its drastic step with lack of money. "I am ordering the withdrawal of all forest fire brigades to their respective bases," said a letter quoted by the news portal G1.

At the end of August, IBAMA had already announced the complete cessation of fire fighting due to the blockade of financial resources.

Research by the organisation Human Rights Watch, recently showed that the environmental authority is imposing virtually no more fines on illegal loggers.

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.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Merkel warns Amazon deforestation threatens EU-Mercosur deal
Angela Merkel meets Emmanuel Macron
Angela Merkel meets Emmanuel Macron Credit: Bundeskanzlerin (Public Domain)

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated she has "considerable doubts" about backing the EU-Mercorsur deal due to environmental concerns. The chancellor met Thursday climate campaigners in Berlin.

Steffen Seibert, spokesperson for the German government, told reports that "Serious questions have arisen due to the ongoing environmental concerns "as to whether the implementation of the agreement in the intended spirit would be guaranteed at present."

The trade deal between the EU and the Mercosur states of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, would create the world's largest free-trade zone.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
New evidence links Brazil meat giant JBS to Amazon deforestation
New evidence links Brazil meat giant JBS to Amazon deforestation
Credit: Ibama

The Guardian reports that the farm "Estrela do Aripuanã" in Mato Grosso would have used JBS transport services to transfer cattle to another 'clean record' property, which later supplied two company's slaughterhouses. The practice it is known as 'cattle triangulation'.

The investigation, joint initiative by Repórter Brasil, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Guardian, found photographic evidence of the cattle being transported from "Estrela do Aripuanã", already fined by Ibama for illegal deforestation, to another farm.

JBS said in a statement that "The company clarifies that the logistics and transportation service provided and executed, independently, must meet the same sustainability policies as the company, including blocking farms that do not comply with these policies".

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
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.

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".