Forest Preservation

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: 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.

Climate & Environment
Over two million Indians have planted 250 million trees while socially distancing
Farm Fields of Munnar, India
Farm Fields of Munnar, India Credit: / Ravi Pinisetti

In order to work against climate change over two million people have gathered in northern India to plant 250 million trees. The government has initiated the project and officials in Uttar Pradesh have provided the saplings across the state.

According to Associated Press the volunteers, lawmakers and government officials that participated maintained social distance as the Covid-19 pandemic is still going on with India the country with the fourth most infections in the world.

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
Hambacher Forst: Police handed over GPS data and photos to RWE

In 2018, the Ministry of the Interior passed on a roughly 77-page document to the energy group RWE, which is contained a detailed list of tree houses and GPS data. The supposed reason to hand over the documents was to enable RWE to file conclusive eviction suits against the protesters.

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".