Without inspection, deforestation alerts hit record in June
It is the fourth consecutive monthly high; Brazil is on track to repeat the annual mark of 10,000 km2
Deforestation alerts in the Amazon in June reached 1,062 km2, the largest area for the period since the beginning of the series of the Deter-B system, by Inpe, in 2016. It is the fourth consecutive month of record high. The result indicates that, under Bolsonaro, annual deforestation is expected to surpass for the third time the mark of 10,000 km2 of forest destruction, which has not occurred since 2008.
The July figures are the only ones still missing before the end of the official deforestation rate calculation period (Prodes) — which is measured from August of one year to July of the following year. Last Wednesday (July 7), General Hamilton Mourão, chairman of the National Council of the Amazon, said: “We have to reach the end of July with a reduction of around one thousand km2 of deforestation (compared to the year 2020). This is our clear objective, and it’s a feasible objective”. In 2020, 10,851 km2 of forest were felled in the Amazon, the highest rate since 2008.
Certain figures help to understand how unacceptable this goal really is:
- Mourão’s “goal” represents an increase of 150% in relation to the deforestation target of 3,925 km2 established in 2009, as part of the National Policy on Climate Change law;
- the annual average rate of deforestation in the first two years of the current administration was 10.4 thousand km2;
- in the previous decade (2009-2018) the average recorded rate was 6.4 thousand km2.
The fact is that there is no control over deforestation. The government has relinquished its obligation to fight environmental crime. In addition to speeches against Ibama and ICMBio, Bolsonaro changed the rules and immobilized the inspection structure. Since October 2019, a bureaucratic maneuver created by the government has stopped the collection of environmental fines across the country. In 2020, fines for crimes against flora in the nine states of the Amazon fell 51% when compared to 2018, the last year before the beginning of the Bolsonaro administration.
After two and a half years of environmental dismantling, Minister Ricardo Salles was ousted at the end of June on charges of setting up an actual criminal organization to benefit loggers. In Congress, projects are advancing that will accelerate the devastation process, such as the bills of law dealing with land grabbing, environmental licensing and mining on indigenous lands.
The announcement of the return of the military to the Amazon this month coincides with new burning records. In June, Amazônia recorded the highest number of fire outbreaks for the month in 14 years. The Cerrado region, on the other hand faced the largest rate of fires in 11 years. And the fire season is just beginning.
“From the beginning, the Bolsonaro regime has sabotaged the environmental inspection bodies and adopted measures to favor those who destroy our forests. The high rates of deforestation do not happen by chance: they are the result of a government project. Bolsonaro is the Amazon’s worst enemy today”, says Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of Observatório do Clima.
About Observatório do Clima: a network formed in 2002, comprising 66 non-governmental organizations and social movements whose mission is to foster dialogue, public policies and decision-making processes on climate change in the country and globally. Website: http://oc.eco.br.
Solange A. Barreira
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