[Link] Bolsonaro is cutting down the rainforest (nytimes)

post by Milan_Griffes · 2019-08-01T00:45:11.495Z · score: 2 (11 votes) · EA · GW · 4 comments


Not sure what can be done from an EA perspective. Definitely alarming, especially if you're worried about climate change.


But with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, a populist who has been fined personally for violating environmental regulations, Brazil has changed course substantially, retreating from the efforts it once made to slow global warming by preserving the world’s largest rain forest.
While campaigning for president last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil’s vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation.
Seven months into his term, that is already happening.
Brazil’s part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the government agency that tracks deforestation.
In June alone, when the cooler, drier season began and cutting trees became easier, the deforestation rate rose drastically, with roughly 80 percent more forest cover lost than in June of last year.
The deforestation of the Amazon is spiking as Mr. Bolsonaro’s government pulls back on enforcement measures like fines, warnings and the seizure or destruction of illegal equipment in protected areas.
A few weeks before his inauguration, Brazil abruptly pulled out of its commitment to host a global summit on climate change. Then, once he took office, Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration cut the main environmental agency’s budget by 24 percent, part of a broader cost savings across the government.


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comment by gavintaylor · 2019-08-02T13:19:27.931Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Both Bolsonaro and the Brazilian environment Minister Salles show strong support for loggers, even when the loggers are working illegally on (still) protected land. The Brazilian Institute for the Environment (IBAMA) does try to monitor and prevent illegal logging, but is limited in its ability to do so because of the threat of violence from loggers.

Unfortunately, IBAMA seems to receive little support from politicians - for instance, after loggers burned an IBAMA full tanker used to fuel helicopters that it was using to monitor illegal logging activities, Salles gave a speech to the loggers that seemed to generally support them more than his own department:

...there is a law that must be respected while it is still a law. On the other hand, there is the need for the products provided by the loggers...

(paywalled source and pdf copy - in Portuguese, and google translate doesn't do a great job)

IBAMA looks to have a very uncertain future, but it does sound like their capabilities to monitor logging activity are quite limited at the moment (and I'm not sure what enforcement options they have).

A tractable intervention could be to provide more modern and scalable remote monitoring capabilities (UAVS/drones or even satellite imagery) and the skills to analyse data from them. I don't know if IBAMA could receive such equipment directly as donations, or if the monitoring would be better done by a NGO that could then openly publish its results.

comment by Milan_Griffes · 2020-01-06T16:49:02.748Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Related (a). Disturbing & seems credible.

comment by Milan_Griffes · 2019-12-13T18:46:57.662Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Relatedly, Vox on supertrees (a).

comment by utilitarian01 · 2019-08-01T05:17:09.512Z · score: -3 (6 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Great news for the animals suffering :)