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The Brazilian Amazon has experienced the fastest rate of deforestation in 15 years

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Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has jumped to its highest level in 15 years, and these figures have raised new questions about Brasilia’s commitment to end the destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

According to data released by the National Institutes of Health on Thursday, in the 12 months from August to July last year, more than 13,200 square kilometers of tropical rainforest was razed to the ground-an increase of 22% from the previous year, since 2006 The highest rate of deforestation since 2015. Space research.

In the past three years, Brazil has lost more than 30,000 square kilometers of tree cover in tropical rain forests-the size of Belgium-mainly in the hands of illegal loggers, cattle farmers, gold diggers and land predators.

A few weeks ago, Brazil won praise for its commitments at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, which included a promise to eradicate illegal deforestation by the end of the decade (if not earlier).

Although welcomed by diplomats, environmental activists expressed doubts about these promises, emphasizing that President Jair Bolsonaro often expressed support to those who destroy forests.

A week before the COP summit, the right-wing populist leader met with gold miners in a camp in the Roraima state of northern Amazon.

“Since his campaign, Bolsonaro has been saying that he opposes [environmental protection groups] Ibama and ICMBio and any type of on-site monitoring.This has the ability to greatly speed up the situation [regarding deforestation],” said an environmental law enforcement officer stationed in the tropical rainforest.

“Today, these illegal groups firmly believe that they can cut down or mine forests in protected areas or indigenous lands. This is the biggest change, and in fact I think this is the worst change that can happen.”

Marcio Astrini, Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Climate Observatory, said that the data released on Thursday reflected the “results of the Bolsonaro government’s persistence, planning, and continuous efforts”, aiming to hollow out National environmental protection policy.

“Unlike the propaganda carried out by the government and its allies at COP26 in Glasgow, this is the real Brazil, from scorched earth to out of control organized crime in the Amazon,” he said.

Brazil’s Environment Minister Joaquim Leite stated that the data did not reflect the government’s recent efforts to combat deforestation, including the hiring of more than 700 environmental law enforcement officers and the allocation of more information to the country’s environmental protection agencies. More funds.

“The results have not yet been shown in the numbers. We will begin to execute budgets worth millions [of reais] Ibama and ICMBio make them more modern,” he said.

This issue may increasingly affect Brazil’s international relations, especially relations with European countries.

Earlier this week, EU Commissioner for Environment and Ocean Affairs Virginijus Sinkevicius told the Financial Times that Brussels tried to ban the import of beef and soybeans from areas that are at risk of deforestation.

The draft legislation under consideration by the EU, if passed, will force companies to prove that the products they sell to the EU single market will not lead to legal and illegal deforestation or forest degradation through agricultural use.

The Amazon rainforest spans nine Latin American countries and has about 390 billion trees. It is a huge carbon sink for emissions from all over the world.

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