Dec 02, 2020 06:00 AM EST
A 12-year record high level of deforestation in that part of the Amazon within the borders of Brazil has been seen in these past 12 months.
The height of Brazilian Amazon deforestation has once again surged this past year, with a record high for the past dozen years.
These are the official figures that were released last Monday, which again caused various groups to condemn the policies of the current government under Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.
In the 12 months leading up to August this year, there was a staggering loss of 11,088 sq. km. (or 4,281 sq. mi.) of the rainforest, as the area was logged within that part of the Amazon that is within the jurisdiction of Brazil.
Reports peg the deforestation this year to be the most destructive since the year 2008 when 12,911 sq. km. of forest were wiped out.
Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world.
The data was provided by the PRODES monitoring program, which is part of the space agency of Brazil. This program analyzes images from satellites that are used for tracking deforestation.
To get a sense of the scale of destruction, this deforested area is even bigger than the country of Jamaica. The deforestation this year increased by 9.5% from the past year, which was also a record high for the decade during that time.
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Increased carbon emissions despite the pandemic
According to the coalition of environmental organizations called the Brazilian Climate Observatory, due to this massive destruction of forest in Brazil this year, it could be the only country and major emitter of greenhouse gas that actually increased its carbon emissions, despite the economic shutdown and lockdowns implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Amazon, along with other rainforests all over the world, has a critical role in controlling and mitigating climate change. This is due to the fact that they absorb the carbon in the environment. As trees are cut down or burned, they release this trapped carbon back into our atmosphere.
The government’s anti-environmental stance
The Brazilian president is known to belong to the far right. He is a skeptic of climate change, and it is during his term that Amazon has experienced rising levels of wildfires and deforestation. He took office last January 2019.
Bolsonaro’s government wants to open protected areas to agribusiness and mining operations. Furthermore, the funding for programs allotted for protecting the environment was decreased.
According to environmentalists, the Brazilian president’s policies worsen the situation in the Amazon. Approximately 60% of the Amazon rainforest is within the boundaries of Brazil.
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A “regressive vision”
According to Cristiane Mazzetti, spokesperson for Greenpeace, the plans of the Bolsonaro government for the Amazon rainforest is a backward vision that promotes rampant deforestation. It is contrary to the action needed to deal with our current environmental predicament.
However, according to Hamilton Mourao, Brazilian Vice President, the government continues to uphold its commitment against environmental destruction.
He stated that the Brazilian government under President Bolsonaro will continue supporting the efforts being done by agencies for environmental protection.
Mourao is a retired general of the army of Brazil; he is the head of the Bolsonaro government’s Amazon task force against deforestation.
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