Bolsonaro vows to fight ‘illegal deforestation’ in Brazil

 

 

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro vowed Saturday to combat “illegal deforestation,” a day after the head of the agency that measures deforestation said he was being sacked after a row over the scale of the problem in the Amazon rainforest.

“We are going to act effectively in the fight against illegal deforestation,” Bolsonaro wrote on his Facebook account, along with a video in which environment minister Ricardo Salles said the government would bring in new technology to measure deforestation with greater precision.

A day earlier, the head of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Ricardo Galvao, said he was being sacked after a row with Bolsonaro over deforestation.

Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic, claimed the INPE figures “don’t correspond to the truth” and were damaging to the institute and the country.

The president has previously floated the idea of opening up protected rainforest areas to agriculture, a highly controversial move given the existing level of deforestation.


“We cannot accept sensationalism, or the disclosure of inaccurate numbers that cause great damage to Brazil’s image,” Bolsonaro said, reiterating comments from his row over the INPE figures.

The latest data released by INPE, an institution of international repute, shows that deforestation has increased 40 percent in the last two months compared to the same period a year ago.

On Thursday, Bolsonaro, Salles and other ministers had refuted the INPE satellite data and said the methodologies for measuring deforestation would be changed.

The government admits deforestation has increased but insists it is not as great as indicated by the agency.

The sacking of Galvao fueled criticism from environmental groups.

“Bolsonaro knows that his government is primarily responsible for the current destruction of the Amazon. The dismissal of the director of INPE is nothing more than an act of revenge against those who show the truth,” said Marcio Astrini from Greenpeace.

For many years, NGOs defending the environment and the territorial rights of indigenous people have criticized the agriculture industry and major land owners for constantly trying to expand into virgin lands, including those protected by law.

Bolsonaro, though, was helped in his election last year by support from the powerful agriculture lobby.

The president suffered a blow on Thursday when the Supreme Court cancelled a decree transferring the right to demarcate indigenous lands from the National Indian Foundation to the Ministry of Agriculture, a bulwark of the agriculture industry’s interests.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Agency
External source

Related stories

Richard Calland: South Africa needs a Roosevelt style of leadership

President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to hold ‘fireside chats’ and have more power and institutional muscle around him, writes Richard Calland

The dirty tricks climate scientists face

Think-tank institutes, politicians and Big Business conspired to discredit researchers and the science of the climate crisis

Businesses should use alternative energy sources, industry bodies advise

Business associations are urging companies to continue seeking alternative energy sources in light of Eskom’s court judgement which would allow the utility to bump up electricity prices up to 15% from next year April 2021.

Dear G20: The virus doesn’t discriminate but humans do

Civic organisations from across the world ask whether this moment will go down in history as yours truly stepping up to the challenge, or the moment when you caved in to powerful elites

The new ‘invisible enemy’

Anti-racism and political contagion from Save Darfur to Black Lives Matter

Eusebius McKaiser: A witness to Covid-19 stigma

Let us please not repeat the devastating Aids story where people died of shame rather than admit being infected by the virus
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Finance probe into the Ingonyama Trust Board goes ahead

The threat of legal action from ITB chairperson Jerome Ngwenya fails to halt forensic audit ordered by the land reform minister

Ailing Far East Rand hospital purchases ‘vanity’ furniture

Dr Zacharia Mathaba, who purchased the furniture, is a suspected overtime fraudster and was appointed as Gauteng hospital chief executive despite facing serious disciplinary charges

Eusebius McKaiser: Reject the dichotomy of political horrors

Senekal shows us that we must make a stand against the loud voice of the populist EFF and racist rightwingers

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday