Brazil proposes cuts for environmental protection in the 2021 budget as deforestation advances

Brazil proposes cuts for environmental protection in the 2021 budget as deforestation advances

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Aerial view shows a river and a deforested parcel of the Amazon near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, August 14, 2020.

The Brazilian government of President Jair Bolsonaro is proposing the smallest budget for environmental protection in at least 13 years, despite the increasing destruction of the Amazon rainforest in the country, according to data from the non-profit organization Contas Abertas.

Deforestation in the Brazilian portion of the world’s largest rainforest reached a 12-year high in 2020, according to government data.

Since taking office in 2019, Bolsonaro has drained environmental agencies of funds and appointed officials who promote softer tactics against illegal logging and other crimes.

The election of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, could increase the pressure on Brazil for its environmental record. The Democrat said during his campaign that the world should offer the South American giant money to preserve the Amazon and threatened unspecified economic consequences if it does not do so.

 

“There is a lot of pressure on Brazil for its treatment of the environment,” said Gil Castello Branco, executive director of Contas Abertas. “It makes no sense to make a budget proposal that reduces the amount for the environment.”

 

The government’s proposed budget for the Ministry of the Environment, the agencies under its administration and other spending programs related to conservation is 2.9 billion reais ($ 530.50 million), according to an analysis of public records carried out. by Contas Abertas.

This represents a decrease of 5.4% compared to last year’s budget proposal, at the lowest level in the Contas Abertas analysis dating back to 2008.

 

The cuts are part of the budget plan sent by the Bolsonaro government to Congress for consideration and are still subject to review by lawmakers.

 

Ben Oakley
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