Last week at COP26 in Glasgow, 100 countries, including Brazil, pledged to reverse deforestation by 2030. However, recent figures for October show that Brazil is nowhere near protecting the Amazon rainforest. In fact, the latest numbers are the second most appalling since scientists began measuring deforestation.
The Brazilian National Space Agency (INPE) released its latest data on November 5. It showed that during October 2021, The Amazon rainforest lost 796 km2 to deforestation. For comparison, this is more than four times the area of the Glasgow metropolitan area. Last October, the Amazon set an all-time deforestation record of 836 km2. The November 5 report shows a figure only 4.8% lower.
“It is appalling to see this steady growth in deforestation in Brazilian Amazon, while the world is coming together to protect the world’s rainforest,” said Toerris Jaeger, secretary general of Rainforest Foundation Norway, in a statement. “Only one third of the world’s original rainforest now remains intact. We have no more square kilometers to lose.”
As world leaders gather in Glasgow to try to solve the climate change conundrum, the deforestation pledge was one of the first positive steps. Such heavily forested nations as Canada, Russia, the U.S., U.K., Indonesia, China, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo also signed. Who knows what aerial photos would reveal about recent deforestation in these other countries?
“The world will remain skeptical about Brazil’s promises until the country shows concrete results,” Jaeger said. “The pace of Amazon destruction needs to be reduced at the very least to comply with the country’s own 2020 climate targets.”
Jair Bolsonaro’s administration hasn’t shown itself to be BFFs with the rainforest so far. During the administration’s first two years in power, Amazon deforestation rates soared to a 12-year high. The deforestation rate in 2019 and 2020 was 67% higher than the average deforestation rate a decade earlier.
Lead image via Pixabay