Amazon rainforest: can it survive Bolsonaro?

I have been writing about Jair Bolsonaro for quite some time. Indeed, those who have been reading this blog for years will know that I became concerned in the run up to the election.

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is hugely damaging. It is likely to effect the climate worldwide as well as carbon dioxide levels

He has a quite bizarre approach to many things. Indeed, his ruling style is very like Donald Trump. He doesn’t care about Brazil, merely that “his” people do well out of his presidency.

It is quite something, that academics and activists have come together to warn that with the increased attacks on the environmental protections, the Brazilian rainforest would not survive a second Bolsonaro term.

It is becoming increasingly clear that between fire drought and the increasing land clearance the Amazon rainforest is coming close to the point where the whole system will collapse. When this happens, rainfall will reduce and large parts of the rainforest will become open savannah.

What is of most concern, is that this is not a worry for the Brazilian president. Indeed, he is more concerned with giving many concessions to the Agribusiness lobby. Alarmingly, international markets also seem to be keen to reward this behaviour.

Environmental standards have been weakened, illegal forest clearance has been vindicated, by giving the cleared land permission and ownership documents to the thieves.

Deforestation does increase in line with pricing on various markets such as soy beef and gold.

Large numbers of organisations and governments worldwide have threatened to boycott Brazil and any businesses that operate there. Indeed Bolsonaro and Brazil seem increasingly isolated, though unfortunately countries such as China put resource gathering above environmental concerns. Countries and companies in the west must start putting pressure on China – boycotting Brazil, but allowing China to give them a way around is pointless.

Like Trump in the USA, Bolsonaro is only concerned about his re-election and not about the future of the country or indeed the problems its inhabitants will face due to his short sighted decisions.

Perhaps one positive of his time in office, is that it has galvanized the debate on the Amazon forest protection. People are now either supporting Bolsonaros destruction or heavily against it – and an increasingly significant part of the countries population are vocally against its destruction. Even the former President Lula is now against the Amazon destruction.

Can it be enough to doom Jair Bolsonaros re-election? One would hope so. Unfortunately, the west underestimated the pull of a man like Bolsonaro, we must not do it again.

The world wondered if we could survive another 4 years of Donald Trump. Thankfully we did not have to find out, we may not be so lucky with Jair Bolsonaro, and he has the ability to destroy one of the largest potential carbon sinks on earth – sure recent reports suggest that some of its area is now emitting carbon rather than sequestering it. Unfortunately, a further 4 years may put its restoration into a far longer term project. As I have written before, this will hit Brazil harder than almost all countries, but they are not hearing this essential message because those in power are not being honest.

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