Environmentalists have concerns over Brazil’s recently announced plan to save the Amazon rainforest.
The plan, unveiled by the government on Monday, would result in a 72 percent decrease in deforestation by 2017.
But environmental groups, while commending the government for finally taking action, believe the plan doesn’t go far enough.
Greenpeace Brazil’s View
Greenpeace doesn’t appear to be impressed with Brazil’s deforestation plan. Greenpeace maintains that deforestation of the Amazon needs to be completely eliminated - not just reduced.
Sergio Leitao, Greenpeace director of public politics in Brazil says “In adopting timid targets the government is showing that it is going in the right direction, but at the wrong speed, because the problem requires urgent solutions”
Leitao also suggests that Brazil is using its reliance on funding from rich nations as a convenient escape clause.
“By connecting the reduction of deforestation to obtaining international resources, in a moment of economic crisis, the government has an argument ready for not achieving targets in the future,” he said.
Greepeace UK’s View
And Greepeace UK has said on its blog:
On the surface, this might sound ambitious and visionary but of course even if these targets are met, they’ll reduce deforestation but they won’t stop it.
Greenpeace UK highlights the fact that Brazil’s government seems happy to lose rainforest:
As environment minister Carlos Minc noted, if all goes to plan then in 2017 we’ll still be losing 5,000 sq km of rainforest every year (although I think he saw that as a good thing)
And, importantly, Greepeace points out that the deforestation plan only appears to be applicable to illegal deforestation.
Therefore, legal clearance of the rainforest will be unaffected. This means that a new bill soon to be voted on in Brazil’s parlaiment would effectively undermine the new plan. The bill, if passed, would allow land owners to clear as much as 50% of their forests (currently, they’re allowed to clear 20%).
On this point, Greenpeace comments:
So right there you can see that, even if illegal deforestation is cut or even eliminated, state sanctioned destruction could balloon in its place and so completely undermine any efforts to bring the rate of deforestation down.
WWF Brazil’s View
In the meantime, WWF-Brazil has labeled the plan as “commendable but short on ambition and detail“.
However, Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, Conservation Director at WWF-Brazil still agrees that it is “reasonably” ambitious:
“This goal is reasonably ambitious,” he says. “To achieve it, next year deforestation will have to drop 23% in relation to this year.”
But he wants to see a plan that’s more than “reasonably ambitous”.
Instead, WWF-Brazil wants to see a goal of zero deforestation by 2015.
“This goal is achievable if key actors—ranging from indigenous peoples to ranchers—are compensated for conserving the forest and thereby avoiding deforestation” Scaramuzza says.
And WWF-Brazil’s CEO Denise Hamú agrees.
“This fund appears to be geared primarily to supporting government command-and-control programmes,” she says
“To achieve more ambitious reductions in deforestation, it will be effective mechanisms to compensate the key actors on the ground who determine the fate of the forest.”