Brazil's Bolsonaro plans to open up Amazon for development

Signal of change / Brazil's Bolsonaro plans to open up Amazon for development

By Joy Green / 09 Sep 2018

Nationalist politics is often linked protectionist policies and to a deprioritization of environmental issues. Recently elected neo-nationalist Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has committed to opening up the Amazon for more development. His current plan entails weakening environmental protection laws and enforcement, essentially offering up the Amazon baisin to agribusiness, mining and logging. This legislation could significantly threaten the Amazon rainforest as a protected ecosystem, indigenous homeland, and carbon sink.

Brazil had previously pledged to effectively end deforestation by the year 2030, launching a project in 2017 to plant 73 million trees. Akin to Trump's u-turn on the Paris Agreement, Bolsonaro's plans could undo years of progress in this important region. 

So what?

The amazon rainforest is incredibly biodiverse and a crucial carbon sink. It helps to regulate global weather patterns and is the source of livelihoods for communities across South America. It is already highly threatened from deforestation due to mining, logging and agriculture. This is a worrying move that threatens to further undermine protection of one of the world's most important natural systems and endanger our ability to mitigate climate change as a global community.    With the Brazilian government likely to shirk their responsibility to protect this vital natural wonder, it falls to business to do the right thing and resist exploitation of the Amazon. Many international organisations have strong pledges to end deforestation. It remains to be seen whether they will take up the leadership challenge and use their influence to prevent exploitation of the amazon but only working with suppliers committed to sustainable sourcing. 


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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