As the attention in the run-up to the Davos Economic Forum, which kicks off next Tuesday (21), turns to the environment, the alarm is sounding for the Amazon under the fascist Bolsonaro government, which Human Rights Watch says has opened the floodgates for more deforestation and violence against forest guardians.
A rainforest monitor group called MapBiomas , has said that no new fire prevention measures have been taken in preparation for the dry season during the southern winter.
MapBiomas’s coordinator Tasso Azevedo told the news agency that unless something big happens in the next two months, 2020 will see even higher rates of deforestation in the season starting in May.
2019 saw a massive increase of fires, mostly criminal ones, which was a campaign promise of the new president to loggers and the mining lobby.
The space research agency INPE estimates fires increased by 30.5% during the first year of Bolsonaro’s presidency.
Data released today estimates deforestation in the Amazon increased by a catastrophic 85 percent in 2019 compared with the previous year.
In total, the Amazon lost 9,166 square kilometers, the highest number in the last five years, still according to INPE.
Dire prospects for the Amazon under Bolsonaro
To make matters worse, the new government has plans to open protected indigenous land to commercial mining and agriculture, which is certain to speed up deforestation and increase the number of fires, with massive loss of animal life in the process.
In a calculated move to dismantle prevention mechanisms, the government tried to change governance rules of the Amazon fund, which received US$33.27 million dollars from Norway. The Nordic country did not accept the interference and suspended donations.
As the Amazon burns, the world loses an important carbon sink as its ability to heat-trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is compromised.
For Brazilian agricultural land in the south, this is also bad news, since much of the rain it receives comes from the Amazon with the so-called flying rivers.