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Brazil government seeks funding for Amazon rainforest

According to recent reports, the Brazilian government has entered into talks with the German and Norwegian governments about donating funds to protect the Amazon rainforest. This is after only a year that President Jair Bolsonaro refused to accept international donations. 

“They can use this money as they see fit. Brazil doesn’t need it,” Bolsonaro said at the time. 

The Amazon Rainforest has been called the “Lungs of the Earth” due to the forest’s ability to absorb more than 20% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. However, the forest has been slowly chipped away through “slash-and-burn” methods to clear land for livestock, agriculture, mining and logging. 

Last week, it was also announced by the Brazilian had banned fires in the Amazon for at least 120 days while they were in discussions to address the rising concerns for the destruction of the rainforest. 

Critics had criticised Bolsonaro stating that his pro-business policies had weakened the environmental protections and had allowed deforestation to take place. 

2019 Amazon wildfires

In August 2019, there was an international outcry after NASA was able to confirm that there was a drastic increase in these methods and smoke and fire from the forest could be seen in satellite images. The smoke had spread and covered the city of São Paulo which was thousands of kilometres from the Amazon. This corroborated the findings discovered by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPE) between June and July 2019. 

Near the end of August 2019, the INPE had reported there were more than 80 000 fires across Brazil. At least 40 000 of these fires were in Brazil’s Legal Amazon. This is an area that contains 60% of the Amazon. Fire were reported in the countries of Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. It is estimated that more than 900 hectares of the forest was in the fires of 2019.