By Jake Spring
GLASGOW, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest increased in October from a year ago, satellite data showed on Friday, further undermining claims by President Jair Bolsonaro’s government that it is holding back. the destruction of a key region for the planet’s environmental health.
Preliminary data from the national space research agency INPE showed that approximately 877 square kilometers of Brazilian rainforest were cut down last month, a 5% increase over October 2020.
It was the biggest advance in deforestation for an October since the current monitoring system began in 2015.
Brazil is making efforts at the United Nations climate change summit (COP26) to show that it has stepped up regulation of logging activity in the Amazon and has promised to end the illegal practice by 2028, two before its previous goal.
But scientists, diplomats and activists say those promises are empty because deforestation has escalated to its worst levels since 2008, amid the government’s policy of increased mining and agriculture in the Amazon.
“Government announcements are not changing a reality in which Brazil is losing rainforest,” said Ane Alencar, scientific director of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, at COP26 in Glasgow.
“The world knows where Brazil is and this attempt to show a different country is not convincing because the satellite data clearly shows reality,” he said.
A media representative from the Brazilian delegation to COP26 declined to comment immediately.
Bolsonaro has moderated the tone on environmental issues since Democratic President Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House and twice this year – once in Washington and once at the UN General Assembly in New York – he promised to end illegal deforestation. .
However, during Bolsonaro’s mandate there have been cuts in personnel in environmental agencies, obstacles were interposed to the implementation of protection and conservation laws and a military intervention was launched to end operations against logging in the Amazon.
(Reporting by Jake Spring. Writing and additional reporting by Brad Haynes. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)