Brazil announces “historic” drop in deforestation
Deforestation of the world’s largest tropical rain forest, in Brazil, fell by the largest amount in more than 20 years, dropping 45 percent from nearly 5,000 square miles to some 2,700 square miles this past year, the Brazilian government announced yesterday.
From August 2008 to July this year, deforestation fell to the lowest it has been since Brazil’s Space Institute began monitoring the destruction with satellite technology, said Gilberto C¢mara, the institute’s head.
“This is a very happy moment — to note that the efforts of Brazilian society to contain the deforestation of the Amazon have reached a very satisfactory level,” he said.
The new figures were reportedly rushed out ahead of the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen next month. Earlier this week, Brazil said it would take a proposal to the summit that would see it voluntarily reduce carbon emissions by up to 42 percent by 2020, partly by continued efforts against illegal deforestation.
Environmental groups welcomed the news, but also pointed out that the falling trend coinciding with a worldwide recession, which resulted in a reduced demand for products linked to deforestation.
“We must stay alert so that this falling trend becomes consolidated and allows us to achieve the dream of zero deforestation in the Amazon,” said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace’s Amazon director. “It is an important drop — but a lot of forest is still coming down”
Russia’s Medvedev warns of climate catastrophe