According to official numbers published last Friday, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has approved a 24% cut to the national environment budget for 2021. This news came just one day after Bolsonaro pledged at the US Climate Summit to double the budget for environmental enforcement and end illegal deforestation by 2030.
Environmental campaigners have long been critical of Bolsonaro’s environmental policies. During his presidency Bolsonaro has threatened to withdraw Brazil from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and promised to remove some protections for the Amazon rainforest.
This decision to reduce the environment budget will be a disappointment to many who had seen Bolsonaro’s speech at the summit committing to tacking deforestation as a welcome shift in tone. Brazil is home to the Amazon rainforest which produces roughly six percent of the world’s oxygen.
Higginson says: The Amazon plays a vital role in tackling climate change and has long been thought to act as a carbon sink. News like this is particularly ominous given the high levels of deforestation reported over the last couple of years. Brazil must take its responsibility as steward to such a precious resource seriously and must be better supported in doing so by the international community.