Save the Brazilian Amazon From Devastating Budget Cuts

Target: Michel Temer, President of Brazil

Goal: Reverse $700 million in budget cuts from the Brazilian Ministry of Environment.

In a move environmentalists say could devastate the Amazon, the right-wing Brazilian government almost halved the budget of its environmental ministry overnight. In one fell swoop, President Michel Temer slashed the Ministry of Environment’s budget to R$2.8 billion ($898 million) from R$5 billion. That’s a cut of more than $700 million USD, and easily puts the environment budget at its lowest level in well over a decade. While Temer has argued the move is needed to bring the government’s finances in order, environmentalists say the unprecedented cutbacks could leave permanent scars on the world’s largest rainforest.

The executive secretary of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, Alfredo Sirkis, told Brazil’s Observatório do Clima the cuts will “profoundly [impact] deforestation – and, consequently, Brazil’s climate targets.”

The cutbacks themselves are part of a broader cutting of all government departments related to science and environment. Speaking to the journal Nature, physicist Luiz Davidovich described the new budget as “an atomic bomb strike on Brazilian science.”

“Were we at war, one could think this was a strategy by a foreign power to destroy our country. But instead it’s us doing this to ourselves,” he said.

Brazil holds more of the Amazon than any other country, but deforestation is escalating at an alarming rate. According to the Brazilian government’s own data, deforestation accelerated by a third in 2015-2016. Between August 2015 and July 2016, 7,989 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon were cleared. That’s equal to the landmasses of Connecticut and Delaware combined. If you believe Brazil should do more – not less – to protect the Amazon, then please sign this petition.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Temer,

Your administration recently halved the Ministry of Environment’s budget to R$2.8 billion from R$5 billion. This represents a cut of around 44 percent, and puts the environmental budget at its lowest level in over a decade. These cuts come at a terrible time, with deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon already on the rise. Your government’s own data shows 7,989 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon were cleared between 2015 and 2016, representing a 29 percent spike compared to the previous 12 months. The data is even worse when we compare the 2016 data to 2012, where we see an increase in deforestation of more than 70 percent.

This cannot continue. As the president of Brazil, you have a historic obligation to safeguard the world’s largest rainforest, and protect it for future generations of Brazilians.

However, with these budget cuts, Brazil will be put behind the curve in terms of environmental conservation. We therefore urge you to rescind the budget cuts to the Ministry of Environment, and take steps to bolster Brazil’s environmental policies.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lubasi/ Floresta Amazonica

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One Comment

  1. A very irresponsible move by the government, which should be immediately rescinded. The environment needs all the protection it can get.

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