Criticizing Brazil over Amazon conservation will likely backfire (commentary)

Criticizing Brazil over Amazon conservation will likely backfire (commentary)

The climate and environmental crisis the world has long been experiencing is embedded in concern for future generations. But research shows that consequences are already affecting the world’s population and that the tipping point is imminent. At both COP 26 next November and the recently held Leaders’ Climate Summit, any initiative that seeks global results must include keeping tropical forests standing – the safest and most cost-effective means of avoiding carbon emissions. Brazil boasts the world’s largest tropical rainforest, but negotiations with the country are uncertain due to current political conditions. On the ground, current President Jair Bolsonaro and his Environment Minister Ricardo Salles are moving Brazil in the opposite direction of what is negotiated through international diplomacy. Their effort has included the scrapping of an environmental enforcement agency, encouraging mining on Indigenous lands, and loosening environmental legislation. This may leave some environmentalists abroad wondering: how could such policies and ideologies come to be enacted in Brazil, host of the groundbreaking Earth Summit in 1992 (Rio 92), and the caretaker of the Amazon? Here, we try to explain a few contributing factors that may not be so obvious for a foreign audience, particularly for Americans. Whether Democrat or Republican, ‘gringos are gringos’ Although U.S. elections are followed intently in Brazil and can cause U.S. foreign policy aims in the region to change drastically, little distinction is made between parties when it comes to U.S. involvement in Brazilian affairs. While many Brazilians hope their country will someday achieve U.S.-levels of economic…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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