Brazil did not release deforestation data until COP26 ends: sources

Brasilia, Nov 20 (AP) Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and Environment Minister Joaquim Leite deliberately did not release data on increasing annual rates of deforestation in the Amazon ahead of the UN climate talks in Glasgow. Three cabinet ministers of Brazil gave this information.

The three ministers told The Associated Press (AP) on condition of anonymity. Data released Thursday from the National Institute for Space Research’s PRODS (Brazilian Reservoir Restoration Program) monitoring system showed that the Amazon covered 13,235 square kilometers (5,110 sq mi) in the 12-month period from August 2020 to July 2021. ) lost the rainforest. This figure is 22 percent higher than the previous 12-month period. This is the worst situation in the last 15 years.

The three ministers and a space institute coordinator told the AP, on condition of anonymity, that deforestation information was available in the government’s information system before talks began in Glasgow on October 31.

The ministers said Bolsonaro and several other ministers had discussed the figures at a meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan six days before the talks and decided not to release them until the climate summit. Two of these ministers were present in this meeting.

Later on the same day the government launched a program to encourage green development.

A minister who attended the meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan said that the data was not released as part of the strategy to improve the international credibility on environmental matters. The aim was not to lie, but to highlight positive developments, he said. The aim was specifically to highlight preliminary data for July and August from the so-called ‘dater’ monitoring system, which show a year-on-year decline in the pace of deforestation.

Bolsonaro outlined the same figure at the United Nations General Assembly in September, but since then the dater system has recorded a significant increase in forest loss figures.

The data of the dater is released monthly and is considered a leading indicator for the calculation of the prods system considered relatively more accurate.

Environmental activist Cristian Mazetti said, “There should be a ban on this incident. Brazil lied during the COP, while deforestation is out of control.

Izabela Teixeira, who served as environment minister during Bolsonaro’s rival Workers’ Party, said the incident underscores the lack of transparency.


Simmi Prashant



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