- SOS Amazonas: What's behind the fires that could alter the world's climate
- Environment: The Amazon will stop reducing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in 2035
One year after the devastating fires in the Amazon that circled the world and caused the greatest reputational crisis for the Government of Jair Bolsonaro , everything indicates that the disaster is about to happen again.
Last year, when trying to manage the barrage of criticism, Bolsonaro said that in the matter of the fires in the Amazon there was something of 'fake news', because the jungle is humid and does not burn. Deep down, he was right. The rainforest is very humid, it shouldn't burn. But it burns.
Unlike the fires in Australia , California or the Mediterranean , fire is not a naturally occurring factor in the ecosystem of this rainforest. The fire regime in the Amazon (the time interval between two fires in the same terrain) ranges from 500 to 1,000 years. A fire in the Amazon rainforest is very rare. They must combine an extreme drought (increasingly intense due to climate change) and a thunderstorm charged with lightning.
But the truth is that the Amazon is burning, because what is burned, in general, is not the forest that is standing, but the forest that was deforested months before . The deforestation mafias, linked to agricultural and livestock interests, deforest first, let them dry and wait for the dry season to arrive (we are now reaching the peak) to set fire to the vegetation and make space for the pastures.
The vast majority of fires are caused and are closely linked to deforestation, as explained by Ane Alencar , science director of the Amazon Research Institute (Ipam): "We have all the elements to expect a worse season than last year The main factor to take into account is that there is a lot of material, there is a lot of trees on the ground ready to burn. Since August of last year until now there has been a 34 percent increase in deforestation, it is a lot of combustible material, "he says.
Between August 2019 and July of this year, more than 9,100 square kilometers of jungle were lost (an area greater than the entire Community of Madrid), according to official data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), of the Ministry of Science of Brazil . Much of all that territory has already started to burn. In the first 10 days of August, Inpe satellites detected an average of 1,900 sources of fire per day, a rate similar to that of last year . "And that August is not the most fiery month, the peak month is usually September," Alencar warns.
Last year, the voracity of the fire had a huge media coverage because it was very concentrated. Rural producers even organized themselves through WhatsApp groups and promoted the so-called 'Day of Fire', on August 10 in the state of Pará. Investigations were opened at the time, but a year later, there are no culprits. Alencar points out that possibly this year the fires are more spread out in time so as not to attract so much attention, although they may not be delayed beyond October, when the rains already begin to barrier the southern strip of the Amazon
Those who devastate the jungle do so with the conviction not only that they will not be punished , but that their actions will be legalized sooner or later. "This deforestation that we see rampant is a phenomenon that foresees a benefit in the future. The person illegally occupies public land, they spend money to deforest it and from the first minute it is deforested it is worth more. In the future, if they can. being regularized, it will be worth even more. It is a long-term investment, "he says.
The ashes of the fires will give way to the pastures that feed the cattle whose meat will feed half the world (Brazil is the second largest exporter of beef, a sector that represents 6% of GDP). Consumers are increasingly demanding and large multinationals are beginning to fear seeing their name associated with Brazil.
In June, 29 funds that manage more than 3,700 million dollars in assets approached the Brazilian government to ask that it take urgent measures if it does not want to see million-dollar investments in danger. Shortly after, 38 of the country's most important businessmen (including the largest banks) wrote a joint letter lamenting that the country's poor image in the world is putting their businesses at risk. Brazil's disastrous environmental policy also shakes the trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur.
The Government, for the moment, responds with one of lime and one of sand. On the one hand, it continues to weaken the environmental crime control bodies that work on the ground. On the other hand, it launches large military maneuvers to stop those same crimes, such as the second phase of 'Operation Green Brazil', which in May placed more than 3,200 soldiers in the jungle.
The vice president, Antônio Hamilton Mourâo , who chairs the National Council of the Amazon , a body that aims to coordinate public policies related to this region, recently recognized that the military mission was late to stop deforestation, because it should have started in December. "Our objective is to bring the fires in the second semester to an acceptable minimum, to make clear to the rest of Brazil and the world our commitment to preserving the Amazon," he said a few days ago.
The number two of the Government has assumed the role of 'bad cop' against deforesters, at least in the face of the gallery. Bolsonaro, meanwhile, continues his provocative strategy. In a videoconference with the rest of the presidents of the Amazonian countries, he assured that Brazil suffers unfair criticism. "This story that the Amazon is on fire is a lie, and we have to fight that with real numbers. It is what we are doing here in Brazil," he explained to his counterparts. The official data produced by its own government deny it.
According to the criteria of The Trust ProjectKnow more
- Jair bolsonaro
Covid-19 Brazil exceeds 100,000 deaths from coronavirus and Bolsonaro asks to turn the page
InterviewLuiz Henrique Mandetta, former Minister of Health of Brazil: "Jair Bolsonaro knew what he was doing, he is to blame for a large part of the deaths from Covid-19"
MalagaThe neighbors evicted by the Colmenar fire return home
See links of interest
- Cut notes