The Amazon is the largest forest in the world, and home to some of its most diverse ecosystems. We need to protect it, which means ending deforestation as soon as we can. Today – on the 1st of January 2023 – the new Brazilian president, Luiz Lula da Silva (known as ‘Lula’) takes office. He has committed to ending deforestation by 2030.
First I agree with your point.
Why are they deforesting? Where is the needing more land pressure coming from?
I don’t think it’s as simple as throwing money at a problem or governments around the world creating laws. My guess is there are huge monetary incentives to even poor individuals involved. Are we asking them to sacrifice for the greater good?
Very hopeful signs, did not know the deforestation was this steadily decreasing, based on the Bolsonaro headlines I had indeed got the impression that it was as bad as it has ever been. Come to think of it, this was in part based on hearing that deforestation 'doubled', but I hadn't been aware that this was doubled from much lower rates..
What I think is needed from a Lula presidency, as well as subsequent presidents, is a steadfast commitment to implementing policies that in the long term can bring down deforestation, without expecting it to happen overnight. It goes without saying (but it should be said over and over again until it actually happens) that developed nations should be providing funds/expertise to achieve this, as it is something that benefits us all.
It would be nice if the FBI/CIA didn't work with Brazilian fascists to imprison Lula again, since that resulted in Bolsonaro's presidency and hundreds of thousands of Brazilians dying of covid, to say nothing of the devastation of the Brazilian rainforest. The Lava Jato "investigation" also began when Obama/Biden were in the White House: https://theintercept.com/2020/03/12/united-states-justice-department-brazil-car-wash-lava-jato-international-treaty/
The popular narrative is that the rate at which Brazil’s forests are cleared is closely correlated with the politics of deforestation. However, evidence suggests that macroeconomic factors may be the biggest driver.
For example, the strength of the Brazilian currency, the real, is closely correlated with the deforestation of the Amazon. Between 1999 and 2008 each 1% change in the value of the Brazilian real (measured against US dollars) was associated with a 1.1% change in the area that suffered from deforestation.
When the real is weak against the US dollar exporters reap higher domestic prices for agricultural commodities, livestock and other commodities. An increase in the price of soybeans, beef and timber increases the incentive for land clearance, resulting in higher rates of deforestation. Conversely, a strong real can suppress the price at which exporters are able to sell commodities. Investment capital becomes more scarce, land owners and other operators are disincentivised from pursuing further land clearings. The rate of deforestation tends to decline when the real is strong.
da Silva's best bet to slow deforestation may be to focus on the economy.
Would be interested in your thoughts on this article, published today. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/04/magazine/amazon-tipping-point.html
I get that Amazon, or any equatorial rainforest is the focus on this talk, but what about agroforestry or even syntropic agriculture?
I know it is too much to ask for a decrease in cropland to all developed countries, but what about switching some croplands to those methods?
It may be a more productive use of land, decreasing oil usage due less amonia and pesticides needs, sinking more carbon and restore water tables as a bonus, reducing irrigation needs.
And thinking outside the box: forest needs landmass, and most of it is in the _northern_ hemisphere, where home of most developed contries.
You propose four ways in which you can incentivize zero deforestation: three sticks, one carrot. However, financial support to compensate for forgone income has never been supported in Europe. Many Latam presidents have tried... and all we receive are sticks.
Land use is probably Argentina's biggest environmental challenge (https://dynamicmarkets.substack.com/p/uso-de-la-tierra-el-desafio-ambiental), and its very hard to solve, given the economy’s dependency on agricultural exports.
Additionally, "zero deforestation" trade barriers are seen as technical protectionist measures, based on politics and not the environment. For instance, France unwillingness to sign a free trade agreement with Mercosur has had nothing to do with the Amazon, and much more with their unwillingness to compete with latam agribusiness. Now that Lula is back, we will see if France will support the EU-Mercosur trade agreement… or if the environment has been used as another excuse for old traditional protectionist policy.