Story at a glance

  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has asked for the Biden administration's assistance to end illegal deforestation in the Amazon rain forests by the end of 2030.
  • The Brazilian president also said he would participate in President Biden’s virtual climate summit at the end of April.
  • The letter came on the heels of Brazil’s announcement of its plan to reduce deforestation over the following two years.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has asked for the Biden administration's assistance to end illegal deforestation in the Amazon rain forests by the end of 2030. 

Bolsonaro said in a letter to President Biden Wednesday that he will need the “personal engagement” of the United States to realize his goal, CNN reported. Bolsonaro also said he will need both “massive resources and the aid of "the United States government” -- adding that “the private sector and the American civil society will be very welcome." 

The Brazilian president added that he would participate in Biden’s virtual climate summit at the end of April. 


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A senior administration official confirmed to CNN that the White House received the letter to Biden regarding Bolsonaro’s commitment to the April summit. The official told CNN in a statement that “Brazil has a responsibility to lead” as it represents one of the world’s largest economies. 

"We note the importance of Bolsonaro's participation and welcome Brazil's commitment to ending illegal deforestation by 2030,” the official told CNN. ”We look forward to continuing our dialogue and seeing concrete steps the Government of Brazil will take to reduce deforestation this fire season.”

The letter came on the heels of Brazil’s announcement of its plan to reduce deforestation over the following two years. The rainforest lost more than 10,000 square kilometers in Bolsonaro’s first year, according to Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research, CNN reported. The institute tracks deforestation by satellite. 

Between August 2019 and July 2020, the rain forests lost 11,088 square kilometers, according to The Guardian, which cites figures from the Brazilian space institute, Inpe. Carlos Rittl, a Brazilian environmentalist who works at Germany’s Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, told The Guardian that the area lost during that period was comparable to “a third the size of Belgium.” 

“Bolsonaro’s great achievement when it comes to the environment has been this tragic destruction of forests which has turned Brazil into perhaps one of the greatest enemies of the global environment and into an international pariah too,” Rittl added. 

Biden previously targeted deforestation when he debated former President Trump during the 2020 presidential campaign, Reuters reported. Biden called on world leaders to offer Brazil $20 billion to curb deforestation, promising negative ramifications if action was not taken.

“I would be gathering up and making sure we had the countries of the world coming up with $20 billion, and say, ‘Here’s $20 billion. Stop tearing down the forest. And if you don’t then you’re gonna have significant economic consequences,’” Biden said. 


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Published on Apr 16, 2021