Brazil wants U.S. to pay not to raze Amazon

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Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration has suggested it would reduce deforestation to the Amazon rainforest if the Biden administration pays the country $1 billion.

Brazil’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles, told the Wall Street Journal that a third of the $1 billion would be used to fund specialized police forces so environmental laws can be enforced.

Illegal activity against the Amazon rainforest is common with parcels of the rainforest even being listed for sale on Facebook.

The rest of the money is intended to go toward ways to provide alternatives to poor farmers who slash and burn land so they can continue to make a living, Salles said, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We need to focus on the people, the 23 or 25 million people who live in the Amazon,” Salles said. “It’s an area where you have the worst human development index in the whole country. That’s why illegal activities have been so attractive.”

“If we don’t give these people this economic support,” Salles added, “they will continue to be co-opted or incentivized by illegal activities.”

Salles says they are just holding Biden to his comments he made during his presidential campaign where the president said he would get $20 billion from around the world to help save the Amazon rainforest.

Foreign aid could help cut deforestation entirely in the Amazon rainforest by 2030, Brazil says, according to WSJ.

“We think that $1 billion, which is only 5% of the $20 billion that were mentioned during the campaign…is a very reasonable amount that can be mobilized up front,” Salles said.

U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry said there is “a lot of work to do” before the U.S. comes to a deal with Brazil about the Amazon rainforest.

“But we think it’s really worth working at because the rainforest is so critical, as a carbon sink, as a consumer of carbon, and it’s at risk,” Kerry said on Sunday.

Brazil made this request before the virtual climate summit between dozens of countries that is set to take place on Thursday and Friday.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment. 

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