President Dilma - veto this Amazon forest code hatchet job

Posted by bex — 26 April 2012 at 1:51pm - Comments
Jaguar in the Amazon rainforest
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace/John Novis
The Amazon is the planet's largest remaining rainforest, teeming with more wildlife than anywhere else on Earth.

Following years of intense pressure from the agribusiness sector, Brazil's parliament yesterday afternoon approved sweeping reforms to the country's forest protection law that spell destruction for the Amazon rainforest.

President's veto power

President Dilma has 14 days to veto this hatchet job before it becomes the law. All eyes are on her now. It is unbelievable that the forest code is being eroded weeks before Brazil hosts the Earth Summit in Rio.

You can write to President Dilma here to urge her to veto the changes

Likely impacts of the new law

The changes to the Forest Code voted severely weaken protections for the Amazon rainforest and open up vast areas to destruction, which would contribute to carbon emissions and climate change. It leaves forest communities and Amazon wildlife even more at risk from the very interests which have already destroyed 18% of the Amazon.

A study by the University of Brasilia estimates a 50 per cent increase in deforestation in the Amazon up to 2020 under the new rules if they pass. Brazil could lose 22 million hectares of rainforest to deforestation. That's an area nearly the size of the UK, or the size of Minnesota.

Progress made under the existing law would be rolled back, sending a green light to forest criminals. The illegal deforestation of huge areas of rainforest would be forgotten, the plunderers let off scot-free. Billions of Brazilian reais' worth of fines for illegal deforestation would be written off.

Choosing hope over despair

More than 130,000 Brazilians have already signed a citizens initiative (an official petition to the government) launched last month for a new Zero Deforestation law to protect the forest. Brazilian football superstar Kaká and many actors and musicians have added their names to the broad grassroots initiative.

Greenpeace supporters around the world can join in too, with our brand new Brazilian Friend Finder app. Above all however, for the coming two weeks, we will put pressure on President Dilma to exercise her veto power and reject the destructive new forest code.

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