April 23, 2024

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Amazonian countries fail to meet the deforestation goal as agreed upon.

The eight nations sharing the Amazon basin have failed to meet an agreed-upon target to put an end to deforestation. Officials from these countries have convened in Belém, Brazil, for a two-day summit addressing this issue, marking the first such gathering in 14 years. Although a joint declaration was issued on Tuesday to establish a united front against deforestation, each nation is left to pursue its own conservation objectives.

Preserving the Amazon holds immense importance in the battle against climate change. Prior to the summit, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva advocated for a collective effort to halt deforestation by 2030, a stance that aligns with his own government’s policies. Notably, Brazil contains approximately 60% of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. Other countries represented at the conference include Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

President Lula, in his opening speech, addressed the increasingly dire climate crisis and emphasised the need for unified action in addressing these challenges. Deforestation in Brazil has notably decreased since Lula’s election, contrasting with the development-focused approach of his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. Nevertheless, significant portions of land continue to be lost each year.

The joint statement, known as the “Belém Declaration,” outlines the formation of a new alliance aiming to prevent irreversible damage to the Amazon. This alliance also commits to cooperation on water management, health, sustainable development, and coordinated positions in global climate negotiations.

Although some may find the statement’s language lacking in strength, the summit signifies the region’s willingness to collaborate on tackling a significant contemporary challenge. Discrepancies in opinion exist, such as Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro advocating for a universal ban on new oil exploration. Meanwhile, Brazil is considering expanding exploration in areas around the Amazon’s mouth.

Coinciding with the summit’s commencement, the European Union’s climate change panel confirmed that July had been the hottest month on record globally. The Amazon’s billions of trees hold vast carbon stores, absorbing carbon dioxide annually and playing a crucial role in preventing atmospheric carbon buildup. With global temperatures already rising by 1.1°C since the industrial era’s outset, urgent emission reductions by governments worldwide are imperative to curbing further warming.