SAD DAY FOR BRAZIL: Brazilian Chamber of Deputies passed a new forestry law in Brasilia

By Rebecca Sommer

It was another, historic step backwards for Mother Earth Rights, when this Wednesday 247-184 Deputies voted in favor of the new forest code at the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, just weeks before Brazil hosts the Rio+20 UN Summit on Sustainable Development.

Brazil has committed itself to reducing deforestation by 80% in the Amazon and by 40% in the tropical savannah (Cerrado) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 39% by 2020.

That won’t work with the new amendment of the code, as it eases important rules on how much landowners must preserve as forest, opening the door wide open for the already drastically increasing logging and agro business.

Under the original Forest Code that was established in 1965, landowners are required to keep a certain percentage of forest standing (20%, 50%, in some regions up to 80%).

The new forest code bill amendment would ease the obligation for landowners to leave 80% of their property in the Amazon forested and would grant impunity for those that have previously illegally deforested.

The new forest code will be a disaster and lead to further destruction of Brazil’s remaining forests.

There are alternatives: Brazilian scientific community and a dozen of former Brazilian environment ministers warned about the enormous biodiversity loss and climate impacts, and encourage the use of millions of hectares of under-utilized and degraded lands as a solution to the need to increase food, bio fuel, cattle and ethanol production.

The bill now goes to President Dilma Rousseff, who may use her veto to remove some clauses.

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