A glimpse at Brazil reveals the big REDD problems that California’s Tropical Forest Standard fails to address

by Chris Lang, REDD Monitor

100 years of permanence?

“Permanent” means that emissions reductions resulting from efforts to reduce tropical deforestation and/or degradation must not be reversed and must endure for at least 100 years.

Brazil: Elections and deforestation

It has pushed for approval of the PEC 215, a constitutional amendment that would strip the executive branch of its powers to demarcate indigenous territories and place them exclusively with congress, a move that would enhance the ruralistas’ ability to shape indigenous policy. FUNAI, Brazil’s federal agency for the protection of indigenous peoples, has vocally opposed PEC 215.

In addition, the ruralistas were a major force behind President Michel Temer’s decree in 2017 granting amnesty to illegal deforesters and the 2016 decree reducing the size of the Jamanxim National Forest, which also let land grabbers and deforesters off the hook. In March 2018, the ruralistas celebrated a further amnesty, this time granted by a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the 2012 New Forest Code, which essentially pardoned acts of illegal deforestation committed before 2008. The agribusiness lobby has also been successful in its push for drastic cuts to Brazil’s environmental budget, with resources destined to FUNAI, IBAMA — the country’s environmental law enforcement agency — and the Environment Ministry cut by over 40 percent over the past two years.

Much of the political and economic power that enables the ruralista agenda is upheld by global traders, consumers, and financiers. European and United States businesses that purchase from and finance ruralista businesses therefore enable them to reshape Brazil’s socio-environmental landscape to our collective detriment.

Increasing deforestation in Brazil

Deforestation rates have gone up and down over the years with major economic cycles. A peak of 27,772 km2/year was reached in 2004, followed by a major decline to 4571 km2/year in 2012, after which the rate trended upward, reaching 7989 km2/year in 2016 (equivalent to about 1.5 hectares per minute). Most (70%) of the decline occurred by 2007, and the slowing in this period is almost entirely explained by declining prices of export commodities such as soy and beef.

Increasing violence in Brazil

Opposition to REDD in Acre

Suruí REDD project suspended

REDD isn’t working

Our review and synthesis reveal that there are fundamental constraints to REDD+, which must be addressed if UNFCCC aspirations under the Paris Agreement are to be realised.

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