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 yesterday afternoon 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 percent of the Amazon.
A University of Brasilia study estimates a 50 percent 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 the state 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) just 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 call on President Dilma to exercise her veto power to reject the destructive new Forest Code passed yesterday by the parliament.