Brasília, Brazil, April 26, 2012 - The Brazilian Congress approved significant changes to the Forest Code, which threatens to undo years of progress in the Amazon. Greenpeace is calling on Brazil's President Dilma to veto the changes, or risk the loss of the Amazon and the country's international reputation for sustainable development.
"Brazil has taken a decisive step backwards. The approval of the changes to the Forest Code is a defeat for the Amazon forest and for President Dilma. This new law flies in the face of Dilma's promises to oppose granting amnesty for past forest crimes and to prevent more forest loss. President Dilma must regain control and veto the new Forest Code." said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Brazil's Amazon Campaign Director
"The rural sector has hijacked the Brazilian political process. Far from following the Brazilian public's desire to see the Amazon protected, the parliament has surrendered to a self-interested few," continued Adario.
Following years of intense pressure from the giant agribusiness sector, Brazil's politicians approved a radically new Forest Code text, which offers amnesty to many forest criminals and increases the amount of rainforest available for destruction.
The existing 76 year old Forest Code is the primary legal instrument protecting Brazil's forests including the Amazon rainforest. The changes to the Forest Code law will also compromise the international commits for ambitious CO2 emissions reduction targets made by President Lula signed during the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, in December of 2009.. The last step for the law now sits with President Dilma. The future of the Amazon and Brazil's commitments on climate change to the global community hang in the balance.
Adario continued: "The government's vote on the changes to the Forest Code has cast a dark shadow across Brazil's reputation as a global leader in the fight against deforestation and climate change. This new law puts at risk the progress Brazil has demonstrated over the last years by growing economically, increasing exports and decreasing forest loss."
This decision by the Brazilian Government comes just weeks ahead of hosting the global community at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. All eyes will be on President Dilma as she chooses which path to pave for Brazil's future development.
The Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior is currently in the Amazon campaigning to expose the drivers of deforestation and highlight solutions for the future. Greenpeace is currently campaigning with the Brazilian public for a citizen's initiated Zero Deforestation Law as a solution for permanent forest protection.
Contact information: Brazilian Media: Cristina Amorim +55 6181240012
International Media: Jessica Miller + 55 92 81144517
All Greenpeace information and background on Forest Code, including press releases, can be found at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/forests/amazon/