Amazon deforestation rate 22% higher than last year

Record-breaking numbers show the extent of the destruction Bolsonaro’s government is enabling, despite the government’s greenwashing attempts at COP26

by Katie Nelson

November 19, 2021

"There is no amount of greenwashing that can hide what Bolsonaro is doing to destroy the Amazon."

São Paulo, Brazil — ​​The official deforestation rate in Brazil, released today by the PRODES satellite monitoring system, points out that 13,235 km², an area 17 times the size of New York City, was cleared in the Amazon between August 2020 and July 2021. This represents a 21.97% increase in the destruction rate compared to the previous year, which was 10,851 km².

On average, the last three years under Bolsonaro (2019-2021) saw a 52.9% increase compared with the three previous years (2016-2018). The announcement comes a week after COP26, where the Brazilian government tried to clean up its image by announcing unambitious goals.

In response to the released data, Cristiane Mazzetti, Senior Campaigner for Greenpeace Brazil, said: 

“There is no amount of greenwashing that can hide what Bolsonaro is doing to destroy the Amazon. If anyone believed Bolsonaro’s government’s empty promises at COP, the truth is in these numbers. Unlike Bolsonaro, the satellites don’t lie. It’s clear measures to protect the forest, Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the global climate won’t come from this government.” 

“The level of forest destruction caused by this government is unacceptable before the climate emergency the world is facing, and the worst is yet to come if the Brazilian Congress succeeds in passing radical anti-environmental legislation that would reward land grabbing and threaten Indigenous Peoples’ lands.”

In response to the released data, Diana Ruiz, Senior Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, said: 

“The dangerous games the US and Brazil are playing are only pushing us further towards a three-degree world. The end game must be about protecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights and  saving forests, otherwise all the US and Brazil are doing is creating false solutions such as carbon credits, offset scams, and net zero commitments.”

Over the past year, Brazil was one of the only countries that increased its greenhouse gas emissions, an increase of 9.5%, while the global emissions decreased by 7% on average in 2020. More than 46% of Brazil’s emissions are from deforestation and according to a recent study by Carbon Brief, Brazil has been the 5th largest cumulative carbon emitter between 1850 and 2020. 


Photos of fire monitoring in the Amazon can be found in the Greenpeace Media Library.


Katie Nelson, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (678) 644-1681, [email protected] 

Katie Nelson

By Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson is a Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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