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Greenpeace today reacted with condemnation and outrage to the new Amazon deforestation figures released by the Brazilian government. The annual rate of Amazon deforestation for August 2003-August 2004 reached 26,130 square kilometers, the equivalent of six football fields destroyed every minute.
A month before world leaders gather in Bali to decide next steps to combat global warming, Greenpeace today released a report detailing the role played by growing demand for palm oil in Indonesian peat forest destruction and global warming. Many companies, including ADM, Unilever, Cargill, Procter & Gamble, Dove soap, Nestlé, Kraft and Burger King, are driving the demand for palm oil used in food and cosmetics products such as Pringles, KitKat candy, Oreo cookies, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The Indonesian peatlands, unique tropical forests whose dense soil can be burned to produce energy and are being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations, are some of the world’s great carbon sinks and their destruction already accounts for four percent of annual global emissions.
Greenpeace has released evidence showing that the Brazilian government’s Agency for Land Reform (INCRA) is creating “land settlements” in areas of the Amazon rainforest containing valuable timber. The land settlement program’s agents in Santarém, in the state of Para, encourage links between logging companies and unregulated “land settlers associations” that facilitate the gross exploitation of the newly-formed “settlements.” The release of the investigation’s results, which took nearly eight months to secure, comes only days after the Brazilian government was celebrating reductions in Amazon deforestation. Land distribution for poor communities is a key social program of the government of President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva.
Greenpeace today presented new evidence exposing illegal forest clearing by Sinar Mas group in Kalimantan and has called on Indonesian President to order the suspension of all its operations. Sinar Mas is already notorious for its involvement in illegal forest clearance through its pulp and paper subsidiary Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).
JBS-Friboi, the world’s largest exporter of meat products and one of the largest companies in Brazil, announced today that it will no longer buy cattle raised in areas of the Amazon that were deforested after Sept. 23, 2009. They also announced that they will remove from its suppliers’ lists any farms in the region involved with slave labor or caught raising cattle on Indigenous Lands or Protected Areas.
On the heels of news that the Brazilian Amazon is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years and today’s study showing that the rainforest is disappearing twice as fast as previously thought, Greenpeace warned that Americans are a major culprit in the destruction of the Amazon.
Just days before UN climate talks begin in Poznan, Poland, the Brazilian government released new figures for Amazon deforestation between August 2007 and July 2008. After three years of decline, almost 3 million (2,957,356) acres were destroyed – a increase of 3.8% compared to the previous year. The new figures were announced today by the National Institute of Space Research (INPE).