Saving the Amazon rain forest, now under assault by Brazilian farmers and ranchers with the explicit assent of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, will be a global project requiring international cooperation by governments, citizens, and corporate interests, argues the Financial Times editorial board in an op-ed over the weekend.
- The FT board notes that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has increased by 67% over the same period last year, spurring alarm among environmentalists who assert that the loss of trees and spreading fires will contribute to global warming, not to mention health impacts from smoke spreading around the equator.
- The FT is unambiguous in placing blame for the increased rate of deforestation on Bolsonaro, who has made no secret of his disdain for environmentalism (which he claims is part of a larger left-wing conspiracy against developing countries) and has openly encouraged farmers and ranchers to convert forest land into agricultural uses.
- By the same token, the FT recognizes that clumsy outside interventions have only made things worse: for example, French president Emmanuel Macron’s rhetorical attack on Bolsonaro was promptly dismissed by the latter as demonstrating a “colonial” mindset. Focusing exclusively on Brazil also discounts the fact that eight South American nations hold chunks of Amazonian rain forest.
- One solution implicitly endorsed by the FT would appear to be boycotts of Brazilian goods: the FT notes that number of big companies have already stopped sourcing goods from Brazil, arguing: “Brazilian business can remind [Bolsonaro] of the financial cost of consumer and investor boycotts and encourage him to reconsider.”
- The FT also urges European countries to threaten withholding approval of the new EU-Mercosur trade deal unless more is done to stem the ecological crisis.