Deforestation in the Amazon has increased by 9.5% in the last year, with 11,088 square kilometres cleared in just 12 months, according to data from the Brazilian government’s Project for Monitoring Deforestation in the Legal Amazon by Satellite (PRODES).
According to the non-governmental organisation World Wide Fund (WWF), this sharp increase is largely due to individuals removing forests illegally while feeling confident that they will face no consequences.
Data from the Brazillian government shows that between 2019 – 2020 there was the lowest number of penalties for illegal deforestation in two decades, and as food prices increase, the incentives for clearing more forest grow even stronger.
The current proposed UK law outlines a Legality Due Diligence Model, this is an approach that requires products imported to the UK to be produced in compliance with the environmental laws in the producer country, however, WWF has argued that it doesn’t go far enough.
WWF has said they would like to see safeguards built into the legislation as part of the Environment Bill. They have argued that this should include a clear process for improving existing measures to ensure supply chains move rapidly towards being deforestation-free.
Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF-UK, said: ‘Clearing land for agriculture is driving deforestation and pushing the Amazon to the brink of destruction.
‘So long as the things we eat and buy in the UK contain these deforesting products we will remain part of the problem. The UK Government is on the right track but must enact a new law urgently that bans all deforesting goods from entering the UK – we have to cut deforestation out of our supply chains for good.’
In related news, deforestation emissions outweigh the amount of carbon absorbed by the Amazon forest recovery, according to a new international study.
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