Stung by a global outcry over deforestation and wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil has launched a diplomatic offensive to persuade the international community of its environmental credentials.
A 12-page circular has been distributed by the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro to its foreign embassies, outlining data and statistics that diplomats are meant to cite to defend the government’s position on the crisis.
The circular attempts to address 59 areas being reviewed by Reuters where Brazil has come under fire by citing various policies and data.
The office of French President Emmanuel Macron even accused Bolsonaro of lying when he played down concerns over climate change at the G20 summit in June.
The diplomats, when contacted by Reuters said that the pressure on Brazil has ramped up in recent days, with images of the rainforest ablaze shown around the world.
The diplomats further said that the Brazilian embassies have been sent strong messages by the members of the public prompting them to send the circular.
Although the circular ignores some of President Bolsonaro’s more controversial policies but it attempts to rebut criticism of Brazil’s environmental record.
The circular neglects to mention that deforestation has been rising steadily again since 2012, due partially to the struggling Brazilian economy and budget cuts that resulted in less environmental enforcement.
The preliminary data, this year, suggest that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has surged 67% through July compared to the same period last year. The number of fires has surged 83% this year.
According to report, more than 60% of Brazil’s territory (Amazon) is covered by natural vegetation, with agricultural activities limited to about 30% of the territory.