Should Biden and Bolsonaro partner to protect the Amazon? Some Brazilian activists say no

April 07, 2021 at 16:53

(CNN) When then-presidential candidate Joe Biden offered Brazil $20 billion last year to protect the Amazon, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro rejected it with scorn.
Now, Brazilian activists worry that the two leaders could actually end up striking a deal.
"We believe it is realistic for Brazil to achieve a real decrease in deforestation by the end of the 2021 fire season," they said.
But a coalition of 198 Brazilian civil society organizations , including environmental and indigenous advocates, are warning the US not to trust their president on environmental matters.
In an open letter released Tuesday, the groups described Bolsonaro as the Amazon's "worst enemy" and said he should fulfill his existing obligations to stem deforestation first.
In December, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon -- often the result of illegal land-clearing operations -- surged to the highest levels in 12 years.
The Brazilian President has said the forest must be protected and passed multiple executive orders to that effect.
The encroachment of human activity in wild places like the Amazon has also been linked to the spread of new diseases, like Covid-19.
Bolsonaro, a fan of Biden's then-rival Donald Trump, took it poorly at the time, accusing Biden of " greed " for the Amazon and announcing that he would not accept "bribes" or "threats."
Things have changed since Biden became president.
"The dialogues have progressed consistently in areas of Brazilian interest, such as financing and technical collaboration oriented towards actions to combat deforestation in the Amazon region," it added.
The US has not said if it would offer funds to Brazil for climate cooperation.
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