Letters

Make EU trade with Brazil sustainable

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Science  26 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6438, pp. 341
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw8276

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  • RE: Biodiversity under concerted attack in Brazil
    • Sidinei M. Thomaz, Universidade Estadual de Maringá
    • Other Contributors:
      • Mercedes M. C. Bustamante, Universidade de Brasília
      • Valério D. Pillar, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
      • Adalberto L. Val, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia
      • Alexandre Turra, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Blandina F. Viana, Universidade Federal da Bahia
      • Carlos A. Nobre, Instituto de Estudos Avançados – Universidade de São Paulo
      • Carlos A. Joly, Universidade Estadual de Campinas
      • Catia N. da Cunha, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso
      • Cristiana S. Seixas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas
      • Cristina Adams, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Daniele V. Nova, Painel Mar
      • Eduardo J. Viola, Universidade de Brasília
      • Enrico Bernard, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
      • Erich A. Fischer, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
      • Fábio R. Scarano, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
      • Francisca S. de Araújo, Universidade Federal do Ceará
      • Gabriela M. di Giulio, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Geraldo W. A. Fernandes, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
      • Gerd Sparovek, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Gerhard E. Overbeck, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
      • Gislene M. S. Ganade, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
      • Gustavo Romero, Universidade Estadual de Campinas
      • Helder L. Queiroz, Instituto Mamirauá
      • Helena G. Bergallo, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
      • Ima C. G. Vieira, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
      • Jean Paul W. Metzger, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Jean P. Ometto, Centro de Ciência do Sistema Terrestre/INPE
      • Joice N. Ferreira, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária
      • José A. F. Diniz Filho, Universidade Federal de Goiás
      • José A. M. Orsini, Centro Nacional de Monitoramento e Alertas de Desastres Naturais
      • José Sabino, Universidade Anhanguera - Uniderp, MS
      • Leandra Gonçalves, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Leonor C. Maia, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
      • Leopoldo C. Gerhardinger, Associação de Estudos Costeiros e Marinhos dos Abrolhos - ECOMAR
      • Letícia C. Garcia, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
      • Ludmilla M. S. Aguiar, Universidade de Brasília
      • Luiz A. Martinelli, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Marcelo Tabarelli, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
      • Márcia C. M. Marques, Universidade Federal do Paraná
      • Margareth S. Copertino, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande
      • Maria Alice S. Alves, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
      • Maria Manuela L. C. da Cunha, Uni Chicago
      • Maria Teresa F. Piedade, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia
      • Michele Dechoum, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
      • Paulo E. Artaxo Netto, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Pedro L. B. da Rocha, Universidade Federal da Bahia
      • Rafael D. Loyola, Universidade Federal de Goiás e Fundação Brasileira para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável
      • Renato S. B. Cordeiro, Instituto Osvaldo Cruz
      • Ricardo B. Machado, Universidade de Brasília
      • Ricardo R. Rodrigues, Universidade de São Paulo
      • Rômulo S. C. Menezes, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
      • Ronaldo B. Francini Filho, Universidade Federal da Paraíba
      • Sergio R. Floeter, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
      • Tatiana M. C. Gadda, Universidade Federal Tecnológica do Paraná
      • Thomas M. Lewinsohn, Universidade Estadual de Campinas

    Brazil harbours the planet’s greatest biodiversity, but President Bolsonaro’s administration is undermining advances in environmental conservation achieved during the last decades. Just to cite some examples, the federal government has withdrawn the offer to host the next Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, legalized pesticides prohibited in other countries and dismantled federal environmental protection agencies. In view of these kickbacks, 602 European scientists and two indigenous organizations recently argued that Europe should make trade with Brazil sustainable (1).
    The greatest threat so far is a bill in discussion by the Senate to eliminate the Legal Reserve requirement from the 2012 Native Vegetation Protection Law (2). Currently, with some exceptions, Legal Reserves are required to maintain forest and/or non-forest native vegetation cover on at least 50 to 80% of every property in the Amazon, 20 to 35% in the Cerrado savannas, and 20% in remaining regions. If passed, this bill will likely trigger swift and irreparable biodiversity losses in Brazil and jeopardise climate change mitigation efforts.
    For political leaders of the rural sector supporting this bill, encroaching on native vegetation is a convenient way to boost agricultural production, mainly of beef and soybean that are mainstays of Brazil’s floundering economy. However, improving productivity on already converted land could well meet demands for several decades without reducing nati...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Make EU trade with Brazil sustainable

    Brazil is returning triumphantly to the Age of the Inquisition by rejecting scientific data. The Minister of Environment, Ricardo Salles, states that the authors lack credibility, and the country is an exemplar of environmental stewardship (1, 2). But this is untrue, as shown by fact-checking agencies and civil society (3–6). For example, the open 16th Bidding Round of petrol exploitation in Camamu-Almada and Jacuípe regions, includes blocks that were previously excluded due to environmental evaluations (7).
    Brazil does not recognized that: (i) the ecosystem services are important to agriculture and social welfare; (ii) biological conservation is central to indigenous people’s well-being and survival; (iii) the national constitution guarantees indigenous peoples' rights; (iv) the Amazon rainforest mitigates the effects of climatic change; v) the mechanism of economic incentive to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) may generate US$10 billion every year to Brazil, about 40% of the mining sector exportation (8-11).
    I agree with Kehoe et al. however, Brazilian and European companies, partners and financiers exploit and commercialize commodities (12). These agents are also responsible for the deforestation and the violation of human rights in Brazil (12, 13). Therefore, the EU should commit: i) that European agents do not violate human rights and environmental laws, and do not support resource exploitation in Brazil; and ii) develop a s...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.