New data reveals that deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon reached its worst-ever February level. Despite proof of this rampant devastation, and with the Amazon likely at an irreversible environmental tipping point, the European Union continues to push for a free trade agreement with Mercosur which would increase the pressure on the region.
The European Commission is set to send its top negotiators for the EU-Mercosur trade deal to Buenos Aires on March 7-8 to officially discuss an addendum on environmental and climate conditions with Mercosur countries [according to Politico Pro: “EU’s Mercosur negotiator plans Argentina trip to deliver climate addendum” – 28 February 2023]. This trip counteracts the Commission’s own statements that it will only proceed with ratification of the deal if the situation on the ground changes.
Audrey Changoe, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“The data is shockingly clear, the people and lands of Brazil are presently facing a legacy of destruction. The extra climate document Brussels wants to add to the agreement and discuss is only a greenwashing attempt. The annex will never fix an inherently climate-wrecking deal which aims to increase trade of products that drive deforestation and GHG emissions.”
Brazil’s INPE space research institute’s monitoring system found that 80.6 square miles of forest had been cleared in February, an area equal to around 30,000 football fields. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon grew by almost 60% in the last four years, 26% of the forest shows severe signs of degradation, while 20% has already suffered irreversible losses.
The European Union’s push for ratification of the EU-Mercosur deal is not supported by public opinion. Three-quarters of Europeans want the deal to be scrapped if it leads to deforestation and environmental damage. Despite public concerns, the Commission refuses to share the content of the additional document and is discussing it behind closed doors.
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Friends of the Earth Europe’s NEW factsheet revealing the extent of the damage done by corporate activities in the Mercosur region, and why scrapping the EU-Mercosur deal is crucial to reversing the damage done by agribusiness, is available here.