On Earth Day, 22 April, the same day Jair Bolsonaro made his speech at President Joseph Biden’s Climate Leaders Summit (during which the Brazilian president promised to strengthen the country’s environmental bodies “duplicating the funds for environmental monitoring”), he also signed off on the nation’s 2021 budget. Published the following day in the official federal gazette, it included a cut of almost R$240 million ($44 million) for the Ministry of the Environment. The government had earlier indicated it would be reducing expenditure on environmental monitoring this year, slashing it to two-thirds of the 2019 level, (a budget approved the year before Bolsonaro came to office). The new cut is a further blow. It reduces environmental monitoring expenditures to R$83 million ($15 million), regarded as “absolutely insufficient” by Suely Araujo, a specialist in public policy at the Observatório do Clima (a consortium of NGOs), and a former president of IBAMA, the government’s environmental agency. The Bolsonaro administration’s action immediately triggered the wrath of environmentalists, at home and abroad. The young Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, commented on her Twitter account: “Oops… it’s almost as if our ‘climate leaders’ aren’t taking this seriously.” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo credit: Palácio do Planalto on VisualHunt.com Araujo says that at least R$110 million ($20 million) is needed to prevent Brazil’s environmental monitoring program from collapsing. The ministry’s inspectors combat illegal deforestation, while also monitoring pollution levels, pesticide contamination, illegal mining, wildlife trafficking and other activities. The Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMbio), responsible for…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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