The COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to weaken environmental protection in Brazil

Vale, M.M. and Berenguer, E. and Argollo de Menezes, M. and Viveiros de Castro, E.B. and Pugliese de Siqueira, L. and Portela, R.D.C.Q. (2021) The COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to weaken environmental protection in Brazil. Biological Conservation, 255. ISSN 0006-3207

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This paper examines the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on environmental protection and legislation in Brazil. We evaluate major legislative actions, environmental fines and deforestation since January 2019. We show that 57 legislative acts aimed at weakening environmental protection in Brazil during the current administration, almost half of which in the seven-month period of the pandemic in Brazil, with September 2020 as the month with the most legislative acts (n = 16). These acts either deregulated or weakened current environmental legislation, with a number of them aimed at dismantling the main federal institutions in charge of environmental protection. We also found a 72% reduction in environmental fines during the pandemic, despite an increase in Amazonian deforestation during this period. We conclude that the current administration is taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to intensify a pattern of weakening environmental protection in Brazil. This has the potential to intensify ongoing loss of biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, and the likelihood of other zoonotic disease outbreaks, and inflict substantial harm to traditional and indigenous peoples. We highlight the key role of the scientific community, media and civil society, national and international levels, in order to reverse these harmful actions.

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Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Biological Conservation
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Deposited On:
10 Dec 2021 17:46
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 09:59