Brazilian renewables groups join calls for Amazon fire action

Wind association among those calling for urgent measures over fires that have caused global outrage

Renewable energy industry groups in Brazil joined calls for emergency action to stop fires that have been destroying the Amazon forest for weeks and have made the nation's government the target of international outrage.

“We believe it is essential that the government prioritises policies and actions that protect the Amazon forest and its resources. Each part of the Amazon that we do not protect means that we leave a worse planet to future generations,” said Élbia Silva Gannoun, CEO at Brazilian Wind Power Association ABEEólica.

Gannoun wants the government to take urgent action to stop the burning of the forest and punish the culprits.

Cerne, the renewable energy policy think-tank of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil’s leading wind power district, backed Abeeólica’s stance.

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“For the region to undergo sustainable development, it's fundamental to guarantee the right to land of indigenous populations and traditional communities, as well increase scientific research and combat illegal deforestation ,” said Darlan Santos, president of Cerne.

As the number forest fires grew 84% from last year and deforestation reached over 2,000 square kilometres in July – up over 200% from July 2018 – Brazil is facing a diplomatic crisis, international outrage and potential commercial sanctions, in a situation that has flared following the swearing-in of the right wing, climate-sceptic President Jair Bolsonaro in January.

Bolsonaro has lent vociferous support for opening up the Amazon region to logging, farming, mining and new hydroelectric dams, and made continuous promises to roll back demarcation of indigenous land, prompting loggers and farmers to resume prohibited slash-and-burn practices in August.

Environmental groups say Bolsonaro has also stimulated deforestation through the dismantling of environmental control agencies, and by questioning the veracity of satellite monitoring of deforestation from previous years.

Though over 80% of Brazil’s power comes from non-polluting sources, it is the seventh-highest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) because of deforestation and road transport. But as one of the signatories of the 2016 Paris Agreement, it has pledged to double the country’s renewable energy sources by 2030 and cut GHG emission by over 43% compared to 2005 levels.

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