Brazilian government authorities kept statistics about a dramatic rise in deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest under wraps during the recent United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, according to a report.
Days before the COP26 summit, which began on Oct. 31, Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro met with a group of federal ministers in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, and decided to withhold studies that deforestation had increased by more than 20 percent in 2020-2021 until after the UN summit, according to the Associated Press, citing two ministers who were at the meeting.
The Amazon region lost 5,100 square miles of rainforest between August 2020 and July 2021 — a 22 percent increase and the worst in 15 years, according to government data from the country’s National Institute for Space Research released Thursday.
In the lead up to the Glasgow meeting, the Brazilian federal government launched a new ecological initiative, in an effort to project “responsible environmental stewardship” to the outside world.
One of the two ministers who participated in the presidential meeting told the AP that the decision to withhold the data was part of “a strategy to recover environmental credibility abroad.”