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Podcast: Could Brazil’s election decide the fate of the Amazon?

Amazon rainforest in Brazil

Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

  • In a new podcast dialogue with Mongabay’s top tropical forest news commentator (and CEO), Rhett A. Butler, we catch up on the biggest trends and news, like the upcoming Brazilian presidential election, which could alter the outlook for the Amazon going forward should Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva win: with 2022 looking like the worst year for Brazilian Amazon deforestation in 15 years, Lula’s campaigning on Amazon conservation and has a long track record on the topic.
  • We also discuss Norway and Indonesia, which just renewed a previously canceled REDD+ agreement, in which Norwegians will pay to keep Indonesian forests standing.
  • And the European Parliament voted in favor of a bill banning the import of 14 commodities linked to deforestation, setting a policy precedent requiring entities to track the supply chain of common goods derived from both legal and illegal deforestation into the EU.
  • We discuss how these trends and new/renewed initiatives could change the prospects for global tropical forests amid the context of tipping points that some experts say we may have already passed.

Recent data confirm that 2022 is on pace to match 2021’s rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: the founder and CEO of Mongabay, Rhett A. Butler, is a sought-after commentator on tropical forest issues who’s regularly quoted in mainstream news media on the topic, and he joins the podcast to discuss what has contributed to the record-matching pace of Amazon deforestation, how the October 2022 Brazilian election could alter that trajectory, plus related tropical forest issues from around the world.

Listen here:


Rhett also shares his thoughts on two recent stories and how they change forest conservation moving forward. Firstly, Norway and Indonesia are renewing a previously canceled agreement worth $1 billion under a REDD+ scheme, in which the former would pay the latter to keep forests standing. Indonesia terminated the previous agreement in 2021 as Norway failed to follow through on payment.

The bill that affects imports of 14 types of commodities into the European Union was passed on Sept. 13 by the European Parliament and is widely recognized as a historical step to halt deforestation. />Photo by CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2022– Source: EP

Also discussed is a recent move by the European Parliament, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of banning products linked to deforestation from entering the European Union, placing the burden of tracking the supply chain of these commodities on the buyer. Rhett describes the positives and negatives of the decision and the precedent it sets for future policy and forest conservation globally.

Listen to our early 2022 conversation with Rhett on the state of the world’s forests, here:

Related reading:

See also:

Banner Image: Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Mike DiGirolamo is Mongabay’s audience engagement associate. Find him on Twitter @MikeDiGirolamo, Instagram or TikTok via @midigirolamo.

Brazil faces two contrasting legacies for the Amazon in October’s elections