According to satellite data released by the National Institute of Space Research on Thursday, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest fell by 22.3% between August 2022 and July 2023 — the lowest since 2018.
Some 9K square kilometers of the world's largest rainforest had been cleared in 12 months compared to about 11.5K square kilometers destroyed the previous year. However, the rate of deforestation remains far from Pres. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's pledge to reach zero deforestation by 2030.
Although Lula still has a steep way to pull off his balancing act with competing political and economic interests to tackle illegal deforestation and preserve the world's most important rainforest, this latest sign of success is inspiring. After four years of destruction under former president Jair Bolsonaro, the environmental agenda is finally moving forward.
It's outrageous to compare how differently the Western establishment has treated Lula and Bolsonaro concerning the protection of the Amazon rainforest. Global environmentalists, who previously conducted a disinformation campaign against Bolsonaro, have now turned silent as their fellow Lula oversees smoke from wildfires smothering and harming people in that region.
There's a 26% chance that Brazil will reach net zero deforestation before 2031, according to the Metaculus prediction community.