Bolsonaro to world: Brazil is victim of environmental smear

Published in the Associated Press

With Robert Muggah

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro defended his administration’s record protecting the Amazon rainforest, telling the United Nations’ virtual meeting of global leaders on Tuesday that his country has been wrongly portrayed as an environmental villain. Bolsonaro’s critics were quick to pick apart his claims.

Last week, a group of European countries — the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership, led by Germany — published a joint statement urging Brazil to take action in the Amazon. They said deforestation is making it “increasingly difficult” for businesses and investors in Brazil to fulfill their environmental, social and governance criteria.

“He (Bolsonaro) claimed that they were leading a campaign to discredit his government, yet it is his administration that has systematically eroded environmental legislation and not enforced penalties for environmental crime,” said Robert Muggah, co-founder of Igarapé Institute, a Rio de Janeiro-based think tank focused on public, digital and environmental security.

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