New Amazon pledge from Brazil

deforestation in BrazilBrazil has pledged to reduce the rate of Amazon destruction to an annual 5,850 sq km by 2018, approximately half the current rate.

It seems pledges by the Brazilian government come round all the time. But after three years of decreasing levels of forest destruction in the Amazon basin, the year to July saw acceleration in these figures.

Satellite imagery has shown an area of 12,000 sq km was destroyed in the last year and this seems to have mainly been driven by the high prices of commodities like soya and cattle.

This was the first rise in four years, but was well down on a peak of 27,379 sq km in 2004.

In response to this devastating news the government has responded with the pledge to reduce the levels of deforestation by 70%, with the ultimate aim being no net deforestation at all.

The feasibility of such grand pledges is wholly uncertain, but this latest news shows there is significant engagement on the issue. Any backtracking and the political elite in Brazil will face grave embarrassment.

Brazil desperately wants to have a louder voice in global environmental issues and hopes this plan will reduce the criticism it has faced by not doing enough to fight illegal logging.