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Environment

Britain and Germany Just Gave £117 Million To Fight Deforestation and Climate Change in the Amazon

The UK and Germany are joining forces to help save the Amazon rainforest from deforestation. 

Brazil’s government announced on Tuesday, at the UN climate change summit in Bonn, that the two countries are giving a cash injection of £117 million to conservation projects. 

The money will go to expand programmes that are fighting climate change and deforestation in the Amazon — the world’s largest rainforest.

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Around £67 million will go to support an existing programme that pays indigenous people and farmers to maintain forest cover in two Brazilian states, according to Reuters news agency

The programme also provides funding to help develop sustainable economies in communities. 

The additional funding also means the project can expand to include the state of Mato Grosso for the first time — Brazil’s top producer of soybeans.

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Mato Grosso has seen rapid deforestation in recent years, with the growing demand for soy particularly, as well as beef.

The programme is already underway in the far western state of Acre, and the additional money will go to continuing it.

Germany has also agreed to increase its existing investments in the Amazon Fund by £30 million, while Britain will put the remaining £19 million towards a regional forest preservation project that spans Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. 

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While deforestation is falling in Brazil — by 16% between August 2016 and July 2017 — the deforested areas are still too large for Brazil to reach its climate targets. 

According to National Geographic, up to 20% of the Amazon has been deforested in the last 40 years alone — with logging and cattle ranching operations being largely to blame. 

It has far-reaching consequences. It can cause severe droughts in the region — and has in 2005 and 2010 — that threaten fishermen and farmers.

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Preserving the Amazon — where 40-100 different varieties of tree can be found in a single acre — is also an essential step in decreasing carbon dioxide levels around the world, and is therefore vital in the fight against climate change. 

Progress so far can be attributed to environmental enforcement in the country, but Brazil’s Environment Minister Jose Sarney Filho said last month that the country can’t only rely on enforcement to stop deforestation. 

He said that financial incentives to preserve the forest must also be launched, and that he plans to raise the issue of how to finance that potential solution at the Bonn summit.