Several European countries have condemned the deforestation of the Amazon in a letter to the Brazilian government and have warned of economic ramifications for the South American country if the current trend is not reversed.
Deforestation has “increased alarmingly”, according to the letter seen by dpa on Wednesday and signed by nations including Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway.
The signatories are deeply concerned about the impact of deforestation on the world’s climate but also the biodiversity of the rainforest and the livelihoods of the indigenous population who live there.
The letter, sent to Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourao, raises the possibility of economic consequences for Brazil given increased consumer awareness of the issue across the world.
Current trends in the Amazon will make it “increasingly difficult” for multi-national companies to meet their environmental targets and may lead them to investment elsewhere, the letter says.
A yet-to-be ratified trade agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur confederation of South American countries, which includes Brazil, is not mentioned in the letter.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had recently expressed scepticism about the deal in view of deforestation.
In a response to an inquiry from the Green Party, the German government stated that it “does not intend to demand renegotiations at this time”.
Steffi Lemke, the Greens’ spokeswoman for conservation in the German parliament, accused the government of deceiving the public.
“We must stop trade agreements that promote the clearing of valuable forests,” she told dpa.