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What the European Parliament must do to halt the destruction of the Amazon

(EurActiv, 20 Sep 2019) EU lawmakers should show global leadership by legislating to ensure that companies’ supply chains and investments are not linked to deforestation, environmental harm and human rights abuses, writes Giulia Bondi.

Giulia Bondi is an EU Campaigner for Global Witness

The stakes are high for the new European Parliament and team of Commissioners. Not only do they face a challenging welcome, with issues on EU borders, protecting European democracy from disinformation and interference, and digital security landing on their desks, they also face pressing global questions on the future of our planet.

And now more than ever, the world looks to the EU to take global leadership, as its citizens are faced with a climate-change denying President in the US; a Brazilian President letting the Amazon slip away through his powerful fingers; and political paralysis in the UK.

The climate strikes and this summer’s Amazon fires have pushed climate change and deforestation to the top of the public and political agenda. Extreme temperatures hitting European capitals this summer have shown that Europe is no exception to the effect of climate breakdown. But NGOs and scientists have issued frequent warnings for decades about the rate of deforestation and its impact on the climate. Earlier this year, even before the recent escalation of deforestation in Brazil, we heard that primary tropical rainforests the size of Belgium were lost in 2018.

Forests are crucial to regulating our global climate. Stopping and reversing tropical deforestation could avoid and remove up to a third of total greenhouse gas emissions – so taking action to tackle deforestation is crucial if we are to avert climate disaster. Planting new trees can never replace the multiple functions of centuries old tropical rainforests.

Just as we know that this tropical deforestation will have a global impact on our climate and weather patterns, we also know that this destruction is fuelled by a global market for the goods produced on deforested land and global finance funding the companies involved.

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EurActiv, 20 Sep 2019: What the European Parliament must do to halt the destruction of the Amazon