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RAINFOREST: fast lane of destruction

The Amazon rainforest is a key element in stopping global warming. But the EU-Mercosur contract between Europe and South America ignores all climate impacts.

(Press release: Greenpeace, March 2020, photo: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace)

The European Union has struggled for more than 20 years with the Mercosur countries for a trade agreement. The abbreviation Mercosur stands for “Mercado Común del Sur”, which is the Spanish name for the common market in South America. Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the most important trading partner for Europe have joined forces: Brazil. After the right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro was elected Brazilian leader, the EU signed the text that had been negotiated until last year.

What is worth waiting for?

In this case not at all. It is one thing to strengthen Bolsonaro, who provokes with homophobic and racist statements, through such a degree in office; on the factual level, however, the EU-Mercosur agreement is a failure across the board. The contract further exploits the Brazilian rainforest, which is in need of protection like never before due to legal and illegal deforestation. The same applies to other natural ecosystems such as the savannah forests of the Cerrado or the dry forests of the Chaco.

Who benefits as from EU MERCOSUR?

Why is there this agreement? In short: Europe (and Germany in particular) wants to export more cars to South America, the trading partners on the other side of the Atlantic can find numerous buyers of cheap beef here. Cattle breeding in Brazil is, however, very closely related to clearing in forest areas - medium and direct. Huge areas are being cleared for cattle pastures and soybean cultivation, that is, cheap animal feed. Particularly dangerous with a view to the global climate: the progressive destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

"The Amazon rainforest must not lose or lose even more space - we are approaching a dangerous tipping point that, once crossed, is irreversible."

The complicated, self-sustaining rainforest ecosystem, which has a stabilizing effect on the global climate, would collapse.

The EU-Mercosur agreement looks like a relic from the past century (and it is somehow): climate impacts play no role in it, human rights of the indigenous population are trampled on, and it also cemented backward-looking ideas, such as the economy in each participating countries has to function: internal combustion engines here, agricultural raw materials there. These profound shortcomings cannot be remedied with improvements in the negotiation text; all basic assumptions of the agreement are wrong.

What can be done now?

Greenpeace does everything it can to prevent the trade agreement: together with a network of organizations, we clarify the risks of the free trade agreement for the people in Germany, but also the Amazon rainforest and its inhabitants. With a petition, we appeal to those responsible in politics and business not to engage in dirty deals with the Bolsonaro government.

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