Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made an offer to the United States promising to reduce deforestation in Brazil by 40% in exchange for $1 billion.
On the surface, this seems ballsy. Shouldn’t deforestation be a global priority? Why should one nation pay another to do something for the collective? But the argument goes like this: underdeveloped countries survive by making and selling products that developed nations gobble right up. Stopping that for the sake of the planet would devastate the underdeveloped nation’s economy so they need a little help while they transition to sustainable fish farming, cacao production and other activities that do not require deforestation.
This request was made of the U.S. because President Biden is hosting a virtual environmental summit today. It will likely be extended to other developed nations as well. India has made hints of similar requests to the U.S. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Officials from these countries, including Brazil, say industrialized nations must account for their historic contributions to climate change and the need for citizens in poorer countries to rise out of poverty.”
The Biden administration has not responded to this request but it should not be surprising to them. In a presidential debate, the President said that he wanted to gather $20 billion from around the world to help Brazil stop deforestation so Brazil figures now is a good time to put that money where the mouth was.