Rivers in Brazil’s Amazon Swell to Record Levels Under Bolsonaro’s Reign

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Rivers surrounding the largest cityin Brazil’s Amazon rainforest (Manaus), have swelled to record levels.

The levels are the highest they’ve been since records began in 1902, reaching a depth of 29.98 meters (98 feet) at the port’s measuring station.

This week, in Amazonas state, 60 of the 62 towns and cities are underwater. Twenty-five towns and cities have declared a state of emergency. The Washington Post reports that as many as 450,000 people have been affected.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that global warming is the real culprit.

“If we continue to destroy the Amazon the way we do, the climatic anomalies will become more and more accentuated,” said Virgílio Viana, director of the Sustainable Amazon Foundation, a nonprofit.” Greater floods on the one hand, greater droughts on the other.”

In 2019, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo denied the aggressive burning down of the Amazon rainforest had caused a sudden global climate change. “There is no climate change catastrophe,” Araujo said at Washington’s Heritage Foundation. “From the debate that is going on it would seem that the world is ending.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has mostly shrugged off environmental expert’s warnings of the impacts of global warming.

That same year, Bolsonaro Bolsonaro attested that the forests were “practically untouched,” and accused a “lying and sensationalist media” of generating fake news about their ruin. He also denounced the sentiment that the Amazon is “a heritage of humankind.”

According to the New York Times, enforcement measures to protect the Amazon — such as levying fines and destroying logging equipment in protected areas — fell by 20% since Bolsonaro took office in 2019. His policies have been accused of inspiriting illegal loggers.

In April this year, Brazil pledged to end illegal deforestation by 2030, asking the international community to commit billions of dollars to pay for the conservation initiatives. The sudden u-turn raised eyebrows. Bolsonaro critics urging global leaders to be cautious about handing over money to an “untrustworthy” leader.

As the Amazon rivers continue to flood, Bolsonaro is faced with the harsh reality that his ignorance could cost brazil far more than he ever stood to gain.

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