Although Brazil has greatly improved its impact on the environment since 2000 (cutting deforestation and reducing its carbon footprint by 40 percent), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warns that much more is needed to reach environmental sustainability.
According to a statement by the OECD last Wednesday, Brazil should increase the use of so-called "green taxes" to dampen the increase in CO2 emissions coming from rapidly growing cities. It also needs to use more people and resources to manage and regulate protected lands. Protection of parts of the nation's natural environments has been critical to the reduction in deforestation the nation has experienced. Finally, the nation needs to find ways to make maintaining and protecting biodiversity square with Brazil's economic development plans, notably in Brazil's agricultural sector.
According to Reuters, Brazil has achieved its current gains in ecological protection thanks, at least in part, to a new forestry code, a rural environmental registry, and a forest quota system with tradable interests. Those programs need to be fully implemented, according to the OECD, and complemented by other programs designed to help citizens achieve a better form of livelihood in order to discourage them from illegal clearing.
Brazil has currently placed 17 percent of its territory under environmental protection in order to combat deforestation. Unfortunately, though the amount of land protected by law has become quite expansive, the staff required to enforce protection laws is still relatively scant. As a result, most areas lack adequate personnel and have no meaningful management plans. The OECD recommends promoting environmentally friendly tourism in these protected areas as a way of monetizing them, defraying expenses, and creating social value in these lands.
Brazil should be proud of the progress it has made already, reducing forest clearing in the Amazon by 75 percent since the mid-2000s. Nevertheless, remaining deforestation efforts continue to clear an area of land equivalent in size to the European nation of Slovenia every four years.
Other proposed changes include reducing the emissions of greenhouse gasses by the agriculture industry, finding ways to cope with energy needs in a rapidly urbanizing nation, using taxes to discourage environmentally impactful conduct, and many more. Combined, the OECD believes these changes of law and policy could help Brazil to improve its environment, enhance its economic footing, and create a stable social and financial base for permanent change.