Daniel Cohn-Bendit

Amendment to the Brazilian Forest Law (Código Florestal)

Letter to Dilma Rousseff, President of the Federal Republic of Brazil - 13.03.2012 

Dear President,

I write to you to express my deepest concerns about the proposed Amendment to the Código Florestal and the severe environmental and social consequences for the planet that it is likely to cause.

During the second round of the presidential election of 2010, together with several other colleagues, I wrote a letter supporting your candidacy. We then believed that doing so was the only real chance to protect the environment. Your program promised to avoid a weakening of the forest legislation, which had just started to reduce the deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest and Mato Grosso. However, despite the scientific and legal arguments against it, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies is set to pass a new draft of the Forest Law imminently.

According to the available evidence, this softening of the law will benefit the interest of the agribusiness at the cost of the Brazilian society and the world. Such dramatic retrogression will impact many millions of hectares of valuable forest with associated greenhouse emissions of a colossal scale, increased soil erosion, increased risk of flooding and landslides, higher agricultural production costs and other related environmental, social and economic setbacks.

Lula’s legacy is in danger. During his presidential mandates Brazil has demonstrated that the reduction of deforestation and advances in climate protection are compatible with remarkable raises in agricultural productivity, strong economic growth and serious progress in the reduction of poverty. Thus, Brazil has been portrayed as the only available model for sustainable development among emerging economies.

Furthermore, Brazil has been steadily constructing an image of itself as a country committed to its environmental sustainability indexes, both by establishing goals and instruments for the reduction of deforestation rates and by setting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Moreover, the country has been boosting the discussion on biodiversity and is to host the upcoming Rio+20 Summit. All those commitments and goals are threatened by the amendment currently under discussion.

Brazil has in the meantime become the world’s sixth largest economic power. With this power comes great responsibility. I appeal to you to use your influence in order to avoid the softening of Brazilian forest and climate legislation embodied in this amendment. The available reports indicate that further development of Brazil is possible without weakening the standing forest legislation by enforcing the current law and implementing improvements through executive initiatives. I trust that you will stand by your word and will protect Brazil’s forests and the world’s climate. I can assure that you can count on my support.

Yours sincerely,


Dany Cohn Bendit, Co-President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament

José Bové, Member of the European Parliament

Philippe Lamberts, Member of the European Parliament

Yves Cochet, Member of the European Parliament

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Green Party

Jérôme Gleizes, Economist

Dominique Voynet, Mayor of Montreuil, France

Yann Moulier-Boutang, Economist