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RELEASE: CAP Issue Brief Charts a New Course for U.S.-Brazil Action on the Amazon

Washington, D.C. — As world leaders prepare to meet for a virtual climate summit on April 22, a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress urges the Biden administration to consider every available option to promote effective conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon.

The stakes are high—a stable and vibrant Amazon could continue to absorb the equivalent of 5 percent of today’s global CO2 emissions. The situation is especially dire in the Brazilian Amazon, which has seen surging deforestation rates, an increase in fires tied to illegal land clearing, and budget cuts to the agencies responsible for environmental enforcement. Scientists warn that the Amazon is on the brink of becoming a carbon source rather than sink, which would be catastrophic to global climate efforts to keep warming below 1.5C.

“The Biden administration must show Brazil that there is significant, long-term support for pursuing a more sustainable future in the Amazon, including through partnership with the United States,” said Ryan Richards, a senior policy analyst for Public Lands at CAP. “But if Brazil opts not to act, the Biden administration should be ready to work with other countries and the private sector to reduce our contributions to deforestation and pressure Brazil and other countries to take meaningful action in the Amazon.”

The brief outlines two possible paths for the Biden administration. This includes a partnership with Brazil focused on enhanced cooperation, sustainable investment, and trade. But such a partnership must be conditional on the Brazilian government reversing policies and actions that have stripped protections for the Amazon, its resources, and the rights of its Indigenous communities.

Absent these conditions, the United States can also take steps to drive action in the Amazon with the private sector and in the international arena through trade discussions, support for sustainable investment, adoption of domestic and international deforestation-free supply chain standards, and cooperation with other Amazon basin countries.

Read the issue brief: “Charting a New Course for U.S.-Brazil Action on the Amazon” by Ryan Richards and Mikyla Reta

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202-478-6327.