Chinese / Western financing of roads, dams led to major Andes Amazon deforestation
International development finance institutions (DFIs) have enabled large-scale deforestation in the Amazon, with no sign the trend is abating, according to recent research published by Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center. Instead, say lead authors Rebecca Ray, Kevin Gallagher and Cynthia Sanborn, “evidence suggests that [environmental risks and costs] will accelerate.”
DFI-financed projects triggered significant deforestation in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia between 2000 and 2015, according to the study. Using satellite data, the authors analyzed 84 projects, and determined that the area around them “experienced tree cover loss at a rate of over four times the average in comparable areas without projects in these countries.” That’s a forest carbon-sink loss equivalent to the annual emissions of Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador, combined.
The analyses provide critical grounds for caution: infrastructure currently accounts for 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and yet, some international DFIs seek to increase their lending from “billions to trillions” in order to address massive global infrastructure demand – forecast to be as high as $97 trillion by 2040. This could be very bad news for South American nations trying to meet their targeted Paris Climate Agreement goals (which in countries like Brazil are linked to preventing deforestation), and for the international community as it tries to curb potentially catastrophic greenhouse gas emissions.