Protecting the Amazon rainforest


Sir, – Our Taoiseach has expressed the view that he will veto the Mercosur agreement unless Brazil takes steps to protect the Amazon rainforest (Home News, August 23rd). But as a nation we are on shaky ground here. Ireland should, from a natural perspective, be about 80 per cent boreal forest, an immense carbon sink and source of biodiversity. Over the centuries we have cut down our forests, now at about 11 per cent (source: Teagasc), and most of that land is now grassland for our beef and dairy cattle, allowing us to be the world’s fifth largest exporter of beef and the 10th largest exporter of dairy products (source: Enterprise Ireland).

If we as a nation were prepared to reduce our beef and dairy output to what would feed only national demand, and replant forest on all the freed-up grassland, we might have a leg to stand on when it comes to Brazil. Of course the Amazon rainforest should be protected, but climate action must include climate justice. – Yours, etc,


Bundoran, Co Donegal.

Sir, – Regarding the wilful destruction of the Brazilian rainforest in the quest for profit, surely the answer is for the whole world to designate the rainforest as essential, just as water is, to life on earth?

Then all countries of the world should pay the Brazilians a proper amount of money in perpetuity to keep the rainforest as it is.

In other words make the preservation of the lungs of the world more profitable for Brazil than beef farming. Of course if the Brazilian government refuses, just don’t buy the country’s beef. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.