In June came the news that many Brazilians had been longing for: Ricardo Salles was dismissed from the post of Minister of the Environment after two and a half years of dismantling environmental governance in Brazil. And he is also under investigation, with two inquiries at the Federal Supreme Court, including the facilitation of the illegal extraction and sale of wood in the Amazon – even then, his dismissal was strategic: by losing the privileged forum, his processes are moving at a slow pace, without any clarity of which instance will now judge them. The fact is that the legacy left behind by Salles is grim, to say the least. Under his command, the environmental portfolio saw two years of deforestation on the rise (which, even after his departure, continues to increase), successive records of fires in the Amazon, 26% of the Pantanal carbonized, rising greenhouse gas emissions and the phrase that marked his administration: the “boiada passar” [driving a coach and horses through something], synonymous with a disrespect for the laws and environmental destruction. He will not be missed.
The current minister, Joaquim Leite, is more open to dialogue regarding the control of deforestation and other issues related to the climate.