The Brazilian congress just passed a forest code that puts the Amazon and other forests in jeopardy and President Dilma Rousseff's imminent decision on whether to pass or veto the bill will have huge ramifications. If approved, it would give loggers and farmers free rein to chop down 80 million hectares of forest.

It would open forests and rivers up for grabs, putting 70 per cent of Brazil's river basins at risk. It would also give amnesty to anyone previously charged with illegal deforestation.

This Bill would be a catastrophe not just for Brazil, but for the world and all our futures. Brazil is home to 40% of the world's last remaining rainforest — a lung that provides the earth with one-fifth of our oxygen. So why is the congress passing such a destructive bill that Ms Roussef won't just veto right away?

Simple: industrial farmers and loggers have a stranglehold on congress and this powerful lobby claims current legislation is freezing development in the country. Others say forest must be converted into farmland to tackle rising food prices in Brazil. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2012

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