The Congress decided to wait a bit to vote it.
What is the Forest Code?
The Brazilian Forest Code is the progressive environment legislation that helps protect the Brazilian Amazon (and all other native Brazilian forests) and is a cornerstone to Brazil's efforts to protect biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For the last 12 years, NGOs have been fighting to protect this legislation but representatives of agribusiness, biofuels and energy sectors - as well as members of Congress that predominantly represent the rural sector - are pushing for dramatic changes to the Code. The proposed new Forest Code would reduce or even eliminate forest protection and allow deforestation across the board.
Currently, farms and settlements have to conserve 80% of the forest on their land (so-called 'Legal Reserves'), and use it for sustainable timber management - they cannot destroy it. Under the proposed new Forest Code, this could be reduced to 50% in large areas, and as far as 0% in small areas (up to 400 hectares). If all of these areas are deforested, they would release at least 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere - that is 7 times more than the emissions Brazil committed to cut in Copenhagen.
Under the new Code. an amnesty would be given to anyone who committed forest crimes up to July 22, 2008. The new Code's proponents claim that this will promote economic development and ensure that Brazil, the world's second large crop producer and first large beef exporter, will be able "to feed the world."