Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Several European countries -- including Britain, France and Germany -- are challenging the European Commission to push for stronger standards against deforestation in the next two years.
The "Amsterdam Declaration" group sent a letter this month to the European Commission calling for "ambitious EU action" to fight deforestation and forest degradation by 2020.
Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Italy are all part of the anti-deforestation push, the letter states.
"We stress that despite progress in recent years, deforestation and forest degradation continue at alarming rates, in particular in tropical and subtropical regions, with as much as 80 percent of global forest loss being driven by expansion of agricultural land, according to FAO estimates.
"The feasibility study concludes that, as a major importer and consumer of many commodities which include embodied deforestation, the EU is both part of the problem and can be part of the solution by stepping up its efforts to address the impacts of the consumption and adopt a more coherent and comprehensive EU approach to the problem of deforestation."
The letter asks the European Union to apply "political and market leverage" to promote talks and cooperation connected to deforestation.
While Brazil was not mentioned in the letter, some have expressed concern over the plans of its new President Jair Bolsonaro to run a highway through the Amazon there that could greatly expand deforestation of the rainforest, The Guardian reported.
Bolsonaro has also promised to label land rights activist as "terrorists."
"We are perfectly fine with our current environmental regulations," Géraldine Kutas, head of international affairs at the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, said, The Guardian report said. "We are really committed to them and we will not support any change that would relax the rules."