Some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies will be taking part in an auction in Brazil on the 4th of December. They are all looking to buy the rights to drill on land held by indigenous communities and in some of the world’s most important environmental areas, including the Amazon rainforest.

European companies including BP, Shell and Total are all expected to take part in the auction.

These fossil fuel projects would trample on indigenous rights, destroy vulnerable ecosystems, and will further fuel the climate crisis.

47 indigenous communities and 22 conservation areas could be impacted by the oil and gas industry in the Brazilian Amazon.

Both deforestation and threats faced by indigenous peoples have increased dramatically in recent years. In all likelihood, those numbers will increase even further due to the lack of regulation and the licensing of land for oil extraction and mining in territories held to be sacred.

Protecting sacred territories such as the Amazon means protecting all of us.

Chief Ninawá Huni Kui, president of the Huni Kui People’s Federation of the State of Acre, in the western part of the Brazilian Amazon says: “We cannot treat the Amazon like a product for big business. The forest is so important for life worldwide. It is unacceptable for oil and gas extraction to be valued more than life.”

The protests at the auction mark the launch of the Amazon Resists campaign by Indigenous leaders and climate group The campaign aims to defend the rights of traditional peoples over their lands and to help protect the global climate from runaway heating.

Ilan Zugman, Latin America Managing Director says: “The fossil fuel industry has left a trail of social and environmental destruction in the Amazon. Several Indigenous communities in countries such as Peru and Ecuador have suffered from oil leaks, which resulted in deaths, health problems and contamination of their lands. Brazil needs to avoid repeating these mistakes before it is too late.”

“It is hypocritical of governments in Europe and North America to pressure the Brazilian government to stop illegal deforestation for soy and beef exports but turn a blind eye to the threats posed by the oil and gas corporations from their own countries. It is not enough for governments to announce emission reduction plans at home while allowing their fossil fuel companies to wreak havoc overseas. These new forms of colonial exploitation need to stop!”

European institutions are financing fossil fuel expansion and destruction in the Amazon by supporting oil majors like Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total. Through its Covid recovery programme, the European Central Bank is already channelling billions of euros to polluters, and this amount is set to increase as the bank plans to announce additional recovery finance on 10 December.


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