Brazil’s Science and Technology Ministry is disputing the science behind a study published last week in the journal Science that gave a gloomy outlook on the future of the Amazon rainforest. The study said that as little as 5 percent of the forest will remain pristine by 2020 if Brazil proceeds with a plan to invest $40 billion on development projects in the Amazon Basin; the best-case scenario, researchers said, has only 28 percent of the forest destroyed or heavily damaged. The ministry claims, however, that the scientists didn’t take into account current practices in Brazil to avoid deforestation, and that in the absolute worst case, only 25 percent of the Amazon will be destroyed. A spokesperson said, “We cannot treat the Amazon as an untouchable sanctuary. There are 20 million Brazilians living there.”

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