Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out at French President Emmanuel Macron as world leaders joined in sounding the alarm over the record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest caused by Bolsonaro’s deforestation push.
There have been more than 74,000 fires in Brazil this year, most of them in the Amazon, an increase of more than 80% from last year. Nearly 36,000 fires have come in the past month. The fires have increased after Bolsonaro pushed to open up the Amazon for business, leading to more deforestation this year than in the last three years combined, National Geographic reported.
“In the previous years [wildfires] were very much related to the lack of rain, but it has been quite moist this year,” ecologist Adriane Muelbert told the outlet, calling the wildfires and the deforestation behind them a “crime against the planet, and a crime against humankind.”
World leaders alarmed over fires:
“Our house is burning. Literally,” wrote Macron. “The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen - is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days!”
“I couldn’t agree more,” replied Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We did lots of work to protect the environment at the #G7 last year in Charlevoix, & we need to continue this weekend. We need to #ActForTheAmazon & act for our planet — our kids & grandkids are counting on us.”
Numerous Democratic presidential candidates have also expressed concern over the fires, though President Trump has been notably silent.
“Climate change is a global emergency,” wrote Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. “Bolsonaro and his corporate cronies are burning the Amazon rainforest for personal profit and jeopardizing our planet's survival.”
Bolsonaro accuses Macron of “colonial mindset”:
Bolsonaro singled out Macron on Twitter as he warned world leaders to stay out of Brazil’s business.
“I regret that President Macron seeks to use an internal issue surrounding Brazil and other Amazonian countries for personal political gain,” Bolsonaro wrote. “The sensationalist tone with which he refers to the Amazon (even using fake photos) does nothing to solve the problem.”
The photo Macron mistakenly used in his tweet was taken in 2013.
“The Brazilian government remains open to dialogue, based on objective data and mutual respect,” he added. “The French President's suggestion that Amazonian issues be discussed at the G7 without the participation of the countries of the region evokes a misplaced colonialist mindset in the 21st century.”
Of course, Bolsonaro has bizarrely accused environmental organizations of intentionally setting the fires to make him look bad.
"Regarding the fires in the Amazon, I am under the impression that it could have been set by the NGOs because they had asked for money. What was their intention? To bring about problems for Brazil,” he said.
There is no evidence that NGOs have started any fires. There is much evidence pointing to the deforestation as the cause.