Published: Sat, August 24, 2019

Amazon fires: France and Ireland threaten to block European Union trade deal

Amazon fires: France and Ireland threaten to block European Union trade deal

Prime Minister Antii Rinne of Finland, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, described himself as "truly anxious about the attitude Brazil seems to have adopted right now regarding its own forests" and called the Amazon fires "a threat to our whole planet, not just to Brazil or South America".

"The tendency is that", Bolsonaro told reporters in Brazil's capital Brasilia when asked if he was considering sending the army to fight the fires.

The Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says Bolsonaro blaming environmental groups is "Orwellian".

The large number of fires - set illegally to clear and prepare land for crops, cattle and property speculation - has prompted the state of Amazonas to declare an emergency and created giant smoke clouds that have drifted hundreds of miles.

Satellite data published by the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) has shown an increase of 85% this year in fires across Brazil, majority in the Amazon region.

This is an "international crisis" and members of the G7 need to prioritize the emergency and discuss it within the first two days of the upcoming summit, he tweeted.

The leaders of Britain and France have added their voices to an worldwide chorus of concern, with President Emmanuel Macron's office accusing Bolsonaro of lying when he played down concerns over climate change at the G20 summit in June.

Bolsonaro instead attributes the blazes to increased drought, and accuses environmental groups and NGOs of whipping up an "environmental psychosis" to harm Brazil's economic interests.

The Brazilian leader accused Macron of sensationalism and of seeking "personal political gains in an internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries".

Environmental specialists say the fires have accompanied a rapid rate of deforestation in the Amazon region, which in July quadrupled compared to the same month in 2018, according to INPE data, which Bolsonaro previously described as lies and prompted the sacking of the agency's head.

Before the fires, land conversion and deforestation caused the Amazon to release up to 0.5 billion metric tons of carbon per year, according to the WWF.

The post goes on to suggest some ways in which we can help to protect the Amazon. "Literally." He asked that the Amazon fires be added to the agenda of the G-7 summit of world leaders that he's hosting this weekend, and quickly found backing from Germany, the European Union and others.

Ireland also threatened to block the trade deal.

"The UK remains committed to protecting the world's rainforests and will continue to do so in Brazil through our global climate finance programmes".

"We urge the governments of the Amazon countries, especially Brazil and Bolivia, the United Nations and the global community to take serious measures to save the world's lungs", it said. That equates to an area of rainforest larger than one-and-a-half soccer fields being destroyed every minute each day.

Camila Veiga, of the Brazilian Association of NGOs, said: "The fires are the effect of a policy of environmental devastation, of support for agribusiness, of increasing pastures".

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