KT edit: Blame Bolsonaro for wildfires in the Amazon rainforest
A senior Brazilian official said Emmanuel Macron should take care of "his home and his colonies."
When the Amazon rainforest, the lungs of our planet burns, leaders are busy fiddling with politics and putting our futures at stake. Their pride is on full display and it's shameful that they bring up the past when they should be directing their efforts on a war footing to contain massive blazes that have wiped out thousands of acres of the massive rainforest in Brazil. An environmental catastrophe is ravaging one of the greenest places of our blue planet and yet the government of Jair Bolsonaro is busy sparring with those willing to help contain the fires.
Wildfires have also been raging in Bolivia and concerns are mounting about how long the world can stave off a full-blown green disaster when incompetent leaders like Bolsonaro are unwilling to move on and keep harping on the excesses of colonial history. So the Brazilian government has turned down $22 million from the European Union to prevent the fires from spreading further. Brazil first accepted the offer and then changed its mind. It is clear Bolsonaro is behind the decision. Earlier, he had made a rude comment about French President Emmanuel Macron's wife Brigette.
Macron was not happy and things got personal from then on. A senior Brazilian official said Emmanuel Macron should take care of "his home and his colonies." "We appreciate [the offer], but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe," said Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to President Bolsonaro. G7 leaders meeting in France expressed concern about the fires and had made plans to combat climate change. Only US President Donald Trump, who does not believe the phenomenon is real, was not present at meetings. The $22 million was a solid commitment. By shunning it, Brazil may be committing an environmental crime. Experts say a football field's worth of Amazon forest is being wiped out every minute.
Brazil's National Institute for Space Research says deforestation in June was almost 90 per cent over the same period last year. It rose to 280 per cent in June, according to scientists. About 5 per cent of carbon dioxide that is emitted annually is absorbed by these forests. But there were 25,000 fires in August alone, and Sao Paulo, a city some 2,000km away, was engulfed in darkness on some days. The Amazon was protected by the government until May this year, but Bolsonaro has opened the floodgates of destruction to a national global treasure. In his rush to revive the economy, he has crippled the arms of the government that tackles deforestation. Poor enforcement of the law means farmers, loggers, and miners are busy making hay by burning down the world's largest rainforest. Bolsonaro looks like he will stop at nothing. But he must be stopped. He started the fire. The world must unite to put it out.