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Amazon fires turn political as Bolsonaro calls out Macron

Amazon fires turn political as Bolsonaro calls out Macron

BUSINESS NEWS

Amazon fires turn political as Bolsonaro calls out Macron


French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday took to Twitter to urge countries from around the world to respond to the massive fires in the Amazon, but his remarks were met with hostility by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who essentially said to stay out of it.

The comments played out on Twitter as news reports indicated that there is international concern about Bolsonaro’s environmental policy and its effect on the forest. The European Union called the forests there the world’s “lungs and life support system.”

The exact number of burning fires is somewhere around 2,500. Sao Paulo was in the dark for about one hour Monday afternoon as a result of the fires about 1,600 miles away. One Twitter user posted a photo of the clouds and said, “Imagine how much has to be burning to create this  much smoke.”

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research counted 47,155 wildfires as of Tuesday, an 84 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Bolsonaro, who admitted that farmers may be intentionally setting the fires to clear land, admitted that his country does not have the resources to control the fires, Reuters reported. He lashed out a Macron for what he said Is an attempt to “make personal political gains in an internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries.”

Reuters reported that farmers in Brazil—if not outright—had “tacit” encouragement from Bolsonaro who has maintained that the Amazon should be utilized for Brazil’s economy. The news agency reported that a so-called “Fire Day” was designated to show the president that farmers were eager to work.

Bolsonaro’s office has denied claims by the EU that deforestation is at historic levels, but did mention the difficulties of policing an area of land “bigger than Europe.”

“How will you fight criminal fires in such an area?” he asked. About 60 percent of the Amazon is in Brazil. It is home to more than 30 percent of  the world’s plant and animal species.

Marcon appeared to take the EU’s position and stressed the urgency of the matter.

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“Our house is  burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest—the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen—is on fire,” he said. “It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!”

Fox News’ Lucia I. Suarez Sang contributed to this report



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