Fires are currently erupting inmay be even more devastating than last year, but the Brazilian government is denying they even exist. On Tuesday, the President calling the fire a “lie” – because the photos and videos from the area showed the forest was on fire.
Fires at Amazon in August hit a nine-year high in 2019 – but this month appears to continue to lead the record. Officials recorded more than 10,000 fires in the first 10 days of the month, up 17 percent from this time last year, according to data from INPE, a federal institute that monitors the fires.
According to Reuters, members of the Leticia Treaty, an agreement between South American countries to protect the Amazon, met on Tuesday. While talking to other leaders, Bolsonaro angrily denied the existence of the fire, challenged officials to fly over Amazon and try to spot a single fire.
According to Reuters, he said: “They will not find any burning points, nor a quarter of the forest destroyed. “The story that Amazon is on fire is a lie and we must fight it with real numbers.”
Also in the speech, Bolsanaro said that Brazil does not need help, assuming that most of the forest is still standing. He claimed the forest did not catch fire because it was wet, prompting the media and foreign leaders to criticize him.
Bolsonaro adopted a similar tactic last year, arguing with world leaders over a massive fire in the rainforest.. At the time, he fired the head of INPE, Ricardo Galvao, the agency’s data guard on the devastation of the fire.
But the fire did not happen naturally. Experts say most of them are man-made to clear the land for farming.
Deforestation has increased by almost 35% from July 2019 to July 2020, despite alleged government efforts to combat it.
In June, 34 major international investors put pressure on the Brazilian government to protect the forests, threatening to divest from Brazilian companies if there is no change, according to Reuters. A federal decree on July 16 banned deforestation for 120 days in the Amazon during the dry season of the area.
Despite the ban, July saw 6,803 fires, compared with 5,318 a year ago – an increase of nearly 30%.
Bolsonaro’s administration has spoken out about itto develop Amazon. In May, the country’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said that the government should loosen environmental regulations while the world is distracted by .
Conservation of the world’s largest rainforest is crucial to combating climate change. This dense collection of trees is responsible for absorbing about 5% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.
Scientists warn that it may only be a few years before this ecosystem peaks and converts into a more expansive savanna, with the ability to absorb greenhouse gases and buffer the Earth against gas change. Very little end.