Brazil rejects G7 funding to tackle Amazon fires, says reforest Europe
Brasília, Aug 28: Amazon, which is also known as the lungs of our planet is on deadly fire, it's been more than a week now. Meanwhile, Brazil's government has rejected $22 million pledged by the G7 nations to help tackle fires in the Amazon forest, despite President Jair Bolsonaro previously claiming that the South American nation did not have the resources to do so.
Bolsonaro's chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni said, "Thanks, but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe." Bolsonaro has previously rejected foreign aid pledges and accused French President Emmanuel Macron of treating the South American nation as a "colony," in the lead-up to the G7 summit.
According to Brazil's space agency, INPE, G7 leaders have pledged an immediate release of $22 million to fight the fires in the rainforest region, which are up more than 80% on last year.
The funds would bring more fire-fighting planes and strengthened the military operation, according to Macron. Earlier, Bolsonaro told reporters, "The Amazon is bigger than Europe, how will you fight criminal fires in such an area? We do not have the resources for that."
Despite Brazil's rejection, critics criticized the amount as too little, especially compared with the nearly $1 billion pledged to restore the Notre Dame cathedral. Brazil's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, had earlier on Monday welcomed the funds.
Far-right leader Bolsonaro has been blamed for reversing decades of environmental protections in Brazil, by introducing policies which open up the rainforest to more development and agriculture.
The raging fires have become so potent that the smoke they generate plunged the western hemisphere's largest city, São Paulo, into total darkness in the middle of the day on Tuesday. What was particularly shocking about that sudden event was that the Amazonian fires are hundreds of miles away from that city, but have become so dense and overwhelming that they snuffed out light in that distant major metropolis.
Deforestation is an affirmative goal of Bolsonaro. That can be achieved by cutting down trees or, more efficiently, by simply burning large areas that Brazil's agricultural industry wants to exploit. Bolsonaro and Salles view deforestation as such a pressing priority that they openly despise anyone who seeks to impede it. Earlier this month, Bolsonaro fired a top scientist after he warned the country that deforestation was taking place at an unprecedented and dangerous rate.
Though the Amazon belongs to Brazil, the need to save the planet belongs to all of mankind, and all of us must bear this burden collectively.