Ahead of the G7 summit in France, world leaders are sounding off on the fires raging through the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. A spokesperson for French President Emmanuel Macron said Macron believes Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro lied to him in June when he reportedly promised to do more to combat climate change.
The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle. The practice is on the rise, encouraged by Bolsonaro, who is backed by the country’s so-called “beef caucus.” Bolsonaro has dismissed accusations of responsibility for the fires, placing blame on NGOs.
There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region, INPE said. That’s more than an 80% increase compared with the same period last year.The Amazon is often referred to as the planet’s lungs, producing 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere.
It is considered vital in slowing global warming, and it is home to uncountable species of fauna and flora. Roughly half the size of the United States, it is the largest rainforest on the planet.