(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has said the fires in the Amazon are an “international crisis” and called for them to be the first item discussed at the G7 summit, which begins tomorrow.
“Our house is burning,” Macron wrote, adding that the Amazon produced 20% of the world’s oxygen. Brazil’s president, the far-right nationalist and conspiracy theorist Jair Bolsonaro, accused Macron of a “colonialist mindset”.
Bolsonaro has angrily played down the fires as a “domestic Brazilian issue” and an annual phenomenon, while trying to blame NGOs without any evidence. Brazil has had more than 72,000 fires this year, an 84% increase on the same period in 2018. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said he was “deeply concerned” about the effect on the global climate crisis: “We cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity.” Bolsonaro’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles, has been booed while addressing a climate event.