European leaders threatened to dissolve a trade agreement with South America on Friday. This reflected growing international anger over Brazil as a record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest intensified a spreading environmental crisis.
Conviction, Brazil's far-right president Jair Bolsonaro promised a speech to the nation to mobilize the army to fight the flames while his government launched a diplomatic-aggressive offensive to try to repair bridges overseas.
Forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon According to government data, the number of rainforests, accounting for more than half of the largest rainforest in the world, has risen by 83 percent this year, destroying much of a vital bulwark against global climate change.
French President Emmanuel Macron urged G7 leaders to discuss the environmental crisis in Brazil at a weekend summit in French coastal resort Biarritz. France and Ireland threatened to oppose an EU trade agreement concluded in June with a regional South American bloc.
Images of fires in the Amazon that were broadcast around the globe caused protests in front of Brazilian embassies, from Mexico City and Lima to London and Paris.
The Cypriot capital Nicosia said on the railing of the Brazilian diplomatic mission: "The Amazon belongs to the earth, not to the Brazilian president."
Bolsonaro, who initially accused non-governmental organizations of setting fire to the forest without providing evidence, said in a televised address that he had authorized the use of troops to fight fires and stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon.
However, the former military officer attributed the magnitude of the fires to an above average dry weather and insisted on the need for economic development in the Amazon to improve the lives of its 20 million inhabitants. Environmentalists warned that its controversial plans for more agriculture and mining in the region will accelerate deforestation.
"We need to give the population the opportunity to develop, and my government is committed to it, with no tolerance for crime ̵
Surveys show that Brazilians overwhelmingly reject environmental policy and, while talking to the nation, inhabitant of big cities s Brazil has popped pots and pans in traditional Latin American protest form.
US President Donald Trump – whose skeptical views on climate change bolsonaro shares – called on the Brazilian president to provide assistance in dealing with forest fires when needed.
"I told him that if the United States can help with the fires in the Amazon rainforest, we stand ready to help!" Trump tweeted on Friday.
G7 set discusses fires
The forest fires are now being discussed at the summit of G7 leaders in France this weekend, where Macron invited leaders to sign a biodiversity charter. The French leader said that an "ecocide" had taken place in the Amazon, calling for an international response.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the fires were "not only heartbreaking, they were an international crisis," while spokeswoman Johnson said I would use the summit to demand a renewed focus on protecting nature.
France and Ireland declared Friday that they would now protest against the June agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur countries of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay on agriculture in Mercosur and Paraguay.
The French president's office accused Bolsonaro of lying down when he downplayed climate change concerns at the G20 summit in June.
"Ireland will not vote in favor of the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement if Brazil does not" The EU-Mercosur agreement took 20 years to negotiate, but it will last at least two years not officially ratified, "Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.
Brazil's economic leaders also warned that Brazil's environmental performance could diminish joining the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), one in Paris based club of 37 industrial nations whose imprtature is demanded by many institutional investors.
In the face of international outrage, Brazil distributed a 12-page circular to foreign embassies listing data and statistics in defense of the government's environmental reputation were.
After Bras After Bolsonaro accused non-governmental organizations of not having set fire to them, on Friday after the international outcry, Bolsonaro seemed to take a more serious approach by summoning high-ranking cabinet members to an afternoon session for an answer To work out a question.
Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias insisted Brazil "cared" for the Amazon, and international concerns over the fires that were needed to cool it down were made.
"The news is worrisome, but I think we need to lower the temperature, the Amazon is important, Brazil knows that, and Brazil cares about the Amazon," she told reporters.
Who is to blame?
The Brazilian space agency INPE recorded 72,843 fires this year, the highest number since records began in 2013. Over 9,500 satellites were spotted this past week.
Although dry season fires are regular and natural at this time of the year, environmentalists blame farmers for clearing grazing grounds.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly stated that Brazil needs to open the Amazon to business interests so that mining, agricultural and wood companies can use their natural resources.
On Thursday, Bolsonaro admitted for the first time that farmers may lag behind some of the fires, but he reacted angrily to what he saw as foreign interference.
Some foreign donors – including the largest in Norway – have canceled their funds for an Amazon fund designed to curb the Defor measures. Estation in the region in protest of changes by Brazil that blocked its operations.
"These countries that send money here do not send it out of charity … They send it with the purpose of compromising our sovereignty," Bolsonaro said.
Alexandre Antonelli, scientific director of the British Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, urged Brazil to impose import sanctions for the fires.
"Immediate action is needed to erase the current fires and prevent future ones," said the Brazilian scientist.