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Global leaders urged to divert Brazilian government from ‘suicide’ path as Amazonian rainforest burns

The Guardian reports:

International pressure may be the only way to stop the Brazilian government from taking a “suicide” path in the Amazon, one of the country’s most respected scientists has said, as the world’s biggest rainforest continues to be ravaged by thousands of deliberate fires.

The large number of conflagrations – set illegally to clear and prepare land for crops, cattle and property speculation – has prompted the state of Amazonas to declare an emergency, created giant smoke clouds that have drifted hundreds of miles, and sparked international concerns about the destruction of an essential carbon sink.

“Our house is burning,” tweeted the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who called for emergency talks on the subject at this week’s G7 summit. But the response to the crisis has been mixed: while Norway and Germany have halted donations to the Brazilian government’s Amazon fund, the EU has recently signed a trade deal with South America, and the UK spent this week focusing on post-Brexit business with Brazil.

On Wednesday, the UK trade minister Conor Burns was shaking hands with his counterparts in Brasilia and declaring a desire to “deepen relations”. Asked about the fires, he declined to comment but reportedly said Bolsonaro’s government had “legitimate ambitions to bring prosperity to its people”.

Scientists say the ongoing destruction will have dire consequences for Brazil and the world. [Continue reading…]

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