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article imageAmazon rainforest fires portend a global climate emergency

By Karen Graham     Aug 22, 2019 in Environment
Record fires sweeping across the Amazon this month are bringing renewed scrutiny to Brazil's deforestation policy and have environmental researchers and conservationists worried the fires will only aggravate the climate crisis.
Satellite images show fires in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Rondonia, Para and Mato Grosso. The state of Amazonas is most affected, according to Euronews. On Tuesday, Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist, tweeted data showing smoke from the fires covering nearly half of Brazil.
The world needs to understand that what is happening in the Amazon will not stay in the Amazon, reports, and everyone needs to wake up to that fact. If we lose the Amazon rainforest, we could, in effect, be signing the planet's death warrant.
The World Meteorological Organization, the United Nation's weather arm, tweeted about the fires Thursday. "Fires release pollutants including particulate matter & toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and non-methane organic compounds into the atmosphere," the organization said.
Bolsonaro doesn't seem to be conserned
EuroNews is reporting that Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said the government lacked the funds to fight the fires, even though the government told doner countries Brazil didn't need their money.
"The Amazon is bigger than Europe, how will you fight criminal fires in such an area?," Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro asked reporters as he left the presidential residence today. "We do not have the resources for that."
On Wednesday, Bolsonaro accused non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of setting the fires but did not give any supporting evidence. According to the BBC, he has since admitted he had no evidence for this claim.
Bolsonaro even went so far as to post a video on Facebook Wednesday blaming nongovernmental organizations for setting the blazes as a tactic to malign him, reports NBC News. "There is a war going on in the world against Brazil, an information war," Bolsonaro said.
Asked on Thursday who was responsible for starting the fires, Bolsonaro responded: "The Indians, do you want me to blame the Indians? Do you want me to blame the Martians?... Everyone is a suspect, but the biggest suspects are NGOs." Asked if there was any proof of this, he replied: "Did I accuse NGOs directly? I just said I suspect them."
Much like President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro is not a fan of climate change or the science behind it. He ran for president on a platform that would allow increased destruction of the rainforest. After taking office in January, he proceeded to roll back environmental protections that have paved the way for the illegal clearing of forests in favor of cattle farming and agriculture.
#Prayfor Amazonas and #AmazonRainforest
Social media started the hashtags #Prayfor Amazonas and #AmazonRainforest. Twitter users criticized media for giving more attention to the fire at Notre Dame and other news than to the rainforest fires. Social media users also called out billionaires for lack of donations.
More about Amazon rainforest, climate disaster, record fires, Human caused, climate emergency
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