New Delhi: Brazil on Monday rejected aid from G7 countries to curb the Amazon wildfires, asking French President Emmanuel Macron to “reforest Europe” instead of showing sympathy there.
Weeks after the possibly man-made wildfires ravaged the Amazon rainforest at a higher rate than ever recorded, seven of the world’s largest economies reached out to come up with $22 million to help save it by means of reforestation.
However, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who has already been lax on the situation, rejected the international support as an attack on Brazil’s sovereignty.
“We appreciate (the offer), but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro, told the G1 news website.
Bolsonaro had earlier said his government lacks the resources to fight the record number of fires in the region. But conservationists have blamed his government of having encouraged the clearing of land by loggers and farmers, thereby speeding up the deforestation of the rainforest.
The Amazon, known as the ‘lungs of the world’, is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people. It is the largest rainforest in the world and has been blazing in one of the worst fires in years.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had tweeted on Thursday, “In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity. The Amazon must be protected.”
Hundreds of protesters and environmental activists have staged protests the Brazilian embassies around the world, including in London, Berlin, Mumbai and Paris. The Brazilian authorities on Saturday had deployed troops to help fight the forest fires.