A satellite image dated 21 August 2019 shows several fires burning in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso and Rondonia. (Handout – NOAA/AFP/Lehtikuva)

International news

THE EUROPEAN UNION must take action to fight the wildfires raging in the Amazon, Brazil, demand both Ville Niinistö (Greens), a Member of the European Parliament, and Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition.

Almost 73,000 wildfires have been detected in what is the largest rainforest in the world between January and August, representing an 84 per cent increase from the corresponding period in 2018.

“The European Union must shoulder its responsibility and demand Brazil to stop the destruction of rainforests. Otherwise, the Mercosur trade agreement cannot be approved,” Niinistö stated on Twitter.

The EU announced earlier this summer it has concluded a trade agreement with the four founding members of Mercosur: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. A number of non-governmental organisations opposed the trade agreement, claiming it sacrifices forests and rights on the altar of trade.

Niinistö on Thursday reminded that the agreement is conditional on both parties committing to the objectives laid down in the Paris Agreement.

“The Amazon is the world’s single largest above-ground carbon sink. The burning of forests accelerates climate change uncontrollably. The wildfires are not affecting only Brazil. The whole world must turn its attention to Brazil and apply pressure to stop the destruction of the Amazon,” he pleaded.

Also Orpo said the EU must act to tackle the emergency.

“The EU must assume its position at the front lines of efforts to combat climate change and condemn the actions of Brazil. This senseless activity is threatening the world’s precious carbon sinks,” he stated in a press release issued on Thursday.

The Brazilian government has been accused by environmental activists of poor oversight and implicit encouragement of illegal forest clearing practices. Jair Bolsonaro, the President of Brazil, has shifted the blame back to environmental groups, accusing them of setting the blazes in an attempt to embarrass his government.

The fires raging in the planet's largest expanse of rainforests have stirred up concerns in policy makers worldwide.

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, tweeted: “Our house is burning. The Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produce 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!”

The summit will be held in France on 24–25 August.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi