Friday

23rd Feb 2024

'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires

  • Amazon jungle provides 20 percent of world's oxygen (Photo: Dirk Henker)

French president Emmanuel Macron has pushed the raging fires in Brazil's rainforests onto the G7 summit agenda, describing it as international crisis.

"Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produce 20 percent of our planet's oxygen - are on fire. It is an international crisis," he said, in a tweet on Thursday (22 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • French president Emmanuel Macron is hosting the G7 summit in Biarritz, France (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Data released by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research had earlier this week said the country is experiencing a large spike in the number of fires throughout the Amazon jungle.

Some 72,000 fires were registered this year in the country alone, around half of which were in the Amazon.

It also said satellite data showed an 84 percent increase on the same period in 2018, in figures which were later contested by Brazil's far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who fired the head of the national institute.

In a sharp rebuke to Macron's tweet, Bolsonaro also said the French president was trying to score political points and downplayed the fires as part of a leftist plot.

"I regret that president Macron seeks to take advantage of what is a domestic Brazilian issue and of other Amazonian countries for personal political gain," Bolsonaro tweeted.

He then accused Macron of a "colonial mindset" for placing the issue onto the G7 agenda without involving Brazil as part of the talks.

G7 Biodiversity Charter

The G7 talks already included a point on climate change and biodiversity prior to Macron's announcement on the Amazon, which will be discussed next Monday.

The G7 leaders, as well as those from Chile, Fiji, Gabon, Mexico, Niger, and Norway, are set to endorse a charter that commits them to intensify efforts to halt biodiversity loss.

"The charter was discussed by the ministers, already, so we are quite confident that there will be a consensus on this also," a senior EU official told reporters in Brussels on Thursday morning.

The Amazon is home to about 3m species of plants and animals. Around 1m indigenous people also live there.

Since he took office in January, Bolsonaro has led a campaign to pry open the Amazon forests for loggers and farmers to clear land.

The World Wildlife Fund, an international NGO, said the intensity of the Amazon fires is a direct consequence of accelerated deforestation.

"The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest and a key ally in fighting the climate crisis. It's meant to absorb carbon, not produce it," it said in a statement.

It noted the Amazon contains up to 140bn tonnes of carbon, the equivalent of what humans produce in 100 years.

"Put simply, there's no way we can fight the climate crisis without stopping the destruction of our forests," it added.

The G7 summit takes place this coming weekend in Biarritz, France.

EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit

The focus at the G7 summit will most likely narrow down to the global economy and foreign affairs, but the EU is also set to make a number of pledges on transparency and fighting diseases.

Leftist MEPs call on EU to address crisis in Chile

A total of 48 MEPs from GUE/NGL, the Greens and the Socialists have demanded the EU to comply with the democracy clause of the EU-Chile agreement to ensure that Chile respects fundamental rights.

Opinion

How EU firms and banks help fund Amazon fires

Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Blackrock, and Vanguard collectively own more than $1.1bn in debt in the three largest soy, and the three largest cattle companies, and own $6bn worth of shares in these companies.

Opinion

Amazon fires mean EP must rethink Mercosur trade deal

The European parliament debates on Tuesday the fires in the Amazon region. "It goes without saying that, in light of the gravity of the situation, Europe will need to renegotiate the Mercosur agreement", writes MEP Kathleen Van Brempt.

Opinion

Blackmailing the Global South on EU carbon border tax won't work

According to the European Commission, CBAM is supposed to prevent "carbon leakage". In other words, it seeks to prevent European industries relocating to jurisdictions with less stringent environmental policies, while also incentivising carbon pricing and industrial decarbonisation abroad.

Opinion

'Crying wolf' win for chemicals lobby at Antwerp EU meeting

EU politicians will cosy up with Big Toxics at a secretive event on Tuesday to discuss a new 'European Industrial Deal' — a blatant showcase of corporate capture and an attempt to shift the political agenda in a profit-minded direction.

Latest News

  1. Energy and minerals disputes overshadow new EU-ACP pact
  2. Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns
  3. How Amazon lobbyists could be banned from EU Parliament
  4. Blackmailing the Global South on EU carbon border tax won't work
  5. EU auditors: rule-of-law budget protections only partial success
  6. EU's €723bn Covid recovery fund saw growth, but doubts remain
  7. Von der Leyen rejects extremist parties, leaves door open to ECR
  8. Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us