Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2019

Amazon rainforest fire: Real culprit behind rainforest blazes revealed? | World | News

Harrowing scenes of acres of rainforest burning have sent shockwaves worldwide, with several environmental groups highlighting the ongoing climate crisis as the main cause. Mr Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly clashed with activists over the Amazon’s increasing deforestation, blamed NGOs for the disastrous blazes. However, experts have gone on to blame the President himself after a series of anti-environment and pro-business policies in the region.

72,000 forest fires have hit Brazil this year, with more than half concentrated in the Amazon.

Some have blamed man-made climate change for causing them – but it is likely that environmental shifts have just made it easier for fires to spread, rather than causing them directly.

Experts and campaigners alike agree that there is no natural process that could have caused these fires.

Ricardo Mello, Amazon Program Manager at the WWF, said: “Every fire in the Amazon region is somehow started by the human being.

Amazon rainforest fire: is Bolsonaro responsible?

Amazon rainforest fire: is Bolsonaro responsible? (Image: GETTY)

Deforestation increased by 300 percent in ONE year

Deforestation increased by 300 percent in ONE year (Image: GETTY)

“So this increase in fires is directly caused by the action of man.”

He was backed up by Ane Alencar of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, who claimed that weather was certainly not to blame.

Mr Alencar added: “This year we do not have an extreme drought, as there was 2015 and 2016. In 2017 and 2018 we had a sufficient rainy season

“In 2019, we have no weather events that affect droughts, such as El Niño, or they are not happening [so] strong. There’s no way the weather can explain this increase of burns.”

READ MORE: Amazon Rainforest fire LIVE: Devastating fires revealed as São Paulo PLUNGED into darkness (LIVE BLOG)

Jair Bolsonaro - anti-environment!

Jair Bolsonaro – anti-environment! (Image: GETTY)

Bolsonaro drew the ire of conservationists around the country within hours of being sworn into office this January.

After shifting all forest policy to a pro-agribusiness minister, Mr Bolsonaro choked the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) – which looks after indigenous peoples, especially in the Amazon – of resources.

He has been described as “Captain Chainsaw” after overseeing record deforestation in his short tenure as President.

Last month he criticised the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) for revealing that deforestation had increased by 300 percent in a single year.

He said: “News like this that does not match the truth causes great damage to the image of Brazil.”

Amazon fire: Devastating blazes ‘linked to a tribe’s lawsuit’ (COMMENT)
Amazon fire: Sao Paulo plunged into darkness (NEWS)
Amazon rainforest shock map: DEADLY effect of Amazon fires (ANALYSIS)

Amazon rainforest fire in a village

Amazon rainforest fire in a village (Image: GETTY)

Amazon rainforest fires have been partially caused by deforestation

Amazon rainforest fires have been partially caused by deforestation (Image: GETTY)

In fact, according to environmental professor Philip Fearnside, Mr Bolsonaro’s pro-business policies come at the expense of the environment.

He told Newsweek: “The explosion of deforestation can be attributed both to changes in government actions, such as essentially ending inspections for illegal deforestation and fining those who are caught, and from the rhetoric from President Bolsonaro and his ministers, especially the minister of environment

“This has created a climate of impunity under the assumption that there will be no consequences for ignoring environmental regulations.”

Amazon rainforest fires have devestated the region

Amazon rainforest fires have devestated the region (Image: GETTY)

Yesterday’s warning from the Inpe caused a stir on social media, where the hashtag #PrayforAmazonia trended worldwide.

The Brazilian President has also been criticised for his treatment of indigenous people – many of whom have homes in the Amazon rainforest.

Last month the remote Awa tribe were caught on camera amid fears their home would continue to be wiped out by loggers.

Brazilian-based environmental group Survival International called on the government to protect endangered tribes like the Awa based on historic land.

Bolsonaro and Trump - a strong relationship!

Bolsonaro and Trump – a strong relationship! (Image: GETTY)

This may be unlikely, based on Mr Bolsonaro’s past rhetoric.

In 2015 he said: “The Indians do not speak our language, they do not have money, they do not have culture.

They are native peoples. How did they manage to get 13% of the national territory?”

Mr Bolsonaro has been known to share warm ties with US President Donald Trump.

Washington sent two warships to Brazil on Monday for joint military drills in the region.

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