Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro Friday said the Amazon desertification alert was “the same old nonsense” and blamed the opposition for those reports which were aimed at denting the country's image and scaring away investors.
Bolsonaro stresses that the news concerning allegedly irreversible destruction of the Amazon by increasing deforestation and fires were false. He also insisted it had been spread by opponents seeking political gain.
If deforestation had the proportions they are saying, the Amazon would already be a desert, said the head of state upon returning from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.
There is illegal deforestation, but it is enough that other countries do not buy our wood, it is simple. There are also illegal burning, but not in that proportion they count. And we fight them. Some say 'they have to fight them more' ... Do you know the size of the Amazon, how many countries in Europe can fit in?
The president also downplayed alarming data on the alleged destruction of the world's largest rainforest just one day after official data released by the Brazilian government showed the Brazilian Amazon lost 13,235 square kilometres of vegetation cover between August 2020 and July 2021, the largest degraded area for twelve months in the last 15 years.
While we strive to bring a good image of Brazil abroad, terrible Brazilians come out to criticize the country, to tell lies about the Amazon, Bolsonaro lamented.
The increase in deforestation in the period 2020-2021 calls into question Brazil's promise to reverse this trend and eliminate illegal deforestation by 2028, as promised at Glasgow's UN conference on climate change, where a report argued that the Amazon is at a point of no return and may become a desert.
Bolsonaro claimed, it is the same old nonsense; it is news sponsored by Brazilians who work against the country, drive away investments and generate many economic difficulties.
Until now I have not seen any Californian saying that California is on fire or a Chinese criticizing his country for requiring quarantines against pollution. I have never seen anyone speaking ill of his country as Brazilians do, he added.
The sources of fire are always in the same place and are generally caused by indigenous people, settlers and fishermen who have subsistence crops and set fire to prepare the land for new crops, said Bolsonaro, who minimized the fires caused by large landowners.
However, INPE data deny the president's statements. According to the state agency, only last June 2,305 fires were registered in the Amazon, the highest number for the month since 2007.
According to INPE, the most critical year was 2020, when a record 222,000 fires were recorded in the region.