Environment Experts criticize Bolsonaro after lie about Amazon forest fires

A part of the Amazon Rainforest being consumed by illegal fires (Carl de Souza/AFP)

Victória Sales – Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – On a trip to Dubai, the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro (no party), reported to government officials of the United Arab Emirates and businessmen, an image of a Brazil far from reality. During a speech at the Invest in Brazil Forum, on Monday, 15, Bolsonaro said that the Amazon “doesn’t catch fire”. In addition, the chancellor, Carlos França, supported the president’s speech.

“We want you to really get to know Brazil, and a trip, a tour of the Amazon is something fantastic, so that you can see that our Amazon, being a rainforest, does not catch fire”, said Bolsonaro, forgetting the increase in fires in the Amazon alone in October, which has already reached the third worst in history with 14,000 hotspots, according to data released by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).Bolsonaro’s speech at the Invest in Brazil Forum. (Reproduction/Internet)

According to environmentalist Carlos Durigan, what we see in relation to Bolsonaro’s speech is that the president seeks to build a narrative that is not based on real facts. “Since 2019, when Bolsonaro became president, we have been living with a dismantling of the management structure of environmental policies in Brazil. We cannot forget that in the same year, Bolsonaro also intended to simply do away with the Ministry of Environment”, he reported.

Durigan also explains that, over the years that Bolsonaro has been in charge of the federal government, it is possible to identify some barriers that have contributed to the increase of wildfires and deforestation in the Amazon, such as the dismantling of inspection agencies, which led to a significant increase in environmental degradation in Brazil.

“Besides the weakening of the structures that take care of environmental management in the country, we had a permanent discourse from the president and other members of the government. The issue is that it ends up encouraging, including environmental crimes throughout Brazil, such as illegal deforestation, illegal mining and all this that is happening now more recently is due to market pressure, an economic pressure since Brazil produces many commodities and especially in recent decades has established itself as an important provider of agricultural commodities”, he stresses.


In social networks, the vice president of the House of Representatives, Marcelo Ramos, said that the speech only confirms the lack of inspection and the disregard of the federal government in relation to the environment. “Today at Invest in Brasil, a forum in Dubai, the president said that “our Amazon, being a humid forest, doesn’t catch fire”. The phrase only speaks against the government itself when it confirms that the fires are always the result of human action and increase with the lack of inspection”, he commented.

It is worth noting that biologist and professor at the University of Brasilia, Mercedes Bustamante, told CNN that Bolsonaro’s statement is “misinformation.” “The Amazon is a humid tropical forest, but what we need to consider is that the forest is under impacts from human-induced changes. When there are deforestation processes, [it] fragments the forest into small units and increases the ‘edge effect’: the edge of the forest becomes drier and more susceptible to forest fires”, explains the professor.

The coordinator of the Climate Observatory’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimating System, Tasso Azevedo, pointed out that the area of deforestation since the beginning of Bolsonaro’s administration is larger than Qatar. “The area of deforestation detected by Inpe in the Amazon since Jair Bolsonaro took office is more than double that of CATAR. Every two days the deforested area is equivalent to a Dubai where PR uttered the pearl today “more than 90% of the Amazon is preserved, exactly equal to 1500″, he reported.

“Our Amazon, because it is a humid forest, does not catch fire” Jair Bolsonaro. It sounds like a bad joke, but he sent this one”, “”The Amazon does not catch fire because it is a humid forest. What is Bolsonaro doing in Dubai, besides lying and spending public money?”, were some of the comments made on social networks after the speech of the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro.