Boris Johnson expresses ‘deep concern’ over Amazon wildfires with call for international action

Posted On: 
23rd August 2019

Boris Johnson has he said is “deeply concerned” by the fires ravaging the Amazon as he called for international action to protect the world's rainforests.

Boris Johnson has called for international action to protect the world's rainforests
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister’s intervention comes ahead of a crunch G7 summit in France this weekend, where world leaders will face renewed calls to tackle the climate crisis.

Labour meanwhile has urged Mr Johnson to confront Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over the destruction, following strong international criticism over the Brazilian President’s response to the fires.

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A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister is deeply concerned by the increase in fires in the Amazon rainforest and the impact of the tragic loss of these precious habitats."

“The effect of these fires will be felt around the world which is why we need international action to protect the world’s rainforests.

“The UK will continue to support projects in Brazil to do this, and the Prime Minister will use the G7 to call for a renewed focus on protecting nature and tackling climate change together.”

Shadow Cabinet frontbenchers Emily Thornberry, Rebecca Long Bailey, Sue Hayman, Barry Gardiner have written to the PM urging him to stand up to the President's “reckless destruction” of the rainforest.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has recorded 70,000 forest fires this year alone, an 84% increase on last year.

“Rather than tackle these fires, the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has sacked the director of [the INPE], and called satellite data lies',” the Labour MPs wrote.

“He has worked to dismantle and undermine the enforcement of environmental protections like Brazil’s Forest Code.

"Prime Minister, the rainforests can’t wait – and neither can the hundreds of millions of people threatened by climate change.

“You must immediately tell President Bolsonaro that his reckless destruction of the Amazon has to stop.”

The G7 summit follows French President Emmanuel Macron's war of the words with President Bolsanaro after tweeting: "The Amazon rainforest - the lungs which produce 20% of our planet's oxygen - is on fire".

“The President hit back, saying: "I regret that Macron seeks to make personal political gains in an internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries.

“The sensationalist tone he used does nothing to solve the problem."

Ireland’s Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, meanwhile has said his country will block any EU free trade deal with the South American bloc Mercosur unless Brazil takes action.