Amazon rainforest fires provoked fury from EU leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, who were spotted ‘plotting’ against Mr Bolsonaro today. The EU has reportedly threatened to tear up a trade deal with South America in response to the Brazilian President’s failure to deal with the issue. However, Brussels appears to have a patchy record when it comes to preventing these sorts of rainforest fires.
Environmental group Rainforest Rescue – an organisation which has rallied to protect the Amazon and other rainforests – lashed out at Brussels last month for their ‘environmental hypocrisy’.
They blamed the EU’s lenient stance on palm oil production for the devastation of rainforests worldwide.
A statement read: “The EU wants to save our climate with supposedly green biofuels and has deemed palm oil ‘sustainable’.”
“Yet on the other side of the globe, rainforests are being clear-cut to produce the 1.9 million tons of palm oil that end up in European fuel tanks every year.
Amid chaos caused by wildfires in Indonesia, the group took aim at Brussels for being complicit in allowing oil companies to burn the forests.
June 2013 saw the EU industry committee vote to increase the biofuel share in motor vehicle fuels.
According to the group, this was the last straw when it came to the EU’s policy.
A statement read: “Various committees are currently reviewing the EU’s agrofuel policy.
READ MORE: Amazon fires cause: What caused the Amazon fires? How did rainforest fires start?
By taking a lenient stance on the industry and their actions, Rainforest Rescue activists suggested the EU was exacerbating the issue when it should be solving it.
The EU is the second-largest importer of palm oil after India.
Yesterday Irish President Leo Varadkar slammed Mr Bolsonaro for failing to deal with the wildfires.
He said: “His statement that Brazil will stay in the Paris accords on climate change ‘for now’ will raise antennas across Europe.
“There is no way we can tell Irish and European farmers to use fewer pesticides, less fertilizer, embrace biodiversity and plant more of their land and expect them to do it, if we do not make trade deals contingent on decent environmental, labour and product standards.”
He warned that Ireland would vote against the pending EU trade deal with South America if nothing changed.