As fires continue to burn in the Amazon, world leaders are worried about the situation, as the rainforest is a vital absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Boris Johnson has said he is “deeply concerned” by the situation and has vowed to push for a renewed focus on tackling climate change at the G7 summit this weekend.
Similarly, France will block an EU trade deal with Brazil and its neighbours over the country’s handling of the fires, a spokesperson for Emmanuel Macron has said.
Sasha Stashwick, a senior advocate at Natural Resources Defense Council, has made the following comments, citing the hypocrisy of certain European leaders who ignore the ways in which their own policies fuel forest destruction elsewhere:
“The Amazon is burning, and European leaders have correctly noted that these forested lands function as the “lungs of our planet.” But these same European leaders are ignoring how their own policies fueling forest destruction.
“EU policies have created incentives for forest destruction in North America and elsewhere and the wood burned to create electricity. This all happens under the erroneous assumption, long ago debunked by scientists, that so-called biomass energy is a “carbon neutral” alternative to fossil fuels – on par with solar or wind.
“Far from it. Logging forests for energy depletes the very ecosystems we need to absorb and store carbon dioxide and burning wood in power plants increases carbon emissions to the atmosphere, accelerating climate chaos.
“As Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, recently said, we need to expand forest cover, not uproot and burn it, in our efforts to address these risks. To make matters worse, biomass energy is actually getting millions of euros of subsidies in countries like the UK and Denmark.
“EU leaders recognise the need for protect forests in the Amazon. They should do the same when it comes to their own incentives for the dirty biomass industry.
“The EU consumes roughly 75 percent of the world’s wood pellets used for energy production, and nearly half of the EU’s renewable energy is currently generated from the combustion of solid biomass. This is a disaster for the environment, for forests – and for any hope we have to address the climate crisis.”