Brazil: 'There is no climate catastrophe'

Brazil's foreign minister says there is no climate catastrophe and denied burning the Amazon.
Brazil's foreign minister says there is no climate catastrophe and denied burning the Amazon.

Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo has denied his country is burning down the Amazon rainforest and said unfounded alarm over global climate change is threatening the nation's sovereignty.

"There is no climate change catastrophe," Araujo said on Wednesday in a talk at Washington's Heritage Foundation.

"From the debate that is going on it would seem that the world is ending."

A recent surge in fires in the Amazon, considered a bulwark against climate change, caused an international outcry and criticism of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for prioritising development of the region over protection of the forests.

Araujo, who argued that there was a lack of scientific proof over the causes of global warming, said climate change advocates were stirring up alarmism for political ends as part of a leftist conspiracy against the United States and Brazil, whose sovereignty is under attack.

Araujo said Amazon fires were about average this year and deforestation in Brazil was only responsible for 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

Globally, he added, deforestation was responsible for 11 per cent of total CO2 emissions.

"So even if we assume that CO2 emissions directly control temperature, which the computer models do not show, Brazil is not the culprit," he said.

Bolsonaro has rejected as foreign interference the international criticism of his handling of the fires and insisted that Brazil will develop the Amazon as it deems fit.

Araujo said Brazil has been painted as "a country that is destroying the planet" and critics are proposing trade sanctions against it and even an "invasion".

Australian Associated Press