Brazilian President Accuses Green NGOs of Setting Fire to the Amazon Rainforest

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

President Bolsonaro has accused green NGOs of deliberately setting fire to the Amazon Rainforest, in retaliation for having their funding slashed.

Igniting global outrage, Brazil’s Bolsonaro baselessly blames NGOs for Amazon fires

AUGUST 21, 2019 / 10:04 PM
Anthony BoadleGabriel Stargardte

BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday accused non-governmental organizations of burning down the Amazon rainforest to hurt his government, as a growing global outcry against the wildfires raged through social media.

Presented without evidence and disputed by environmental and climate experts, Bolsonaro’s comments enraged critics and fanned a growing social media campaign over the dangers to the Amazon, one of the world’s key bulwarks against climate change. 

#PrayforAmazonas was the world’s top trending topic on Twitter on Wednesday, and millions of people took to Instagram and Facebook to share concerns over the future of the Amazon. With global awareness growing, Bolsonaro’s comments risk creating a spiraling crisis for his government, imperiling an EU-Mercosur trade pact and upsetting key agribusiness clients. 

“Everything indicates” that NGOs were going to the Amazon to “set fire” to the forest, Bolsonaro said in a Facebook Live broadcast on Wednesday morning. When asked if he had evidence to back up his claims, he said he had “no written plan,” adding “that’s not how it’s done.” 

The former army captain turned politician said the slashing of NGO funding by his government could be a motive. 

“Crime exists,” he said. “These people are missing the money.

Read more:

Frankly I would like to see more evidence. I’m open to the idea, but I think Bolsonaro should have waited until he could present tangible evidence to back his claims before making such an announcement.

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August 22, 2019 6:35 pm

There is no evidence on show, but a Brazilian Rain Forest on fire would be exactly what the Alarmists and Warmistas would love to see. Most Australian bushfires can be traced to keen amateur arsonists.

Ted bin
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 26, 2019 9:16 am

These fires must have been man made. Brazil is in a battle with the local tribes in the Amazon and maybe while fighting a fire broke out?

Also they want to Burn the amazon down to create grazing ground for cattle. Burning is the fastest way and probably easiest to blame as climate change or accident or arson by others.

Some retard fake environmentalist wrote an article basically stating cattle grazing grounds create/absorb same abouts of co2/o2 as the Amazon.

Misinformed fools going around like this spreading lies is what hurts us Americans. We allow the proliferation of [snipped].

August 22, 2019 6:39 pm

Bulwark to climate change? Most of our oxygen comes from plankton in the oceans which also absorb most of the CO2

Anyway no link between CO2 and climate change.

August 22, 2019 6:41 pm

I have heard crazier things that turned out to be true. With just as many claiming it was crazy. Many forest fires have been started in US by firefighters or those looking to get work as such.

August 22, 2019 6:56 pm

“Presented without evidence and disputed by environmental and climate experts

So climate scientists, who claim they can determine what the earth’s temperature was in 1880 to one one-hundreth of a degree C based on only 116 locations worldwide that have been in service from 1880 until now, 27 of which covered 75% of the earth’s surface, can also determine who didn’t start those fires? OK. One makes as much sense as the other.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  icisil
August 23, 2019 5:28 am

LOL, apparently “climate scientists” are also arson investigators, already “on scene” to rule out any foul play so the blame can be placed on “climate change.”

Reply to  icisil
August 23, 2019 5:24 pm

Those 116 stations only recorded their temperatures to the nearest degree.

Michael H Anderson
August 22, 2019 6:57 pm

Wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

August 22, 2019 7:03 pm

The only time articles call things “baseless” are when presented by folks on the right.

Baseless accusations are leveled all the time by the left, but they’re not even called baseless even after disproven. In fact, some newspaper editorial boards are built around baseless allegations.

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  renbutler
August 23, 2019 5:16 am

+1000! And they never retract unless threatened with litigation.

Mark Broderick
August 22, 2019 7:20 pm

..I’m sure it’s not the first time…

Richard M
August 22, 2019 7:23 pm

I suspect it is tied to the 2019 El Nino (aka weather). The greens have been using weather to push their climate narrative for many years now. It serves them right to have another narrative shoved back in their faces.

Reply to  Richard M
August 22, 2019 10:13 pm

2019 El Niño is a non-event right now. Atlantic hurricanes pretty quiet too.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Renee
August 23, 2019 7:26 am

Nino conditions were present from about February to June of this year. The atmospheric effects follow the actually event.

August 22, 2019 7:36 pm

Why are such outrageous claims so believable?
Here in the US have Earth First!
They were on a reign of terror through the Pacific Northwest, for a while.
Some “Tricks”
1) “Spiking” logs. This is the practice of driving huge steel spikes into logs and tree trunks prior to the sawmill. When the saw blade hits, Bad Things Happen. Several workers were injured, a few possibly died.
2) Ceramic spiking. When lumber operations started scanning the raw stock with metal detectors to locate the spikes, they switched to ceramic spikes. Cute Trick.
3) Sabotage of heavy equipment at logging sites.
4) Arson. Several Condominium fires. The largest destroyed 60 or more units when that complex was nearing completion.
The Earth First! criminals cooled it after the US government slapped the Domestic Terrorist label on them. Their activities were no longer viewed as simple vandalism. Several members were arrested and prosecuted for some very serious crimes.

Politics are much more strident and polarized in Brazil than they are in the US. It is easy to see how some radical group might cross the line to “Send A Message”. The situation is even easier to understand when you realize that every radical group will attract a small fringe of borderline psychopaths that think violence and near-terrorist actions are Fun.

Joel O'Bryan(@joelobryan)
Reply to  TonyL
August 22, 2019 8:11 pm

To be fair to NASA, they probably just noted the Amazon fires in satellite imagery. The prospect of spending serious time in Club Fed is quite deterrent to most people. Feds and FBI in reality do not mess around when they come knocking at your door asking to “talk.”
Even billionaire Jeff Epstein offed-himself to avoid that embarrassment and a 20 year sentence.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 23, 2019 3:00 am

… Jeff Epstein offed-himself…

Reply to  Disputin
August 23, 2019 7:31 am

Cop1: He’s dead, Jim!
Cop2: A clear case of suicide.
Cop1: How do you figure?
Cop2: He was a friend of the Clinton’s.
Cop1: You’re right, that is suicidal.


Paul Linsay
August 22, 2019 7:58 pm

A stupid question, but how do you get a rain forest to burn? Isn’t it wet all the time because it rains a lot?

Joel O'Bryan(@joelobryan)
Reply to  Paul Linsay
August 22, 2019 8:02 pm

not in dry season.

michael j allison
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 22, 2019 11:27 pm

the dry season is a very relative statement. It is never dry in a rain forest.

James Clarke
Reply to  Paul Linsay
August 22, 2019 8:30 pm

In the forest there is a cycle of life-death-decay-and rebirth. That portion of the forest that is between death and decay is highly susceptible to burning, especially when accelerants are used to get it going. After that, the fire can easily evaporate any residual drops from the last rain. If it hasn’t burned recently, the forest will have plenty of fuel ready to go.

Secondly, some seasons are drier than others.

Reply to  James Clarke
August 23, 2019 6:42 pm

“some seasons are drier than others.”

Yeah, once you bulldozed the rainforest into large piles it burns better in some seasons than others.

You think seasons matter more than bulldozers?

Reply to  Loydo
August 24, 2019 12:52 am

As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years.
Source [url][/url]

So this has been the case for the past 15 years, why is it all of sudden a “crisis”?

Joel O'Bryan(@joelobryan)
August 22, 2019 8:01 pm

This is a “Trumpian move“; because it shifts the burden of proof back to the original accusers (the NGO’s and NASA) who made the claims of blame without any evidence of who the culprits were. The NGO’s will now have to substantiate their prior claims that it was loggers and farmers setting the fires. Each fire.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 23, 2019 12:51 am

Is “Trumpian move” another way of saying a complete and utter lie?

Geoff Sherrington(@sherro1)
Reply to  Izaak Walton
August 23, 2019 1:52 am

I W,
What drives your bitter negativity?
Surely the natural human state is a positive thrust for happiness.
Geoff S

Reply to  Izaak Walton
August 23, 2019 5:27 pm

I love the way Trump gets inside the heads of all his critics. It really drives them crazy that someone as smart and successful as Trump dares to publicly disagree with them.

August 22, 2019 8:17 pm

Here in CA … the “homeless” people set the fires. Oh, and our “green” utility, PG&E sets the fires. PG&E diverts critical $$ resources from infrastructure maintenance – into ill-advised “greenery” window dressing programs to score PC points with the Legislators and Regulators. Leaving olllld wires, insulators, and transformers to hang in the wind.

Reply to  Kenji
August 22, 2019 10:35 pm

Pot farmers set a lot of “accidental” fires as well I’m California.

August 22, 2019 8:21 pm

Bolsonaro’s a bit new at the job. He should be planting bugs everywhere to tape everything these rainforest rapists say.

James Clarke
August 22, 2019 8:34 pm

I agree with Eric. If “everything indicates”, why not spell out what everything is? Let’s leave ‘making stuff up’ to the other side.

August 22, 2019 9:10 pm

According to NASA, fires in the Amazon happen this time every year as the region goes through a dry season. Satellite observations indicate total fire activity in the Amazon basin is slightly below average in comparison to the past 15 years, with the exception of activity in the Amazonas. Hope it stays average.

Reply to  Renee
August 22, 2019 10:31 pm

Yes indeed, it is below normal, maybe even normal, or above but some smoke blew into São Paulo which would really make for a great global headline to fit the CAGW narrative. It works for making the global news which I saw on multiple global networks already today. I have no idea what the real truth is, but it is dry fire season and farmers have been and will probably always be burning off the residue from last years crops as they do every year during dry season.

I do believe President Bolsonaro would be wise to come up with a long term Land Use Plan and plan to practice very high yield intensive agriculture like USA and Canada where they have Ag, but also identify and preserve much of Amazonia for high use natural jungle forest land for protection of indigenous people and wildlife. There is also a lot of revenue from eco-tourism if done wisely. Costa Rica comes to mind, which I was very impressed with as a model of incorporating smartly as best a country can.

Peter Hannan
August 22, 2019 9:30 pm

Agreed. Michael Crichton’s fictional “State of Fear” (an excellent novel, and very influential on my change to climate scepticism), has radical greens deliberately provoking a disaster, but in the real world we need solid evidence.

August 22, 2019 9:51 pm

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has only been president since Jan 1/19, (less than 8 months) so a little hard to blame him for all the ills of the Amazon. I am sure his goal is not to literally slash and burn the Amazon, although having said that, it is kind of hard for all of us in the rest of the world to tell Brazil what they can do with their natural resource, when the rest of the world has developed theirs. It is a delicate balance and I am sure Jair Bolsonaro will want to get it right in the end, just to ensure Brazil is regarded someday as a 1st world country. Another thing I really hope for is that he takes after Trump more as a Republican, rather than say, some authoritarian like President Duterte in the Philippines. Duterte is a first class raving, mad lunatic, murdering nut job. Being fairly extreme right wing doesn’t mean having to be crazy although Bolsonaro is being labeled that, as is Trump by a left wing press. Prove them wrong so as history will have to tell the truth.

August 22, 2019 10:04 pm

There is more far more evidence of his claims than there is for CAGW. So therefore he should be believed.

August 22, 2019 10:23 pm

To be honest the real discussion out of this is Macron wanting to discuss the Amazon burning at the G7 .. please explain?

If Macron is talking about violating another countries sovereignty to play Captain Planet that will put an end to this Emission Control stupidity right then and there. I suspect China would say no way right then and there because it always defends countries right to sovereignty but there would be dozens of countries that would be alarmed.

michael j allison
August 22, 2019 11:22 pm

I lived and worked in South America for over 2 decades. IN the late 70s and threw the 80s I watched fires that were much greater than all of this. You can not burn a rain forest, even with diesel fuel. They are just burning the scrub brush on the open land.

Flight Level
Reply to  michael j allison
August 23, 2019 1:22 am

This (in french) goes right to where you point:

Looks like the entire imagery comes from other events.

Chartering small general aviation aircraft is very easy in those areas. Therefore one can but wonder why a more rigorously documented survey has not been made public.

Steve Z
Reply to  Flight Level
August 23, 2019 1:52 pm

Nice Catch, Flight Level!

The title of the French article you linked can be translated “Is it true that the Photos of the Amazon in Flames are Mostly False?”

The linked article goes on to say that one of the photos was taken by a photographer who died in 2003; a second photo (supposedly from the Amazon) was actually taken in Washington State on July 3, 2019, and that fire was put out three days later; and a third photo was taken in the Amazon rain forest on November 22, 2014.

Articles circulated on social media can be extremely misleading. In this case, the article was supported by three photos, one of which was not even taken in Brazil, and the other two were at least five years old, long before Balsonaro was elected President of Brazil.

As President Trump would say, Fake News!

August 23, 2019 12:29 am

Amazon region fire count.

2019 so far (till Aug 21) about average.
Many more fires in 2003-2010 than 2011-2019.

Wil Tax
Reply to  MS25
August 23, 2019 2:18 am

This is true, and this an important issue. The whole story of a “doubled” number of forest fires is simply fakenews. A Dutch newspaper (that is usually rather alarmistic on climate issues) has published a correction yesterday of their earlier report: it turns out that the whole claim was based on miscalculations (for instance counting the same fire several times etc.)

August 23, 2019 12:30 am

BBC radio was blaming it all on the nasty president funded by big-farming and mining and being a climate denier.

I don’t know what’s happening exactly in Brazil at the moment, but it is a foretaste of what is to come under the dangerous CO2 climate change lie that the BBC is obsessed with promoting.

If you deny people economic prosperity, the ability to raise themselves out of poverty through cheap energy, then they will rape the environment around them to survive (and greed too) until there is nothing left. Then you really will have a planet where everything you claimed to want to save has gone.

It’s also a prime example of how throwing aid (in any form), or climate justice cash specifically, at other countries to save the planet is/will be money down the drain, you will at best persuade them to delay the inevitable destruction a few years.

Flight Level
August 23, 2019 1:16 am

Brazil is the racket turf of Rainforest Alliance. A label specialized in a variety of extorsion practices.

Anything cultivated or farmed in “their” areas of influence will be taxed (donations) or suffer public defamation and negative public relation efforts.

They are also known to influence (i.e. buy) the press/media by means of advertisement allocations.

Protected (that is, paying brands) will have their advertisement funds canalized to media favorable to greenwashing publications.

From there onwards, sky’s the limit.

As Occam’s razor goes, amongst all hypothesis, the simplest one is the best.

And amongst all hypothesis, “follow the money” is both simple and self-explanatory.

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 23, 2019 1:34 am

Last year was a rather dry year on the Yorkshire moors with some large wildfires raging. Most were caused by stupidity of campers. Several were proven to have been deliberate.

But wot got the blame? You guessed it, climate change.

August 23, 2019 2:40 am

“I would like to see more evidence. I’m open to the idea,”

Same here. Am open to the idea that this could be true but am skeptical without any evidence.

There have been quite a few incidents of faked racism and anti-gay attacks by the left over the years, so who knows?…

Mark Broderick
August 23, 2019 4:54 am

“The RCMP says arson is behind as many as 29 wildfires that scorched large swathes of the Okanagan Valley during the past four years.”

“Mounties believe the fires, which were reported in Naramata, Okanagan Falls, Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton, Summerland and Lake Country, were all deliberately set and all connected.”

August 23, 2019 5:10 am

Funny, he cut the NGOs off from the Eternal Feed Trough and suddenly there are wild fires popping up all over the country. AND he is using the money taken from them to fight the fires which have oh, so suddenly starting popping up.

August 23, 2019 5:46 am

Hollywood educated me into thinking that the Amazon was full of little
people with poisoned darts.

Possibly not true, but a pity if the Green NGO’s are setting fires.


August 23, 2019 5:51 am

The usual suspects are going nuts on twitter, and, as usual, are linking the fires to climate.

From a scientist who specializes in prehistorical fire in the Amazon: The current fires are without precedent in the past 20,000 years. These fires are not natural, they are being driven by greed, colonialism, and are a crime against humanity. We are in a climate emergency.

ferd berple(@ferdberple)
August 23, 2019 9:42 am

The claims are not baseless. They were made by the President of Brazil.

Would an NGO be willing to burn down a forest to increase funding?

Carbon taxes, offsets, cap and trade, REDD. These are all about money.

CO2 is not and never was about climate. It is about PANIC. Generating panic in the general population to separate them from their money.

Reply to  ferd berple
August 23, 2019 4:22 pm

“Would an NGO be willing to burn down a forest to increase funding?” Many have done far worse simply to misdirect attention from their actual, on ground, activities in many regions.

ferd berple(@ferdberple)
August 23, 2019 10:01 am

REDD 2 is a global land grab, funded to well meaning charity donations to NGO’s.

The Amazon is one of the main targets of this land grab.

Steve Z
August 23, 2019 1:31 pm

Even though Balsonaro has no evidence to support his claim, it wouldn’t be surprising if global-warming arsonists set the fires to blame Balsonaro for burning the Amazon forests.

If some group had the logistics, it wouldn’t be too hard for someone to parachute in with a kayak and some fire-starting materials at night, set a fire, paddle down-river a few miles, and be picked up the next night, without being detected, since there probably aren’t many radar installations covering the Amazon jungle. The arsonists would still have to escape the crocodiles and snakes!

Reply to  Steve Z
August 23, 2019 4:36 pm

“If some group had the logistics” NGOs have infiltrators salted throughout South America, all it takes is a few discreet cellphone calls and text messages and SHAZAM!, you have an astro-turfed protest, or some convenient
‘direct action” in some widely scattered locales just in time for the Western European/US evening news cycles.
press manipulation is so much easier when the press participates in said manipulation.

August 23, 2019 5:21 pm

Pretty much, whenever you see a reporter start off by labeling a politician as far right, you know that the piece that follows is nothing more than propaganda.

The political spectrum as defined by the left:
Communist, Socialist, far right, extreme right

Reply to  MarkW
August 24, 2019 8:44 am

I must correct you on this one:

The political spectrum as defined by the left:
Great, Good, Racist (neutral), Facist (Right), OMGTRUMP (reasonable)

August 23, 2019 5:37 pm

More Wildfires Are Burning In Angola & Congo Than Brazil

Johann Wundersamer
August 24, 2019 6:44 am

Nothing new under the sun –

How the Amazon rainforest fires started: Farmers do seasonal burns – Business …

· The fires in the Amazon are the result of seasonal burning that farmers do every year. … at the Brazilian Steel Conference in Brasilia, August 21, 2019.

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