Brazil’s Bolsonaro Fires Back at Amazon Deforestation Data

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro criticized data showing increased deforestation in the Amazon region in June, saying that the “false” numbers damage both his own image and that of his country.

In a press conference alongside his environment and foreign affairs ministers, Bolsonaro said that the “sensationalist” figures showing an 88% expansion in Amazon deforestation between June 2018 and June 2019 jeopardized Brazil’s foreign relations. The president blamed the numbers on a biased political operatives and threaten to fire anyone who had been found to manipulate the data to make his administration look bad.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Fires Back at Amazon Deforestation Data

“We suffer all kinds of attacks, and Brazil’s image, and my personal image, is terrible abroad due to the labels placed on me,” Bolsonaro said. “These labels have to be dismissed step by step by using the truth. Everything regarding the environment has a huge foreign repercussion.”

Environment Minister Ricardo Salles presented technical explanations to dismiss the deforestation data. He said that the June numbers had included some data from previous months and that some areas had been counted twice.

Salles added that Brazil would update its technological tools to account for deforestation and conceded that the country needs to improve oversight to preserve the Amazon. He also said he is seeking to incorporate the people living in the rain forest into the economy, allowing for both its exploration and its preservation.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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