Brazil's Bolsonaro Fires Back at Macron After He Called for Amazon Fires to Be Top of G7 Agenda: 'Colonialist Mindset That Is Unacceptable'

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has hit back at French President Emmanuel Macron, after the European leader called on world leaders to push the issue of fires in the Amazon rainforest to the top of the agenda ahead of the upcoming G7 summit.

Recently released figures from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) showed an 83 percent increase in fire outbreaks in Brazil in comparison to the same period in 2018, representing the highest number of blazes since the agency began collecting such data in 2013, Reuters reported.

In fact, INPE says it has identified more than 72,000 fires in Brazil between January and August this year—more than half of which occurred in the Amazon region. That's comfortably more than the roughly 40,000 recorded in the entirety of 2018.

Yesterday, Macron posted a tweet that described the fires as an "international crisis," as concern grew around the world over the apparent lack of concern shown by Bolsonaro and his administration.

Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen - is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days! #ActForTheAmazon

— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 22, 2019

"Our house is burning. Literally," Macron said in his tweet. "Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days!"

Bolsonaro subsequently responded to Macron by posting a tweet of his own scalding his French counterpart for what he described as a "sensationalist tone," The Guardian reported.

"I regret that president Macron seeks to take advantage of what is a domestic Brazilian issue and of other Amazonian countries for personal political gain," Bolsonaro tweeted.

"The Brazilian Government remains open to dialogue, based on objective data and mutual respect," he wrote in a second post. "The French president's suggestion that Amazonian matters be discussed at the G7 without the involvement of countries of the region recalls the colonialist mindset that is unacceptable in the 21st century."

- O Governo brasileiro segue aberto ao diálogo, com base em dados objetivos e no respeito mútuo. A sugestão do presidente francês, de que assuntos amazônicos sejam discutidos no G7 sem a participação dos países da região, evoca mentalidade colonialista descabida no século XXI.

— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) August 22, 2019

Bolsonaro also pointed out that Macron had used a widely shared image of a fire in the Amazon that was more than a decade old, The Telegraph reported.

Following the online spat, Macron accused Bolsonaro of lying to him about Brazil's stance on climate change at the G20 summit earlier this year. As a result, France may not ratify a trade deal between the European Union and the South American trade bloc Mercosur.

"Given the attitude of Brazil over the last weeks, the president can only conclude that President Bolsonaro lied to him at the Osaka [G20] summit," a French presidential official said, according to AFP.

"Under these conditions, France will oppose the Mercosur [Free Trade Agreement with the EU] as it stands," the official added.

President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro delivers a speech during the International Youth Day celebration at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on August 16, 2019. EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images