I have been contacted by a number of constituents concerned with the government’s lack of action on the recent Amazon Rainforest fires. £10 million is not enough to combat the effects of the fires and to preserve an essential ecosystem which accounts for 10% of the world’s biodiversity and responsible for absorbing millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.
Our government must do more because, whilst this is not a national issue, it is an issue which will have global effects. If the rainforest isn’t preserved, it will lead to increasing carbon emissions and therefore further global warming.
Unfortunately, the President of Brazil has rejected the aid of the G7, and any responsibility for the fires. This is despite mounting evidence which shows that the fires are being started as a result of his policies to open up the rainforest for development, whilst not cracking down on illegal deforestation.
It is the UK government’s responsibility to show that, as a nation, we do not support the President’s anti-environmentalist stance on the Amazon Rainforest. We cannot accept the President’s refusal to take responsibility in causing destruction to the rainforest, and lack of action to preserve and regenerate it.
We should stand with the Prime Minister of Ireland and the President of France who have stated that they will vote against a trade deal between the EU and South American trade bloc Mercosur unless Brazil acts to protect the rainforest. Our country should follow their example in order to prevent further global warming and to preserve the habitats of endangered species.
However, our Prime Minister is reluctant to put the environment above economic trade, as he stated: “I think I would be reluctant to do anything at this very difficult time for global free trade, to cancel another trade deal.”
Several members of the Shadow Frontbench co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister on 23 August 2019, calling for the immediate introduction of “tough measures to stop UK companies from aiding and abetting the destruction of the Amazon.”
My Labour colleagues and I have spoken out against environmental injustices many times in the past and I am sure you will join us in the belief that more needs to be done to protect the Amazon Rainforest. It would be wrong for the UK to continue contributing to the deforestation and exploitation of one of the most important ecosystems in the world.