İrem UZUN -TDO- Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has launched a cantankerous and conspiratorial defence of his environmental record, blaming French president Emmanuel Macron and the “deceitful” media for hyping this year’s fires in the Amazon.

Despite satellite data from the Brazilian Space Agency suggesting that fires increased by 84% in the first seven months of 2019, Jair Bolsonaro insisted that dry weather means such incidents are common at this time of year.

President also said that it was a "fallacy" to describe the Amazon as the heritage of humanity and a "misconception" that its forests were the lungs of the world. About 17 per cent of the Amazon has been destroyed over the last 50 years, with some scientists fearing the rainforest could reach an irreversible tipping point if that rises to 20 per cent or 25 per cent.

Environmentalists say Mr. Bolsonaro's policies have led to an increase in fires this year, and that he has encouraged cattle farmers to clear large areas of the rainforest since his election last October.

With Brazil battling to repair its overseas image after the Amazon fires crisis, some observers had expected Mr. Bolsonaro to strike a softer note at the UN summit. 

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