Exclusive: As the fire at Amazon, Brazil tells her diplomats to fix the image

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BRASILIA (Reuters) – With global expulsion of deforestation and wild fires in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil launched diplomatic attacks to convince the international community of its environmental credentials.

A stream of Amazon tunnels at him is being cleaned by loggers and farmers in the state of Novo Airao, state of Amazonas, Brazil 21 August, 2019. REUTERS / Bruno Kelly

President Jair Bolsonaro's administration has distributed a 12 page circular to its foreign embassies, setting out the data and statistics intended by diplomats to defend the government's position on the crisis.

The circular, revised by Reuters and reported here for the first time, seeks to address 59 areas of fire by quoting different policies and data.

He comes as leaders from countries such as Britain, France and Germany who are concerned about the widespread fires. The President of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, persuaded Bolsonaro to be convinced when he was concerned about climate change at the G20 summit in June.

According to Reuters diplomats, pressure on Brazil has increased in recent days, and images of the rainforest are shown worldwide. Strong messages have been sent by members of the public to the Brazilian embassies, the diplomats said, asking Brasilia to send the circular.

The document seeks to rebut criticism of Brazil's environmental record, but does not take account of some of the more controversial policies of President Jair Bolsonaro.

He says, for example, that deforestation was successful in the mid-1990s and was reduced by 72% between 2004 and 2018.

It is not necessary to mention that deforestation is rising steadily since 2012, due to the struggling Brazilian economy and budget cuts resulting in less environmental enforcement.

This year, preliminary data suggests that the deforestation in Amazon of Brazil increased by 67% through July compared to the same period last year. The number of fires has increased by 83% this year.

“It is important to remember that Brazil has been able to preserve agricultural production in recent years,” says the document.

“More than 60% of the territory of Brazil (the Amazon) is covered by natural vegetation, with agricultural activities limited to about 30% of the territory."

He does not, however, say that Bolsonaro has repeatedly stated that he believes that Brazil is over-protected and that it should be open to farming and mining.

“Brazil has been active in controlling and restricting irregular activities involving land grablers, loggers and miners to reduce deforestation and invasion of native lands,” says circular.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Jamie McGeever wrote; Edited by Bernadette Baum

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