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  1. ITV Report

Protesters heckle Brazilian environment minister at climate event amid Amazon wildfires

Protesters have booed and jeered the Brazilian environment minister demanding the country's government take action against climate change.

The calls come as a wildfire the size of the UK is tearing through the Amazon rainforest, with no end in sight.

Activists demanded action on climate change and deforestation during a session at the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week in Salvador.

The session was attended by Brazil's environmental minister Ricardo Salles, who gave a speech which was almost drowned out by boos and jeers and activists waving a placards, with one reading: "Don't you get tired of your own lies?"

Protesters at the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week Credit: AP

Salles said: "In this important moment that we are going through in the world, with climate changes, with the necessity to take actions to mitigate, adapt, invest, (create) opportunities for Brazil in order to show that sustainability matters, that there some that are already doing well and others that need to be improved.

"Also, (to provide an) opportunity for investment and development of resources."

Protesters holding up signs, saying: Credit: AP

Ilan Zugman, an environmental activist from the non-governmental organisation 360 told Associated Press: “We are not seeing concrete actions, it is just talking and no action.

“The sciences are already speaking about the urgency of climate change, the importance to contain the emissions of greenhouse gases, CO2, methane, and to stop the burning and deforestation of our forests, if we want to have a healthy and clean future for future generations."

Authorities attempted to control brush fires burn across Brazil. Credit: AP

The environment minister and the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, are under pressure to comply with Brazil's pledge to fight global warming, amid a gargantuan blaze ripping through the Amazon rainforest.

Thousands of acres of the rainforest have burned, with a total of 74,000 blazes burning over the past couple of weeks.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, a federal agency monitoring deforestation and wildfires, said the country has seen a record number of wildfires this year.

A blaze has been tearing through the Amazon has been burning for weeks. Credit: AP

President Bolsonaro, a far-right climate skeptic, suggested without citing evidence that opposing organisations could be starting fires to make him look bad.

He told Associated Press: "The fires in the Amazon that, from my understanding, could be intensified by NGOs, because they lose money, with the intention to bring problems to Brazil."

Brazil’s complacency on fighting deforestation has led to the EU axing funding for sustainability projects in the rainforests.

Smoke can be seen from Space over Brazil as the fires continue to rage. Credit: PA

The president has also indicated he may pull Brazil out of the Paris Climate Agreement on climate change, and could open the globally vital Amazon rainforest to development and agribusiness.

He attempted to justify it, stating: "If it was good, America (The US) would have not left (the Paris Agreement).

"If we are going to leave one day, it depends on who is on our side. I can take some fights if I have strong people on my side."

Brazil's far-right president Jair Bolsonaro (left) with environment minister Ricardo Salles. Credit: AP

Ricardo Galvao, National Institute for Space Research, told ITV News if the government doesn’t act now, the forest could be irreparable in the future.

“It is clear there is an ideological position against science. If the government does not take very strong action curbing further progress of deforestation, we expect in 10-20 years we are going to reach a situation of no return,” he said.