U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz on Thursday proposed that the United States suspend U.S. funding to Brazil until there is a resolution to the burning of the Amazon rain forest.

CNN reported Wednesday that fires are “raging at a record rate” and that scientists warn that “it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change.”

Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, chairs the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
He said in a statement from his office:

“The Amazon is literally on fire. And instead of confronting this crisis, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has pointed the finger at nongovernmental organizations charged with protecting the rain forest and called his own government’s reports on deforestation fake. The United States cannot treat this as business as usual.

“The Trump Administration must communicate that the U.S.-Brazil bilateral relationship is in danger, and American companies in Brazil must pledge to pull out if the Bolsonaro government doesn’t reverse course and stop giving license to cattle ranchers and others to torch the rain forest.

“When the Senate returns, I will be working with my colleagues to hold every source of funding we provide to Brazil in abeyance until this crisis is over.”

It’s unclear how successful Schatz will be in his quest.

President Donald Trump admires Bolsonaro and does not believe in climate change.

The Republican-controlled Senate has also been disinclined to address global warming.

But what’s happening in Brazil is serious.

“The Amazon is often referred to as the planet’s lungs, producing 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere,” said CNN.

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