our top story. welcome to newsday on the bbc. there's be another day of violent i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: after anger at the face mask ban — dozens of demonstrators unrest in hong kong. are detained in hong kong as violent clashes continue. they started firing volleys of tear gas, over these trees and down police in the territory fired tear into the street. the protesters are responding. gas at pro—democracy demonstrators, and arrested some who were among thousands to defy a law banning face masks. a second whistle blower has emerged in the controversy about president trump's phone call with his ukranian counterpart. mr trump is accused of asking the ukranians to dig for dirt on his rivaljoe biden. a second whistleblower comes forward in the impeachment case against donald trump — he says both of them are biased. i'm lewis vaughanjones in london. also in the programme. more than 500 hot air balloonists have taken to the skies of new mexico for the ' alba kirki international balloon fiesta', which was initially delayed by thick fog. that's all.
now on bbc news it's hardtalk with stephen sackur. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. the number of forest fires burning in the amazon rainforest may have dropped since the global alarm was raised in august but brazil's government is still feeling intense political heat. my guest today is a zillion environment minister ricardo sellers who is in europe trying to convince skip dick's that president boll scenario‘s government is not prioritising economic exploitation at the expense of environmental protection. how credible are the brazilian government's soothing
words? ricardo salles, welcome to hardtalk. thank you very much. thank for asking me. would you accept that the global concern raised by the sweeping forest fires that we saw in august burning swathes of amazon ra i nfo rest, august burning swathes of amazon ra i nforest, would august burning swathes of amazon rainforest, would you accept that that has put a new level of scrutiny on the actions of the brazilian government? definitely. we are already concerned about this problem of the burns, it begins in the middle ofjuly and when all the public opinion and people have raised this question, we also get into it and try to make the
solutions faster and more intensive. we will talk about solutions, specific responses from your government that it strikes me as interesting that in that concern expressed from many parts of the world about what was or was up to, senior members of the brazilian government chose to speak out, questioning the science on the idea of man—made global warming, climate change. why did so many of your senior clothing —— colleagues voiced doubts at this particular time?” think the government of was still now, we have different perspectives on that issue but the main one which has to prevail is the one that was enacted by the ministry of environment, actually i am the representative, along with the position that the president has supported and we have advanced all this climate change issues in the sense that we are taking it in a very serious way and observing all of the information and technical
support that we can. so speaking on behalf of the government as minister of environment, you are saying to me no question, this government, your government accept the scientific consensus on climate change, that man—made global warming is a real urgent threat? we do think it is a real threat and we also have in the position that we are trying to advance as much as possible all of the initiatives that we have, not only to mitigate the origin of this important issue but also the adaptation measures that in a country like wasilla, a very poor country, the consequences of this climate change are going to be very serious. so as far as the government's position, why did the foreign minister say a short time ago that climate change advocates we re ago that climate change advocates were stirring up alarmism for political ends, of a leftist conspiracy against brazil. we do respect the ambassador‘s position
made as a minister of environment, i have a different... he is plain wrong. actually, his delivery is in a very clean messaging what his own perspective on that and i do have mine and the government as a whole is doing whatever is necessary to ta ke is doing whatever is necessary to take the necessary measures whenever someone take the necessary measures whenever someone in the government or not believes in the proportion now of the human participation in climate change. and again, keeping this big picture of moment before we talk about the amazon rainforest, how worried are you that brazil appears to be way off target in terms of meeting the committee once it made under the paris climate accords. according to your own climate observatory in brazil, you are missing your targets for 2025 and 2030 by a question of up to 40% in terms of c02 and greenhouse gas emissions cuts. i don't think... this is an institution that goes against the government since the
beginning and they have raised questions against the positions we have adopted apart from that... but you are missing your target, you would accept that. you are way off track. not necessarily, depends. if you look at renewable resources, was ill has done excellent work. we have around 45% of renewable sources of energy. if you look at electrical based, we are 83% clean energy. but 46% of resilient emissions come from deforestation and land use connected with deforestation. it's true, but 396, with deforestation. it's true, but 3%, brazil has contribution at 2% of the worldwide contribution. —— contribution. 0ne the worldwide contribution. —— contribution. one third is deforestation, one third is urban and one third is the change of land use. we do need to address more on deforestation which corresponds to one third. it's one heck of a planetary responsibility that brazil has because of the importance, huge importance of the amazon rainforest.
emmanuel macron said when we saw those fires sweeping through the ra i nfo rest those fires sweeping through the ra i nforest in those fires sweeping through the rainforest in august, he said the amazon forest is a subject for the whole planet. we cannot allow you, thatis whole planet. we cannot allow you, that is you in brazil, to destroy everything. did you accept macron's premise that this is an issue of concern and a responsibility for the whole world, not just concern and a responsibility for the whole world, notjust your government in brazil. the environment is a worldwide concern and that's why we are so focused on trying to figure out the best way to manage the environment in brazil which is not only concerned about the amazon but also human agenda, sanitation and so on so we do accept the environment is a worldwide concern, it's true. i guess you must accept that you are failing, not just yourselves but the world. when we see your latest figures from your satellite in space agency suggesting in the first nine months of 2019, the number of fires in the amazon is up the number of fires in the amazon is up 42% on the previous year. that is
a story of total failure. it was august. if you look into september figures, for instance, you see that september is the lower number since 2013. the latest figure that came out a couple of days ago for the entire nine—month period, january through september. yes, there was a spike in august but it was down in september. i'm taking the whole nine months span, january to september, forest fires, 42% up. months span, january to september, forest fires, 4296 up. this year, if you look, compared to 2018 and 2018 was a year with very low numbers of buyers but especially things related to the climate. it's more humid, more rain, appropriate numbers for reducing the fires. if you compared to 2018, there is a huge difference, you are correct but if you look at historical numbers, we are in the average and this month, it's going
down again so the historical numbers are in the average numbers. the problem is, it doesn't seem that your government is serious about tackling the problem of illegal fires and illegal deforestation because your own president said in the midst of this august crisis with the midst of this august crisis with the fire spreading, he said, who are the fire spreading, he said, who are the biggest suspects for lighting the biggest suspects for lighting the fires? it is the ngos, the non—governmental organisations. what an absurd thing for your president sue suggest. you can imagine that the president and the cabinet receives information from many different parts and at that time, we have received as cabinet as a whole information from many different sources saying people were setting fires on purpose. it was not confirmed from certain points but at that moment, it was some of the arguments that came out. there are no questions these fires were set on purpose but the clear objective of the people setting the fires was to burn the trees to create new lands
to be cultivated. that's true, that's correct. why would your president suggest the ngos were involved and then go on to fire the highly respected boss of the space and satellite agency, saying that ricardo galvao was at the service of the ngos? what is the president doing and thinking? there is a whole narrative conflict in brazil since jair bolsonaro was elected, and the left lost the position in government and this whole change by the conservatives and liberals. there is a whole lot that explains this. but you speak to the environment agency. your president is direct undermining the fight that i imagine you believe is the right fight against those illegal organisations, criminals we re illegal organisations, criminals were setting fire to the rainforest in order to destroyed and created new lands of agriculture. the
president is undermining your effo rts president is undermining your efforts to stop that. we need to make this effort to stop the much more strong. some of the strategies that we can implement to do that is by understand and focus on the reasons why we have so much pressure over the forest. it is made by the agricultural but not only. it comes from the illegal mining extraction. indeed. also other illegal activities, the removal of trees, the illegal market for wood there is a whole complex thing we need to focus on the origins in the region expect the reason why these pressures a re expect the reason why these pressures are going up. again, it's a question of will, isn't it? i also looked into the detail of the august fires. it was extraordinary to see on august ten in one of the areas of ra i nfo rest on august ten in one of the areas of rainforest which is most at risk around a town called novo progresso, dozens around a town called novo progresso, d oze ns of around a town called novo progresso, dozens of farmers declared in public they were going to start fires in
protest to restrictions and regulations. this was in the public domain. sure enough on august ten, those fires were lit. the government including agencies you are responsible for had done nothing to prevent it. why? the environment agency, we immediate sent official letters to police authorities because it's a matterfor letters to police authorities because it's a matter for police, criminal activity. he immediately sent a visual transmission or information to police to act and they started investigation. u nfortu nately we they started investigation. unfortunately we did have problems that delayed a few days from the beginning of such investigation but it is going now and the federal police is in charge of that and as no we don't have... you realise to an outside area, you saying you sent an outside area, you saying you sent a few letters sounds absurd. it's official how to communicate between the environment in itsy and the authorities. we say we receive that information, we were supposed to
act? it goes further than this. you as environment minister took your position before the world became concerned about the fires but unable, you cut the budget for ibama, one of the key agencies. why did you do it? we didn't. the whole government in brazil received a budget cut from the ministry of economy. the ministry of environment, we decided to have those cuts over administrative cuts and overheads, not the final activities which are mainly focused on disco lies asian and control. it didn't get any cuts. that is not what the ibama officials themselves say. one official quoted in a recent human rights watch quoted report on what they called the mafia behind the fires, one ibama officials said they, the organised criminals doing they, the organised criminals doing the fire lighting, they believe they will be able to do whatever they wa nt will be able to do whatever they want and they won't have fines
imposed upon them or their equipment destroyed because of the weakness in our organisation. the weakness is true but it didn't come from that. we have been facing the reduction of the work force by 50% for the past couple of years. we also face the reduction of lead, the destruction of the buildings, the whole management process is being suffered by that so it's not a question of being made on purpose for now but the whole process that is coming on. let me be very honest with you, minister salles, it looks from your record that you don't believe in increasing regulatory protections and law enforcement against those who are cutting down the forest. you said in the financial times on the 23rd of august, the solution to illegal logging in the amazon is to monetise it by opening up more areas to commercial development. you quite plainly are on the side of the loggers and big business, you are not on the side of the forest.“
loggers and big business, you are not on the side of the forest. if we don't provide an economic alternative for that sustainable develop for more than 20 million people who live in the amazon, they will go after the forest as a source of income for themselves so what i said to that interview was we need to find out away whether it is an economy agenda or other things in order to give such opportunity for them to have an alternative source of income and jobs. if you don't do that, we want to have this alternative and they go after the forests as a source alternative and they go after the forests as a source of income. but in the end, it comes down to where your loyalties lie. who do you believe you are serving? it seems even now as federal environment minister, yourfirst even now as federal environment minister, your first interest is even now as federal environment minister, yourfirst interest is in serving the interests of big business stop look at your own record. when you ran the environment agency in the state of sao paulo, a judge found that you had broken the law in your attempt to help mining interests get their hands on new
lands. he didn't say mining company. is at idid the he didn't say mining company. is at i did the change of the maps because they was trying to advance the developing agender.” they was trying to advance the developing agender. i am going to go to thejudge, they developing agender. i am going to go to the judge, they may. the developing agender. i am going to go to thejudge, they may. thejudge declared, and i'm quoting, you, as the man involved at the time heading up the man involved at the time heading up the environment agency" attended the economic interests of a restricted group, and by that he meant the mining interest... " that is interpretation. this is the key phrase. "in detriment to the environment." in the socialist views sometimes it is not appropriating the permitted development is... you fiddle them up. you broke the law. you are found guilty. that is what he said. that it is not true. we we re he said. that it is not true. we were trying to establish the para meters were trying to establish the parameters for this economic development, because without economic development, the sustainable way, there are no resources to take care of the
environment. 84 environment ministers have looked at the way you are running the environment ministry and they have expressed grave concern that the ministry is being depleted of its powers, being stripped ofjurisdiction over the country's water agency, forestry service, that senior officials have been eliminated, including the secretary on climate change. once again, it's the whole group of people who lost the election. if you put the observatory of climate, there are eight prior ministers... eight former ministers look at the way you are handling the ministry and they say you are betraying the interests of the brazilian environment. no, we are betraying their left—wing interests and perspectives, which i believe did not... because you are all about, in your entire career, representing big businesses. not big business. i'm representing the laws of the market, the logic and rationale in things that generate prosperity. prosperity
which can sustain the environmental ability. they have made all of these comments and they have forgotten they were seated over there and they we re they were seated over there and they were not able to provide some sort of prosperity with social and environmental sustainability to the people who used to live there. are you not concerned since mr bolsonaro came to power, since he had been due to run the environment ministry, the international community has lost faith in brazil's commitment to protecting its vital natural assets? that is why norway, for example, in germany as well, have suspended all future funding for the amazon fund stop and in terms of norway that means they, having given you the best pa rt means they, having given you the best part of $1 billion, will no longer give you crucial assets for the amazon. ijust came longer give you crucial assets for the amazon. i just came from longer give you crucial assets for the amazon. ijust came from germany now and we just established with the german government the grounds for the continuation of that fund. as of now, despite the meetings you have
just had, those funds remain block. their block because the hold funds as its statute is not enforced now. we need to remodel that —— their blocked. the simple reason they are blocked. the simple reason they are blocked is because governments, such as the german, the norwegian, have lost faith in brazil's determination to fight for the amazon on, for the environment. the environment of everybody, everywhere is of concern. brazil has done an excellentjob. we have 84% of the amazon preserved. as opposed to many other countries that may criticise us, they have no forest anymore. it is about trajectory though, isn't it, if we look not just at the illegal logging, which you have suggested you are going to work with loggers because you believe they have to be given a livelihood, but also look at mining, look at roadbuilding, look at the plans of your government. every which way there are proposals on the table which are going to further destroy swathes of the
amazon rainforest. but this conflict, stephen, between having sustainable development or quite the opposite, assumed this as destroying, i don't think it is correct. we can have some sort of development in a sustainable basis and then in the same time provide some sort of infrastructure. the worst thing for the environment is poverty. we have to address that.” suppose one litmus test of how serious you are about trying to balance the different interests is your attitude to the indigenous peoples. the figures are fascinating. less than 1 peoples. the figures are fascinating. less than1 million indigenous people live in what is pretty much 13% of the brazilian landmass. 0bviously mostly in the amazon rainforest. in 2017, your president, joe bolsonaro, said, and he was looking about the indigenous peoples, "minorities have to bend down to the majority. they should either adapt or simply vanish."
that's the mentality we see today from your government towards the indigenous peoples of the amazon ra i nfo rest. indigenous peoples of the amazon rainforest. no. i think it is indigenous peoples of the amazon rainforest. no. ithink it is quite the opposite. what the president is doing now is trying to entitle indigenous to decide by their own... what did you think of the presents was back then? he said... simply vanish. he did not mean that. his position has been to provide as much as possible capabilities to indigenous to decide by their own, instead of third parties, deciding their position. there are hundreds of different restricted indigenous zones within the amazon forest. how many have you visited? around ten. ten. so it is much less than 10%. but i am not in charge of the indigenous land. this is not the ministry... but the relationship
between the two so clear. they are threatened by so many of the illegal developments that the brazilian government appears to be ready to turn a blind eye two. let me quote you one indigenous leader. he speaks for his people. " my people didn't tell anybody that we want to become white, that we want mining, that we wa nt white, that we want mining, that we want money. he said monies like the wind, comes goes, but this forest is a sacred place and we do not want the right people to ruin it." what you say to him? we will respecting. for those people who want to keep their lifestyle the wages it will be respected. i can because you five different places where the indigenous leaders said to me, they said they wanted to produce, they wa nt to said they wanted to produce, they want to do other things, they want to ta ke want to do other things, they want to take children to school and have a number sort of opportunity. why
have the illegal invasions of indigenous lands in brazil exploded by more than 40% in the past nine months? i would say it comes from many different places, it comes also from abroad, the pressure of the mining... isn't it because of the pro—business message that your government sends out and, frankly, a message which says if you do things illegally, if you do things grimly, we will tolerate it? we will not tolerate it. this covenant is going against everything that is illegal. the first time in history brazil... you are doing a betterjob of it. the figures suggest illegality is rising. we have not had in nine months of government single case of corruption in brazil. we have not had one single case of this respecting the law. this narrative is not correct. this is the government of zero tolerance for illegal activities by any means. they want to and with one more set of words from somebody rather different. from greta thunberg in
new york. you were in new york, too. you may have listen to this while you're there. i don't know if you win the un general assembly at the time. she said this. she wasn't talking just you, of course, humanity. "you have stolen your dreams, my childhood, with your empty words. we are at the beginning ofa empty words. we are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. how dare you?" what do you think she think of your government policies today? well, she has the right to think whatever she wants. i do have my own position as a minister. i have the obligation, the responsibility to deliver solutions to the environment also to the brazilian people. these empty words that she expressed, ideal agree 100%, in this environmental scenario, we have been facing a lot of empty words are so far, using people's and taxpayers' money for things that have no
generator results. so what we're trying to do was a public policy really generates results and that is very responsible with taxpayers' funds and with the goals that we are supposed to achieve and things that we are supposed to achieve and things that we a re really supposed to achieve and things that we are really going to deliver. ricardo salles, we have to when there. but i think you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you so much. thank you. hello. it has been another very wet to 24 hours for some. western scotland, overnight into sunday, had nearly 60 millimetres of rain. in places in east anglia, we had 40—50 millimetres of rain through the course of sunday, which has resulted in flooding. and, in fact, there are a number
of flood warnings in force across the rivers of scotland and england. and with more rain to come in the next 24 hours that's not good news. the grounds saturated as well. but more rain is what we have. this next dominant area of low pressure is advancing in. so we're looking at severe galeforce winds through the course of the day across parts of northern and western scotland and gales in other areas in the north and west as well. combined with yet more rain it will be particularly unpleasant as we go through the rush hour. we could see some mist and some fog under the clearer skies further east. but a very windy day across northern and western areas, very wet through the rush hour as well. we're not as expecting as much rain as we've had in the past 24 hours, but nevertheless the ground is saturated so it will go straight onto the roads and into the rivers. there will be lots of spray and standing water for those travelling. and, of course, the strong and gusty winds, which will eventually blow the rain away from scotland
and northern ireland, allow brighter skies, but heavy showers to follow. and it could take much of the day for that rain to get into southern and eastern areas, once the fog has cleared away. it doesn't look as wet for east anglia as it was during the day on sunday. but nevertheless more rain is not good news. now, it does meander its way into the near continent as we head into tuesday morning. it's very close by, so it drags its heels a little bit. and then that low pressure is moving a little closer to the north—west of scotland. so still windy in northern and western areas. but windier, potentially, across england and wales on tuesday, which will blow the showers in. so it's more of a showery day. but the showers will tend to merge at times to give longer spells of rain. strong and gusty winds will blow them right the way east across england and across scotland, northern ireland and wales as well. and they will be heavy. there will be torrential downpours with hail and with lightning and therefore thunder. but temperatures are doing quite well. no real frost worries this week. temperatures by day a little above average. another very showery picture as you can see on wednesday, perhaps clumping together in places to give longer spells of rain. and perhaps fewer reaching eastern areas, but we're clutching at straws for the detail.
the devil is in the detail this week. of course there will be some sunshine, but it will often be quite windy without low pressure sat close by. no sooner does that one start to move away then by the end of the week we have another area of low pressure coming in and yet more weather fronts with those. so as ever you can stay up—to—date on the website.