Brazil's Bolsonaro fires 'militant' head of climate change action group

(Reuters News, 10 May 2019) Sacking comes after climate forum organized states to work around right-wing federal government's ambiguous position on climate change.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fired the head of a government-backed climate forum, after the group organized states to work around the right-wing federal government's ambiguous positions on climate change.

The Brazil Forum for Climate Change was created by Bolsonaro's predecessor, Michel Temer, to formulate the country's plan to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is run in partnership with civil society groups.

Temer appointed Alfredo Sirkis to lead the forum. Sirkis, who describes himself as a "militant environmentalist," is a co-founder of the country's Green Party and a former congressman, as well as a former guerilla fighter who fought against Brazil's military dictatorship.

Sirkis told Reuters he was fired on Friday. He said the firing was probably related to the forum's initiative to organize 12 Brazilian states to create a council on climate change that would act independently from the federal government.

But he acknowledged it could be for many reasons, because his views on climate change were at odds with the new government's.

"For me it was absolutely no surprise," he said. "Because I'm a militant environmentalist for more than 30 years...I'm too politically involved in the environmental struggle."

His firing was published in the official government gazette, which named Sao Paulo state environment official Oswaldo dos Santos Lucon to fill the role.

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Reuters News, 10 May 2019: Brazil's Bolsonaro fires 'militant' head of climate change action group