The fires raging across large parts of South America are everyone’s problem. They are literally fanning the flames of global warming and bring sharply into view the global role the Amazon rainforest plays in regulating the world’s climate.

More than that, the fires also raise stark questions about responsibility. Who should be held directly to account for a crisis? Farmers? Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for rolling back environmental protection and starving environmental agencies of funding? Or the buyers of agricultural commodities such as beef, soya beans and timber that are a major driver of converting forests into farmlands?

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