August 27, 2019
BIARRITZ, France: The G7 countries have agreed to release 20 million euros ($22 million) for the Amazon, most of which will be used to send firefighting aircraft, a source in the French presidency said.
The club — comprising Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — has also agreed to support a medium-term reforestation plan, which will be unveiled at the United Nations in September, a presidential aide said.
On the final day of the G7 summit, the agenda included discussions of the fires destroying chunks of the Amazon, a scenario that European leaders have described as an assault on the so-called green lungs of the world.
Trump has been less vocal on the issue.
He also stands out from the rest of the G7 leaders in his budding friendship with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army officer who has given freer rein to industrial farmers and loggers, who have made the country an agribusiness power — at a huge cost to the environment.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged earlier Monday £10 million ($12.3 million) to help Amazon reforestation efforts, including in areas hit by the fires.
French President Emmanuel Macron has threatened to block an extensive new trade deal between the European Union (EU) and Latin America unless Bolsonaro takes more serious steps to combat global warming.
The fires across the world’s largest rainforest, which experts have blamed on rampant deforestation, have triggered a global outcry — with European nations leading the charge against Bolsonaro, who has made no secret of his skepticism about climate change.
The row has seen Brazilian politicians — including Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo — take potshots at Macron, with Education Minister Abraham Weintraub calling him “an opportunist idiot” and “a president without character” in a flurry of tweets Sunday.
Eduardo, who is tipped to be the next ambassador to Washington, on Friday retweeted a video showing violent yellow-vest protests in France headlined “Macron is an idiot,” calling it “a message” to the French leader.
Macron has accused Bolsonaro of lying about a June pledge to fight global warming and threatened to block efforts to seal a major trade deal between the EU and South America’s Mercosur nations over the Amazon crisis.
Ties between Brazil and France have plunged since Bolsonaro’s election. Last month, the Brazilian leader snubbed France’s top diplomat by canceling their meeting and getting a haircut instead, which he broadcast live on Facebook.
Jean-Yves Le Drian had angered Bolsonaro by meeting with nonprofits, which have been critical of the South American leader.
Last week, Bolsonaro accused nonprofit organizations of deliberately starting the fires after their funding was cut.
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