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Leaders agree on Amazon aid package at G7 Summit

The announcements followed a session on climate, the oceans and biodiversity that included representatives of several countries that are not members of the Group of 7.

By: New York Times |
Updated: August 26, 2019 8:27:49 pm
Amazon fires, Amazon Rainforest fires, Amazon fire, G-7 Summit Amazon, Indian Express world news Fire consumes an area in the Alvorada da Amazonia region, in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. The country’s satellite monitoring agency has recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year, with more than half of those coming in August alone. (AP)

(Written by Peter Baker)

The Group of 7 agreed on a $20 million aid package to help Brazil and its neighbours fight the fires raging in the Amazon rain forest, President Emmanuel Macron of France said Monday at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France.

Macron and President Sebastián Piñera of Chile said they also had reached an agreement in concept with the countries of the Amazon basin for a long-term program of forest protection and reforestation of cleared lands. They said more details might be presented next month at the UN General Assembly.

The announcements followed a session on climate, the oceans and biodiversity that included representatives of several countries that are not members of the Group of 7.

Amazon fires, Amazon Rainforest fires, Amazon fire, G-7 Summit Amazon, Indian Express world news French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera attend a joint press conference that focused on climate during the G7 summit Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 in Biarritz. (AP)

President Donald Trump, who was holding meetings with other leaders, did not attend that session, according to Macron. The White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said a senior member of the administration took part in his place.

Read | Telling numbers: Counting Amazon fires, assessing forest lost

Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have called the Amazon fires a global crisis and a significant contributor to climate change, and insisted that the Group of 7 address it.

Amazon fires, Amazon Rainforest fires, Amazon fire, G-7 Summit Amazon, Indian Express world news Fire consumes a field along the BR 070 highway near Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP)

The fires accelerate depletion of one of the world’s largest forests, a crucial sink for the atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming. They also threaten indigenous peoples and shrinking wildlife habitat.

Even before the recent fires, deforestation had accelerated since Jair Bolsonaro became president of Brazil, and environmental groups have accused him of encouraging it. Fires in the Amazon are often set intentionally — and illegally — to clear forests for farming or ranching.

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