G7 countries pledge $20m to tackle Amazon wildfires

Biarritz [France]: World leaders at the G7 summit in France on Monday pledged to spend a total amount of USD 22 million to fight the raging wildfires in the Amazon in South America that are threatening the world’s biggest rainforest.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is currently hosting the summit in the southwestern French city of Biarritz, and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, a visitor at the summit, said that the rainforest now being ravaged by the fires represents the “lungs” of the planet for its role in absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, Voce of America News reported.
Macron added that France within hours would provide military support in the region to fight the wildfires.

“We must respond to the call of the forest which is burning today in the Amazon,” Macron was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera after a meeting on climate change.

Macron and Pinera said that the G7 countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and France, were studying the possibility of similar aid to support Africa to fight wildfires in its rainforests.

Before the summit began, Macron had threatened to block a new European Union trade deal with Latin America unless Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took serious steps to fight the Amazon fires.

Following the decision, Bolsonaro, amid a global pressure to protect the environment, on Sunday dispatched two C-130 Hercules aircraft to help douse the blazes.

Macron said the United States supported the aid to South American countries even though President Donald Trump skipped Monday’s G7 working session on the environment.

More than 75,000 wildfires covering the Amazon region have been detected this year, with a large number of them this month.

Experts have blamed farmers and ranchers for the fires, accusing them of setting the fires to clear lands for farming.