Aug 26, 2019

G7 leaders agree to $20 million aid package for Amazon fires

French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Pool/Getty Images

World leaders at the G7 summit agreed Monday to a $20 million aid package to help Brazil and neighboring South American countries fight fires in the Amazon rainforest, according to an announcement from French President Emmanuel Macron and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

Why it matters: Macron has been a main driver in ensuring world leaders address the severe climate impact of deforestation in the Amazon despite Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's refusal of any foreign aid.

The big picture, according to the New York Times: The announcement followed a G7 climate meeting focused on oceans and biodiversity, but President Trump was the only leader to not attend the meeting. A senior White House staffer participated in his place.

Go deeper: The Amazon rainforest — Earth's lungs — is burning

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Bolsonaro demands apology from Macron before accepting $20 million in Amazon aid

France's President Emmanuel Macron and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro at the G20 Summit in Osaka in June. Photo: Jacques Witt/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has said he will only accept a $20 million aid package from G7 nations to fight fires in the Amazon rainforest if French President Emmanuel Macron apologizes, according to the AP.

The big picture: Macron and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have traded barbs on Twitter over the fate of the Amazon, which has seen an 84% increase in wildfires this year compared to 2018. Bolsonaro has described the offer of international help as a “colonialist mentality," while Macron has questioned the Brazilian president's commitment to environmentalism. Per the AP, Bolsonaro says Macron must take back some of his comments "and then we can speak."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 27, 2019

In photos: The devastating impact of the Amazon rainforest fires

How the fires look from space. Photo: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory/Facebook

The Amazon rainforest has been ravaged by hundreds of fires for the past 3 weeks, and the Brazilian government has deployed 44,000 troops to battle the blazes.

Why it matters: World leaders at the G7 summit have pledged a $20 million aid package to help affected South American countries fight the blazes. The BBC notes that from 1980 to 2010, the rainforest's trees are estimated to have pulled in carbon dioxide equivalent to the fossil fuel emissions of most of the 9 countries that own or border it.

See photosArrowAug 27, 2019

Macron sticks the landing at G7 as Trump takes softer line on Iran

Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

The G7 summit began with a sense of impending doom and included a twist in the form of a surprise guest, but ended with smiles and a delicate breakthrough — President Trump may now be on course to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Driving the news: French President Emmanuel Macron, the host, revealed during a joint press conference with Trump today that he has been working to broker such a meeting. That explained his decision to invite Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Biarritz, a move that raised eyebrows around the world yesterday.

Go deeperArrowAug 27, 2019