Trump emboldens Bolsonero to ignore Amazon Fires & Climate Change

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26/08/2019

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G7: Trump skips talks on climate crisis and Amazon fires

US president misses key G7 meeting as summit agrees €20m fund to fight wildfires

Donald Trump’s empty chair at the G7 talks on the climate emergency
Donald Trump’s empty chair at the G7 talks on the climate emergency on Monday. Photograph: POOL/Reuters

Donald Trump did not attend Monday’s crucial discussion on climate and biodiversity at the G7 meeting of international leaders in Biarritz, missing talks on how to deal with the Amazon rainforest fires as well as new ways to cut carbon emissions.

Reporters noticed at the start of the session that the US president’s chair was empty.

Trump was later asked by reporters covering a meeting with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, whether he had attended the climate session. He replied: “We’re having it in a little while.” He did not appear to hear when a reporter told him it had just taken place.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, confirmed Trump had not personally attended the climate session but that Trump’s team had been present.

He said he had held long and in-depth talks with Trump on the Amazon fires and that the US president “shares our objectives” and was “fully engaged” in the joint G7 effort to help Brazil put out the fires and reforest.

Macron had placed the climate emergency and protection of biodiversity at the heart of the summit, even before the Amazon rainforest fires.

But just before the session began on Saturday, it appeared that Trump’s entourage felt discussing climate was of little importance, compared with the economy. Reports in the US said senior Trump aides felt Macron was seeking to embarrass his US counterpart by making the summit focus on “niche issues” such as climate change or gender equality.

In 2017, Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord.

Macron announced that the G7 had agreed to an immediate fund of at least $20m (£16m) to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.

He said the Amazon was the “lungs” of the planet and leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests.

All G7 countries – the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Canada – would give technical and financial help to fight the Amazon fires.

Macron had shunted the Amazon fires to the top of the summit agenda after declaring them a global emergency, and kicked off discussions about the disaster at a welcome dinner for fellow leaders on Saturday.

By: Angelique Chrisafis in Biarritz Source: The Guardian

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Amazon fires: Bolsonaro rages at ‘colonial’ G7 leaders over £16m aid deal to fight Brazil blazes

‘Respect for sovereignty is the least that can be expected in a civilised world,’ says far-right president

Jair Bolsonaro has lashed out at world leaders for agreeing an emergency aid package of $20m (£16.36m) to urgently tackle fires spreading across swathes of the Amazon rainforest.

Leaders of the G7 wealthy nations have pledged the money to try to halt the destruction of the “lungs” of the world, Earth’s biggest sink for damaging greenhouse gases.

But Brazil’s president accused the other presidents and prime ministers of treating his country like “a colony or no-man’s land” and attacking its sovereignty. It is not clear yet whether the Brazilian president has accepted the funds.

“Countries urgently need firefighters and specialised water bombers. This will be the first step that will be implemented immediately,” said Sebastian Pinera, the president of Chile.

“The second phase is to protect these forests, protect the biodiversity they contain and reforest this region of the world,” he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron said G7 countries were ready to provide concrete support to the region, as he announced the aid plan at a meeting of the G7 in Biarritz.

The seven would draw up an initiative for the Amazon that would be launched at next month’s UN General Assembly in New York, he said.

France would offer military support “in the coming hours”, Mr Macron said, adding that leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests. 

More than 41,000 blazes are ravaging rainforests in Brazil and Bolivia, many thought to have been started deliberately. The damage is so extensive that Greenpeace has described some areas as “almost a cemetery”.

Brazil has the world’s richest biodiversity, with thousands of species of wildlife, from jaguar to monkeys and frogs, while the forests absorb carbon emissions.

But Mr Bolsonaro tweeted: “We cannot accept that a president, Macron, unleashes unreasonable and gratuitous attacks on the Amazon, nor disguises his intentions behind the idea of an ‘alliance’ of the countries. G-7 to ‘save’ the Amazon, as if we were a colony or no man’s land.”

He also wrote: “Other heads of state sympathised with Brazil, after all respect for the sovereignty of any country is the least that can be expected in a civilised world.”

Donald Trump, meanwhile, skipped Monday’s working session on climate, biodiversity and oceans. Boris Johnson highlighted a separate pledge of £10m from the UK to help halt the Amazon destruction.

A spokesman for the Worldwide Fund for Nature said: “If we lose the Amazon, we lose the fight against climate change, as well a huge number of plants and animals found nowhere else.”

And he called for the UK government to ensure all future trade deals were “part of the solution, not the problem”.

Ricardo Salles, Brazil’s environment minister, welcomed the G7’s financial aid, blaming “irrational and demagogic” public policies from previous governments for the fires. 

Mr Bolsonaro, who has been intent on opening the Amazon to more farming and mining, has encouraged ranchers to clear farmland and has weakened punishments for environmental crime. 

As the leaders’ war of words escalated, Mr Macron savaged Mr Bolsonaro for “extraordinarily disrespectful comments” about his wife. 

The French president has threatened to block a European trade deal with South America over the wildfires and “lies” over containing deforestation. 

He said Brazilian women were “doubtless ashamed to read that about their president” and that he hoped the country would soon have a president who behaved according to the standards of the office.

By: Jane Dalton Source: The Independent

EDITORIAL COMMITTEE:

Mariana Almeida

Arno Ambrosius

David Dunham

Gustavo López Ospina

Gertjan Storm

Editor: Pieter Jan Brouwer

“Amazon Pink Dolphin” is the official blog of SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras. The intention of the blog is to generate debate on environmental issues; the Amazon Rain forest in particular. Contributions and support are done on a voluntary basis and do not imply institutional affiliation.  Similarly opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the official position of SVSF.

All Title photographs of the Amazon Pink fresh water Dolphin are the creation of Kevin Schafer.

~ by SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras on 26 August, 2019.

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