Amazon fires: Merkel and Macron urge G7 to debate ’emergency’
The French and German leaders want the issue debated at the G7 summit, but Brazil’s leader is angry….
The French and German leaders say the record number of fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is an international crisis which must be discussed at this weekend’s G7 summit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the “acute emergency” belonged on the agenda, agreeing with French President Emmanuel Macron’s earlier rallying cry.
“Our house is burning,” he tweeted.
Environmental groups say the fires are linked to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s policies, which he denies.
Mr Bolsonaro has also accused Mr Macron of meddling for “political gain”. He said calls to discuss the fires at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, which Brazil is not participating in, evoke “a misplaced colonialist mindset”.
The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.
It is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.
Satellite data published by the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) has shown an increase of 85% this year in fires across Brazil, most of them in the Amazon region.
Conservationists say Mr Bolsonaro has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.
Mr Bolsonaro has suggested that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) started the fires, but admitted he had no evidence for this claim. In comments on Thursday, he acknowledged that farmers might be involved in setting fires in the region, according to Reuters news agency.
Environmental groups have called for protests in cities across Brazil on Friday to demand action to combat the fires.
What have the leaders said?
Mr Macron, who will host the G7 summit of leading industrial nations at the weekend, warned that the health of the Amazon was a matter of international concern.
“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon – the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire,” Mr Macron tweeted, using the hashtag #ActForTheAmazon.
“It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 summit, let’s discuss this emergency.”