G7 nations release funds to fight Amazon fires

The G7 nations have agreed to spend approximately $20 million to fight record fires of the Amazon rainforest.

The presidents of France and Chile announced the pledge at the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz on Monday, with the French leader, Emmanuel Macron, saying: “We must respond to the call of the forest which is burning today in the Amazon.”

The G7 club which comprises of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States have agreed to support a medium-term reforestation plan.

Satellite images reveal that Brazil had 85% more fires burnings this time than last year. Up to 80,626 nationwide forest fires as of Sunday night, of which more than half of the fires occurred last month alone.

The tropical forest covers more than five million square kilometres across nine countries, including Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Its often referred as the “lungs of the earth” producing more than 20 percent of the earth’s oxygen.

The forests protection is seen as vital to the fight against climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs.

The plan decided at the G7 will be implemented in two stages, said Chile’s Sebastian Pinera, who was invited to join the summit. “Countries urgently need firefighters and specialised water bombers. This will be the first step that will be implemented immediately. The second phase is to protect these forests, protect the biodiversity they contain and reforest this region of the world,” Pinera said.

Macron, the host of this year’s G7 summit, had declared the situation in the Amazon “an international crisis” and made the issue one of the gathering’s priorities.

He also threatened to block a huge new trade deal between the European Union and Latin America unless Bolsonaro, a climate change sceptic, takes serious steps to protect the Amazon.

Brazil would have to agree to any reforestation plan, as would local communities.

Meanwhile, 43,000 troops were sent to combat the fire. Military planes such as the C130 were pressed into service to airdrop chemicals to contain the fire.