Published: Fri, August 30, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Brazil rejects $20 million of Amazon fire aid from G7

Brazil rejects $20 million of Amazon fire aid from G7

Even French President Emmanuel Macron, who has led the charge for worldwide relief and solutions for the Amazon wildfire and has pledged aid from France, said on Twitter that he would consider starting a similar initiative for sub-Saharan Africa.

The blazes in the Amazon have caused a spat between Bolsonaro and French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been vocal about the need for an global response to the fires. Macron has called Bolsonaro a liar and said Brazilian women are "probably ashamed" of him.

Thousands of angry protestors in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and in 30 other locations throughout the country on Sunday demanded president Jair Bolsonaro, an avowed climate change denier, take more action to douse the thousands of raging wildfires laying waste to the Amazon rainforest under the country's control.

A Bolsonaro supporter posted this meme mocking Brigitte Macron, 66, and comparing her unfavourably with Brazil's first lady 37-year-old Michelle Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro lashed out at the French leader over his criticism and suggested NGOs could be setting the fires to embarrass him - without giving any evidence to back the claim.

Meanwhile, the approval rating of Mr Bolsonaro's right-wing government has plunged to 29.4 per cent in August from 38.9 per cent in February, according to a poll published on Monday that showed a majority of Brazilians are unhappy with his performance.

Bolsonaro launched another tirade against Macron, accusing the French president of unleashing "unreasonable and gratuitous attacks on the Amazon".

Bolsonaro on Monday morning again critiqued Macron, saying that the G-7 talks of "saving" the Amazon "as if we were a colony or no man's land".

After weeks of initial neglect, social media and news headlines are finally onto the fact that Brazil's Amazon rainforest is ablaze.

Since forest fires swept through the Amazon this month, Macron and Bolsonaro have been locked in a war of words seen as the worst diplomatic crisis between France and Brazil in 40 years.

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Brazil's environment minister said the aid was welcome and that his government should decide how the resources would be used.

Mr Bolsonaro has previously been condemned for describing rainforest protections as an obstacle to Brazil's economic development, sparring with critics who say the Amazon produces vast amounts of oxygen and is considered crucial for efforts to contain climate change.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday pledged "complete support" for Bolsonaro.

Following this threat, Bolsonaro committed over 44,000 Brazilian troops to combat the fires.

He said the first step was to cover the emergency and collaborate with Amazonian countries in fighting the fires.

But at the weekend Bolsonaro finally caved into worldwide pressure to save a region crucial for maintaining a stable global climate, deploying two aircraft to douse the fires and authorising the army to help tackle the blazes.

Bolsonaro's government had found itself under increasing worldwide pressure over its environmental policies even before the major fires broke out earlier this month.

A fire burns along the road to Jacunda National Forest in Brazil on Monday.

Here's a look at some of the numbers that define the fires burning in the Amazon this week.

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