Amazon fires ‘acute emergency’, should be on G7 agenda: Germany

Berlin, August 23

The fires raging in the Amazon rainforest amount to an “acute emergency” and Chancellor Angela Merkel believes it should be discussed by world leaders when they meet for this weekend’s G7 summit, her spokesman said on Friday.

“The extent of the fires in the Amazon area is shocking and threatening and not only for Brazil and the other affected countries, but also for the whole world,” Steffen Seibert told journalists in Berlin.

“When the G7 comes together this weekend, then the chancellor is convinced that this acute emergency of the Amazon rainforest belongs on the agenda,” added Seibert, saying that Merkel backs French President Emmanuel Macron’s call on the G7 to address the issue at the summit in Biarritz.

Macron’s bid at rallying world leaders on the issue had been immediately blasted by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who accused the G7 summit host of having a “colonialist mentality”.

Bolsonaro is facing growing criticism over his anti-environment rhetoric, which activists blame for emboldening loggers, miners and farmers in the Amazon.

On Thursday, he denied his policies were to blame for the fires, but said Brazil was suffering an “environmental psychosis” which was hampering development.

Nearly 73,000 fires were recorded between January and August this year, compared with 39,759 in the first eight months of 2018, the embattled National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said Monday. — AFP