Brazil’s government has told G7 leaders that it will reject the $20 million (€17.9 million) pledged to combat the fires that are currently raging in the Amazon.
The chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro, Onyx Lorenzoni, told Brazilian media that rather than send the money to Brazil, the resources should be used to “reforest Europe”.
He went on to accuse French President Emmanuel Macron of failing to tackle the blaze that hit the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris in August.
The money was pledged on the final day of the G7 in Biarritz, which brought together the leaders of the world’s industrialised nations, Canada, Japan, the U.S., France, Germany, the UK and Italy.
Macron said that the cash could be used to pay for planes to put out the fires and that France could also provide military support.
The French president’s intervention riled Bolsonaro, who accused France of treating Brazil like a colony. The Brazilian leader also insulted Macron’s wife.
Bolsonaro has openly rejected the greater enforcement of environmental regulations in the Amazon, and pledged to increase development in the region. Data from Brazil’s space agency suggests that deforestation has increased by 90% over the past 12 months.
He has also slashed funding for Brazilian environmental protection agency IBAMA by 95%.
Speaking to Euronews on Monday, experts blamed the increase in deforestation for the fires raging in the Amazon and argued that extinguishing them was less important than preventing more fires from starting.
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