G-7 leaders agree on Amazon fire aid at meeting Trump missed

The leaders of the Group of Seven (G-7) countries agreed on a $20 million aid package to combat forest fires ravaging the Amazon during a meeting Monday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE did not attend.

French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronTech finds surprise ally in Trump amid high-stakes tax fight Jane Harman: NATO must use its brain cells to battle these threats The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE and his Chilean counterpart, Sebastián Piñera, added that they reached an agreement in concept with the countries of the Amazon basin for a long-term program of forest protection and reforestation of cleared lands, according to The New York Times.

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Brazil’s space research center, the National Institute for Space Research, released data last week showing that wildfires have increased 83 percent from last year. The 72,843 fires in a little less than nine months is a record, creating a massive threat to global biodiversity and efforts to combat climate change.

The agreement to allocate funding for that crisis was made during a Monday G-7 session on climate, biodiversity and oceans that Trump missed.

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamFewer Americans following impeachment inquiry, poll shows Appeals court hands Trump partial win over 'public charge' rule for immigrants Trump blasts Pelosi's impeachment announcement MORE told reporters that a senior administration official took his position.

“The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead," she said.

The spike in Amazon wildfires coincided with the election of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who vowed in January to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining.

Bolsonaro has rejected the data from his state agency while blaming opponents for staging the fires to hurt his image.

Trump has offered frequent praise for the new Brazilian leader, who earned the nickname "Trump of the Tropics" last year when he ran a populist right-wing campaign. Bolsonaro drew backlash during that campaign for inflammatory comments about minorities and women.

Trump has also expressed significant skepticism about climate change, which experts say the forest fires could accelerate if not controlled, calling it a hoax engineered by China.