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 TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE did not attend.
French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronMacron becomes first major Western leader to go to Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi killing Justice for Josephine Baker means restoring her US nationality Far-right commentator joins presidential race in France 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.
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 GrishamBiden briefly transfers power to Harris while he gets colonoscopy Grisham thinks Trump will run in 2024 and have no 'guardrails' Sunday shows preview: Senate votes to raise debt ceiling; Facebook whistleblower blasts company during testimony 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.