Eraldo Perez / AP
Brazil says it will reject an offer of at least $ 22 million from a wealthy country in the group of seven that offered money to help fight fires moving through the Amazon rainforest. But Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he doesn't want the money – unless an excuse comes from French President Emmanuel Macron.
Bolsonsaro and Macron engaged in a day-long spit after the French leader called for action to protect the Amazon and said the fires were a global environmental crisis that allowed Bolognaro to worsen. He also said that Bolsonaro, a climate skeptic, had lied about his efforts to fight deforestation.
Bolsonaro replied angrily, saying that Macron had offended him and tried to undermine Brazil's sovereignty by interfering with Amazon.
"This discord infuriates Bolsonro's critics," NPR's Philip Reeves reports. "They say he has to fight fires – not the French."
On Monday, Bolsonaro said in a tweet that would not accept what he calls "Macron's attacks." He also accused Macron of treating Brazil "as if we were a colony or nobody's land."
In an interview with French television, Macron later referred to the Amazon as the "lungs of the planet" and promised that the G-7 group would help Brazil balance its economic development with environmental problems. Addressing Bolsonaro, he added, "But we can't let you destroy everything." considered the G-7 cash assistance proposal.
Bolsonaro made these remarks to reporters in Brazil shortly after the G1 website announced that Presidential Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni had rejected the G7's proposal outright.
"Thank you, but perhaps these resources are more important for afforestation in Europe," Lorenzoni quoted. Referring to the recent flames of Notre Dame in Paris, he continued to suggest that if Macron could not "avoid a predictable fire in a church" he might not be teaching much to Brazil.
Macron made devastating fires in the Amazon, a key moment for the G7 meeting, even before the meetings begin in Biarritz. Saying, "The ocean and the forest burning in the Amazon call upon us. We must answer them," he added, "time is no longer for words, but for deeds."
The proposal for money from the G-7 countries has also attracted attention because of its modest size – both in terms of its source among some of the largest economies in the world and the task it has to fulfill.
"This is really only symbolic," Nigel Seizer told NPR chief program officer at nonprofit Rainforest. "Less than Americans spend on popcorn on a typical day."
In this light, Seizer said, it is not surprising that Brazil has rejected the offer. He added that the problem was partly political.
"The fact is that Brazil has the resources and expertise to tackle this challenge," Sizer said. "Ever since the Bolsonaro government came into power earlier this year, they have been systematically protecting their environmental agencies."
The shocking losses from the Amazon rainforest have triggered intense reactions worldwide. In addition to the G7's official offer, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered to send the nations concerned 10 million pounds (about $ 12.2 million) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed to send $ 15 million worth of water bomber water fighters.
With the flow of social media awareness and elsewhere, donations are pouring in from all over, Cesar said.
"People around the world are actually relying on more resources than the G-7 has taken," he said. "We saw millions and millions of dollars go in."
Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio also intervened, with his group Earth Alliance setting up a $ 5 million Amazon emergency fund to help indigenous communities and others working to protect vast biodiversity of the Amazon from destruction.