G-7 agrees to $20 million fund fight Amazon blazes, Macron says

The G-7 countries on Monday agreed to an immediate $20 million fund to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.

The announcement came from French President Emmanuel Macron, the host of this year's meeting of G-7 leaders, and the Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

Macron said that the Amazon represents the "lungs" of the planet and that leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests.

Macron said the U.S. supported the initiative, although he acknowledged that U.S. President Donald Trump had skipped Monday's working session on the environment.

Satellites have recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year — with more than half of those coming this month alone. Experts say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland.

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Fire tears through Amazon rainforest
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Fire tears through Amazon rainforest
A tract of Amazon jungle is seen burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
A man works in a burning tract of Amazon jungle as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
An tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
A tract of Amazon jungle is seen burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
An aerial view of a tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers near the city of Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil September 23, 2013. Picture taken September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
A charred trunk is seen on a tract of Amazon jungle that was recently burned by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
A man works in a burning tract of Amazon jungle as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
An tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
A charred trunk is seen on a tract of Amazon jungle that was recently burned by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
Charred trees stand as a forest fire sweeps through the Vila Nova Samuel region, along the road to the Jacunda National Forest near the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Experts from the country's satellite monitoring agency say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland, but the same monitoring agency has reported a sharp increase in deforestation this year as well. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Fire consumes a field along the BR 070 highway near Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Experts say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland, but the same monitoring agency has reported a sharp increase in deforestation this year as well. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Cattle stand near a wooded area smoldering in the Alvorada da Amazonia region in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they are preparing to help Brazil battle fires burning across the Amazon region and repair the damage as tens of thousands of soldiers got ready to join the fight against blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
A fire burns in highway margins in the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A fire burns in highway margins in the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Firefighters walk across charred land to another area as they work to put out fires along the road to Jacunda National Forest in the Vila Nova Samuel region, near the city of Porto Velho in Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they were preparing to help Brazil fight the fires burning across the Amazon rainforest and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers were being deployed to fight the blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Cattle stand in the field as a fire burns an area in the Alvorada da Amazonia region in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they are preparing to help Brazil battle fires burning across the Amazon region and repair the damage as tens of thousands of soldiers got ready to join the fight against blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Moacir Cordeiro, who works in a local cattle farm, looks on after digging grooves with a tractor in an attempt to keep the flames from spreading to the pasture, as a fire burns an area in the Alvorada da Amazonia region in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. "The problem is that the fire is everywhere. Every place you look there are spot of fire and burn", says the 55-year-old worker. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Fire consumes an area in the Alvorada da Amazonia region, in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. The country's satellite monitoring agency has recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year, with more than half of those coming in August alone. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
An area smolders in the Alvorada da Amazonia region in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Trees are destroyed after a fire in the Alvorada da Amazonia region, in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. The country's satellite monitoring agency has recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year, with more than half of those coming in August alone. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Trees are destroyed after a fire in the Alvorada da Amazonia region in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. The country's satellite monitoring agency has recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year, with more than half of those coming in August alone. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Fire consumes a field along the BR 070 highway near Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Experts from the country's satellite monitoring agency say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland, but the same monitoring agency has reported a sharp increase in deforestation this year as well. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Trees are destroyed after a fire in the Vila Nova Samuel region, along the road to the Jacunda National Forest near the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Experts from the country's satellite monitoring agency say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland, but the same monitoring agency has reported a sharp increase in deforestation this year as well. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Embers from a wildfire smolder along BR 070 highway near Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Experts from the country's satellite monitoring agency say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland, but the same monitoring agency has reported a sharp increase in deforestation this year as well. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
The sun sets amid smoke from forest fires that is leaving behind charred trees in the Vila Nova Samuel region, along the road to the National Forest of Jacunda, near the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they were preparing to help Brazil fight the fires burning across the Amazon rainforest and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers were being deployed to fight the blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Fire consumes a field along the BR 070 highway near Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they were preparing to help Brazil fight the fires burning across the Amazon rainforest and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers were being deployed to fight the blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Mario Lobao)
Firefighters work to put out forest fires along the road to Jacunda National Forest near the city of Porto Velho in Rondonia state, in the Vila Nova Samuel region, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they were preparing to help Brazil fight the fires burning across the Amazon rainforest and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers were being deployed to fight the blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Firefighters work to put out forest fires along the road to Jacunda National Forest near the city of Porto Velho in Rondonia state, in the Vila Nova Samuel region, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they were preparing to help Brazil fight the fires burning across the Amazon rainforest and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers were being deployed to fight the blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Firefighters work to put out fires in the Vila Nova Samuel region, along the road to the National Forest of Jacunda, near to the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they were preparing to help Brazil fight the fires burning across the Amazon rainforest and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers were being deployed to fight the blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A line of fire fighting vehicles advance through smoke from forest fires in the Vila Nova Samuel region, along the road to the National Forest of Jacunda, near to the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they were preparing to help Brazil fight the fires burning across the Amazon rainforest and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers were being deployed to fight the blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Trees burn in a wildfire in highway margins in the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A fire burns in highway margins in the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Trees burn during a fire in the highway margins in the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Trees are destroyed after a fire in the Alvorada da Amazonia region, in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
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The record fires sweeping across the Amazon are bringing renewed scrutiny to Brazil's deforestation policy and have environmental researchers and conservationists worried that the blazes will only aggravate the climate change crisis.

"The effects of forest destruction in the Amazon don't stay in the Amazon. They affect us all," Robin Chazdon, professor emerita at the University of Connecticut who has studied tropical forest ecology, said last week.

The unsettling sight of heavy smoke blowing from some of the fires and reaching about 2,000 miles away, cloaking the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo in darkness during the day have caught world headlines.

The fires inspired the hashtag #PrayforAmazonia, and have received attention from the likes of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, rapper Lil Nas X and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

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