NEW YORK — European Council President Donald Tusk Monday pledged EU financial and logistical help to fight fires in the Amazon rainforest.
Speaking at a breakfast at the start of a United Nations summit on combatting climate change, Tusk said the EU would provide €6.5 million in 2020 as part of a total €190 million in ongoing and future financing of development programs in the Amazon basin.
“A tree needs many years to grow, but only few minutes to burn,” Tusk said. “We seem to know this, but we needed a shock, the shock of the Amazon rainforest fires, to awaken ourselves from our lethargy. Europe is deeply moved by the magnitude of this calamity and its global and long-term consequences.”
Tusk added, “We do not want to lecture anyone, we have no right to do so, as our own history is to a large extent a history of deforestation for land use and industry. But this is why we feel even more co-responsible for saving forests — on our continent and all around the world.”
In addition to financial support, Tusk said the EU was ready to deploy emergency services missions under the auspices of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, and he said the Copernicus satellite emergency system could be made available to provide maps of affected sites.