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The Amazon is experiencing a record number of forest fires


PhillipBlunt
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Amazon fires: Record number burning in Brazil rainforest - space agency

  • 2 hours ago
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Brazil's Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, new space agency data suggests.

The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said its satellite data showed an 84% increase on the same period in 2018.

It comes weeks after President Jair Bolsonaro sacked the head of the agency amid rows over its deforestation data.

The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.

It is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.

 

Conservationists have blamed Mr Bolsonaro for the Amazon's plight, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land, and scientists say the rainforest has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since he took office in January.

Brazil Amazon fires graph

Meanwhile, US space agency Nasa said that overall fire activity in the Amazon basin was slightly below average this year.

The agency said that while activity had increased in Amazonas and Rondonia, it had decreased in the states of Mato Grosso and Pará.

It was earlier reported that a blackout on Monday in the city of São Paulo - more than 2,700km (1,700 miles) away - had been caused by smoke from the Amazon fires.

But some meteorologists say the smoke came from major fires burning in Paraguay, which is much closer to the city and not in the Amazon region.

Why are there fires in the Amazon?

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.

Inpe said it had detected more than 74,000 fires between January and August - the highest number since records began in 2013. It said it had observed more than 9,500 forest fires since Thursday, mostly in the Amazon region.

Brazil Amazon map

In comparison, there are slightly more than 40,000 in the same period of 2018, it said. However, the worst recent year was 2016, with more than 68,000 fires in that period.

The satellite images showed Brazil's most northern state, Roraima, covered in dark smoke, while neighbouring Amazonas declared an emergency over the fires.

 

Mr Bolsonaro brushed off the latest data, saying it was the "season of the queimada", when farmers use fire to clear land. "I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame," he was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

Later he appeared to suggest that non-governmental organisations had set fires, as revenge for his government slashing their funding. He presented no evidence and gave no names to support this theory, saying there were "no written records about the suspicions".

 

"So, there could be..., I'm not affirming it, criminal action by these 'NGOers' to call attention against my person, against the government of Brazil. This is the war that we are facing," he said in a Facebook Live on Wednesday.

An aerial view of a tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is cleared by loggers and farmers near the city of Novo Progresso, Para state.

 

Inpe said it had detected more than 72,000 fires so far this year. Inpe noted that the number of fires was not in line with those normally reported during the dry season.

"There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average," Inpe researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a National Soccer Day Ceremony in Brasilia

"The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident."

Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Programme, said the fires were "a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures".

Why is Bolsonaro being criticised?

The reports of a rise in forest fires come amid criticism over Mr Bolsonaro's environmental policies. Scientists say the Amazon has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since the president took office in January, with policies favouring development over conservation.

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How is the rainforest helping limit global warming?

Over the past decade, previous governments had managed to reduce deforestation with action by federal agencies and a system of fines. But Mr Bolsonaro and his ministers have criticised the penalties and overseen a fall in confiscations of timber and convictions for environmental crimes.

 

Last month, the far-right president accused Inpe's director of lying about the scale of deforestation in the Amazon and trying to undermine the government. It came after Inpe published data showing an 88% increase in deforestation there in June compared to the same month a year ago.

 

The director of the agency later announced that he was being sacked amid the row.

Inpe has previously insisted that its data is 95% accurate. The agency's reliability has also been defended by several scientific institutions, including the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

Edited by PhillipBlunt
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Cue the people who assert that humans do not have any responsibility for the current warming trend.  Anthropogenic Global Warming is a myth to these people, even though deforestation and subsequent burning of the Amazon is the work of  mankind.  This deforestation plays a role in global warming. But hey, facts over feelings right?

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2 hours ago, Jimmy McGill said:

Between Bolsonaro and Trump and all the other right wing psycho's running the world now I give us about 5 years. Unless an asteroid finishes us sooner. 

 

So please Jim, make a good playoff run this year, OK? 

Take your political ideology baiting else where. This is a topic about the state/health of the planet not about the BS you're spewing. 

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18 minutes ago, RRypien37 said:

It's sad this is being completely missed/not covered by any major media. This is an extremely serious issue for this planet. 

It's shocking how low of a priority it is to every single media outlet. Seemingly divorces between actors are more important to the average person.

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2 hours ago, thedestroyerofworlds said:

Cue the people who assert that humans do not have any responsibility for the current warming trend.  Anthropogenic Global Warming is a myth to these people, even though deforestation and subsequent burning of the Amazon is the work of  mankind.  This deforestation plays a role in global warming. But hey, facts over feelings right?

For this situation, it is all due to deforestation and slashing/burning for agriculture.  

The Amazon doesn't really naturally have forest fires... since it's a tropical rainforest.  

This particular case has nothing to do with climate change/global warming/whatever.  

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5 minutes ago, PhillipBlunt said:

It's shocking how low of a priority it is to every single media outlet. Seemingly divorces between actors are more important to the average person.

What ever gets the views unfortunately. People really don't realize how vital the Amazon is to the well being of everything on this planet.  

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I started believing in NTHE(Near Term Human Extinction) back in 2014. Yes, we are so fracked. Apparently, for this type of grieving, one requires SEVEN stages...

 

1- anger

2- denial

3- bargaining

4- depression

5-acceptance

6- gallow's humour

7- F*ck it

 

When you progress to stage 7, it might slightly alter existing relationships! :^)

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1 hour ago, RRypien37 said:

Take your political ideology baiting else where. This is a topic about the state/health of the planet not about the BS you're spewing. 

I'll put it where it belongs. Ignore me if you can't handle it. They brand themselves as right wing, snowflake. 

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54 minutes ago, PhillipBlunt said:

It's shocking how low of a priority it is to every single media outlet. Seemingly divorces between actors are more important to the average person.

 

48 minutes ago, RRypien37 said:

What ever gets the views unfortunately. People really don't realize how vital the Amazon is to the well being of everything on this planet.  

I wonder if part of it is how powerless we are from Canada to actually change it?

I know some of it is empathy fatigue.  The CBC had an ongoing series on the climate and, scanning the comments, most of them were complaints about the CBC "shoving the climate agenda down our throats".  I think we've gotten to the point where, unless our house is on fire, people don't want to hear about it.  We know we can't continue to exploit natural resources forever, it is a finite planet after all, but greed and laziness soon take over as change could mean a less comfortable life.

 

Conservatism, Liberalism, Democratic Socialism all ultimately fail when it comes to environmental policy.  The latter two pay a little bit more lip service to it but talk is cheap and we as a society can't wrap our heads around a productive economy without taking the easy way out and exploiting our environment.  I know it's been said before, but we really need to take bold action.  The economy isn't some benign entity that exerts it's will over us, but rather something we can fully control if we wish.  It'll be a tough, and will take some sacrifice, hard choices, and creative thinking but it can be done.....has to be done.

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2 hours ago, Jimmy McGill said:

I'll put it where it belongs. Ignore me if you can't handle it. They brand themselves as right wing, snowflake. 

I am a hard core conservative and can't stand Liberal PC culture. So calling me a snow flake is absolutely hilarious. 

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11 minutes ago, RRypien37 said:

I am a hard core conservative and can't stand Liberal PC culture. So calling me a snow flake is absolutely hilarious. 

Up here our Conservative Party is pretty much a snowflake.  

As for the Amazon forest, I see a developing country doing what other countries did during their development.  It’s horrible for our planet, but who are we in the developed world to tell those in Brazil to stop?  

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An interesting aspect is the dramatic deterioration of the biosphere & pending precipitous plummet of the general economy appear directly proportional(inextricably linked?)

 

Within such a bleak reality, the chance of geopolitical spats escalating(on a similar trajectory), ain't pretty. WW3 might kick off from getting chocolate in another's p butter.

 

So as Jimmy said.."Win a Cup soon"(eh?), & smoke'em if ya got'em!

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4 hours ago, PhillipBlunt said:

It's shocking how low of a priority it is to every single media outlet. Seemingly divorces between actors are more important to the average person.

People don’t care, Siberia has been on fire as well.

Area that burnt out is as big as 2 Belgium’s, I don’t see that on the news either.

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