Sunday 1 September 2019

Almost everything the media told you about the forest fires in Brazil was wrong

I presumed it would be, before looking into it. There's really no excuse for believing media reports on stories like this, which have an obvious, modish political purpose, in this case to increase Emmanuel Macron's very low ratings in the polls.

The world has become a Twitterstorm. President Macron, whose poll rating is 28% sought to make the G7 summit about climate change and gender equality to make him look good and Trump look bad. President 
Jair Bolsonaro was a useful proxy for attacking President Trump and so President Macron tweeted completely inaccurately that 
“The Amazon rain forest — the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire.”
Was this a mistake or a lie?

The world, trusting Emmanuel Macron and happy to believe the worst of Jair Bolsonaro, condemned the latter for destroying the world’s largest rain forest, the Amazon. Many celebrities tweeted pictures, mostly taken in other countries or other years.

The New York Times claimed that 
“If enough rain forest is lost and can’t be restored, the area will become savanna, which doesn’t store as much carbon, meaning a reduction in the planet’s ‘lung capacity’”?
The Amazon rain forest is not the lungs of the world. The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen but it uses the same amount of oxygen to convert nutrients from the soil into energy

Algae are the lungs of the world, if you are interested.

Forests can be replanted and trees grown fairly quickly.

The number of fires in 2019 in Brazil is 80% higher than in 2018, but only 7% higher than the average over the last 10 years ago. Far more fires occurred in a recent 48 hour period in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

While fires in Brazil have increased, there is no 
evidence whatsoever that Amazon forest fires have increased.  

Most of the fires in Brazil are taking place in areas of scrubland in the south, in many or most cases as a means of obtaining land by clearing it and squatting on it. 

This is a legal dispute in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing. However, people survey mankind from China to Peru and think they know about everywhere. 

The stories about melting Antarctica are likewise untrue.

Only after writing and posting this did it occur to me to see if the sainted James Delingpole had written on the subject. He has done so - read him here. His job, I see, is easy because of the idiocies of liberal environmentalists.

He identifies these purposes for fake news stories.

  1. To generate public hysteria in order to precipitate expensive and unnecessary government action which no sober cost benefit analysis could ever justify
  2. To raise ‘awareness’ — and, by extension, money — for the green cause
  3. To discredit conservatives, especially those who are properly sceptical of the green agenda, such as President Trump and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro
  4. To reinforce in the popular imagination the notion that economic growth and expressions of national sovereignty — in this case the interests of Brazilian farmers — are intrinsically bad for the environment
  5. To promulgate the common received idea that the Amazon is the ‘lungs of the planet’ and therefore sacrosanct and inviolable in much the same manner as polar bears, glaciers, Pacific islands, the Great Barrier Reef, etc.
  6. To lend false credibility to the global left’s claim that the planet is experiencing a #ClimateEmergency
  7. To invoke the spectre of the Green New Deal and, by extension, to rain on the parade of Trump 2020
  8. To exploit the mainstream media’s insatiable demand for environmental scare stories, especially in the August “silly season” when there’s a shortage of real news.

1 comment:

  1. He's indulging a little hysteria of his own. The Green New Deal has zero chance of becoming law in America.

    Is all environmentalism bad? Surely Mr Delingpole is not against sewage treatment (I'd hate to see him drink contaminated water) or at least some air quality standards.