Monday 26th of October 2020

the annoying emotional statistics about the amazon fires…

forest fire

As usual, the OffGuardian website is controversial on the fires of the Amazon forest...
It claims:
Amazon Burning? – well maybe not so much

Statistics indicate this is an average year for wildfires, so why the above-average hysteria?

The mainstream media message is very simple. There are “record” numbers of forest fires currently in the Amazon basin. It’s mostly Bolsonaro’s fault. The G7 – soon to be assembling – needs to act. (Business Insider and The Guardian are also both very keen we send money to some rainforest charities)

Now, I’m not a fan of Bolsonaro personally, and that goes for all of us at OffG. I’m equally very supportive of preserving the rain forests and wild spaces of the earth. So, the broad sweep of the message is something I’m inclined to be sympathetic toward.

But something isn’t sitting right. This is the mainstream media in full and united chorus, flooding the news space with this one single message. This means there’s a fairly major agenda, and it’s unlikely to be saving the Amazon for all the little future babies.

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“Off" course, these fires are contentious. Imagine that here in Australia we decide to destroy the great barrier Reef which is a “Natural Wonder” thingy, by turning its calcium carbonate into cement blocks and bags of mortar to build more towers like those on the Gold Coast… or the crumbling apartments in Sydney?

That is to say burning the Amazon forest for utilitarian purposes such as grazing cows for McSteaks or growing corn for MCAmerica on lands that need to be laced with chemical poisons does not look good on paper. 

Meanwhile these fires also change the dynamics of population replacing natives with farmers. And the more is burned (below or average acreage per year is inconsequential) the less there is left of the forest — till there will be only a few patches here and there.

A question of contraction by the same amount that increase the percentage of destruction. It’s the number of berries in the punnet. If you have 50 berries in the punnet and you take five (6 or 4) per day, on the first day you have about 90 per cent left. on the tenth day you have zero per cent left or 100 percent attrition.

The “true” stats on the Amazon are hard to come by, or it’s hard to make true sense. (read : and now for the true science and statistics... — added on 28/8/19)

Meanwhile, there are other fires which seem to be presently ignored such as those in Indonesia, which are sparked by our demand of palm oil, and the continued decimation of the Congo forest for timber. Ecosia, the German search engine is boasting of having planted nearly 66 million trees in proportion to the number of people who use their services. Lovely. But between a tree storing about 30 tonnes of carbon and a sapling there is a difference of… 30 tonnes of carbon, which represents about 100 tonnes of CO2 when burnt. 

So what is the proportion of the Amazon forest in relation to supplying the oxygen we breathe? Assuming that many of the trees in the forest are mature, a 30 metre tree with a diameter of half a metre produces around 2.5 tonnes of oxygen per year. But the ecosystem of the forest is a bit more complicated. Trees die, trees grow.

Pristine Amazon forests pull in more carbon dioxide than they put back into the atmosphere, according to a new study. The findings confirm that natural Amazon forests help reduce global warming by lowering the planet's greenhouse gas levels, the researchers said.

When scientists account for the world's carbon dioxide, their totals suggest some of the greenhouse gas disappears into land-based carbon traps. These natural carbon "sinks," such as forests, absorb and store carbon dioxide, helping to lower the greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. (Living trees take in carbon dioxide, which they need to grow. Dead trees release their stored carbon back into the atmosphere, through decay.)

Espírito-Santo found that dead Amazonian trees emit an estimated 1.9 billion tons (1.7 billion metric tons) of carbon to the atmosphere each year. In a normal year, the Amazon rainforest absorbs about 2.2 billion tons (2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide, studies suggest. And the big storms that blow down millions of trees at once barely budge the forest's carbon output, the study found.

"We found that large natural disturbances — the sort not captured by plots — have only a tiny effect on carbon cycling throughout the Amazon," study co-author Sassan Saatchi of JPL said in a statement.

The study did not account for tree deaths from logging or deforestation, the researchers said.

The Amazon River basin is home to the largest rainforest on Earth, covering about 2.67 million square miles (6.9 million square kilometers) in seven countries. Each year, about 2 percent of the entire Amazon forest dies of natural causes. The researchers found that only about 0.1 percent of those deaths are caused by blowdowns.

So on average, the Amazon forest absorb more CO2 than it creates… But this is still wonky on the exact amount…


• The Amazon Rainforest covers over a billion acres, encompassing areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and the Eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru. If Amazonia were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world.
• The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.
• More than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin.


This information is yet a bit more flimsy and the Off Guardian is more "on" the mark. So who to trust? What info gives the OffGuardian view that the Amazon does not produce 20 per cent of the oxygen we breathe?

The OffGuardian bases their analysis on one guy called Dr Jonathan Foley who seems to be a good source. He also seems to be appalled at the destruction of the forest

From another source we find this:

The world's rainforests are responsible for producing between 20 and 30 percent of total the oxygen produced in the world each year. The Amazon rainforest alone produces nearly 20 percent of the world's oxygen.

This is not right. The figures don't add up… Oh, there's more to come:

However, the term "oxygen production" is quite misleading, as the decomposition of organic plant and animal matter in rainforests actually consumes about the same amount of oxygen as the forests produce. For this reason, the term "oxygen turnover" is preferred by many scientists.

The largest source of the world's oxygen is tiny microorganisms located in the oceans, which are estimated to contribute as much as 80 percent of the total oxygen produced each year.


All in all, we do not have an oxygen deficit from nature, as noted in the great book Oxygen by Donald E. Canfield. This is good new, of course, depending on our actions that could destroy some of the ability of the oceans to produce oxygen — through acidification and pollution. This eventuality has happened naturally in past eons and “nature nearly died”. More of this later...

But according to proper global warming sciences, we have an INDISPUTABLE CO2 gain from burning fossil fuel and from burning forests, crops and grazing cows. This is where we have to look again at the composition of the atmosphere:

By volume, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide (presently*), and small amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapour, on average around 1% at sea level, and 0.4% over the entire atmosphere.

Note*: the natural maximum for CO2 has been 0.03 % for at least 500,000 years. The 0.01 % extra comes from humans burning fossil fuels, deforestation, crops and cattle husbandry. This extra CO2 is now at 0.0115 per cent. 

This could be seen as minuscule but the sciences are clear: 0.03 per cent of CO2 in the atmosphere is equivalent to 35 degrees Celsius of heat on the surface of the planet. That is to say, take out this CO2 entirely and the temperature would plummet to minus 20 degrees (-20) Celsius average on the surface of the planet. Brrrr... I know you wiv me...

Through simple extrapolation (though it’s a bit more complex than this) we can estimate that if 0.03 % of CO2 represents 35 degrees of heat variation, 0.01 % would represent about 10.2 degrees extra. Simple enough. So instead of 15 degrees average for the temperature of the surface of the planet at present, we should plan that with the EXTRA CO2 that we have already added, by burning fossil fuels, deforestation, crops and cattle husbandry, this temperature is likely to reach 26.1 degrees average (present 15.9 + potential 10.2). Still simple enough?…

FRIGHTENING though. This is why serious scientists are shitting in their pants. 

This is what we’re facing, though there are feedback mechanism and the influence of melting ice that complicate the (by now) "Lagrangian" calculations on a global scale. This is why we need very powerful computer models. The burning of the Amazon forest isn’t so much creating a deficit of oxygen, but it is an addition of CO2, with a diminishing ability to recycle some CO2 into some oxygen.

We know the Off Guardian is not a fan of global warming as the Off Guardian is simplistically one-tracked anti-Guardian which is a bourgeois news outlet, in which the consensus of global warming is accepted. This YD site also accept the sciences of global warming and we have also warned that the IPCC global warming models under-estimate the problem, for political reasons we suspect.

The OffGuardian continues:
This will be why, when you look close, the media articles are artfully talking about the number of fires, rather than the area of burning. There may well be more fires (or maybe that’s just been made up like so much else), but that’s a statistic without meaning if the total area covered is actually less than a fifteen-year average.

Now, we’re not about to take NASA as a final authority on this any more than any other single source. But given the amount of emphasis being put by the screaming media on how “unprecedented” the current burning is, and how deceptive this might turn out to be, it seemed important to us that this data was at least discussed. So we tweeted a ref to it

So there we have discussed the data of the Amazon burning here on

That world leaders, like Macron are throwing their arms into the air about the Amazon fires (with pictures from a few years ago under a different Brazilian president) is a way to distract from the reality of what we, him and other ningnongs like Trump and our own coal-burning political class in Australia, are doing.

Bolsonaro isn’t a nice guy. He is an ultra-right wing-nut despot, like a bum-boil on the side of this planet, but we’re blaming him for us having no brains. 

Yes, Bolsonaro got the Brazil presidency through dirty tricks and devious illegal means. Yes the Amazon forest is a not a new sad case of deliberate carelessness. We’ve been doing this caper for a long time.  

Are we about to reach a flipping, tipping, changing point?… 2032 beckons...

The rest to come...

Gus Leonisky
Doing his bit to reduce burning the planet down, daily…

Picture at top by Gus Leonisky

you say oxygen, I say CO2...

Okay. The spike in Amazonian deforestation and fires is a huge problem — for climate, for biodiversity, for indigenous communities, and for the entire world.

But one thing we don’t need to worry about is the world’s oxygen supply.

                                   Dr. Jonathan Foley.





However, nobody marched in London chanting “Félix Tshisekedi’s got to go!” Nor did Extinction Rebellion – a well organized group of activists that brought London’s traffic to a standstill in April – take the tube one stop west from the Brazilian Embassy to picket the Angolan consulate.

Blanket media coverage has been successful in forcing the burning of the Amazon into the public consciousness. Protest campaigns have been guided by pleas from social media influencers, while French President Emmanuel Macron declared “our house is burning,” and promised to put the Brazilian blazes at the top of the agenda as he hosts this weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz. 

Read more:


more to come...





Read from top.

Picture at top (Gus Leonisky): back-burning in Australia — a few years ago. This deliberately lit fire soon went rabid when the wind changed and increased in strength. This fire burnt far more forest of a national park that was intended... 

burning of the amazon forest is increasing...

The United Nations is calling for the protection of the Amazon amid fears that thousands of fires raging across Brazil and some parts of Bolivia are rapidly destroying the world’s largest rainforest and paving the way for a climate catastrophe. The fires have spread a vast plume of smoke across South America and the Atlantic Ocean that’s visible from space. They’re unprecedented in recorded history, and environmentalists say most of the fires were deliberately set by illegal miners and cattle ranchers. Indigenous people in Brazil have accused far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of encouraging the destruction. Bolsonaro has worked to deregulate and open up the Amazon for agribusiness, logging and mining since he came into office in January. We speak with Andrew Miller, advocacy director at Amazon Watch.

TranscriptThis is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. The United Nations is calling for the protection of the Amazon amidst fears thousands of fires raging across Brazil are rapidly destroying the world’s largest rainforest and paving the way for a climate catastrophe. The fires have spread a vast plume of smoke across South America and the Atlantic Ocean that’s visible from space. They are unprecedented in recorded history. And environmentalists say most of the fires were deliberately set by illegal miners and cattle ranchers.

The French President Emmanuel Macron called the Amazon fires an “international crisis,” saying they should top the agenda this weekend as leaders of the G7 countries gather in Paris, along with President Trump. Macron tweeted, “Our house is burning. Literally.” Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro responded by accusing Macron of having a “colonialist mindset.”

Fears are mounting for what the environmental destruction means for the planet and the global crisis. The Amazon produces 20% of the oxygen [not true. read from top] in the Earth’s atmosphere. The fires have sent massive plumes of smoke across much of South America, turning day into night in São Paulo, 1,700 miles away from the Amazon Basin.

Indigenous people in Brazil have accused Bolsonaro of encouraging the destruction. He has worked to deregulate and open up the Amazon for agribusiness, logging and mining since he came into office in January. On Wednesday, Bolsonaro accused nongovernmental organizations for the fires, drawing widespread ridicule and outrage. It came as indigenous people used social media to document how illegal loggers are setting fire to their territories. This is a woman named Célia, a member of the Pataxó indigenous community, speaking in a video that went viral across Brazil this week.

CÉLIA: [translated] Look what they’ve done to our reservation. For two years we’ve been fighting to preserve this land, and now those troublemakers come here and set fire to our village. As if it were not enough, the Vale mining company kills our river, our people, our source of life, and now they’ve come and set fire to our reservation. We won’t stay quiet! Tomorrow we will close the road, and we want the media to defend us!

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined right now in Washington, D.C., by Andrew Miller, advocacy director for Amazon Watch. Andrew, explain the scope of the problem right now in Brazil.

ANDREW MILLER: Well, the problem in Brazil is not just the fires that we’re seeing, which of course are incredibly visual and have really drawn the world’s attention to what’s happening, but the scope of the problem is much broader, really, in terms of the policies and the rhetoric of the Bolsonaro administration, which is not the first time, of course, that the Amazon has been under assault and not the first time that indigenous peoples have been facing threats. But we’ve really seen an acceleration of and, you know, an exacerbation of a lot of the symptoms. Of course, the fires, as you mentioned, are up essentially 80% over the same period last year, but we’re also seeing other symptoms, like deforestation rates also being up, you know, in a very terrifying way in recent months, and the pressures and threats that indigenous peoples are facing on the ground from the illegal miners, from the land grabbers, from the loggers.

AMY GOODMAN: So, can you explain what Bolsonaro is charging, that NGOs are setting these fires? Talk about the map of the areas that indigenous people control, where these fires are.

ANDREW MILLER: Well, we’ve seen 10,000 fires lit just in the last week. So, the map of where the fires are is across the Brazilian Amazon and other parts of Brazil, actually. But if you look at the map of Brazil, if you look at the Brazilian Amazon from space, essentially, in some cases, you can see where the indigenous territories are, because that’s essentially where the trees are still standing. You know, so these fires are being set in areas where people are trying to — you know, want to carry out different kinds of agricultural activities. But as you saw in the video, they’re also going into indigenous territories. And that’s, again, symptomatic of the broader policies that we’re seeing from the Bolsonaro administration. They have said, in many cases, you know, essentially, they want to open up protected areas and indigenous territories to these — to extractive activities, to the agribusiness lobby, or to agribusiness activities there. And so, again, the fires are just sort of the latest manifestation of those policies.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about this in the global sense. You have the French President Macron saying this should be the top of the agenda of the G7, “Our house is burning,” to which Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, responds, “That’s a colonialist attitude.” Right? That he’s saying, “It’s not your house, it’s ours.” Explain the significance of the Amazon, and then the response of other countries, like Norway, and what Bolsonaro is so furious about.

ANDREW MILLER: Well, of course, the Amazon, as people have focused on for decades, is such an important ecosystem, because of the biodiversity, because of, you know, what we call the ecological services that it provides, generating fresh water, generating oxygen, housing biodiversity, driving weather systems around the Western Hemisphere. In recent years, as we’ve talked more about climate change, or, really, climate chaos, the climate emergency that humanity is facing, the Amazon is seen in the light of helping regulate the climate and sequestering carbon, as we say.

And so, it’s — you know, there are many other crucial ecosystems around the world, and we’re seeing these tipping points, or we’re talking about the possibility of ecological tipping points, in terms of the thawing of the tundra, the melting of the ice caps. But certainly, in the Amazon, there’s a very strong concern — and we’ve seen this in mainstream media, The Economist wrote a whole front-page article about this several weeks ago — this concern that after a certain level of deforestation, the Amazon will go into — essentially, will go over an ecological precipice and will go into what’s called “dieback” scenario and will irrevocably turn into a savanna. The climate implications of that are horrifying, especially when you talk about these other ecological tipping points. So, there’s a very strong international significance to what’s happening.

You know, of course, in Brazil, there’s a very strong sort of sense of patriotism, and that very much gets mobilized in order to, essentially, critique international concern for the Amazon, and Brazilians saying that the world wants to come in and declare the Amazon is an international area. You know, so, there’s a strong critique coming, especially from extremist right-wing forces represented by Bolsonaro. And he says, you know, “This is ours. We don’t want you to intervene.” The reality, of course, is that Bolsonaro very much wants the international community to intervene in terms of investments, in terms of supporting megaprojects, in terms of entering into free trade agreements, which would exacerbate many of these problems. So, he very much wants that international intervention. He just doesn’t want critiques or conservation projects or anything that might limit what his government wants to do there.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about the trade deal between the European Union and Brazil and what it would mean for the rainforest. The United States, Trump is a close ally of Bolsonaro —


AMY GOODMAN: — and fellow climate change denier, of course.

ANDREW MILLER: Well, of course. Yes, in recent years, Brazil has had a much stronger economic relationship with Europe, in terms of exporting different products, commodities, beef, also soy in order to feed beef. And that relationship continues.

Under Bolsonaro, there is a reorientation of Brazilian foreign policy towards the United States. And that is very much based in the sort of affinity that Bolsonaro feels with Trump. And, of course, Bolsonaro is called “the Trump of the Tropics,” in some cases.

And then, as we look at the specifics of what’s happening in Brazil and the policies and basically the way Bolsonaro has acted since he became president at the beginning of this year, there are many parallels with what the Trump administration has done in terms of, you know, lack of enforcement of existing laws, making changes to the regulations in laws to weaken protections of environment, protections of human rights — in the Brazilian case, of indigenous rights — and this pattern of essentially putting the worst people to lead different ministries, in the case of Brazil, and so putting climate deniers and putting people — the minister of environment is essentially an environmental criminal, from past activities before he became the minister.

AMY GOODMAN: We have 10 seconds, Andrew. What do you think is most important for the globe right now, the response to what’s happening?

ANDREW MILLER: Well, there’s a lot of things that are important. People need to show their solidarity with indigenous peoples. People should come out in the global mobilizations that are happening around the Amazon, also the climate strikes that are happening in September. And people need to reevaluate their own —

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there, but we’ll do Part 2, put it online, Andrew Miller of Amazon Watch. Very happy birthday to Julie Crosby! I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.

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One of the major changes that the destruction of the Amazon forest is that it could change the patterns of weather. The increasing albedo, due to a change of "colour" of the area, from dark rainforest to lighter coloured crops, could change rainfall rates. As well, the soil of rainforest is usually "poor" with little nutrients. This forces farmers and agri-industries to use a lot of fertilisers and poisons. 

  • Brazil is second only to the U.S. in its use of chemical pesticides, with many of the chemicals sprayed in Brazil on soy and other crops banned by the EU and the United States. Pesticide poisoning is a major Brazilian problem. In 2016, 4,208 cases of poisonings by exposure to pesticides were registered across the nation – the equivalent of 11 per day (killing 355 people).
  • The ruralista bancada, the powerful agribusiness lobby, is currently pushing an amendment through congress that would significantly weaken Brazil’s 1989 pesticide law. Analysts say the legislation (6.299/2002), dubbed the “Poison Bill” by critics, would make the approval of new pesticides far easier.
  • Brazil’s lax pesticide rules aren’t just a threat to farmworkers. Many toxins are persistent in the environment and in the food we eat. A Brazilian analysis of pesticide residue in foods such as rice, apples and peppers found that of 9,680 samples collected from 2013 to 2015, some 20 percent contained pesticide residues that exceeded allowed levels or contained unapproved pesticides.
  • Transnational pesticide makers such as Syngenta, Bayer and BASF produce pesticides in the EU which are considered highly hazardous – so hazardous, they are banned in their countries of origin – but the firms also sell these pesticides in high quantities to Brazil and other developing nations. Experts say that sprayed Brazilian exports of fruit, vegetables and coffee could be contaminated.

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Get your coffee from organic places, not Brazil... With high levels of pesticides and fertilisers going into the Amazon basin, this place could become the most polluted environment on the planet. This is why France is stopping a free-Trade deal (Mercosur) with South America — though hypocritically, the Europeans are making money out of selling Pesticides to Brazil.

like helping a murderer stop his victim's bleeding...

The G7 countries have agreed to an immediate $20m (£16m) aid package to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.

The announcement came from the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the host of this year’s meeting of G7 leaders, and the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera. Macron said the Amazon represented the “lungs” of the planet and leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests.

Macron said the US supported the initiative, although he acknowledged that the US 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 – more than half of those this month alone. Experts say most of the fires are started by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland.

Macron had shunted the Amazon fires to the top of the summit agenda after declaring them a global emergency, and kicked off discussions about the disaster at a welcome dinner for fellow leaders on Saturday.

The leaders of the G7 countries – the US, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy – are wrapping up a summit in Biarritz dominated by tensions over US trade policies and a surprise visit by Iran’s top diplomat.

Trump and Macron will finish off the three-day summit with a joint news conference later on Monday.


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fake news based on truths...

Just before the opening of the Biarritz G7, an intense disinformation campaign was launched in the international press with the complicity of French President, Emmanuel Macron and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. It aims to allow Europeans to control the Amazon, its minerals, its pharmaceutical treasures and its precious woods.

Its purpose is to distort the problem before providing a false solution.

In the first place, the campaigners reiterated that the Amazon is "the green lung of the planet," a fallacious formula that suggests that this forest would absorb most of the CO2 produced on Earth, which is absurd.

Second, they have consistently claimed that the Amazon rainforest is burning so fast that it will disappear. The media amplify by giving absurd figures on devastated surfaces. However, the Amazonian forest is a wetland, extremely slow to burn. The devastated areas are not in the forest itself, but in deforested areas. In a few months after the felling of the trees, the tropical flora grows back. These areas are then covered with fallen trunks and new trees that burn rapidly.

President Emmanuel Macron has claimed that he will act through the G7 to save this forest. However, the G7 is not a decision-making body, but only a place of exchange for Western leaders to better understand each other. Since 1978, the only international body in charge of this issue is the ACTO (Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization), which France did not wish to be part of, although its department of Guyana is in the Amazon.

From the beginning of this controversy, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro denounced the colonialist nature of this approach to the problem by a G7 where no leader of the ACTO is invited. Then Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called for a consultation within the framework of the ACTO, but those who opposed his government refused. Bolivian President Evo Morales has taken up this proposal, which should now be accepted.

It does not matter whether one appreciates or not one of these presidents. They are in charge of the Amazon rainforest and its inhabitants. They have no interest in destroying it.

The problem is not the burning of deforested areas, nor deforestation, but the anarchic way in which it is conducted. The lies knowingly uttered, in a coordinated manner, by several European leaders, foremost among them the French president, suggest that everything will be done to divert international attention from the real economic and political stakes of this tragedy.

Roger Lagassé


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The Statistics and the news are pseudo-fake, but the overall effect of burning the Amazon forest for hamburgers and pop-corn is still a tragedy... Read from top.

more fires than the amazon forest...

The severity of fires in the Amazon has prompted a global outcry. But, amid the protest, some are questioning how this compares with the rest of the world, with surprising results.

The issue has got people checking out Nasa's maps of fires around the world. When you look at the map from Sunday, it clearly shows more fires burning in central Africa.

Over a period of two days last week Angola had roughly three times more fires than Brazil, according to data Bloomberg news agency obtained from Weather Source

The data said there were 6,902 fires in Angola and 3,395 fires in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, compared with just 2,127 fires in Brazil. 

This has shocked many on Twitter.


The vital bits of information the maps from Nasa do not show is whether they are grassland or forest fires and how big the fires are. 

Observers point to similar fires two years ago which, Nasa said, appeared to have been started on purpose. 

The suggestion is that farmers have cut down some of the vegetation and set fire to the rest in order to clear the land to plant crops. 

The farming technique, known as slash and burn, is controversial as environmentalists warn it can lead to deforestation, soil erosion and a loss of biodiversity.

But it is the cheapest way to clear land, has the advantage of killing disease and the ash provides nutrients for future crops.

So burning fields remains popular among farmers. 

It happens every year ahead of the rainy season, which is expected to start in Angola and DR Congo in the next month or so. This could go some way to explaining why the fires have not attracted much attention.


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macron cannot even prevent a predictable fire in a church...

The Brazilian government has rejected an offer of resources and money from G7 countries to help tackle wildfires burning across the Amazon rainforest.

“Thanks, but perhaps these resources are more relevant to reforesting Europe,” the Brazilian President’s chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, said on Tuesday (AEST).

Leaders of G7 nations, who met in France at the weekend, had said they would release more than 20 million euros ($A30 million) of emergency aid to help countries battle the fires.

A record number of blazes are ravaging the world’s largest rainforest, many of them thought to have been started deliberately in Brazil, drawing international concern because of the Amazon’s importance to the global environment.

Hundreds of new fires flared up in the Amazon in Brazil this week, even as military aircraft have been called in to help, and the G7 pledge came.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the offer was available to any Amazonian countries that wanted to take it up.

But Mr Lorenzoni told a Brazilian news website on Tuesday that Brazil did not need the help.

“Brazil is a democratic, free nation and has never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps the objective of the French Macron,” he said.

“Can Macron not even prevent a predictable fire in a church that is a world heritage site and [he] wants to teach what to our country? He has a lot to look after at home.”


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and now for the true science and statistics...

amazon forest burnt


amazon forest


Page 419 Volume 365 issue 6452 Science AAAS



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bazilians in outrage against the Amazon fires...

Brazilians have hit the streets in outrage against the Amazon fires.
Dozens of marches and rallies in recent days.
Sao Paulo. Rio de Janeiro. Thousands in the streets.
Florianopolis, in Southern Brazil, is almost as far as you could get from the Amazon and still be in the country. And here, too people are livid and upset.
Ingrid Assis, is an indigenous labor leader, who was born in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas.

Ingrid Assis, indigenous labor leader
“We feel like we are dying inside and we can’t let this feeling consume us, because we have to fight and we have to bring more people into the streets, because of all of these attacks.”
They blame far-right president Jair Bolsonaro for the widespread fires and his failure to stop them. Bolsonaro has promised to open up the Amazon for development. They say his rhetoric coupled with his government’s cuts to environmental agencies spurred farmers, loggers, and land grabbers to action.
More than 74,000 fires have blazed since the beginning of the year — 84% more than last year. Roughly a third of the fires across the Amazon have been on protected land.
“They are lighting those places on fire, where they have been deforested. And those places have been deforested, because they don’t have oversight and inspections from Ibama, because our companions in Ibama are being persecuting and transferred.”
Environment Minister Ricardo Salles oversaw a massive 25% funding cut to the country’s environmental protection agency Ibama earlier this year. According to recent reports, Ibama received word that landowners were going to start massive blazes across the region, on August 10. Ibama requested support from the Ministry of Justice. Nothing was done.

Evelin Gonçalves, Professor
What is happening right now in our country is a indescribable crime. We can’t allow it to continue. We have to do something. We have to find a way to protect our forests, protect our indigenous communities. To maintain the minimum of what we have.”On Monday, people also marched on the Brazilian embassy in Washington to demand action to stop the blazes.
After nearly two weeks of reticence, and on the heels of pressure by the EU, Bolsonaro finally ordered 44,000 troops to combat the fires. According to the Ministry of Defense, they began operations on Saturday.But the fires continue, and so does the fight to protect the Amazon.

Eliara Antunes, Indigenous leader, Morro dos Cavalos
“I’m very realistic and I expect a lot of struggle. Tjis is the first year of the president and look at everything that has happened. We expect a lot of support. But we aren’t just waiting for others. We have to hit the streets, hold hands. We breath the same air. When it runs out for me, it runs out for everyone”

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governors: stop the fires...

The governors of the nine Brazilian states most affected by a record number of fires have urged President Jair Bolsonaro to accept foreign aid to fight the blazes.

Mr Bolsonaro had earlier refused a G7 offer of $22m (£18m) following a spat with French President Emmanuel Macron

But following a meeting between the governors and Mr Bolsonaro, the government shifted its position on aid.

It said it would accept it as long as it had control of what to spend it on.

Why does it matter?

A record number of fires are burning in Brazil, most of them in the Amazon region. The Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.


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Not just fires, but tree-felling as well...

check the figures again...

Blowing smoke over the Amazon – a strange story

or how to flip an average into a ‘record’ without changing the data

by Catte Black



But let’s expand.

And put it in emphasis.

I, along with most other non-crazy people, believe the total or almost total destruction of the Amazon rain forest in order to build mahogany end tables or provide McDonald’s with cheap beef would be a crime of unprecedented dimensions.

(Maybe someone would like to cut and paste this as an automated tweet in response to anyone else who says “oh wow dude, so if you were on the Titanic you’d be like “what, there’s no problem?”)


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Excellent. The only small argument here is that the average into a ‘record’ without changing the data is incorrect. According to NASA, the destruction of the Amazon forest is more than twice that of last year's and twice that of previous years as well.







fire! forest! farts! fury! fools!


Amazon, the Arsonists Shout “Fire”

Allies of yesterday, enemies of today: it is the countries that have invested in Brazil and pushed its industry to exploit its wealth without safeguards who now denounce the ravages of this economic model.

Faced with the spread of fires in the Amazon, the G7 Summit changed its agenda to "face the emergency."

The seven - France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States - played the role of global firefighters with the European Union. President Macron, wearing a firefighter’s uniform, sounded the alarm: "our house is in flames". President Trump pledged the biggest US commitment to the work of extinction.

Media spotlights focus on fires in Brazil, leaving everything else in the dark. Above all, the destruction does not only affect the Amazon rainforest (two-thirds Brazilian), reduced in 2010-2015 by almost 10,000 km2 per year, but also the tropical forests of Equatorial Africa and South-East Asia . Tropical forests have lost, on average each year, an area equivalent to that totaling Piedmont, Lombardy and Veneto. Although with different conditions from one zone to another, the fundamental cause is the same: the intensive and destructive exploitation of natural resources to obtain the greatest profit.

In Amazonia trees are cut down to make precious wood for export. These very fragile lands, once degraded, are abandoned and new areas deforested. The same destructive method is adopted to exploit the Amazonian deposits of gold, diamond, bauxite, zinc, manganese, iron, oil and carbon, causing serious environmental damage. The construction of immense hydroelectric basins, intended to provide energy for industrial activities, also contributes to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

The intensive and destructive exploitation of the Amazon is practiced by Brazilian companies, fundamentally controlled through shareholdings, financial mechanisms and commercial networks - by the largest multinational and financial groups of the G7 and other countries.

For example, JBS, which has 35 meat production sites in Brazil, where 80,000 cattle are slaughtered per day, has large headquarters in the US, Canada and Australia, and is mainly controlled through debt quotas by financial credit groups.: JP Morgan (USA), Barclays (GB) and the financial groups of Volkswagen and Daimler (Germany). Marfrig, ranked second after JBS, is 93% owned by US, French, Italian and other European and North American investors.

Norway, which today threatens Brazil with economic retaliation for the destruction of the Amazon, is causing serious environmental and health damage in the Amazon with its own multinational group (half owned by the state) which exploits the bauxite deposits for aluminum production, so that it has been placed under investigation in Brazil.

The governments of the G7 and others, who today formally criticize Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to make a show of conscience in reaction to public opinion, are the same ones who favored his ascension to power so that their multi-nationals and their financial groups might have even more free hands in the exploitation of the Amazon.

Indigenous communities, in whose territories illegal activities of deforestation are concentrated, are mainly attacked. All this is happening under the eyes of Tereza Cristina, Bolsonaro’s Minister of Agriculture, whose family of latifundaries has a long history of fraudulent and violent occupation of the lands of indigenous communities.


Roger Lagassé


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leonardo dicaprio is a cool guy...

Brazil’s president has falsely accused the actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio of bankrolling the deliberate incineration of the Amazon rainforest.

Jair Bolsonaro – a populist nationalist who has vowed to drive environmental NGOs from Brazil – made the claim on Friday, reportedly telling supporters: “This Leonardo DiCaprio’s a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money for the Amazon to be torched.”

The spurious accusation – for which Brazil’s president offered no proof – came 24 hours after Bolsonaro made a similarly unsubstantiated claim in a Facebook live broadcast.

“Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re collaborating with the burning of the Amazon,” Bolsonaro declared, accusing the actor of being part of an international “campaign against Brazil”.


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contaminated with illegal deforestation...

EU countries are responsible for promoting deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in the Brazilian Amazon by importing and consuming agricultural products contaminated with illegal deforestation, new research has found.

Published in research journal Science, the study points out that “as much as 22% of the soy and upwards of 60% of the beef exported annually to the EU may be contaminated with illegal deforestation.”

In a classic example of doublespeak, the EU has also been vocal about boycotting products from Brazil over spiking deforestation, and even threatened to withhold ratification of the 2019 trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur, the South American trade bloc. Among the concerns the EU has raised is that “increasing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and forest fires in Brazil could cancel out EU climate change mitigation efforts.”

The revelation comes as a major embarrassment for the European Union leaders who have criticized Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government for turning a blind eye to unprecedented levels of illegal mass deforestation.

Environmental nonprofits and Amazon watchdogs have vigorously reported that the Bolsonaro government’s move to dismantle and defund environmental protection agencies is encouraging illegal loggers and miners to move deep into the Amazon forest, where the Indigenous tribes are sheltering in isolation as a safeguard against the COVID-19 pandemic.

But despite its criticism of Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, the EU is still Brazil’s largest trading partner. Because of the ongoing consumption of Brazil’s deforestation-contaminated agri-products, researchers say the EU should share the blame for promoting deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

Talking to The Real News from Belo Horizonte in Brazil, lead researcher Raoni Rajao said the study responds to whether Brazil’s agricultural exports are linked to deforestation, illegal or not, and to what extent. “Because on the one hand, Brazil has one of the highest levels of tropical deforestation in the world. But on the other, the agribusiness claims that it’s mostly clean and it’s not involved in deforestation in any legal activities. So, there was a missing research that shed better light on that,” Raoni explained.

The research found about 2% of medium-sized and big farmers are responsible for 62% of all illegal deforestation taking place in the Amazon and the Sahara, and around 20% of Brazil’s beef and soy exports to the EU are linked to illegal deforestation.

Explaining the reasons behind illegal deforestation, Raoni said there’s a big economic incentive to convert timberland to farmland because it is much more profitable, in addition to its use for agricultural purposes. “And since there has not been a proper and stronger law enforcement, especially in the last five years or so, the incentive for engaging in criminal activities has become higher and higher.”

The researcher criticized the EU’s threat to boycott Brazil’s products as ineffective. “First of all, because if you do boycotts because of around 20% of the exports that are contaminated, you end up punishing 100% of the farmers and even those who are not doing anything wrong. Secondly, if the EU stops buying from Brazil, the result is that Brazil is going to be selling more to China and the United States, [which in turn] is going to sell more to the EU. And so that just shuffles part of the trade. But that does not solve the problem.”

Raoni says the proposals put forward by various reports and policy papers call for Brazilian companies to provide private certifications showing their products are sustainably and legally produced. But it will not solve the problem, he says, because the companies exporting deforestation-contaminated products will either sell those products within Brazil or export to China. “So basically, you move the problem, but you don’t solve the problem. So I think what you could do now is to support Brazil and to demand transparency and institute transparent and universal solutions for tracking supply chains.”

Responding to the question of how best to tackle the problem of deforestation-contaminated products, the researcher said some international companies have been trying to get rid of deforestation from their supply chain for many years. But some of their big clients such as supermarkets and restaurants don’t want to get involved, and that becomes the key hurdle, Raoni explained. “I don’t think capitalism has a green heart. Quite the contrary. But what has happened is that since consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about this, that has become also one of the concerns of the markets.”

In June, under pressure from international multinational companies and governments, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro announced a 120-day ban on fires set to intentionally clear Amazon rainforest for agriculture. According to nonprofit Amazon Watch, the massive fires that raged across the Brazilian Amazon in 2019 were a direct result of the illegal deforestation and arson used to clear land for agribusiness.


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