Burning the Amazon rainforest and right-wing populism - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15028692
The rise of Trump has empowered right-wing populism worldwide. A few years ago, climate change denial was a fringe phenomenon of a small number of conspiracy theory nuts. Today, due to the rise of right-wing populism and a sustained lobbying campaign by the US's fossil fuel industry, climate change denial theories are almost cited as often as serious climate science. Trump considers man-made climate change to be a Chinese conspiracy to damage America.

In Brazil, president Bolsonaro, who calls himself "captain chainsaw", is actively promoting the deforestation of the rain forest for commercial exploitation. The fires ravaging through the rain forest now are a direct consequence of his policies. This year's fires are up by more than 80% over last year's and we still haven't reached the end of the season.

The Amazon rain forest is essential for the global climate. It is also a huge carbon sink. Due to the fires and the subsequent commercial land use, the Amazon is turned from a carbon sink into a carbon source.

Theoretically, it's still possible to control man-made climate change if we reach an international consensus to take robust action. The rise of right-wing populism is making this task virtually impossible.

[...]
That was a message São Paulo-based journalist Shannon Sims tweeted on 20 August. That was roughly a week after the first news about a surge in forest fires in the Amazon was broken, followed by six continuous days of unrelenting fires in the region. Scientists have declared it a "record rate" of the fire's spread. A warning has since been issued: the burning forest could strike a devastating blow to the global fight against climate change. Potentially, the fires could be something the world doesn't recover from.
[...]
Ironically, the Amazon rainforest has been “fire-resistant” for much of its history. This, simply because of the kind of forest it is, receiving rain and staying moist through most of the year. That said, it does also go through hot spells, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said, and drought is an established fuel for wildfires. There is nothing abnormal about the climate or rainfall amounts in the Amazon this year, INPE researchers have said.
[...]
Environmental groups in Brazil have been campaigning for years to save the rainforest. More recently, they have blamed President Bolsonaro for having endangered the vital rainforest by relaxing restrictions and "openly encouraging deforestation". The Institute of Environmental Research in Amazonia (IPAM) said that it found no evidence to suggest that a lack of rain could have caused the fires, and that deforestation was the primary driver for the fire's reach.

"The dry season creates favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident,” INPE researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters. "The fire that we’re seeing today is a fire that’s directly related to deforestation," said Ane Alencar, scientific director of IPAM.

Research has shown that indigenous management of forests, which has shrunk dramatically in Amazonia since Bolsonaro took office, is the best approach to maintain the health of rainforests, anywhere in the world. In Brazil, which is home to two-thirds of the rainforest, the President, Jair Bolsonaro, has likened indigenous Amazonian reserves to "chickenpox" on the land.

To top it off, an invasion of human activity — farming, mining, and drilling — are exacerbating what was a bad situation to begin with in Brazil. Fears surrounding deforestation continue have grown under Bolsonaro, who appears to be blatantly ignoring international concerns over deforestation and climate change.

The 'Planet's Lungs' are burning
The Amazon rainforest is often referred to as the planet's lungs for producing 20 percent of atmospheric oxygen on the Earth. At roughly two and a half times the size of India, is the largest rainforest on the planet, and home to uncountable species of fauna and flora. It's no surprise that Amazonia is among the most important and vital ecosystems int the world to slow global warming.

The majority – over two-thirds – of the rainforest falls in Brazil, where there have been a total of 72,843 fires this year. Over half of these have been in the Amazon region, according to the INPE – an 80+ percent increase compared to the same period last year. While that sounds like an inordinate number of fires for any single region, here's some perspective: Last year, this same region saw 40,136 fires burn. The second-worst year on record after 2019 was 2016, over which 68,484 fires.

Unlike most other ecosystems, wildfires raging in the Amazon are unnatural, scientists think. The recent surge in deforestation rates in the region is considered a major contributing factor behind the alarming numbers. Environmentalists have pinned the blame on the country's President Jair Bolsonaro, calling out policy after policy directed by the President that have threatened the forest more than it already is.

Bolsonaro has taken a controversial pro-business stance ever since he rolled into office on 1 January, making several promises. Among them were actions to restore Brazil's economy by finding other uses for the Amazon forest. He vowed that if elected, he would not set aside a "single centimetre" more land for indigenous reserves.

He has expressed disdain for conserving the rainforest, favoring industrial growth relentlessly. Emboldened loggers, farmers, miners, ranchers and other developers have flocked the Amazon brazenly in response, logging at undeveloped forest land, the bulk of which is indigenous territory. The nation's environmental enforcement agency has had its budgets slashed by $23 million, according to a CNN report.

Adding insult to injury, Bolsonaro went ahead and called the recent wave of fires in the Amazon the handiwork of local environmental NGOs.

"Crime exists, and we need to make sure that this type of crime does not increase. We took money away from the NGOs. They are now feeling the pinch from the lack of funding," he said. So, maybe the NGO-types are conducting these criminal acts in order to generate negative attention against me and against the Brazilian government. This is the war we are facing."

Organizations like Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund have warned that if the Amazon reaches a point of no return, the rainforest could become a dry savannah, no longer habitable, let alone remain vital and biodiverse. The forest could become a large-scale carbon-emitter, where it was once a carbon sink, becoming a powerful driver of climate change.

Source
#15028694
Great. So we're fucked basically.

With this rate of progress, it seems we should be preparing for the worst-case scenario.
Within the next decade, if no radical reversal in policy was introduced, then the effects of climate change will be prolonged as the effects are gradual and takes a much longer time to take place.
The things we see happening today in climate are the result of the past decades' policies.
#15028704
anasawad wrote:Great. So we're fucked basically.

With this rate of progress, it seems we should be preparing for the worst-case scenario.
Within the next decade, if no radical reversal in policy was introduced, then the effects of climate change will be prolonged as the effects are gradual and takes a much longer time to take place.
The things we see happening today in climate are the result of the past decades' policies.


Well we won't get any radical reversal and I don't think policy is enough to stop it.
#15028726
Atlantis wrote:
Theoretically, it's still possible to control man-made climate change if we reach an international consensus to take robust action. The rise of right-wing populism is making this task virtually impossible.


Thank God for wingnuts.
#15028797
anasawad wrote:Within the next decade, if no radical reversal in policy was introduced, then the effects of climate change will be prolonged as the effects are gradual and takes a much longer time to take place.


It's really worse because it probably won't be gradual. When we pass certain thresholds, we risk triggering a cascade of events that'll rapidly deteriorate the situation. The burning of the Amazon or the arctic forests and the melting of the permafrost will release huge amounts of green house gases.

I think climate scientists are downplaying the possible effects so as not to spread the idea that it's too late anyways. It's never too late, but the longer we wait, the greater the cost, and the less the chances that it can be kept within manageable limits.

The things we see happening today in climate are the result of the past decades' policies.


It's not policy. It's people's greed. When the steam engine or the internal combustion engine were invented people just wanted more comfort. They didn't have the climate science we have today. Ironically, the Luddites were right after all, just for the wrong reasons.
#15028798
The rain forest is Brazil's asset. If we start paying the Brazilians to not use it, it might invite abuse. As the country's situation has deteriorated (which is why they voted for Bolsonaro) the option of not using their assets has become less appealing to them.

As for climate change, none of the doomsday theories have borne out yet. This is fortunate since it's human nature that people in Brazil will want to economically utilize the rain forest more and more as time goes on and ultimately, nothing short of a military intervention could prevent that.
#15028810
A number of countries, including Norway and Germany, have already suspended their aid payments to Brazil. The next step will be to suspend economic cooperation with the country. Both France and Ireland will veto the EU's trade deal with Brazil if the burning doesn't stop. They can't use burned land if they can't export their produce.
#15028815
Amazon rainforest fires: Macron calls for G7 talks to focus on 'international crisis'
Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro lashes out at ‘sensationalist’ comments saying they were for ‘personal political gain’

Tom Phillips Latin America correspondent

Fri 23 Aug 2019 01.20 BST Last modified on Fri 23 Aug 2019 10.36 BST



Large swathes of the Amazon rainforest are burning – video report

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has said the fires in the Amazon are an “international crisis” and called for them to be top of the agenda at the G7 summit, prompting a furious response from Brazil’s leader.

“Our house is burning. Literally,” Macron tweeted.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing nationalist who bristles at the idea of foreign interference in the Brazilian Amazon, took exception to his French counterpart’s comments.

“I regret that president Macron seeks to take advantage of what is a domestic Brazilian issue and of other Amazonian countries for personal political gain,” Bolsonaro tweeted, targeting what he called Macron’s “sensationalist tone”.


In a second tweet, he said: “The French president’s suggestion that Amazonian matters be discussed at the G7 without the involvement of countries of the region recalls the colonialist mindset that is unacceptable in the 21st century.”


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Later Brazil’s foreign minister Ernesto Araújo weighed in with a thread on Twitter, condemning the “savage and unfair” international campaign against his nation.

Araújo claimed the campaign was being waged “because President Bolsonaro’s government is rebuilding Brazil.”

“The ‘environmental crisis’ appears to be the last weapon left in the arsenal of leftist lies to smother this fact,” he added.

Earlier one of Bolsonaro’s top foreign advisers also tweeted a reprimand to foreign meddlers. “God does not like liars,” Filipe Martins wrote in a series of posts rebutting international criticism.

Bolsonaro’s politician son, Eduardo, continued the offensive, tweeting a YouTube video called “Macron is an idiot” to his 1.6m followers.

But international concern continued to be expressed over the scale of the fires. The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, said he was “deeply concerned” about their effect on the global climate crisis: “In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity.”

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the fires were being “aided and abetted by the Brazilian government”. The burning of the rainforest was “an act of shocking environmental vandalism with global consequences”.

Celebrities, including Madonna, also weighed in on Thursday. “The Fires Are Raging and The Amazonia continues to burn,” she tweeted.



“It is devastating to see our world suffer,” the British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton wrote on Instagram.

The footballer Cristiano Ronaldo tweeted about the urgency of the Amazon fires, saying it’s “our responsibility to help save the planet”.



Brazil has had more than 72,000 fires this year, an 84% increase on the same period in 2018, says the country’s National Institute for Space Research. More than half were in the Amazon.

There was a sharp rise in deforestation during July, which has been followed by extensive burning in August. Local newspapers say farmers in some regions are organising “fire days” to take advantage of weaker enforcement by the authorities.

Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, on Thursday said he had spoken to Bolsonaro and would send three “brigades of specialists in forest fires and environmental research, who will help mitigate the tragedy in the Amazon rainforest.”

The Guardian


Now, what is Trump going to tweet? Is he going to support his sorcerer's apprentice Bolsonaro or will he remember that he opposed the Paris Agreement because it puts the greatest burden on developed countries and not enough on emerging and developing countries? I won't hold my breath because consistency is not one of Trump's strong suits.

The US failed to spread its influence with the Iraq war because it lost the narrative despite embedded journalists and all. The pretext for war was just not credible. The right-wing populists will lose because they have lost the narrative.

By accusing the NGOs of the arson he is responsible for he shows that words have lost their meaning.
#15028824
I don’t think he calls himself “Captain Chainsaw”, I think he was given the moniker by others.

Does anyone know how long they have been burning? Also, is there a strategy to put them out or are they just gonna burn? You’d think there would be a global contingent of fire fighters in Brazil right now, wouldn’t you? :hmm:
#15028826
Atlantis wrote:The rise of Trump has empowered right-wing populism worldwide. A few years ago, climate change denial was a fringe phenomenon of a small number of conspiracy theory nuts. Today, due to the rise of right-wing populism and a sustained lobbying campaign by the US's fossil fuel industry, climate change denial theories are almost cited as often as serious climate science. Trump considers man-made climate change to be a Chinese conspiracy to damage America.

In Brazil, president Bolsonaro, who calls himself "captain chainsaw", is actively promoting the deforestation of the rain forest for commercial exploitation. The fires ravaging through the rain forest now are a direct consequence of his policies. This year's fires are up by more than 80% over last year's and we still haven't reached the end of the season.

The Amazon rain forest is essential for the global climate. It is also a huge carbon sink. Due to the fires and the subsequent commercial land use, the Amazon is turned from a carbon sink into a carbon source.

Theoretically, it's still possible to control man-made climate change if we reach an international consensus to take robust action. The rise of right-wing populism is making this task virtually impossible.


It would be difficult for humans to change the climate. It would require a worldwide return to the pre-industrialization era.

BTW, before fossils fuels humans burned wood to stay warm and to cook. Since humans do not burn wood anymore the planet today is much greener. IN fact the excess CO2 in the atmosphere has created an extremely green planet. Much greener than in the past.

The climate will worsen because the left will invoke open borders in developed nations. Every time a 3rd world person migrates to the west he or she has a massive increase in his or her carbon footprint.

The climate will worsen because population will continue to increase to about 10-11 billion before it comes down. Buckle up!
#15028831
ness31 wrote:Does anyone know how long they have been burning? Also, is there a strategy to put them out or are they just gonna burn? You’d think there would be a global contingent of fire fighters in Brazil right now, wouldn’t you? :hmm:


A local newspaper announced that big landowners had declared August 10th a "day of fire" to clear forest for farming. The fires apparently got out off control.

Most fire-fighting aircraft are helicopters or small aircraft that can reload water in local lakes without landing. They can't fly to Brazil from overseas. They do have some fire-fighting aircraft in Latin America and Morales has hired one large Boeing, but since it has to land and start from an airport to recharge water, it won't have the frequency necessary to fight the fires.
#15028845
There can be no doubt that Bolsonaro is personally responsible for the fires and the destruction of the Amazon rain forest.

Brazil’s President Is Actively Trying To Destroy Amazon Rainforest, Leaked Documents Show

When day turned to night during Monday afternoon, Sao Paulo residents thought the world would come to an end. It took a while for them to realize that it was the smoke from the wildfires that had darkened the sky.

Due to his excessive greed and ignorance, Bolsonaro has signed his own political demise. In addition to an international backlash, there will be domestic shock at the sheer magnitude of the catastrophe.

Let this be the beginning of the end for right-wing populism. Now its time for Americans to do their bit.

Image

Hong Wu wrote:The rain forest is Brazil's asset.


The rain forest belongs to the natives who have maintained it for our benefit for centuries. It's the greed of a handful of white settlers who are killing the natives and driving them off their native land that is the problem. These parasites should be expelled from human society.

The destruction of the Amazon rain forest will first of all impact life in Latin America. As the forest disappears, the climate will become arid. The humidity of the rain forest has historically prevented the forest from burning. Once it turns into dry-land, the land will become useless and fires will become a normal occurrence until there is nothing left to burn.

Poor countries like Ethiopia have launched a massive campaign to replant forests because they have experience first-hand what the destruction of the forest means to their country. If a third world country can do it, why is the exploitative ruling class of Brazil hell-bent on destroying its own country?

ness31 wrote:There must be professionals who know how to limit forest fires ffs.


Every magic solution seems just a Google search away for the Interned kids. Real life is something else. The Iberian peninsula is so dry that wildfires have always been a common occurrence. Yet when it burns, it burns without anybody being able to stop it. Nearly 1,000 firefighters, hundreds of fire engines and dozens of fire-fighting aircraft were mobilized last year just a couple of miles from where I life. The fire kept on burning until the wind calmed down and we got a few cooler days.
Last edited by Atlantis on 23 Aug 2019 13:59, edited 1 time in total.
#15028846
Atlantis wrote:A number of countries, including Norway and Germany, have already suspended their aid payments to Brazil. The next step will be to suspend economic cooperation with the country. Both France and Ireland will veto the EU's trade deal with Brazil if the burning doesn't stop. They can't use burned land if they can't export their produce.


Not sure about United States, but Russia and China will probably jump on this opportunity to extend their sphere of influence in South America. Better find ways to stop them.
#15028848
Every magic solution seems just a Google search away for the Interned kids. Real life is something else. The Iberian peninsula is so dry that wildfires have always been a common occurrence. Yet when it burns, it burns without anybody being able to stop it. Nearly 1,000 firefighters, hundreds of fire engines and dozens of fire-fighting aircraft were mobilized last year just a couple of miles from where I life. The fire kept on burning until the wind calmed down and we got a few cooler days.


Yup. Wild fires are seriously fucked up. I spend a large portion of the year struggling to breath due to prescribed burns which are carried out to limit bush fires.
#15028853
ness31 wrote:Yup. Wild fires are seriously fucked up. I spend a large portion of the year struggling to breath due to prescribed burns which are carried out to limit bush fires.


Half our property burned down about 15 years ago. At one point I felt just like lying down and stop fighting the flames, but burning to death is not a nice way to go. Since then we have been spared, but usually have to evacuate a couple of times each year when fires burn in the neighborhood.

Macron is putting the Amazon fires on the G7 agenda:



He also accuses Bolsonaro of having lied about his commitment to forest protection:

Macron accuse Bolsonaro d'avoir «menti» sur le climat, la France s'oppose à l'accord UE-Mercosur

L'Elysée estime que le président brésilien Jair Bolsonaro n'a pas «respecté ses engagements climatiques.» «Dans ces conditions, la France s'oppose à l'accord Mercosur en l'état», a poursuivi la présidence française.

Le président français Emmanuel Macron estime que son homologue brésilien Jair Bolsonaro a «menti» sur ses engagements en faveur de l'environnement et a annoncé vendredi que dans ces conditions, la France s'opposait au traité de libre échange controversé UE-Mercosur, a fait savoir la présidence.

«Compte tenu de l’attitude du Brésil ces dernières semaines, le président de la République ne peut que constater que le président Bolsonaro lui a menti lors du Sommet d’Osaka», a dit cette source à la présidence française. «Les décisions et propos du Brésil ces dernières semaines montrent bien que le président Bolsonaro a décidé de ne pas respecter ses engagements climatiques ni de s’engager en matière de biodiversité», a-t-elle ajouté. «Dans ces conditions, la France s’oppose à l’accord Mercosur en l’état.»


Under these conditions, the French, like some other EU members, will veto the EU's Mercosur trade agreement.

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