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No, ‘the lungs of the world’ are not burning up heralding climate doom

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Thomas Lifson
August 27, 2019

With a big assist from President Emmanuel Macron of France, tweeting a 20-year-old picture of a burning tropical forest during the G-7 meeting, this year’s round of fires in the Amazon basin were heralded as an omen of a the purported climate apocalypse statists long for, as an excuse to expand their power over energy use. And like Macron’s tweet, it was based on misinformation, to put it kindly.

Fake, fake, fake! (source: Twitter)​

The G-7 agreed to send $20 million to Brazil to help fight the fires. In the larger scheme of foreign aid sums, this is a trivial amount. But it emphasized how much they care about the purported crisis.

Writing on Forbes, Michael Shellenberger debunks the latest climate scam foisted upon us by the world’s elites:

And yet the photos weren’t actually of the fires and many weren’t even of the Amazon. The photo Ronaldo shared was taken in southern Brazil, far from the Amazon, in 2013. The photo that DiCaprio and Macron shared is over 20 years old. The photo Madonna and Smith shared is over 30. Some celebrities shared photos from Montana, India, and Sweden.

To their credit, CNN and New York Times debunked the photos and other misinformation about the fires. “Deforestation is neither new nor limited to one nation,” explained CNN. “These fires were not caused by climate change,” noted The Times.

But both publications repeated the claim that the Amazon is the “lungs” of the world. “The Amazon remains a net source of oxygen today,” said CNN. “The Amazon is often referred to as Earth’s ‘lungs,’ because its vast forests release oxygen and store carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that is a major cause of global warming,” claimed The New York Times.

Greenies fetishize wilderness, endowing it with sacred and miraculous properties. But Shellenberger goes to a scientist, Dan Nepstad, whom he identifies as one f the world’s leading experts on the Amazon:

“It’s bullshit,” he said. “There’s no science behind that. The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen but it uses the same amount of oxygen through respiration so it’s a wash.”

Plants use respiration to convert nutrients from the soil into energy. They use photosynthesis to convert light into chemical energy, which can later be used in respiration.

What about The New York Times claim 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’”?

Also not true, said Nepstad, who was a lead author of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. “The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen, but so do soy farms and [cattle] pastures.”

Some people will no doubt wave away the “lungs” myth as nit-picking. The broader point is that there is an increase in fires in Brazil and something should be done about it.

But the “lungs” myth is just the tip of the iceberg. Consider that CNN ran a long segment with the banner, “Fires Burning at Record Rate in Amazon Forest” while a leading climate reporter claimed, “The current fires are without precedent in the past 20,000 years.”

While the number of fires in 2019 is indeed 80% higher than in 2018, it’s just 7% higher than the average over the last 10 years ago, Nepstad said.​

False claims and cherry-picked statistics that exaggerate the rate and magnitude of changes seem to be standard operating procedures for climate alarmists. Thanks to the massive press coverage of the G-7 and host Macron’s insistence on a session to discuss climate (that President Trump did not attend), these false images and unjustified panic has spread throughout the world, scaring children and child-like adults, while the sober debunking is seen by few.

Brazil’s President Bolsonaro has rejected the aid. And for good measure:

Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, took a swipe at French President Emmanuel Macron over the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral this year, as he told the G1 news website that the government appreciated the offer "but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe."

Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site. What does he intend to teach our country?"​
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Guess all those prescribed burns out West (well, except in California) are killing the US/ Not hardly. Burns are good for forests, savannahs and other vast tracts
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