Political Editors / Aug. 29, 2019

A Burning Sensation in Brazil's Amazon

How bad are the fires in the Amazon jungle? Not as bad as the media coverage.

The Cato Institute’s Dr. Ryan Maue recaps some of the ridiculous reporting, international reaction, and the actual truth:

The international news coverage of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest fires has been a complete disaster. News outlets published inaccurate yet easily verifiable “facts” about the number of fires, declaring the situation “record-breaking” and “unprecedented.” Social media lit up with misleading claims about the loss of planetary oxygen supply (20 percent, said French President Emmanuel Macron) threatening to asphyxiate us all. Stock photos and images of forest fires from the last two decades including Peru and Bolivia were shared widely and wildly. Celebrities and politicians alike heaped condemnation upon Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro leading to an ongoing geopolitical crisis. …

The origin of this Amazon fire crisis traces back to the beginning of August, when Bolsonaro sacked his Space Institute minister for publishing worrisome data about the 2019 fire season. The dry season in Brazil typically runs from August to November, as farmers use these months to burn dried-out timber previously cut during land clearing operations. Ranchers also prepare the land for cattle grazing.

An important point to remember about these fires, however, is that the rainforests themselves are not entirely or uncontrollably ablaze. Natural fire does not typically occur in these tropical forests due to suffocating humidity, wet dense foliage, and daily thunderstorms. What is burning right now is land near the forests where farmers and ranchers have cleared hundreds and hundreds of acres of trees. This is easily seen in satellite imagery, which scientists finally examined and compared to the past two decades.

As for the fires themselves, Maue writes, “The number of fires and cumulative area burned so far in 2019, on the other hand, is on par with previous years and described as ‘near average’ by NASA.”

So why the hysterics? Climate change. When every ecofascist has a hammer (and sickle), every problem looks like a nail. Wildfires in the American West? Climate change. Hurricanes in the Atlantic? Climate change. Extra rainy season? Climate change. Drought? Climate change.

It’s the all-purpose bogeyman, and the agenda is simple: socialistic economic control. Don’t take our word for it; ask Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff.

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