Amazon wildfires have spiked, sparking fears of land grabs for agriculture and the release of greenhouse gases that will accelerate global warming.
Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil have ignited a firestorm on social media, with President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday suggesting green groups had started the blazes.Images of fires purportedly devouring sections of the world’s largest rainforest have gone viral on Twitter. #PrayforAmazonas is the top trending hashtag in the world on Wednesday, with 249,000 tweets.“No matter how successful we are, if our Earth dies, we all die,” posted one Twitter user.The virtual anguish…
Uncontrolled fires sweeping through the Amazon rainforest could scuttle Brazil's chances of becoming a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), worried business leaders said on Friday.
YouTube’s struggle to contain white supremacy — Amazon’s Twitter army backfires
Fires in the Amazon rainforest show up clearly and ominously in satellite imagery, showing the increased deforestation trends that are putting the planet's carbon savings account and bastion of biodiversity at risk.
The Amazon is burning. How bad are the fires and who started them? Why are Brazilians talking about flying rivers and falling skies? And does this spell doom for the lungs of the Earth?
In a sharp escalation of tensions over fires ravaging the Amazon, France on Friday accused Brazil's president of having lied to French leader Emmanuel Macron and threatened to block a European Union trade deal with South American states including Brazil.
Pressure builds on Brazilian president to do more to contain record number of fires raging in parts of the Amazon.
The number of forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon has soared to an unprecedented high, with some 72,843 recorded since the start of this year alone, according to data released this week by the country’s INPE space research centre.
President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday authorized the deployment of Brazil's armed forces to help combat fires raging in the Amazon rainforest, as a growing global outcry over the blazes sparks protests and threatens a huge trade deal.
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.
Wildfires spread across parts of the Amazon Rainforest, deterioration takes its toll on an iconic ocean liner, and the ISS is increasingly open for business.
Brazil's Amazon rainforest is in flames, burning at the highest rate since 2013, when that nation's space research center first began tracking fires there.
Across social media, people are sharing images of fires raging through the Amazon rainforest accompanied by cries for immediate action from world leaders. Emmanuel Macron answered, but with a misleading, old photo.
Read Full Article at RT.com
Amid raging fires in the Amazon and an international outcry, Brazilians have revived long-held fears that others are coveting what belongs to Brazil.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro is considering sending the army to tackle the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest.
Members of Brazil's Mura indigenous tribe painted their bodies with orange-red paint and took up long bows and clubs as they headed into the jungle this week, prepared for battle. Their enemy? The deforestation and destruction of their home, the Amazon rainforest.
Pope Francis, in a June speech, denounced the misuse of judicial powers against perceived enemies, saying that “lawfare” is “generally employed to undermine emerging political systems,” and puts democracy at serious risk.
The judges in the audience from his native South America are likely to have guessed exactly what he was talking about. Over the past few years, a growing anti-corruption crusade exposed shocking levels of graft across the continent and rocked the political systems of a half a dozen countries. While the investigations—the most important of which is Brazil’s Lava Jato, or “Car Wash”—initially enjoyed widespread support, it became clear that the line between legal and political goals was blurred. Most famously, Sérgio Moro, the judge in the Car Wash case, ordered the imprisonment of former President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, removing the front-runner from Brazil’s 2018 election. Moro then took a position as hugely powerful “super justice minister” in the far-right administration of ultimately victorious Jair Bolsonaro, one of the most extreme figures in global electoral politics.
But if the pope had reason to worry in June, all of Latin America now has reason to be horrified. Over the past few months, private messages initially leaked to The Intercept Brasil have pointed to serious wrongdoing and abuse of power at the heart of Lava Jato, and the revelations keep coming. It is now apparent that Moro was not acting as impartial judge, but actively conspiring with the prosecution to make sure Lula, as the popular center-left former president is widely known, was put behind bars. The prosecution presented evidence against him despite knowing it was weak; Moro gave the team tips on how to go after Lula and attack him in the press. The most recent of many explosive reports indicate prosecutors coordinated to put pressure on Brazil’s Supreme Court, including by looking for evidence to use against one prominent court justice.
“For decades, we had this clear narrative that in the 1980s, we transitioned from dictatorship to democracy, and made a clean break with that past,” Matias Spektor, a professor of international relations at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas university in São Paulo, told me. “Lava Jato revealed just how imperfect this transition was, that at the heart of our democracy, corrupt practices endemic to authoritarian regimes are still very pervasive—and, now, the tragic irony of it all is we learn that a very small group of activist bureaucratic entrepreneurs [such as Moro and chief prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol] themselves used features of this dirty system to propel themselves into politics.”
[Read: Can Brazil’s democracy withstand Jair Bolsonaro?]
The Lava Jato investigation started out of a small office in 2014 in the small city of Curitiba, in southern Brazil, and exposed a transnational network of bribes, especially in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Illicit transfers totaled billions of dollars, as large companies routinely paid politicians bribes while procuring government contracts. The investigation made its way to Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. (In the most dramatic result, former Peruvian President Alan Garcia killed himself this year rather than face imprisonment by prosecutors working with Lava Jato.) All of these countries are watching what happens in Brazil.
The leaked messages seemed to have reversed the dynamic between Bolsonaro, a former military officer who was an outspoken supporter of Brazil’s dictatorship as a congressman from Rio de Janeiro, and Moro. The judge, often depicted heroically by national and international media during his meteoric rise, might have been powerful enough to rival the president, but is now a hostage to radical Bolsonarismo, best understood as a violent obsession with destroying the left combined with contempt for democratic institutions. Weakened, he serves at the pleasure of the president, whose own family now appears to be linked to the dirtiest and darkest elements of Brazilian politics, including the violent paramilitary milicias that control much of Rio. Egregious violations apparently committed by Flávio Bolsonaro, one of the president’s three adult sons, have not led to any arrests or serious investigation.
This isn’t the strongest moment for South American institutions. Support for democracy has dropped in recent years, as the end of a commodity boom led to economic slowdown; crime levels remain shockingly high in many countries; and voters watched many of their elected leaders hauled off to jail. In 2018, 71 percent of Latin Americans told the Latinobarómetro polling service they were somehow dissatisfied with democracy—up from 51 percent in 2008. According to the latest Pew “Global Attitudes” survey, only 8 percent of Brazilians say that democracy is a “very good” system—the lowest among the surveyed residents of more than 30 countries. In Argentina, that number was 32 percent; it is 22 percent in Chile, and 9 percent in Mexico.
[Read: Brazil turns its back on democracy]
“Scandals that involve judges are even more dangerous to democracies than scandals that involve other institutional actors, since the judiciary only derives its legitimacy from the claim to neutrality,” Donatella della Porta, a professor of political science at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy, and expert on corruption and anti-corruption campaigns, told me. Moro famously modeled his own crusade on Mani Pulite, or “Clean Hands,” the Italian anti-corruption investigation that started in the 1990s. Mani Pulite weakened and discredited the political class, forcing a re-branding, but did not reduce overall corruption, della Porta said.
“There are not many examples of truly successful anti-corruption campaigns,” she added.
She said that investigative journalism had raised awareness in some cases—but that the other way these battles have been fought, with a mobilized judiciary leading the charge, usually has serious consequences.
“They divide public opinion, and politicians defend themselves by saying the judiciary has been politicized,” she said. “In Italy, this accusation was inaccurate, but in Brazil, it’s been proved to be true.”
The judiciary isn’t the only thing to be politicized. In the first six months of Bolsonaro’s government, his opposition to anything that smelled vaguely leftist or “politically correct” has had global consequences. Destruction of the Amazon, already a serious problem under the Social Democratic governments of Lula and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, has exploded. Bolsonaro responded by firing the head of the scientific body that reports the data, which the president called “lies.”
[Read: The twilight of Brazil's anti-corruption movement]
Bolsonaro responded to The Intercept Brasil’s revelations by threatening to jail the journalist Glenn Greenwald for unspecified crimes. In response, the Brazilian supreme court barred the administration from investigating Greenwald and his journalism, an exercise of his constitutional rights.
Like in much of South America, Brazil’s democracy is only a few decades old in its current iteration; during the Cold War, US.-backed coups resulted in murderous right-wing authoritarian regimes taking power in most of the region. This history has led a few Latin Americans, especially on the left, to wonder aloud if “lawfare,” or the misuse of judicial powers against perceived enemies, is the new mechanism through which conservative elites, or foreign governments, or international capital, undermine democracies, taking the place of the old-fashioned military putsch. Lula himself, in an interview behind bars, told The Intercept he suspected the U.S. Justice Department was behind Lava Jato, though he offered no proof.
The Catholic Church, especially in Brazil, was one of the most important opponents of human rights abuses committed by the era of anticommunist dictatorships. Francis sent Lula a letter in jail earlier this year, encouraging him to keep the faith, and released a video about judicial propriety after the revelations about Lava Jato emerged.
The Intercept, partnering with Brazilian outlets including El País, Folha de S.Paulo, UOL, and Veja, says it is working on a number of new stories, and still processing much of the leaked material in its possession. The goal is to inform the public about abuses committed by judges and prosecutors, too, and thereby strengthen the anti-corruption movement, the publication says.
“Before Lava Jato, we were in the gutter with our eyes shut,” said Spektor, the university professor. “Now still we’re in the gutter—okay, maybe we’re even deeper in the gutter—but with our eyes wide open.”
There have been 74,155 fires in Brazil so far this year, mostly in the Amazon, and about half of which have ignited in just the past month. Some world leaders are raising the alarm.
Fires are raging at a record rate in Brazil's Amazon rainforest and scientists warn it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change. CNN's Shasta Darlington reports.
The Amazon is burning. There have been more than 74,000 fires across Brazil this year, and nearly 40,000 fires across the Amazon, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. That’s the fastest rate of burning since record-keeping began, in 2013. Toxic smoke from the fires is so intense that darkness now falls hours before the sun sets in São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital and the largest city in the Western Hemisphere.
The fires have captured the planet’s attention as little else does. The Amazon is the world’s largest and most diverse tract of rainforest, with millions of species and billions of trees. It stores vast amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide and produces 6 percent of the planet’s oxygen.
So the Amazonian fires—which have been blazing for weeks and notoriously received less coverage than Notre Dame’s burning roof— seem like a potent symbol of humanity’s indifference to environmental disorder, including climate change.
But climate change is not the primary cause of the wildfires. Unlike, say, most California blazes—which are sparked by accident and then intensified by climate change—the Amazonian fires are not wildfires at all. These fires did not start by lightning strike or power line: They were ignited. And while they largely affect land already cleared for ranching and farming, they can and do spread into old-growth forest.
[Read: Trees could change the climate more than scientists thought]
So the two scariest numbers for understanding the fires are this: There are 80 percent more fires this year than there were last summer, according to the Brazilian government. This surge in burning has accompanied a spike in deforestation in general. More than 1,330 square miles of the Amazon rainforest have been lost since January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to The New York Times.
Why are these figures so important? Because Brazil’s political leadership has changed in the past year. On January 1, Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist who has openly pined for his country’s authoritarian past, was sworn in as president. During his campaign, he promised to weaken the Amazon’s environmental protections—which have been effective at reducing deforestation for the past two decades—and open up the rainforest to economic development.
[Read: The success of paying people not to cut down trees]
Now he is making good on that promise. The three Brazilian states with the worst spikes in fire this year are all governed by Bolsonaro’s allies, according to Richard Black, a former BBC journalist and the current director of the nonprofit Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit. The states governed by Bolsonaro’s political opponents have actually seen a decline in fires. And according to allegations by the global news site OpenDemocracy, leaked documents show that Bolsonaro’s government intends to strategically prevent conservation projects in the Amazon.
But recognizing that the fires are a political problem as well as an environmental one does not make solving them any easier. Bolsonaro has found success in part by casting himself in opposition to the rich global North. When asked about the fires, he implied that environmental NGOs were behind the burning. After President Emmanuel Macron of France called the fires a crisis, tweeting that “our house is burning,” Bolsonaro co-opted his words, accusing him of a “misplaced colonial mindset.”
That cynical attack points to the difficulty of a remedy. The Amazon rainforest does, in some sense, belong to Brazilians and the indigenous people who live there. But as a store of carbon, it is fundamental to the survival of every person. If destroyed or degraded, the Amazon, as a system, is simply beyond humanity’s ability to get back: Even if people were to replant half a continent’s worth of trees, the diversity of creatures across Amazonia, once lost, will not be replenished for roughly 10 million years. And that is 33 times longer than Homo sapiens, as a species, has existed.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday said his government lacks the resources to fight wildfires in the Amazon rainforest after satellite images showed a record number of burning spots this year.
The Brazilian government's push to escalate agricultural and mining developments in the Amazon at the expense of Indigenous rights actively brought about the ongoing wildfire crisis, according to Indigenous advocates.
Mississauga-based overnight shipping company issues warrants to Amazon for voting shares based on commercial milestones
Indigenous people in Brazil have vowed to protect their land as large swathes of the Amazon forest continue to burn. The largest rainforest in the world absorbs billions of tonnes of CO2 every year, slowing the pace of global heating. It is also home to about 3m species of plants and animals and a million people. Continue reading...
NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Nature correspondent Jeff Tollefson about the Amazon Fund and the web of diplomacy aiming to prevent deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
The Brazilian army will be deployed to fight fires in the Amazon rainforest, the governor of the Amazon state of Roraima said on Friday.
Demonstrators gathered outside Brazilian embassies to protest against inaction on Amazon wildfires.
Climate change activists chanting slogans and waving banners demonstrated boisterously outside Brazil's embassy in London Friday, urging President Jair Bolsonaro to do more to halt the fires in the Amazon rainforest.
He parleyed his way to Brazil’s presidency with a vote-winning barrage of scaremongering and bombast.But eight months into Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right tenure, there is growing discomfort over the president’s inability – or refusal – to mind his mouth, and the impact this is having on Brazil’s place in the world.Offensive things Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro has said“The president has become a risk for the country,” the broadsheet O Globo pronounced this week in an editorial lamenting how…
U.N. Calls for Protection of the Amazon as Rainforest Burns at Record Pace, Indigenous Communities Say Brazil's President Is Encouraging Destruction of Forests, Bernie Sanders Unveils Ambitious Green New Deal to Avert Climate Catastrophe, Democratic Leaders Reject Resolution Calling for Candidate Climate Debate, French Authorities to Crack Down on Protest as 13,000 Police Mobilize for G7 Summit, Syrian Forces Encircle Last Major Rebel-Held Stronghold in Hama Province, U.N.: Burmese Troops Had "Genocidal Intent" in Targeting Rohingya for Sexual Violence, Indonesia Deploys Troops to Quell Independence Protests in West Papua, Russian Opposition Leader Freed from Jail 30 Days After Promoting Pro-Democracy Protests, North Korea Calls U.S. Secretary of State "Poisonous" as Denuclearization Talks Stall, Russian President Orders "Symmetrical Response" After U.S. Tests New Cruise Missile, French President Calls for Global Tax on Tech Giants , Justice Department Emailed Employees Link to White Nationalist Website, Sarah Sanders to Join Fox News; Sean Spicer to Join "Dancing with the Stars", Labor Leader Dolores Huerta Among 8 Arrested at Protest Demanding Raise for Home Care Workers, Thousands of Accountants Join Latest Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protests, Activists Demand Parole Reform as They Mark Passing of NY's Longest-Serving Woman Prisoner
Rainforests in Brazil are burning. Their loss can never be restored. That's because these soils are not just infertile, they're the most nutrient-poor soils in the world — and they're unsuitable for agriculture.
Brazilian agriculture minister, Tereza Cristina Dias, said on Friday that agribusiness should not be blamed for the fires sweeping through the Amazon rainforest and that potential trade barriers are unjustified.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has said the G7 leaders “cannot be silent” in the face of fires sweeping parts of Brazil’s Amazon, and will call for everything to be done to halt them.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro seemed to be making a surprising reversal when he announced plans to send armed forces to fight the fires in the Amazon Friday night, the day before world leaders arrive at the G7 summit in Europe.
Brazil’s handling of fires to top agenda in Biarritz as France and Ireland threaten to block trade deal
Amazon fires: what is happening and is there anything we can do?
Leaders of the world’s major democracies are due to hold emergency talks this weekend on the wildfires engulfing the Amazon, as international efforts to force Brazil to change its deforestation policies gathered momentum.
As heads of state and government were due to arrive at the G7 in Biarritz on Saturday, France and Ireland threatened to block the Mercosur free-trade agreement between the EU and South American nations if the government of Jair Bolsonaro does not stop the deforestation of the Amazon, which experts say has fuelled the fires. Other EU members were under pressure to walk away from the Mercosur (Southern Common Market) deal, which is already unpopular among European farmers. Continue reading...
Brazil's rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year
French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said raging wildfires in the Amazon were an “international crisis” and called on this weekend’s G7 to address the issue.“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produces 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!” he said on Twitter.His comments came as Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said his…
Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” Amazon’s “The Boys” and DC Universe’s “Doom Patrol” are among the nominees.