Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Our planet is on fire

Brazil's Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, according to new data from the country's space research agency. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said its satellite data showed an 83% increase on the same period in 2018. Smoke from the fires caused a blackout in the city of Sao Paulo
It comes weeks after President Jair Bolsonaro fired the head of the agency amid rows over its deforestation data. Conservationists have blamed Bolsonaro, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land. Bolsonaro brushed off the latest data, saying it was the "season of the queimada", when farmers use fire to clear land. "I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame,"
Inpe said it had detected more than 72,000 fires between January and August - the highest number since records began in 2013. It said it had observed more than 9,500 forest fires since Thursday, mostly in the Amazon region.
As the largest tropical rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming, a capacity that earned it the nickname "lungs of the world."
"The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for weeks, and it's so bad it's literally blotting out the sun miles away," tweeted Robert Maguire, research director at U.S. government watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility.
Amazon Watch called the Bolsonaro regime's attacks on the world's largest rainforest "an international tragedy."
Siberia is burning. Alaska is burning. Our planet is burning.

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