Climate alarmism over Amazon fires doused by NASA, scientists

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Michael F. Haverluck (

Earth from spaceClimate change alarmists continue to stoke fears that wildfires in the Amazon rainforest are suffocating the world. At the same time, scientists are deflating puffed up numbers while NASA’s data is smothering activists’ claims and assuring that the extent of fires during this season are normal and no cause for concern.

“From media outlets to politicians, the wildfires have sparked a wave of misinformation and hysteria,” TheBlaze reported. “The wildfires are so frightening because the Amazon produces 20 percent of the world's oxygen, they claim, [while] others alleged the fires could speed up climate change.”

Fanning the flames of hysteria?

French President Emmanuel Macron has pressured world leaders to fund the global climate change agenda and recently chided President Donald Trump for not signing the United States on to join 195 other nations that have bought into the Paris Agreement. Now the French leader has sparked more fear with the Amazon fires.

“Our house is burning – literally,” Macron warned his followers on Twitter Thursday. “The Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produces 20% 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!”

But the inflammatory 20-percent figure driving worldwide panic was quickly extinguished by established scientists using accurate data, including climatologist and geophysicist Michael E. Mann, the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.

“The 20% figure IS too high,” Mann tweeted Friday. “True number closer to 6% as per Jon Foley (@GlobalEcoGuy) and even this is misleading because oxygen levels wouldn't actually drop by 6% if we deforested the Amazon. See the longer thread on this w/ @GlobalEcoGuy, @climatedynamics, me & others...”

Yet the 20-percent statistic – which more than triples the accurate reading – continues to be the crux of climate alarmists’ argument, including Democratic members of Congress who support the Green New Deal championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

“The Amazon forest provides 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, and there have been 70,000 wildfires this year alone,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) tweeted Friday. “These fires set by loggers could speed up climate change through a feedback loop that emits billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.”

Khanna’s Twitter post highlights quotes and a link from an ominous article published by, which also echoes the already debunked 20-percent statistic:

“Fires in the Amazon could be part of a doomsday scenario that sees the rainforest spewing carbon into the atmosphere and speeding up climate change even more,” the headline reads, before blaming Brazil’s conservative president for the conflagration. “Fears for the Amazon’s future have been heightened under Brazil’s new, far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who encourages industry in the region.”

The mainstream media also threw propellant onto the climate change uproar.

“The Amazon is often referred to as ‘the lungs of the planet’ – it's home to 10% of the world's species and creates 20% of our oxygen,” NBC News tweeted Thursday. “There have been more than 74,000 fires in the Amazon since January – a massive increase over last year.”

Other popular media outlets are joining the narrative of inflaming concern and outrage over the fires – continuing the trend of blaming the incineration of the forest on “deniers” of climate change.

“Can humanity survive without the Amazon rainforest?” the headline from reads, followed by this subheading: “Massive fires in the Amazon rainforest – a result of far-right policies – call humanity's survival into question.”

Call to cool off and get grounded in reality …

Scientists at NASA, however, don’t take the alarmists’ side on this debate. And as the federal administration dampens outrage on the left, there is indication that the fires could be used in desperation to win converts to climate change alarmism.

In fact, environmentalists’ accusations that the fires are a product of right-wing politicians backing the logging industry were diffused by this explanation from NASA, which stressed that such fires are common and that this year’s fires are actually below normal.

“In the Amazon region, fires are rare for much of the year because wet weather prevents them from starting and spreading; however, in July and August, activity typically increases due to the arrival of the dry season,” NASA’s recent Earth Observatory report states.

“Many people use fire to maintain farmland and pastures or to clear land for other purposes. Typically, activity peaks in early September and mostly stops by November.”

Contrary to reports from the mainstream media and diatribes by climate change activists in politics, the areas encompassed by the blazes are smaller than those from previous years.

“As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years – the Amazon spreads across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and parts of other countries,” NASA added.

“Though activity appears to be above average in the states of Amazonas and Rondônia, it has so far appeared below average in Mato Grosso and Pará, according to estimates from the Global Fire Emissions Database – a research project that compiles and analyzes NASA data.”

The fact is that natural forest fires and practices such as “slash and burn” return nutrients to rainforests’ depleted soil after they are sucked out of the ground by the mass vegetation. Likewise, acclaimed award-winning and world-renowned environmental scientist, Dr. Jonathan Foley – who is also a sustainability expert, author and public speaker – argues agriculture contributes to the world’s oxygen supply, too.

Foley regularly writes for climate change-affirming publications and news sites such as National Geographic, the Guardian, BBC, PBS and CNN, and still argues the fires present a global problem. However, he refused to join in the alarmism that the fires and agriculture in the Amazon region are suffocating the world.

“[O]ne thing we don’t need to worry about is the world’s oxygen supply,” Foley tweeted Thursday in lieu of the Amazon fires. “Despite the widespread claim, the Amazon doesn’t produce 20% of the world’s oxygen. Also, the forests are being replaced by pastures and croplands, which also do photosynthesis and produce similar amounts of oxygen.”


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