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Post Massive Fires in Amazon, Siberia
Created by John Eipper on 08/22/19 4:52 AM

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Massive Fires in Amazon, Siberia (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 08/22/19 4:52 am)

A few months ago (April 15th), the world raised its surprised and shaken voice when Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was burned. The near-loss of an iconic building and the popular reaction to rebuild it were amazing, and the recently discovered lead contamination was reported throughout the media. However, it is surprising that only a few news sources are paying attention to the disastrous fires in the Amazon and Siberia, happening almost at the same time and likely the result of global warming.

Over the last 16 days the Amazon has been burning as never before. According to the IBAMA (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis), fires in the Amazon have increased 83% compared to last year and the shocking satellite images from the the WMO, World Meteorological Organization, the UN's authoritative voice on weather, climate and water, are dramatic. More than 70,000 forest fire outbreaks have been detected, with 10,000 new outbreaks in the last week alone. The smoke pollution is huge, already noticed by cities in the region, Boavista, Manaus and even São Paulo. Nevertheless Bolsonaro insists that is a normal seasonal situation when the local farmers use the queimadas (burnings) in land preparation for planting.

On the other side of the world, Siberia, fire is already ravaging the region in several places. According to the WMO source, more than 11,500 square miles have already burned and a state of emergency has been declared by Putin.

If these numbers are correct and the news is accurate, the situation is a tragedy for the world, as both regions are fundamental lungs of the earth. Besides, could it still be rational to deny the existence of global warming and climate change?

JE comments: Rational, no. But politically expedient, absolutely.  Siberia's 11,500 square miles of destruction equate to an entire Lebanon or Jamaica (or two Delawares).

Who among WAISdom's Russia-followers can give us an idea of Putin's position on climate change?

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  • Canary Islands Wildfires (Carmen Negrin, France 08/23/19 6:47 AM)
    We also have fires in Gran Canaria in a preserved area with endemic species.

    It's all very tragic and so few care.

    JE comments:  So disturbing.  Carmen, the Canaries have historically been extremely dry.  Have things gotten worse in recent years?

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    • Climate Change in Canary Islands (Carmen Negrin, France 08/24/19 4:39 AM)
      John E asked if the Canary Islands are becoming drier due to climate change. I really couldn't tell. I have only been going to the Canaries for less than 20 years.

      In that relatively short period, all I can say is that on my first visit, I was told that it had not rained in Gran Canaria for several years in a row. In the last four or five years it seems that each time I go, it pours and it seemed cooler than before. However, the summers seem to be much warmer. There are often wildfires but this is just a personal observation, but this most recent one, which now seems to be under control is totally exceptional.

      One thing is sure and that is that the natural water sources have almost dried out.  Sea water is filtered instead. Bananas don't grow as they used to; they were partly responsible for the lack of water. They have been replaced by abandoned and dried-out fields.

      JE comments:  What drives the Canarian economy now?  I guessed tourism, and this turns out to be the case:  32% of the GDP, followed by construction at 20%.  Aren't the two connected?  Carmen, are food prices in the Canaries much higher than on the European continent?  I'm making an assumption here that the situation is analogous to Puerto Rico, which must "import" most of its food.

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