Posted by Curt on 3 September, 2019 at 7:31 am. 3 comments already!


The whole world is burning, The New York Times, CNN, and mainstream media outlets around the world have declared in recent days.

The Amazon could soon “self-destruct” reports The Times. It would be “a nightmare scenario that could see much of the world’s largest rainforest erased from the earth,” writes Max Fisher who notes, “some scientists who study the Amazon ecosystem call it imminent.”

“If enough [Amazon] rain forest is lost and can’t be restored, the area will become savanna, which doesn’t store as much carbon, meaning a reduction in the planet’s ‘lung capacity,’” reports The New York Times.

It’s not just the Amazon, though. Africa, Siberia, and Indonesia are also apparently going up in smoke. Claims The New York Times, “in central Africa, vast stretches of savanna are going up in flame. Arctic regions in Siberia are burning at a historic pace.”

Any reader of the New York Times and other mainstream media outlet would be forgiven for believing that fires globally are on the rise, but they aren’t.

In reality, there was a whopping 25 percent decrease in the area burned from 2003 to 2019, according to NASA.

Between 2003 and 2015, the area burned in Africa declined by an area the size of Texas (700,000 square kilometers or 270,000 square miles.

And against the picture painted by celebrities and the mainstream media that fires around the world are caused by economic growth, the truth is the opposite: the amount of land being burned is declining thanks to development, including urbanization.

That’s because the amount of land being converted into ranches and farms has been going down, not up, and because more of it is being done with machines than with fire.

For the last 35 years, the world has been re-foresting, meaning new tree growth has exceeded deforestation. The area of the Earth covered with forest has increased by an area the size of Texas and Alaska combined.

Less land is being converted into agriculture globally in part because farmers are growing more food on less land.

Much of the re-forestation is occurring in deserts and tundra that had been barren, thanks to human-led reforestation initiatives, such as in China and Africa, and because of global warming. Warmer temperatures are what have allowed forests to grow in tundra.

Mainstream journalists botched this story. They should have known about the decline in burning since scientists published a major study in Science in 2015.

NASA promoted the Science article and wrote an update confirming a continuation of the decline in fires on August 20, 2019.

And yet mainstream journalists have continued to push the apocalyptic framing in their coverage of fires in Amazon and Africa and attempted to link them to climate change.

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