The left is in a full-blown panic over the fires in the Amazon rainforest. Celebrities and popular athletes have tweeted images of the fires ravaging through the Amazon rainforest on Instagram and Facebook, accompanied with dire warnings  World leaders, like French President Emmanuel Macron, are also warning of the grave consequences of the rainforest fires. Macron has deemed the fires in the Amazon rainforest an “international crisis.” Countries at the current G7 summit have pledged $20 million to help the fires in the Amazon rainforest.

So where will the $20 million to “help” the fires in the Amazon rainforest be spent? And what about those photos that were being used by celebrities to push the “global climate change crisis?” Does anyone care that some of them are 20-30 years old and weren’t even taken in Brazil?

Mike Shellenberger, who’s been called a “Hero of the environment,” by far-left TIME magazine, put together a compelling thread on Twitter to explain why celebrities, top athletes and world leaders are all wrong about the Amazon rainforest being the “lungs of the world,.” In his article, Shellenberger exposes the lies that are being told as part of a coordinated propaganda campaign to push phony human-made climate change.

Shellenberger’s Twitter thread begins:

The photos you saw weren’t of today’s fires in Brazil Amazon isn’t the “lungs of the world” Deforestation is 75% below 2004 peak *Forest* fires not increasing Fires 7% more than decadal ave. 

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In the article he wrote for Forbes, Shellenberger reveals the lies that are being told by celebrities, athletes, and leftist politicians like Emmanuel Macron.

From the Forbes article: The increase in fires burning in Brazil set off a storm of international outrage last week. Celebrities, environmentalists, and political leaders blame Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, for destroying the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, which they say is the “lungs of the world.”

Singers and actors including Madonna and Jaden Smith shared photos on social media that were seen by tens of millions of people. “The lungs of the Earth are in flames,” said actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio’s false claim about the Amazon being “the lungs of the earth,” received almost 3 million “likes” on Instagram. It’s apparently okay for celebrities to spread massive misinformation campaigns on social media.

“The Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen,” tweeted soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The Amazon rain forest — the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire,” tweeted French President Emanuel Macron.

And yet the photos weren’t actually of the fires and many weren’t even of the Amazon. The photo Ronaldo shared was taken in southern Brazil, far from the Amazon, in 2013. The photo that DiCaprio and Macron shared is over 20 years old. The photo Madonna and Smith shared is over 30. Some celebrities shared photos from Montana, India, and Sweden.

To their credit, CNN and New York Times debunked the photos and other misinformation about the fires. “Deforestation is neither new nor limited to one nation,” explained CNN. “These fires were not caused by climate change,” notedThe Times.

But both publications repeated the claim that the Amazon is the “lungs” of the world. “The Amazon remains a net source of oxygen today,” said CNN. “The Amazon is often referred to as Earth’s ‘lungs,’ because its vast forests release oxygen and store carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that is a major cause of global warming,” claimed The New York Times.

I was curious to hear what one of the world’s leading Amazon forest experts, Dan Nepstad, had to say about the “lungs” claim.

“It’s bullshit,” he said. “There’s no science behind that. The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen but it uses the same amount of oxygen through respiration so it’s a wash.”

Plants use respiration to convert nutrients from the soil into energy. They use photosynthesis to convert light into chemical energy, which can later be used in respiration.

What about The New York Times claim that “If enough 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’”?

Also not true, said Nepstad, who was a lead author of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. “The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen, but so do soy farms and [cattle] pastures.”

Some people will no doubt wave away the “lungs” myth as nit-picking. The broader point is that there is an increase in fires in Brazil and something should be done about it.

But the “lungs” myth is just the tip of the iceberg. Consider that CNN ran a long segment with the banner, “Fires Burning at Record Rate in Amazon Forest” while a leading climate reporter claimed, “The current fires are without precedent in the past 20,000 years.”

While the number of fires in 2019 is indeed 80% higher than in 2018, it’s just 7% higher than the average over the last 10 years ago, Nepstad said.

In a Twitter thread, Shellenberger explained his personal experiences in the Amazon that qualify him to speak out on the so-called “crisis.”

Some people are reacting to this article by misrepresenting what it says and why I wrote it. I wrote it because I love Brazil & the Amazon. As background, I did fieldwork in the state of Maranhão, which is considered the semi-Amazon, from 1992 – 1995.

I lived in small farming communities whose land was threatened by larger invading farmers, and who were occupying unused lands. I was seeking to understand why some communities were more successful than others.

I first visited Latin America when I was 17. I persuaded my high school principal to let me spend the fall semester of my senior year in Nicaragua to learn Spanish and witness the Sandinista revolution up close. At the time, I had a very romantic view of small farmer life.

Over time, I came to appreciate how hard life is for people who do not have electricity & running water Women & children spend many hours pumping & hauling water, washing clothes by hand, chopping & hauling word & tending cooking fires

While I lost my romanticism my political radicalism remained. I went to Brazil four years later (1992) and started to do research in small farmer communities because I was inspired by the Landless People’s Movement (MST) and Workers Party (PT)

Over the next several years I grew close to the leadership of the MST and PT and even interviewed Lula, who would be elected president in 2002.

Life is hardest for women and children but the men suffer too. The work is hot & difficult. They drink copious quantities of cachaça, Brazilian rum made from sugar cane, to tolerate the work of cutting down scrub forest, which they will later burn to create pasture and crop lands

Don’t get me wrong. There is sublime romance and beauty in the poorest and most difficult of settings, including in the burning Amazon and semi-Amazon

But it is dangerous to romanticize the Amazon as a kind of Eden, empty of all humans save the indigenous living in total harmony with nature, as celebrities and global elites do Life is hard & often very short. People suffer from malnutrition, dehydration & preventable diseases

It is dangerous because it results in all sorts of over-reactions — like sending in the military when funding grassroots fire brigades would be more effective, or seeking to “put out” all the fires when some of the fires are vital for people’s survival.

I wish @Madonna@LeoDiCaprio @Cristiano @EmmanuelMacron would visit Brazil, speak to local people about their lives, and talk to experts like @dnepstad1 who have dedicated their lives to understanding the situation on the ground. Thanks to all for listening & caring. /END

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