Forest fires in the Amazon region

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Forest fires in the Amazon region

The SPD domestic politician Johannes Kahrs railed in the direction of the AfD parliamentary group, agitating and driving society apart. That is indecent. "That’s how it is when you are right-wing or right-wing extremist. That’s why you should be banned."

His party colleague, acting parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich, warned of a rise in right-wing populism not only in Germany. "Apparently there is a growing belief that demagogic, marginalization, and chauvinistic governance may be the answer to complicated questions", stated Mützenich. "Demagogues have seduced and deceived people." They would have ruined continents. "We will oppose them with all our might. And the best place for that is this Parliament." 

Budget debate: Opposition attacks Merkel on taxes and the climate

 Green parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt said the AfD was trying to politically abuse the achievements of the democracy movement of 1989. But do not try to divide society: "The majority in the country do not choose your discord."

Sources used: news agencies dpa, AFP, Reuters broadcast of the budget debate in the Bundestag

The G7 countries have offered Brazil 20 million euros in emergency aid against the forest fires in the Amazon region – so far in vain. Now the Chancellor has personally tried to convince Head of State Bolsonaro.

Forest fires in the Amazon

Photo series with 8 pictures

In the dispute over the fight against the devastating forest fires in the Amazon region, Chancellor Merkel (CDU) spoke to Brazil’s President Bolsonaro on the phone. Merkel emphasized the willingness of the federal government to work together with Brazil in protecting the Amazon region, as a government spokesman announced in Berlin. Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter that he had a productive conversation with Merkel, who was doing it again "Sovereignty of Brazil over our Amazon region" have confirmed.

Brazil’s far-right head of state had previously rejected international criticism of its environmental policy. Bolsonaro had also initially rejected the emergency aid approved by the participating states at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. He accused Germany and France of wanting to buy Brazilian sovereignty over the Amazon region with aid of 20 million dollars (18 million euros).

Trump stands behind Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro later relented and declared that he would accept international support under certain conditions. But his government must have control over the funds.

Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera announced on Friday that it would send four fire-fighting planes to Brazil. This is "thanks to funding from the G7 countries" possible, explained Piñera.

Bolsonaro found a supporter of his environmental policy in US President Donald Trump. He had already praised his Brazilian colleague on Tuesday for the fact that he "very hard" work to fight the fires. After meeting Trump in the White House on Friday, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo said the US and Brazil shared common views on fighting the flames in the Amazon.

Most fires since 2010

"We are aware of how important the Amazon is to the world. But so are other forests and ecosystems"said Araúja. The Brazilian government was "successful in putting out most fires". Araúja was accompanied by Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo, who is to become ambassador to the United States.

Brazil is currently being hit by the worst forest fires in years. According to the state space institute, there have been more than 87,000 fires this year – the highest number since 2010, when more than 132,000 forest fires were counted throughout the year. Bolsonaro contradicted the official figures on Thursday during a live tapping on Facebook, saying the number of fires had been this year "below the average of previous years". 

to kill a mockingbird essay ideasBurning rainforest: Brazil rejects G7 aidSteak and soy: Meat consumption fuels Amazon rainforest on fire: Is the earth running out of oxygen?

Bolsonaro, who has regularly questioned man-made climate change, has initiated a series of measures since taking office at the beginning of the year, which allow the penetration of the very powerful agricultural economy in Brazil into the forest and species-rich Amazon region. Brazil plays an important role in the fight against global warming because of its vast forest areas.

Sources used: AFP news agency

Geneva (dpa) – In the fight against global warming, a quick turnaround in agriculture and better forest protection are crucial. This is the conclusion reached by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a special report on the relationship between climate change and land use.

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The report presented today in Geneva also states that the temperature over the world’s land areas has already risen by 1.53 degrees since pre-industrial times.

"The land areas are under increasing man-made pressure"said the chairman of the IPCC IPCC, Hoesung Lee. At the same time, dealing with the land is also part of the solution. "But the land cannot do it alone." Environmentalists and numerous scientists see the report as proof that quick action is essential in as many areas as possible. Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) announced a new one for this year "Agriculture strategy" at.

The authors of the report, 107 researchers from 52 countries, assume, among other things, that the number, duration and intensity of heat waves and droughts will increase, not least around the Mediterranean. Extreme rainfall will also occur more frequently in many regions. At the same time, the IPCC sees dangers for the supply of food. "The stability of the food supply is expected to decrease as the extent and frequency of extreme weather events affecting food production increase."

Around 820 million people around the world are currently undernourished. According to UN data, their number has been increasing again for some years. According to the IPCC, around 500 million people live in areas at risk of desertification. These regions are all the more susceptible to extreme weather such as droughts, heat waves and dust storms.

According to the IPCC, it is now also a matter of rethinking the entire chain of production and consumption of food. The authors do not want to make a clear recommendation for a vegetarian diet, but ultimately promote a balanced diet that increasingly relies on vegetables and grains. Raising pigs and cattle requires more space and produces more greenhouse gases than growing the same amount of proteins in beans or lentils.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) is relying on more organic farming in Germany with a view to the report. A share of 20 percent has long been the goal, she said in Berlin. In order to achieve this, the EU’s agricultural support must provide other incentives. In 2018, the share was 9.1 percent. Agriculture Minister Klöckner brought a new one "Agriculture strategy" into conversation, which should be presented this year. "Resource and climate protection would have to be combined with yield and harvest security", she warned in view of the starving people worldwide.

Farmers President Joachim Rukwied said that agriculture must produce more food on the available land around the world and emit fewer greenhouse gases instead of clearing forests for new agricultural land. The new free trade agreement between the South American confederation Mercosur and the European Union stands in the way of this. Critics suggest it could increase the demand for Argentine beef.

The land currently in use could feed the world despite climate change and provide biomass for renewable energies, emphasized co-author Hans-Otto Pörtner from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven. "But fast and far-reaching actions are necessary in various areas – also for the protection and renaturation of ecosystems and biodiversity."

Green parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt named the report "another alarm signal". They expect the federal government’s climate cabinet in September "really relevant suggestions" also decide on land use. "The report shows that we now need a government that really acts courageously", she said.

According to the report, the global temperature increase is 0.87 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era. Above the land it is already 1.53 degrees, because these heat up faster than the oceans. The periods 1850 to 1900 and 2006 to 2015 were compared. In 2018, the Climate Council warned of the consequences if the global temperature should rise above 1.5 degrees.

According to WWF, the report shows that the world is at a turning point. "Politics and business have an obligation to develop and implement strategies, for example for more sustainable agriculture and the avoidance of food waste"said Rolf Sommer from WWF Germany. "Either we act now for the benefit of our earth, or we continue to act at all of our costs." In this context, co-author Pörtner praised the youth’s commitment, for example through the movement "Fridays for Future". "This mobilization of society has influenced elections"said Portner. "This is a chain of motivation that works."

Greenpeace called the report "urgent call" for the agricultural turnaround. "The land sector must now flow more into the national contributions to the fulfillment of the Paris climate agreement", explained Christoph Thies, forest expert at Greenpeace. He criticizes the report, however, that the massive afforestation is viewed very uncritically. "We prefer the alternative of renaturing ecosystems such as forests and moors." This would also create habitats for many animal and plant species.

According to the IPCC, agriculture and forestry contribute around 23 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. "There is a lot of potential here"said the German co-author of the report, Almut Arneth from Karlsruhe. The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement set the goal of limiting global warming to well below two degrees, if possible even to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. To do this, states would have to greatly reduce their net greenhouse gas emissions. Some want to use large areas for new forests that are supposed to pull the greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. In connection with the goal of food safety for the entire population, there is a risk of land conflicts – in addition to the developments that climate change has already triggered.

The forest suffers from drought, pests and storms. Calls for effective and quick help are getting louder. The Union-led forestry departments of the federal states are calling for a master plan.

The German forest has many enemies. Because it storms more often and more violently, rains less and more and more pests are spreading, the forest is stressed according to statements by the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation, BUND. The result is massive forest damage, from the Baltic Sea to Lake Constance.

The BUND is already talking about the forest dieback in the 1980s "Forest dieback 2.0". At that time, the changed pH value in the soil caused trees to shed leaves and needles and died. Now the Union-led forestry departments of the federal states are calling for a master plan against the new, immense forest loss.

Klöckner demands half a billion for reforestation

At the beginning of July, Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) demanded that "Millions of Trees Program". A reforestation program that is estimated to cost more than half a billion euros. Money that is to flow from the energy and climate fund. On Thursday, Klöckner will meet representatives from Saxony, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria in Moritzburg near Dresden. Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer also wants to be there. Together they also want to visit a badly damaged forest in Auer near Moritzburg.

Klöckner also wants to convene a national forest summit for September. "Our forest has been massively damaged"she said "Rheinische Post". "Only by joining forces can we tackle the mammoth task that lies ahead of us to save our forest – not only for us, but for future generations." In August she will hold a technical discussion with representatives of the forest, timber industry and environmental associations and science. "It’s not just about investing millions in reforestation. But also about the long-term adaptation of forests to climate change"said Kloeckner.

A forest fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. (Source: Daniel Förster / ZB / dpa)

"The bad news from the forest doesn’t stop"said Saxony’s Forest Minister Thomas Schmidt (CDU). "Every day we receive new bad news. We must therefore act urgently." According to him, more than 100,000 hectares of forest across Germany have been damaged by storms, droughts and pests since 2018. The German Forest Protection Association (SDW) even speaks of 120,000 hectares that have already died. According to this, spruce trees in particular would die, but also pines, beeches and oaks.

The "Moritzburg declaration"

The one to be advised "Moritzburg declaration" The demand for a master plan aims to find answers to the question of how the forest can be prepared for the future. One answer is: more robust mixed forests instead of monocultures. The latter can be found in large parts of the Federal Republic.

A topic that is omnipresent in the Harz National Park in Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony.

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