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连烧三周不熄,亚马逊大火背后真相是什么?

Erin Corbett 2019年08月28日

近期的亚马逊大火,与当地的农牧民利用旱季烧林开荒,以求放牧牲畜有很大关系。

亚马逊雨林的大火已经?#20013;?#29123;烧整整三个星期了,这并非偶然。关于这场大火,还有哪些是你应该知道的?

亚马逊是否经常发生火灾?

亚马逊?#29992;?#24180;7月和8月起进入旱季,旱季通常会?#20013;?#21040;11月中旬,在这期间,火灾是很常见的。不过来?#26434;?#24052;西国家空间研究所的数据显示,今年巴西已经发生了超过7.2万起火灾,其中半数以上发生在亚马逊地区。较上年同期增长了84%。

据美国国家海洋和大气管理?#32440;?#32461;,众所周知,亚马逊雨林的湿度较大,通常不容易被野火引起火灾。近期的亚马逊大火,与当地的农牧民利用旱季烧林开荒,以求放牧牲畜有很大关系。结果不仅烧毁了大面积的雨林,也对生活在那里的?#26519;?#31038;区造成了影响。

亚马逊雨林发生火灾的原因是什么?

目前,整个亚马逊地区?#36824;?#26377;9500多处起火点。

毁林开荒,也就是烧毁林木,将土地转为其他用途,是导致这些火灾的主要原因。目前发生在亚马逊地区的毁林行为大多是非法的。

一个叫“亚马逊观察”的非政府组织在一份报告中指出,农业和农产品国际贸易,是导致巴西大面积毁林开荒的主要推动力,毁掉的林地有75%以上被用于养牛或种植大豆。大豆和牛肉已经成了巴西的主要出口产品之一,而它们都是“危害雨林”的产品。巴西出口的大豆和牛肉多都销往了中国、欧盟和美国。

绿色和平组织表示,气候变化和毁林开荒?#19981;?#21152;剧干旱。森林火灾会导致温?#31227;?#20307;排放量增加,进而导致全球气温上升。随着温度的升高,严重的干旱会更加频繁发生,甚至会延长雨林的旱季。

虽然存在以上因素,然而巴西的极右翼总统博索纳罗却在上周三声称,这次亚马逊的森林大火是?#32321;?#32452;织放的,原因是对政府削减了对他们的拨款不满。当然,博索纳罗的这些指责并没有任何证据能够证明。

对巴西自然环境的不断恶化,政府是难辞其咎的。

巴西绿色和平组织的公共政策协调员马西奥·阿斯特里尼称,博索纳罗的声明“是为了掩盖他所采取的反环境政策的后果。有些人抨击他的政府是环境问题的罪魁祸首,而他的这些指责,只是为了把责任推给抨击他的人。”

目前在亚马逊燃烧的大火多数是人为造成的,而且主要是出于农?#30340;?#30340;。放火的人大多是本地的农牧民或伐木工人。就在这个月,不少农民还参加了在亚马逊地区的一条主干?#26639;?#36817;举行的“放火日”活动。绿色和平组织表示,这场活动导致该地区的火灾增加了300%。

一些专家和?#32321;?#20154;士认为,目前亚马逊大火的失控之势,与博索纳罗的排外主义和反?#32321;?#20027;义政策有关。毁林开荒不仅破坏了雨林,也对当地的?#26519;?#31038;区造成了影响。在前总统迪尔玛·罗塞夫和米歇尔·泰梅尔?#25991;冢?#34429;然也有破坏雨林的问题,但这?#20013;?#20026;在过去8个月里出现了急剧增长。

自从今年博索纳罗上台以来,他的政府一再减少对?#32321;?#39046;域的投入,同时还削减了环境部门和维护?#26519;?#23621;民权利部门的工作人员。

最近,博索纳罗还炒了巴西国家空间研究所(INPE)负责人的鱿鱼。在此不久前,INPE刚刚发布了一份报告,显示在博索纳罗?#25991;冢?#24052;西的毁林开荒率有所提高。博索纳罗对记者表示:“在我看来,公布这些数字的目的,就是为了损害巴西和巴西政府的声誉。”

博索纳罗政府还砍掉了巴西环?#25345;?#27861;局的2300万美元经费。为了刺济经济,发展农业、矿业和化石能源开采等产业,政府还取消了一些旨在保护亚马逊雨林的政策。

《巴西?#26519;?#20154;之声》称,在博索纳罗的领导下,?#26519;?#20154;的土地遭到“攻击和入侵”的情况愈加严重,针对?#26519;?#31038;区的种族主义倾向也日益加重。一些?#26519;?#26435;利组织表示,博索纳罗的反?#32321;?#20027;义立场,是导致?#26519;?#31038;区遭受土地争端和暴力的主要原因。

亚马逊观察的财务活动主?#25991;?#20234;拉·伯斯对《财富》杂志表示,博索纳罗“发表过一些极端排外主义言论,比如?#26519;?#31038;区应该被清除等?#21462;6杂?#37027;些愿意用暴力手段驱逐亚马逊原住民以获取利润的人来说,这些言论显然助长了他们的气焰。”

大火对地球有何影响?

亚马逊雨林制造了全球20%以上的氧气。因此,亚马逊大火不仅仅会影响巴西,还会影响整个地球。

很多人将亚马逊雨林称为“地球之肺?#20445;?#23427;对气候起着重要的调节作用,?#26434;?#20892;业生产、饮用水等方面?#36130;?#30528;不?#21830;?#20195;的作用。目前,亚马逊的毁林开荒速度很可能带来不可逆的后果。有科学家表示,亚马逊雨林甚至有可能?#24052;?#21270;成一个干旱的大草原”。

伯斯表示:“亚马逊雨林是稳定气候的一个重要的生态系?#22330;?#36825;些树木一旦被砍伐被烧掉,它们存储的?#23395;?#20250;被释放出来,而它们从大气中吸收碳的能力就会消失。”他还表示,尽管通过重新造林让亚马逊雨林?#25351;?#21407;貌并非不可能,但这个过程也需要几个世纪的时间。

而地球却没有这么长的时间可以?#21364;?#20102;。

全球变暖是当前全球人口面临的最主要的威胁之一。随着全球气温?#20013;?#19978;升,地球更?#26377;?#35201;树木来吸收空气中的碳。地球上最大的雨林的消失,对人类必然有害无益。

巴西绿色和平组织的一位呼吁保护亚马逊雨林的?#32321;?#20154;士罗穆罗·巴蒂斯塔表示:“森林火灾和气候变化是一种恶性循环:随着火灾数量的增加,温?#31227;?#20307;的排放量也在增加,使地球的总体温度进一步上升,进而导致了严重干旱?#29123;?#31471;灾?#30740;?#22825;气的发生。”

亚马逊大火能被扑灭吗?

有专家表示,国际政治压力可能是阻止当前亚马逊地区大规模毁林活动的唯一方法。伯斯表示:“国际上的压力要足够大,迫使政府不得不作出回应。”

联合国秘书长和世界各国的领导人已经对亚马逊大火表示了关注。

法国总统马克龙呼吁在G7峰会期间,就亚马逊?#32511;?#36827;行紧急会谈。马克龙的发言人表示,由于巴西政府对大火应对不力,法国将阻止今年早些时候达成的欧盟—南方共同市场贸易协定。对此,伯斯表示,如果贸易协定在没有保护亚马逊雨林的情况下继续?#24179;?#37027;将是给博索纳罗开绿灯。”

爱尔兰总理瓦拉德卡也表达了对亚马逊大火的关心,德国和挪威也将停止向巴西政府的亚马逊基金捐款。

然而问题要想彻底解决,就需要采取更广泛、更积极的行动,包括?#25351;?#23545;亚马逊的保护和重新植树造林等,同时要追究从毁林中获利的金融企业的责任。同?#20445;?#37027;些从巴西进口牛肉、家禽和大豆的国家也应重新检讨他们的贸易政策。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for the past three weeks, and it’s no accident. Here’s what you should know:

How often does the Amazon burn?

Fires are common in the Amazon during the region’s dry season, which typically starts in July and August and ends in mid-November. But this year there have been more than 72,000 fires across the country, with more than half of those occurring in the Amazon. That’s an 84% increase from the same period last year, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, or INPE.

The Amazon is known to produce moisture and humidity, making it relatively resistant to wildfires, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Instead, it seems that a combination of droughts, and ranchers and farmers taking advantage of the dry season to burn and clear land for cattle, are to blame. The result is significant harm to both the rainforest, and the indigenous communities who live there.

What are the causes of the Amazon forest fires?

There are currently about 9,500 fires raging across the Amazon.

Deforestation, or the removal of forest and trees to convert land for non-forest use, is the main cause of the fires, and much of the deforestation currently happening in the Amazon is illegal.

The farming industry and international trade relationships are the main drivers of deforestation, more than 75% of which is caused by cattle ranching and soy production, according to a report from the NGO Amazon Watch. Soy beans and beef, two of Brazil’s main exports, are “forest-risk commodities” and most of it is going to China, the European Union, and the United States.

Droughts caused both by climate change and deforestation are also part of the problem, according to Greenpeace. The forest fires are contributing to higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions, which lead to global temperatures rising. As these temperatures rise, major droughts become more frequent and can extend the forest’s dry season.

Despite these factors, Brazil’s far right President Jair Bolsonaro claimed on last Wednesday that NGOs were to blame for the wildfires in the Amazon. He said, without proof, that they were starting the fires because his government had cut their funding.

But the country’s government is at the center of the increasingly violent environmental degradation.

Márcio Astrini the public policy coordinator with Greenpeace Brazil called Bolsonaro’s statement “an attempt to conceal himself from the consequences of the anti-environmental policy he has been adopting.” Astrini added, “His accusation seeks to blame anyone who denounces the environmental problems created by his own administration.”

The fires burning across the Amazon right now are mostly agricultural and man-made, many of them started either by smallholders, loggers, or farmers who are clearing land for cattle. Just this month, farmers participated in a “Day of Fire” around a main road in the Amazon, which Greenpeace says caused a 300% increase in fires in the area.

Experts and activists see the current onslaught as related to Bolsonaro’s xenophobic and anti-environmental rhetoric, as deforestation is not only destroying the rainforest, but indigenous communities, as well. Deforestation was also a problem under the previous presidents Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer, but it has grown rapidly over the last eight months.

Since Bolsonaro took office this year, his administration has repeatedly rolled back environmental protections, cutting the staffing of both environmental and indigenous rights agencies.

The president recently fired the head of the INPE, the agency that tracks deforestation in the country, after it released a report showing the higher rates of deforestation under his administration. “The numbers, as I understand it, were released with the objective of harming the name of Brazil and its government,” Bolsonaro told reporters.

Bolsonaro’s government also cut $23 million from Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency, while dismantling policies that protect the Amazon in favor of advancing economic priorities, including agribusiness, mining, and fossil fuel extraction.

According to the Articulation of the Indigenous People of Brazil, under Bolsonaro’s leadership, “attacks and invasions” of indigenous lands have been on the rise, as has racism against Native communities. Some indigenous rights groups say the president’s anti-environmental stances are contributing to the land disputes and violence faced by their communities.

Bolsonaro “has said extremely xenophobic things about indigenous communities needing to be wiped out,” Moira Birss, Amazon Watch’s Finance Campaign Director told Fortune. “It’s clearly emboldening actors in the Amazon who are willing to use violence to remove” Native communities in favor of making a profit.

What do these forest fires mean for the planet?

The Amazon rainforest generates more than 20% of the world’s oxygen, meaning these fires will not only affect Brazil, but the entire planet.

Often referred to as the “lungs of the planet,” the Amazon plays an important role in balancing the climate, from farming to drinking water. The impacts of the current rate of deforestation could be irreversible, as scientists say the Amazon could “degrade into a dry savannah.”

“The Amazon is a vital ecosystem for climate stability,” said Birss. “When trees are cut down or burned down, all that carbon they’ve been storing is released and their ability to keep taking in carbon from the atmosphere is eliminated.” Birss says that while reforestation could happen and restore the Amazon to its old growth, the process would also take centuries.

And the planet doesn’t have much time.

Global warming is one of the greatest threats to the world population right now, and the planet needs trees to absorb carbon as global temperatures continue to rise. The loss of its biggest rainforest would be detrimental.

“Forest fires and climate change operate in a vicious cycle: as the number of fires increase, so do greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the planet’s overall temperature and the occurrence of extreme weather events, such as major droughts,” said Romulo Batista, an Amazon campaigner with Greenpeace Brazil.

Can the Amazon fires be stopped?

Experts say international political pressure may be the only way to stop the current onslaught on the Amazon. “The scale is one that requires a governmental response,” said Birss.

The UN secretary general and world leaders have expressed concern.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for emergency talks to put the state of the Amazon at the top of the agenda ahead of G7 summit. A spokesperson for the French president said France would block the EU-Mercosur trade deal reached earlier this year due to the Brazilian government’s response to the fires. If the trade deal moves forward without conditions for protecting the Amazon, Birss says, “that’s going to give a greenlight to Bolsonaro.”

Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar echoed the same sentiment, while Germany and Norway are halting donations to the Brazilian government's Amazon fund.

But the problem will require taking broader and more aggressive actions, including restoring Amazon protections and reforestation, while also holding accountable the financial companies that profit from deforestation. Likewise, governments importing beef, poultry, and soy from Brazil will need to review their trade policies.

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