Day After Stating No Link, NY Times Blames Amazon Fires on Global Warming

August 25th, 2019 4:38 PM

One day after reporting, “These fires were not caused by climate change,” The New York Times blamed the ongoing Amazon rain forest fires on....climate change.

In Sunday’s Times, Johannesburg bureau chief Norimitsu Onishi falsely conflated the Amazon rain forest fires in Brazil with global warming in “Europe Tries to Fill Void On Climate Left by U.S.,” a two-for-one story that blamed both President Trump and Brazil's "far right" president Jair Bolsonaro for failing to act on "climate change." A photo showing burning forest had a caption that underlined the purported connection: “Europe ‘has to be a green superpower,’ a member of Parliament said, as the Amazon burned.”

Onishi either fell victim to a lazy leftist assumption that the wildfires in the Amazonian rain forest were somehow connected to global warming, or else did his best to force the connection himself (click "expand"):

As the Amazon burned and the world faced an ecological disaster, President Emmanuel Macron of France bluntly criticized Brazil’s leader this week and threatened to kill a major trade deal between Europe and Brazil.

President Trump, on the other hand, posted a tweet only Friday evening, saying that the United States was ready to help contain the fires, but adding that “future trade prospects” between the United States and Brazil “are very exciting.”

The contrast highlighted the gap in leadership on issues affecting the global climate. As the Trump administration denies established climate science and has abandoned an international accord intended to fight global warming, European leaders have energetically stepped in to take up the mantle of leadership.

Onishi made sure to get some hostile labeling in:

By week’s end, the global condemnation led by Mr. Macron appeared to have chastened President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, a far-right populist and climate change skeptic.


But given Mr. Trump’s position on climate, and the absence of China as well as Russia, the talks are not likely to lead to significant change, said Jean Jouzel, a leading French climate expert.

Theirs is only one problem with talking about the rain forest blazes and climate policy: These fires were not caused by climate change. We know that from an unimpeachable source, the New York Times, in an explainer story on Saturday by Alexandria Symonds, which helpfully states:

These fires were not caused by climate change. They were, by and large, set by humans. However, climate change can make fires worse. Fires can burn hotter and spread more quickly under warmer and drier conditions.

Still, Onishi barged forward, using the manmade (!) fires in Brazil to blame Trump and Brazil’s leader Bolsonaro for ignoring global warming:

“The international scene now lacks dynamism in the fight against global warming,” said Mr. Jouzel, who was vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 when it won the Nobel Prize. “To effectively combat global warming, all countries must look in the same direction.”

This isn’t the first time Onishi has wrongly placed blame. In 2006, he wrote that "Reaganesque policies of deregulation, privatization, spending cuts and tax breaks for the rich” were blame for Japan.