Monday, March 30, 2009

Bad news for the environment

I guess it really isn't new news but I just saw the following chart:

What is especially depressing is that Brazil and Peru have a lot more rainforest than do the other three countries.

I am not a climate scientist, but I wonder why doing something about this problem (e.g. paying Brazil and Peru to protect more rainforest) wouldn't be a good idea?

Hat tip to Otto!


randytsimmons said...

Angus, "protection" is a meaningless term. Do you really believe that Hugo Chaves is protecting anything? And why should we expect that the number of acres will remain static? The only environmental constant is change. Besides, we may have far more acres of rain forest now than we had at Columbian contact as at least one strand of research claims that the rain forest was used far more intensively and by for more people than previously thought. See Charles Mann's book 1491 for in interesting analysis. And, some claim that there are 50 new acres growing for every one cut down (

--The Mayor

Steve_0 said...

I have to assume Angus is joking. The data is superfluous. "Percentage of Rainforest Protected by country" doesn't mean anything.

Does that mean percentage of all rainforests being protected by that country? Then this could simply be a restatement of how much acreage is in each country X the amount they "protect".

What does "protect"?

The amount actually being converted to lumber could have zero correlation to the graph. Maybe 79% is protected but hundreds of acres are clearcut, while in another country 34% is protected, but no acres are clear cut.

Nathanael D Snow said...

Of course, anyone who wanted to protect some rainforest could just pony up and buy some.
Is there a market in this? Like the name-a-star thing. We could sell small plots of Amazonian rainforest to greeny Americans.
What shall we call it?

Steve_0 said...

Hmm... how about something like "Carbon Credits"

br said...

I like it! We buy some rainforests, and then run a tv ad featuring a guy standing in it with a flame thrower. "This forest is for sale for $X/acre. Whatever doesn't sell will be burned down."

Which of those countries has legitimate property rights?

Tom said...

Nice troll, Angus. No link to any source; the "source: RAISG" doesn't please Google, but qualifiers did lead me to a UPI story, which only links to a Brazilian paper. (sigh) My guess is that these are government statistics (NOT the fourth way to lie, 'cause of so little credibility).

Anyway, I'm glad you are not a climate scientist. Climate debate is so dramatically devoid of cost/benefit analysis, they need some economists' voices.

climate scientist

prison rodeo said...

Hm. I didn't think he was joking at all. What's more, for the first time in a while, I agree with him.

I'll go lie down now, until it passes.

Angus said...

I am sorry to disappoint, but I was not joking or trolling. The finding got a fair amount of coverage in the Latin American press, but I didn't link to any Spanish language sources.

It is the case the the numbers refer to officially protected plus allocated to indigenous peoples areas.

here is a link to an article:

and here is a link to RAISG:

here is a quote from the Peruvian paper linked above about what is being measured:

En sus cálculos, la ONG tuvo en cuenta las áreas bajo protección ambiental y las tierras indígenas, que en general se encuentran en perfecto estado de conservación, en mano de los pueblos tradicionales.

I have to admit this is pretty funny, it says they assumed that indigenous lands are in a perfect state of conservation.