Greenland is melting at a record pace and the Amazon is burning, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos claimed during the Democrat debate Thursday night in Houston, Texas.
Ramos prefaced a question directed to former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) by stating, “Congressman O’Rourke, Hurricane Harvey hit this town two years ago and not only is the Amazon burning, Greenland is melting at a record pace.”
We can ask, IF Greenland were to continue losing ice mass at a rate of 103 billion tonnes per year, how long would it take to melt say half of the ice sheet? Not all of it, mind you, but half of it. (Note that I am NOT saying that extending a current trend is a way to estimate the future evolution of the ice sheet—I’m merely using it as a way to compare large numbers.)
To answer our question if 103 billion tonnes lost per year is a big number, we have to compare the annual ice mass loss to the amount of ice in the Greenland ice sheet. The Greenland ice sheet contains about 2.6E+15 (2,600,000,000,000,000) tonnes of water in the form of snow and ice.
So IF the Greenland ice sheet were to lose 103 billion tonnes per year into the indefinite future, it would take about twelve thousand five hundred years to lose half of it …
On August 26, Forbes contributor Michael Shellenberger wrote that the hysteria surrounding the fires in the Amazon was actually misinformation. Shellenberger also noted that Dan Nepstad, one of the world’s leading Amazon forest experts, told him the claim that the Amazon is the “lungs of the earth” was also not true.
“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,” Nepstad said.
Shellenberger also noted that the deforestation of the Amazon declined “a whopping 70 percent from 2004 to 2012” and that recent increases are still at “one-quarter of its 2004 peak.”
Photos of the forest fires that were shared on social media by celebrities were not actually pictures of the Amazon, according to Shellenberger.
“The photo Ronaldo shared was taken in southern Brazil, far from the Amazon, in 2013,” he wrote. “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.”