tv Amazon under Threat BBC News December 28, 2019 3:30am-4:00am GMT
this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk, the united nations says nearly on pbs in america a quarter of a million people have or around the globe. i'm james reynolds. been forced from their homes this month because of fierce fighting our top stories: in idlib province in syria. the un says parts of idlib the town of marat al—numan province in syria are almost is reported to be all but deserted deserted, as nearly a quarter and the main highway heading north of a milion people flee from a government offensive. has been packed with vehicles. russia says it has put into service russia puts into service strategic missiles it claims can the first batch of new strategic travel 27 times the speed of sound. missiles that — it claims — can penetrate any existing or future missile shields. the avangard is what's known 12 people are killed as a hypersonic glide vehicle as a passengerjet crashes which can steer an unpredictable into a building in kazakhstan. course, making detection much dozens of people have survived. harder. dozens of passengers have survived a plane crash in kazakhstan in which 12 people lost their lives. everyone started screaming, kids the crash took place in heavy fog, we re although the cause isn't yet known. everyone started screaming, kids were crying, and the lights were on the khazak company bek air operated in the plane, and the plane, and it crashed shortly after taking off from kazakhstan‘s largest city almaty.
household names from the worlds of showbiz, sport and politics have been recognised in the new year honours list. the singer olivia newtonjohn, has been made a dame. four members of england's world cup winning cricket team, including ben stokes, have been recognised, as has sir eltonjohn. lizo mzimba reports. # you're the one i want! olivia newton—john says she's honoured and grateful to be made a dame for services to charity, cancer research and entertainment. a damehood, too, for floella benjamin for her life—long work with children's charities. absolutely amazing to be recognised this way, for doing charity work. i realised that a childhood lasts a lifetime, and i had to give back to children. because when i did play school, 43 years ago, i realised children didn't have a voice. there are knighthoods for two british film—makers — steve mcqueen, who directed the oscar—winning 12 years a slave, and sam mendes, who directed bond
films skyfall and spectre. in the world of sport, eoin morgan, who captained england to victory in the cricket world cup, becomes a cbe, ben stokes an obe, jos buttler and joe root become mbes. an mbe, too, for england star jill scott, for services to women's football. yeah, just feels really surreal. i think obviously it's been a great journey for women's football, from the time that i started playing to now. and to see the recognition that women's football's now getting, it's very pleasing. # love is like a butterfly... in the world of entertainment, butterflies star wendy craig becomes a cbe. and singer billy ocean, an mbe. # when the going gets tough, the tough get going... of course, the vast majority of those who will come here to buckingham palace
or the other royal residences to receive their honours aren't those in the public eye — they're individuals who have done something special for their community or for their country. thank you, darling. people like d—day veteran harry billinge, who becomes an mbe in recognition of his charity fundraising work. and yewande akinola, an engineer who works to encourage girls to enter the world of engineering. it's a big deal to me. it really feels great to be recognised for, i guess, my passion in encouraging young girls to see engineering as a career option. just a few of many honoured for trying to change the lives of those around them. lizo mzimba, bbc news. now, the bbc‘s science editor david shukman reports on the battle for the future of the world's largest rainforest in amazon under threat. the amazon rainforest is the largest in the world,
home to an incredible variety of life. but suddenly, it is all at risk. the clearing of the trees is accelerating, and scientists are warning about the danger of irreversible loss. it's never going to come back again. we are never going to be able to build an amazon. it's going to be gone forever. brazil has a new president, and he wants to develop the amazon, and he is encouraging his supporters to exploit it. so the people who live inside the forest fear that their days may be numbered.
a gentle view of the field and forest in the amazon, but this region is now the scene of a struggle over land and a battle for survival. this is the home of uru—eu—wau—wau, a tiny band ofjust 120. they are one of many indigenous groups that have lived in the rainforest for centuries. the uru—eu—wau—wau are meant to be protected in special reserves, but they feel the new government of brazil is against them. one of the elders of the group describes the rituals of getting ready for war. a crucial task is preparing weapons.
the wood for the arrows comes from particular trees, the feathers from special birds. he has dark memories of the first contacts with the outside world. in the middle of the last century, settlers and loggers advanced into the forest and fought the indigenous people for territory. his wife, boreha, was wounded as a young girl. an attack left her with scars and killed her family. there's been a long and violent history here, and boreha says she is now worried once more.
here, they are making an ink to use as a war paint. a fruit is grated to get at thejuice, a process given special meaning now, as the risks of an attack seem to grow. the pulp is squeezed and the liquid is mixed with charcoal. everything they hear from the president about their way of life sounds hostile. adorning themselves with the paint is more than just tradition. it's because of a real sense of needing to be on guard. so they patrol what is meant to be their protected area. but they discover incursions.
this track was carved out to steal timber or create new farmland. miners often break in, as well. sights like this are painful, because this is home, where they gather food and hunt. previous governments saw indigenous people as guardians of the amazon. but now, their whole future is uncertain. the youngest generation may not grow up amid these trees, given the negative attitude of the new president, jair bolsonaro.
of the reserve. farmland presses right up against it, and president bolsonaro says farmers should be allowed inside. in his view, indigenous people have too much land. his election heralded a right—wing agenda, in favour of agriculture and of guns. he thrills his supporters with talk of opening up the amazon. since he came to office, bullets were fired at the sign marking the land of the uru—eu—wau—wau. tensions are escalating. up the road, we get talking to some localfarmers, and they say exactly the kind of things the president says — that the system of forest reserves for indigenous people is wrong, and that farmers need more land.
with the president on their side, farmers and loggers feel a new freedom to clear trees. we found this vast area of bare earth and dead trunks. huge tracts of forest are being wiped out. my footsteps and distant birdsong are the only sounds. it is tragic to see this close—up. to bring these trees down to the ground, theyjust knock them over with a bulldozer. this is happening all over the amazon to create new farmland, and the result is that the great
forest has never been under such pressure. many trees have already made way for agriculture, nearly 18% of the forest, and the president is now pushing for much more aggressive development. we are guided to this tiny clearing to see where illegal loggers were at work. this kind of wood fetches a high price on the black market. stealing rare timber is nothing new here in the amazon, but under the new government, it's never been so easy. the agencies meant to stop this kind of thing from happening are incredibly overstretched, and the president wants to weaken the legal protections for the forest. to make the timber less valuable, environment officials cut
into the logs so they can't be turned into planks. but they can't talk about their work, because they've been banned from speaking to the media. so yourjob, protecting the forests, must be very difficult, is it? you are trying to save the forest. so we have to meet this official in secret, his face hidden and voice changed. he says the government is trying to cover up the loss of the forest. and the scale of the deforestation he describes is so vast that it is hard to visualise. and the scale of the deforestation he describes is so vast that it is hard to visualise.
up here, at the top of this 50—metre—high observation tower, the view is just phenomenal, out over what looks like a great ocean of green. this is the canopy of the largest rainforest in the world. the problem is that more and more of it is being chopped down. it is hard to believe, but an area the size of a football pitch is being cleared every single minute. what that means is that forest that would cover more than 2,000 pitches is just vanishing every day, and the signs are that this rate of devastation could accelerate. the biggest single reason the forests are cleared is to create pasture for cattle. they are grazing on land that used to be forest. brazilian beef is in big demand all over the world, and the president's vision for boosting exports has delighted farmers like vanderley wegner, who says other countries
cut their forests down long ago. during our time in the amazon, we keep hearing that only brazil can decide what to do with the forest. but the trees store so much carbon that the more of them are cut down, the more we lose one of the very few things holding back to rise in global temperatures. so what happens here matters far beyond brazil. so my name is erika berenguer. i am a scientist, even though i don't wear a white coat. so i work in the amazon,
this beautiful forest, and i am from brazil. erika is a researcher based at the university of oxford. she has studied the trees of the amazon for the past ten years and she has always loved them. for me, it is really important because the amazon cannot speak up, the trees can't speak up, they cannot say that they are worth it, and they have a value, they are really important. so i have made it as my life, i have made it to study them, understand them, understand the forest and be able to speak up about its importance. erika has got to know the forest very well. and she guides me through a stretch of it that is constantly under assault from loggers and invaders. so you have become used to seeing a thriving forest? yeah. what's it like when you see the opposite — the forest cleared? it is very sad. it's very, very sad.
because emotionally, i know everything i am losing, the connection is not there any more, the life, but also i know how much biodiversity we are losing, how much it is contributing to climate change, so both rationally and emotionally, it's really difficult. here is one of the biggest trees in this stretch of forest. i mean, that isjust immense, isn't it? yeah! it is a really beautiful brazil nut. and you can see that it stands above everybody else. how tall would you reckon that is? ooh, it is about a0 metres, this one. yeah, i would say 120 feet. that is a long way up. laughs. yeah, it is! so it probably took centuries to get to this size and also that tall. they fight for the sun. they love the sun. yeah. the challenge for scientists is to get accurate measurements of the forest.
and this is one way to do that. speaks in foreign language. erika waits down on the ground. she's asking for samples of wood. her assistant, way up above, cuts away a few branches and throws them down. oops. what she is trying to find out is the flow of carbon in the forest. so when we are in the forest like this and want to know how much carbon it stores, you've got to measure the diameter of all trees, so you know its size. so this one for example is... ..15.6 centimetres and once we do it... ..we paint the tree...
she has followed the growth of the same batch of trees year after year to assess the role they play in the climate. they are helping us, forfree, to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and put it in the forest and lock it up in here. it's the sheer size of the forest that makes it significant. we have used graphics to show how the countless leaves absorb carbon dioxide. that's the gas heating up the planet. as human activity keeps adding more and more carbon dioxide to the air, magnificent trees like this pull a lot of it in. but chop it down and burn it, and all the carbon that has been stored inside over the many years is suddenly released back to the atmosphere. which, of course, increases the speed of global warming. so erika's research is all the more urgent.
in this lab, she studies the wood collected from the forest to work out how much carbon the amazon holds. so in these bags here, we have lots of little bits of wood that come from different forests, and what we do is that we collect the wood from the forest, put them in these big oven dryers behind me to remove all the moisture from it, so they become super dry, so we pop them on the stale, half of the weight here on the scale is actually carbon. and this is really important to help us understand how much carbon the amazon is removing from the air, from the atmosphere and locking up in the vegetation. so we can understand the importance of the amazon to fight climate change. and the latest science is revealing about the amazon's store of carbon. it is the equivalent of america burning fossil fuels for nearly a century. 97 years of the us fossilfuel emissions —
that is how much carbon there is in this place. because a big tree might store three tons of carbon, four tons of carbon — it's a lot of carbon. the rich greens of the forest have another vital role as well. they form the most vibrant habitat on earth, home to an extraordinary tenth of all species in the natural world. some of them unnerving. others, adorable. they are so wonderful. it's so full of life, it's so full... ..just so beautiful, and to lose it... it's never going to come back again. we're never going to be able to build an amazon. it's going to be gone forever. so once it is gone, it's just gone, we can't rebuild it. it's not a building. field by field, this whole region
is being transformed. and it's triggered a barrage of international criticism of brazil. our research shows how easily and rapidly trees can be wiped out. and the brazilian government is now saying to the outside world "pay us to keep the forest". in the meantime, the onslaught on the trees continues. and it can be dangerous asking awkward questions, as i hearfrom thisjournalist and charity worker, gabriel oshida, as we travel through
land that was forest. the landscape we're driving through looks very charming, with small fields, a very rattly road, obviously, but a few cows, a few trees, but what is actually going on here behind the scenes? what is it really like? even though it looks quiet and peaceful, this area is quite dangerous. this is like a wild west movie. so people are around carrying weapons and people are doing whatever they want. they can invade new territories — i myself have already been threatened here. actually, i have received death threats in this region, made by illegal loggers. what effect has there been from the election of president bolsonaro? after bolsonaro got elected, we can clearly see that these guys here — these invaders, these land grabbers — they feel much more confident about what they are doing. and they feel that now they have the law on their side and now they have —
they can do whatever they want because our presidency will support them. so indigenous people in the forest, like the uru—eu—wau—wau, now face a lot more pressure. so this is the forest of the uru—eu—wau—wau? i show them the view from space of what they are experiencing every day on the ground. with all this farmland all around you, and you are about there, just in that little corner. so you have got farms, right — deforested land, right next to you. and while we are with them, we hear a very depressing fact — that the uru—eu—wau—wau have had such a troubled experience with the outside world, that to describe white people and invaders, they have just a single word. ‘tapuya' means invader, but also white people. because that was the only
thing that they knew. so they didn't know there were white people who could be friends with them. because in the past, they were always having battles and conflicts against white people. so nowadays, they only have this word, one single word for white people and invaders, which is tapuya. sings. the fate of these people hangs in the balance. the children here are learning traditional skills, and they have rights under brazilian law. but they are outnumbered and powerful forces are circling outside.
there will be some rain towards the north—west but what we have had is a very moist south—westerly flow of air across the british isles, bringing extensive cloud. clubs of the northwest has been producing a box of rain and we will continue to see rain in association with these waving weather fronts at high pressure to the south and east will give a lot of dry weather for many of us. across england and wales, through the day ahead, we can expect yes, a lot of cloud, quite a misty murky start in places but it should be largely dry and some places was the cloud breaking up, especially merseyside, parts of north—east england with a bit of shelter to the north and east of high ground. for northern ireland and scotland, rain at times, particularly heavy for the western side of scotland but north—east scotland should sit bright conditions with the murray coast being run 13 degrees and generally a mild day for all of us. saturday night, further rain moving across. elsewhere, drive. still fairly cloudy, a better chance by the end of the night of seeing some
brea ks the end of the night of seeing some breaks in the cloud, typically quite a mild night, temperatures between five and ten. but it will turn milder still in some northern areas is to go through sunday, this plume of really mild air working its way out from the south—west and at the same time, i am hopeful we will start to tap in to this clearer, drierair start to tap in to this clearer, drier air across the near continent and they should tend to break up some of the cloud. do not be expecting blue skies and sunshine all day long but see on the chart some holes appearing in the cloud? a better chance of seeing some sunshine on sunday for england whales and also northern ireland southern and eastern scotland, some rain to the south of scotland but with rain over the hills and mountains with shelter to the northern ireland and north coast of scotland, 1a or 15 degrees is possible in a where we should be at this time of year but into the last couple of days of 2019, those temperatures will take a tumble once again, but closer to where they should be for the time of year. with that, it was a prominently dry, still a bit of rain across the north—west of the uk and then if you are out to celebrate midnight on new