|Often called the planet’s lungs, the trees of the Amazon rainforest suck up |
That spike in tree loss has coincided with Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsanaro, taking office in January and slashing environmental protections. Bolsanaro even called the new data a lie. a quarter of Earth’s carbon and produce a fifth of the world’s oxygen.
But climate scientists warn deforestation is pushing the Amazon rainforest to a tipping point that would disrupt both its ecosystem and the global climate.
In this segment, Ira talks to Carlos Nobre, a climate scientist at the University of Sao Paulo’s Institute of Advanced Studies, about the new data and why deforestation in the Amazon is so risky for the planet. The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil has been using satellite images of tree cover to monitor the Amazon’s deforestation since the 1970s—and new data shows a potentially dangerous spike in deforestation. In the first seven months of 2019, the rainforest lost 50% more trees than during the same period last year.