The study examined the absorption and storage of carbon dioxide during forest growth compared to the amount released into the atmosphere after its consumption or destruction.In a stunning report which shows that mankind no longer depends upon the biggest tropical forest on man-made carbon pollution, almost 20 percent more carbon dioxide has been released into the air in the last decade.
Between 2010 and 2019 in the Amazon Basin of Brazil, researchers reported Thursday on Nature Climate Change that they were discharging a total of 16.6 billion tons of CO2, with a drop of only 13.9 billion tons. The study examined the absorption and the storage of carbon dioxide by growing forest, versus the amounts released in the atmosphere when it is burnt down or destroyed.
“We half-expected it, but it is the first time that we have figures showing that the Brazilian Amazon has flipped, and is now a net emitter,” said co-author Jean-Pierre Wigneron, a scientist at France’s National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA).
“We don’t know at what point the changeover could become irreversible,” he told AFP in an interview.
The study also shows that, by fire and smoking, the deforestation rate increased almost four times in the year 2019 from one million hectares (2.5 million acres) to 3.9 million hectares in the area of the Netherlands in comparison with the previous two years.
“Brazil saw a sharp decline in the application of environmental protection policies after the change of government in 2019,” the INRA said in a statement.
On 1 January 2019, President Brasilian Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in. Worldwide, terrestrial ecosystems are a key ally when the world is fighting to curb CO2 emissions that in 2019 exceeded 40 billion tons. In the past half century plants, soil and soil, although their emissions have increased by 50% in that period, consistently absorbed around 30% of such emissions.
More than 20% of the oceans also helped to absorb.
Taking the rest of region into account, “the Amazon basin as a whole is probably (carbon) neutral,” said Mr Wigneron.
“But in the other countries with Amazon rainforest, deforestation is on the rise too, and drought has become more intense.”
Climate change is a major threat, and recent studies have found that the continent’s rainforest tip could be seen – beyond a certain threshold of global warming – in a significantly drier savannah. These consequences would not only have devastating effects on the region that currently holds a significant share of global biodiversity, but worldwide as well.The rain forests in the Amazon are one of tens of so-called climatic ‘tapping points.’
Ice sheets on Greenland and the west Antarctic, Siberian carbon- and methane-laden permafrost, Southern Asian monsoon plants, coral reef ecosystems, jet streams, all of them vulnerable to turn-offs that are going to radically alter the world as we know it.