A study on the factors behind the increase in Amazon CO2 emissions
(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – In 2019-20 Amazon’s CO2 emissions have more than doubled compared to the previous eight years. The main reason? The end of police checks on illegal activities. It is supported by a study in pre-print that analyzed the trend of the disappearance of the rainforest and collected air samples over the Amazon in the last 10 years.
The data refer to the western portion of the forest and complete a study published by the same authors last year, relating to the eastern half. There, the researchers found that deforestation proceeded at such a rapid pace that the CO2 emissions from deforestation exceeded the amount of carbon dioxide that the forest is able to absorb.
The new study shows that in 2019, Amazon’s CO2 emissions grew by 89% compared to the annual average of the period 2010-2018. And the following year it was even worse: the increase was 122%. The factor that contributed most was not the fires – which also in this period have again splashed on very high values – but illegal deforestation.
The deforestation curve is mirrored by the “desmatamiento illegal” fines. The first, in 2020, rose by 75%, while the fines imposed by the police fell by 89%. A phenomenon that has a clear explanation in the policies of Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president who since the beginning of his mandate, In January 2019, it favored farmers and ranchers by reducing controls and limiting the margins of action of civil society fighting deforestation.
A trend that has not stopped. In 2022, in fact, the rate of deforestation is even higher than that of 2021, already a particular year. From the beginning of the year to August, deforestation has eaten 8,590 km2, a region as vast as Umbria. The figure is in line with that of 2021, which recorded the absolute record of deforestation. And it is the 3rd year in a row that the bill from January to August exceeds 8 thousand km2.