A new report on Thursday found that over the last decade the Brazilian Amazon released approximately 20 percent more carbon dioxide than it absorbed.
According to the journal Nature Climate Change, the Brazilian Amazon released 16.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and only absorbed 13.9 billion tonnes from 2010 through 2019.
America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.
“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 Jean-Pierre Wigneron, a scientist at France’s National Institute for Agronomic Research and co-author of the study.
Also cited in the study were instances of deforestation, both from fires and clear-cutting, which increased almost fourfold in 2019 in comparison to the two previous 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. The change coincides with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro taking office.
Combating climate change would be increasingly difficult if the Amazon became a large source of carbon dioxide, experts say.
“We don’t know at what point the changeover could become irreversible,” said Wigneron.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE RIGHT NOW
BIDEN PROMISES TO CUT US EMISSIONS IN HALF IN LESS THAN 10 YEARS AHEAD OF WORLD CLIMATE SUMMIT
SCIENTISTS SAY ‘UNIMAGINABLE AMOUNTS’ OF WATER WILL POUR INTO OCEANS IF ICE SHELVES COLLAPSE AMID GLOBAL HEATING
NEW STUDY SAYS THE EARTH COULD SEE SIX MONTH-LONG SUMMERS
SURPRISING STUDY FINDS SHARKS ARE KEY TO RESTORING DAMAGED HABITATS, FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
SCIENTISTS BLOW UP DECADES OF THINKING ON WHY HURRICANES ARE BECOMING MORE DEADLY