Saturday, September 10, 2016

Amazon Burns as Brazil Signs Paris Pledge

Forest fires in the Amazon region are reaching record levels as Brazil’s government fails to tackle the deforestation that fuels the country’s high rate of emissions.

A thick blanket of smoke rises from fire in the Amazon rainforest. (Image Credit:  BBC World Service via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, will next week sign up to the Paris Agreement on climate change by committing Brazil to a reduction of 37% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and of 43% by 2030.

But critics say that the commitment glosses over the government’s failure to address the legal and illegal forest clearance that is adding to global warming.

Brazil’s emissions are the seventh highest in the world, and they come mostly from what is called land-use change − in other words, deforestation.

The government has promised that all illegal deforestation will be ended by 2030 – which, as critics point out, allows for it to continue for another 14 years − and sidesteps the thorny question of legally-permitted deforestation.

Scientists from the US space agency NASA and the University of California, Irvine, warn that lower rainfall in the Amazon basin because of the 2015-2016 El NiƱo phenomenon’s climate effects means that the region is now even drier than it was in 2005 and 2010, which were years of unprecedented drought.

Read more at Amazon Burns as Brazil Signs Paris Pledge

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