Research shows that Brazil's Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon pollution than it is breathing in as a result of land clearing and forest fires.
A worrying increase in pollution
According to the study published in the research journalNature Climate Change, between 2010 and 2019, the Brazilian jungle emitted 16.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide but only managed to absorb about 13.9 billion tonnes. Meaning that the planet is having a hard time healing itself due to human impact.
Scientists explain that trees breathe in CO2 that is trapped in the air but all of it is released at once during mass deforestations, giving the Earth less time to naturally break down carbon dioxide. Jean-Pierre Wigneron—a scientist at France's National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) and the study's co-author—explained that:
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. We don't know at what point the changeover could become irreversible.
Bolsonaro not taking accountability
To make matters worse, Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro,—who came into power since 2019—has disregarded the need to take environmental action despite international social and scientific pressure to lessen the damages onto the Amazonia.
In fact, Bolsonaro has even gone as far as to downplay the fires by saying that statistics were exaggerated. Compared to the two previous years prior to taking charge of the country's presidency, deforestation in the Amazon increased by four times the amount totalling a whopping 9.8 million acres of land completely wiped out. The INRA said:
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.