The Amazon rainforest is crucial for absorbing carbon and preventing global warming. In 2019, a global campaign over a sharp rise in fires in the Amazon rainforest, gave the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, quite a headache. At first he was defiant over claims that his policies were leading to the destruction of the forest, but then, under international pressure, he mobilised the military to tackle the flames and issued a decree banning fires in the Amazon for 60 days.
However, one year on it seems, there are similar increases in the numbers of fires. Brazil’s space agency says the number of fires in the rainforest last month was up by 28 percent from the same time in 2019 and another sign that deforestation is on the rise.
Carlos Rittl, a Brazilian scientist and senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, explains why this is so concerning.
"The Amazon is a huge carbon sink for carbon from the atmosphere. We are reaching a tipping point in terms of the size of the area we have already destroyed, and this could be accelerated."
(Photo: Amazon fires captured during Greenpeace's annual reconnaissance flight over the region. Credit: Greenpeace)