It Isn’t Too Late to Save the Brazilian Rainforest

By Robert Muggah

Published on Foreign Policy

The fate of the Amazon is intertwined with the fate of the world. If 20-25 percent of its tree cover is cut down, scientists estimate, the basin’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide would be severely compromised, taking out of operation one of the world’s largest carbon sinks. Owing to accelerating rates of deforestation to make way for cattle, soy farming, and gold mining, this tipping point could be reached within a decade.

The Amazon basin plays a critical role in stabilizing the global climate. It is vast, spanning almost 3 million square miles and incorporating 40 percent of the world’s tropical forests, 20 percent of its fresh water supply, and producing 20 percent of the air we breathe. Through a process called evapotranspiration, it also influences the planet’s cloud cover and circulation of ocean currents.

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