From 2010 through 2019, Brazil's Amazon basin gave off 16.6 billion tonnes of CO2, while drawing down only 13.9 billion tonnes, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study looked at the volume of CO2 absorbed and stored as the forest grows, versus the amounts released back into the atmosphere as it has been burned down or destroyed. "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 co-author Jean-Pierre Wigneron, a scientist at France's National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA). "We don't know at what point the changeover could become irreversible," he told AFP in an interview. The study also showed that deforestation—through fires and clear-cutting—increased nearly four-fold in 2019 compared to either of the two previous years, from about one million hectares (2.5 million acres) to 3.9 million hectares, an area the size of the Netherlands. "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. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was sworn into office on January 1, 2019. Terrestrial ecosystems worldwide have been a crucial ally as the world struggles to curb CO2 emissions, which topped 40 billion tonnes in 2019. Over the last half century, plants and soil have consistently absorbed about 30 percent of those emissions, even as those emissions increased by 50 percent over than period. Oceans have also helped, soaking up more than 20 percent. The Amazon basin contains about half of the world's tropical rainforests The Amazon basin contains about half of the world's tropical rainforests , which are more effective at soaking up and storing carbon that other types of vegetation. If the region were to be come a net source rather than a "sink" of CO2, tackling the climate crisis will be that much harder. Using new methods of analysing satellite data developed at the University of Oklahoma, the international team of researchers also showed for the first time that degraded forests were a more significant source of planet-warming CO2 emissions that outright deforestation. Over the same 10-year period, degradation—caused by fragmentation, selective cutting, or fires that damage but do not destroy trees—caused three times more emissions that outright destruction of forests. The data examined in the study only covers Brazil, which holds some 60 percent of the Amazonian rainforest. Taking the rest of region into account, "the Amazon basin as a whole is probably (carbon) neutral," said Wigneron. "But in the other countries with Amazon rainforest, deforestation is on the rise too, and drought has become more intense." Climate change looms as a major threat, and could—above a certain threshold of global warming—see the continent's rainforest tip into a much drier savannah state, recent studies have shown. This would have devastating consequences not only to the region, which currently harbours a significant percentage of the world's biodiversity, but globally as well.https://phys.org/news/2021-04-climate-amazon-friend-foe.html
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At the family’s home in the Kitintale neighborhood, photos of Ms. Nakate in her university graduation gown dot the living room — a testament, she said, of her parents’ emphasis on educating her and her four younger siblings and giving them a bright future. She chanced upon environmental activism in 2018 after graduating with a business degree from Makerere University. With no job lined up, Ms. Nakate volunteered with the Rotary Club organization, where she was researching the biggest challenges facing local areas and how she could help. That was when she realized that climate change was not some distant threat, but a problem that at that very moment was eating away at communities and destroying livelihoods. She also found out about Fridays for Future , the movement that Ms. Thunberg started to pressure policymakers to listen to scientists and act. Though eager to take action herself, Ms. Nakate said she was initially afraid of taking to Kampala’s streets to protest alone. So on a warm Sunday morning in January 2019, she enlisted her two sisters, Clare and Joan, and two brothers, Paul and Trevor, to help make placards and join her. As passers-by and drivers stared, the siblings protested at various intersections in the capital, holding signs that read “Nature is life,” “Climate Strike Now” and “When you plant a tree, you plant a forest.” “There was the feeling of ‘I have taken so long without doing this, and yet people are suffering,’” Ms. Nakate said. At that moment, she said, she determined “to add my voice to the climate movement and demand for climate justice.” When her siblings returned to school several weeks later, she continued alone, organizing climate strikes in schools and standing outside government offices with signs bearing messages like “Are you fracking kidding me?” She urged lawmakers to divest from coal and oil companies and to deal with rising water levels in Lake Victoria and high air pollution levels in cities like Kampala. By the end of the year, Ms. Nakate’s work was attracting attention worldwide, making her a fixture in global conferences and on television .https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/africa/vanessa-nakate-climate-change-uganda.html