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The point of no return of the Amazon Rainforest

April 23, 2022

A point of no return, or turning point, is, with respect to the environment, a point at which it is very difficult to recover the environmental conditions of a given moment.

That is, when there is no time to return to the situation that existed before the red line of no return was crossed. The application of this concept is attributed to the IPCC, an international research group on climate change. The IPCC pointed out in 2002 that if it continued to devastate nature and produce greenhouse gas emissions, the temperature would increase by 5° C or more, and irreversible consequences would be created for the planet’s climate.

In April 2022 the IPCC returned to the fray. He warned in a report that the vegetation cover of the Amazon rainforest had been destroyed by 20 percent, dangerously approaching a point of return of 25 percent, in which the main benefits that the Amazon forest provides for the well-being of the planet would be lost. : as the lung of the world, its main reserve of fresh water and a very valuable center of global biodiversity. If the CO2 sequestration capacity of the Amazon forest is lost or reduced, global temperature would irreversibly increase, with serious consequences for the human population and the richness of biodiversity.

Until 2018 the deforestation remained between 4,500 and 7,500 hectares, areas that concerned environmentalists, but then, as of 2019, the deforested surface of the Amazonia reached 10,128 ha, and continued its upward pace, particularly with the government of Jair Bolsonaro , when the process was accelerated. Affecting even indigenous lands, by 138%, and 130% to conservation units, despite the fact that they are areas protected by the National Constitution. But the pressure from the interests of ranchers and wood exploiters, who stimulate deforestation, is very strong. Some researchers consider that cattle ranching is responsible for 80% of the current deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest . Livestock farming is, on the one hand, an activity considered to be a highly emitter of gases with a climate effect, in particular carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, and, on the other hand, a driver of deforestation, reducing the possibilities of sequestering CO2 .

Faced with the great devastation consented to by the executive authorities, the Supreme Court of Brazil began the discussion, starting in April 2022, of seven projects of protection measures, some related to the Amazon, that seek to contribute to the fight against the climate change.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)