Amazon rainforest near tipping point, study says

In what could easily be considered a worst-case scenario for the fate of the world’s largest rainforest, a study led by Brazil’s National Institute of Special Research found that the size of the Amazon could be reduced 50 percent by 2050, the ‘tipping point‘ for when it will slowly wither away entirely.

The study found that the cycle of forest loss will be most pronounced if the forests in eastern Amazon continue to be lost. According to Sampaio, changes to the climate of this region will lead to increased temperatures and decreased rainfall throughout the rest of the continent.

Once fires caused by these droughts and continued deforestation have reduced the Amazon’s size by half, says Sampaio, desertification will slowly transform the terrain into a ‘tropical savanna’. The report projects that this ‘tipping point’ level of forest loss could occur as shortly as 2050.

I’ve never been one for moral imperialism.  The United States and other Western nations forsook their own forests long ago.  At one point, there was hardly a forest left in England because of its forest policy.  The United States has similarly eviscerated it’s forests and wildlife for profit.  Western nations are absolute  hypocrites to suggest another sovereign nation ought not do the same.

Amazonian deforestation is not the work of some Captain Planet super-villain.  People are trying to make a living.  If westerners value those forests, we ought to be willing to pay for them.

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