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If that happens, climate breakdown is likely to become much more severe in its impacts, and the world will have to cut down much faster on carbon-producing activities to counteract the loss of the carbon sinks.
What’s Happening: Scientists have observed for a while that tropical rainforests have been storing less carbon but this new study highlights the rapid decline of their carbon sequestration capacity.
Rainforests like the Amazon have been viewed by the international community as an important natural tool in fighting climate change, but we’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that forests can only clean up so much of our mess.
As the Guardian went on to explain,
“The uptake of carbon from the atmosphere by tropical forests peaked in the 1990s when about 46bn tonnes were removed from the air, equivalent to about 17% of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. By the last decade, that amount had sunk to about 25bn tonnes or just 6% of global emissions.”
This loss in sequestration is occurring largely due to trees dying.
Why This Matters: We’re pushing our tropical forests to the brink, as we saw with the devastating Amazon Rainforest fires last year, human activity is an urgent threat to these important and delicate ecosystems. What’s really worth noting here is that governments, like the United States, that are lead by conservative leaders with tendencies to be climate laggards are proposing massive initiatives to plant trees as the basis of their climate strategies. These tree-planting initiatives also come without a significant goal to transition away from fossil fuels or much of the activity that’s contributed to the current state of the climate crisis. This new study shows that trees aren’t going to be effective carbon sinks unless we stop emitting greenhouse gases in the first place.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The giant sequoia trees in California’s Sequoia National Park are over 1,000 years old and could live another 2,000 years, but climate change-fueled fires are killing them. The trees can usually withstand the flames, but the intensity of recent fires has been overpowering. Last year’s Castle Fire killed up […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As wildfires and deforestation grip the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous communities are urging world governments to pledge to protect 80% of the forest by 2025. The groups launched their campaign at a biodiversity conference in France, where experts from around the world are laying the groundwork for the UN’s delayed […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new assessment found that at least 30% of the world’s 60,000 tree species are nearing extinction in the wild. The number of tree species threatened— 17,500— is twice that of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles combined. Why this Matters: Trees are crucial to maintaining the earth’s ecosystems. Trees not […]
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