Climate Change & The Amazon

Climate Change & The Amazon

Amazon forests store vast amounts of carbon in their trees and soils and constantly exchange tremendous quantities of carbon dioxide and water with the atmosphere, helping to regulate temperature and precipitation both regionally and globally. These critical functions are endangered by regional deforestation and by global climate change which, left unchecked, will create cascading feedbacks with catastrophic consequences, both regionally and globally.

140 billion Tons of Stored Carbon

In the Amazon basin, studies estimate that forests contain 90-140 billion tons of carbon. For comparison, in 2019, it is estimated that global emissions equaled 43 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which means the Amazon stores more carbon than the world emits over several years.

Deforestation at 12-year high

The rate of deforestation in Brazil hit a twelve year-high in 2020 and scientists increasingly are concerned that the Amazon will degrade into a savannah within the next few decades. Deforestation in the Amazon would accelerate climate change and could lead to less rainfall across various regions around the world.

Amazon emissions similar to world's major economies

If the Amazon were a country, it would be one of the world’s top climate polluters. Annual emissions from the Amazon are almost as large as emissions from Japan, Germany, or Indonesia.



An area the Size of New Jersey Burned in 2019

It is estimated that in 2019, in Brazil alone, more than 392 million tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere by fires. Most forest fires in the Amazon were set intentionally, often illegally, to create farmland. In 2020, estimates say that nearly 5.4 million acres of Brazil’s Amazon burned — an area roughly the size of New Jersey.