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New Projections Paint Dire Picture of The World’s Rainforests

The great rainforests of the world are being replaced at a rapid rate to make way for palm oil crops, cattle, and logging, with an estimated 18 meter hectares felled each year. This news is nothing new– but with Donald Trump now officially in the highest ranking office in America, new concerns about the effects of climate change have come to the fore. In a piece for The Guardian, John Vidal takes a meta-analysis approach to looking at the effects of deforestation on the environment, emphasizing the alarming statistic that rainforests could be gone in as little as 100 years.

Questions about deforestation are intimately tied with those of economy and international politics; the Paris Climate Summit in 2015 paid particular attention to the issue of deforestation. The article isn’t entirely a doom and gloom investigation, as Vidal takes particular care to outline current efforts to keep rainforests healthy, and to preserve what we can. In particular, Vidal calls on governments to align their actions with human interest. As Vidal writes:

“As fast as the trees go, the chance of slowing or reversing climate change becomes slimmer. Tropical deforestation causes carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, to linger in the atmosphere and trap solar radiation. This raises temperatures and leads to climate change: deforestation in Latin America, Asia and Africa can affect rainfall and weather everywhere from the US Midwest, to Europe and China.

The consensus of the world’s atmospheric scientists is that about 12% of all man-made climate emissions – nearly as much as the world’s 1.2bn cars and lorries – now comes from deforestation, mostly in tropical areas. Conserving forests is critical; the carbon locked up in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 150m hectares of forests are nearly three times the world’s global annual emissions.”

Read the rest of the article at The Guardian.

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