"As an ecological disaster in the Amazon escalated into a global political crisis, Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, took the rare step on Friday of mobilising the armed forces to help contain blazes of a scale not seen in nearly a decade," reports the New York Times:
The sudden reversal, after days of dismissing growing concern over hundreds of fires raging across the Amazon, came as international outrage grew over the rising deforestation in the world's largest tropical rainforest. European leaders threatened to cancel a major trade deal, protesters staged demonstrations outside Brazilian embassies and calls for a boycott of Brazilian products snowballed on social media. As a chorus of condemnation intensified, Brazil braced for the prospect of punitive measures that could severely damage an economy that is already sputtering...
"[E]xperts say the clearing of land during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has accelerated the deforestation," reports AFP. "More than half of the fires are in the Amazon, and some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday, according to the National Institute for Space Research."
terrancem quotes the non-profit environmental news site Mongabay:
High-resolution images from satellite company Planet are revealing glimpses of some of the fires currently devastating the Amazon rainforest... Beyond dramatic snapshots, those images also provide data that can be mined for critical insights into what's happening in the Amazon on a basin-wide scale, according to Greg Asner, the director of the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University, whose team is using Planet's data to assess the impact of the fires on carbon emissions.
"If you took all of the carbon stored in every tropical forest on Earth and burned it up, you would emit about five times the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that is already there. The Amazon rainforest represents about half of this forest carbon to give you an idea of how serious this current situation is and the kind of impact it will have on climate change."
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