Brazil's Amazon deforestation nearly doubles previous peak

i24NEWS - Reuters

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AN aerial view of deforestation in the Western Amazon region of Brazil, on September 22, 2017.
CARL DE SOUZA / AFPAN aerial view of deforestation in the Western Amazon region of Brazil, on September 22, 2017.

Preservation of the Amazon is vital to stopping catastrophic climate change

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest surged to record levels in April, nearly doubling the area of forest removed in that month last year – the previous April record – data showed Friday.

Last month, deforestation in the region totaled 390 square miles, according to the national space research agency Inpe. April is the third monthly record this year, after new highs were also observed in January and February.

Destruction of the Brazilian Amazon in the first four months of 2022 also hit a record for the period of 754 sq. miiles, up 69 percent from the same period last year – clearing an area more than double the size of New York City.

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The Amazon’s deforestation began to soar in 2019 after President Jair Bolsanaro took office and weakened environmental protection. Bolsanaro argues that more farming and mining in the rainforest will reduce poverty in the region.

"The cause of this record has a first and last name: Jair Messias Bolsonaro," said Marcio Astrini, head of the Brazilian advocacy group Climate Observatory.

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Brazil’s environment and justice ministries said in a joint statement that the government was working to fight environmental crimes and that authorities were cooperating to combat deforestation.

Even with deforestation already on the rise, Climate Observatory said its analysts were astounded by such a high reading in April.

Preservation of the Amazon is vital to stopping catastrophic climate change because of the vast amount of climate-warming carbon dioxide it absorbs.

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