Sao Paulo : Smoke engulfing from the wild fire breakout in the Amazon has turned day into night in Sao Paulo in Brazil even at 2 pm today. The huge emission of smoke, gas, and particulates arising from the Amazon wildfire has intensified a controversy over the Brazilian government’s land use policies.
According to a data released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the Brazilian Amazon has experienced 74,155 fires since January which accounts for almost 85% increase since last year.
The fires have led to a clear spike in carbon monoxide emissions as well as planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, posing a threat to human health and aggravating global warming. In fact the Amazon serves as the “lungs of the planet” by taking in carbon dioxide.
The release of those statistics and ensuing media coverage earned the ire of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro, who favors increased agricultural and mining development in the Amazon, called those numbers “a lie” and then fired Ricardo Galvao, a physicist who served as the director of the scientific agency.
An increase in fires and ensuing deforestation in the Amazon make it even more difficult, if not impossible, for countries to hold global warming to “well below” 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius). This is calculated with pre-industrial levels as the base and the Paris Climate Agreement called for maintaining global warming below the 3.6 degrees. The Amazon which spans 2.12 million square miles, sucks up about a quarter of the 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon that global forests absorb each year.