Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Amazon Rainforest Deforestation Hits Highest Rate in 10 Years

Climate
Amazon Rainforest Deforestation Hits Highest Rate in 10 Years
Deforestation in the Amazon. luoman / Getty Images

About 7,900 square kilometers (3,050 square miles) of forest was cleared in the Brazilian Amazon between August 2017 and July 2018, the worst annual deforestation rate in a decade, according to government data. That's a 13.7 percent jump from the same period last year.

As Greenpeace Brazil noted, approximately 1.185 billion trees cut down in an area equivalent to the size of 987,500 soccer fields.


The disturbing news comes amid fears that Brazil's new far-right president Jair Bolsonaro could make the situation worse due to his promise to open more of the Amazon to development.

As EcoWatch previously explained, deforestation in the Amazon had actually decreased from around 2005 to 2011 by an impressive 70 percent due to increased government protections in response to a growing popular movement to protect the rainforest. Even from 2011 to 2017, as the country entered a more chaotic political period, the decrease in deforestation stopped, but it didn't reverse. Bolsonaro's leadership, unfortunately, could undo any of that progress.

In a statement, Brazil's environment minister Edson Duarte blamed illegal logging for the increase in deforestation in the Amazon and called on the government to increase policing in the forests, Reuters reported.

Aerial photo of the Amazon rainforest taken on July 18, 2018ESA / A.Gerst / CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

However, Greenpeace said that the Brazilian government is not doing enough to stop deforestation. Additionally, with Bolsonaro at the helm, "the predictions for the Amazon (and for the climate) are not good."

The loss of forests creates a nasty climate change feedback loop. Forests are an important carbon sink, and deforestation contributes more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels said that planting more trees, and keeping existing trees in the ground, were both essential to meeting that goal.

Electric vehicles are the cars of the future. sl-f / Getty Images

By 2035, every new car and truck sold in the U.S. could be an EV, a new report says.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York, a polluted nearly 2 mile-long waterway that is an EPA Superfund site. Jonathan Macagba / Moment / Getty Images

Thousands of Superfund sites exist around the U.S., with toxic substances left open, mismanaged and dumped. Despite the high levels of toxicity at these sites, nearly 21 million people live within a mile of one of them, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Read More Show Less
Trending
The National Weather Service station in Chatham, Massachusetts, near the edge of a cliff at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Bryce Williams / National Weather Service in Boston / Norton

A weather research station on a bluff overlooking the sea is closing down because of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Amsterdam is one of the Netherlands' cities which already has "milieuzones," where some types of vehicles are banned. Unsplash / jennieramida

By Douglas Broom

  • If online deliveries continue with fossil-fuel trucks, emissions will increase by a third.
  • So cities in the Netherlands will allow only emission-free delivery vehicles after 2025.
  • The government is giving delivery firms cash help to buy or lease electric vehicles.
  • The bans will save 1 megaton of CO2 every year by 2030.

Cities in the Netherlands want to make their air cleaner by banning fossil fuel delivery vehicles from urban areas from 2025.

Read More Show Less
Protestors stage a demonstration against fracking in California on May 30, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A bill that would have banned fracking in California died in committee Tuesday.

Read More Show Less