Amazon Forest Could Cook the Planet

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By Stephen Leahy

Dec 7 (IPS) – A two-degree Celsius rise in global temperatures could flip the Amazon forest from being the Earth’s vital air conditioner to a flamethrower that cooks the planet, warns a new report released at the climate talks in Bali, Indonesia Friday.

And we’re already past 0.6 degrees C., climate experts say.

Paradoxically, a two-degree C. rise in global temperatures cannot be prevented without a largely intact Amazon rainforest, says Dan Nepstad, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Centre in the U.S. state of Massachusetts and author of the report “The Amazon’s Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire in the Greenhouse”, issued by WWF, the global conservation organisation.

“The importance of the Amazon forest for the globe’s climate cannot be underplayed,” said Nepstad at a press conference from Nusa Dua on the island of Bali, the site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference running until Dec. 14. Continue reading