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article imageBrazil pushes Amazon to the 'brink of the abyss' scientists warn

By Ocean Malandra     Nov 4, 2014 in Environment
Amazonas - Destruction of the Amazon rainforest has reached epic proportions under the leadership of Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff, who is celebrating her re-election this week. A new report warns that the ecosystem may be reaching a tipping point of no return.
A report from Brazil's Earth System Science Centre that draws on over 200 climate studies on the Amazon warns that the world's most important ecosystem is degrading to the point where it will not be able to draw enough moisture in to create the rain necessary to sustain it, the Guardian reported.
It may soon become a savanna.
According to the Guardian, this is due to the vast destruction of the Amazon rainforest that "has accelerated under Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff."
Rousseff, who was just narrowly re-elected, has been under fire from environmentalists since she passed changes to Brazil's Forest Code in 2012, which waved fines for illegal loggers and weakened protection for important riverbank canopies.
"President Dilma Rousseff has broken her campaign promises and squandered an opportunity to be a global environmental leader," said Kenzo Juca Ferreira of the World Wildlife Federation in Brazil, "The whole world needs to know of the huge discrepancy between talk and action in Brazil" he continued, as reported in the Guardian in 2012.
Greenpeace issued a statement at the time that claimed, "this is the latest blow for the Amazon from a government that is systematically dismantling Brazil's environmental protection measures."
More recently, Rousseff has been criticized for green-lighting projects like the massive Belo Monte Dam, which will be the third largest dam in the world.
According to Amazon Watch, the dam will flood 1,500 km of rainforest and displace 40,000 indigenous people.
Mario Mantovani, an environmental lobbyist in Brazil's congress, recently told Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo: ""In terms of the environment, this has been the worst administration in Brazilian history."
Rousseff's re-election victory celebration coincides with the recent report from the Earth System Science Centre, which states that the forest's “vegetation-climate equilibrium is teetering on the brink of the abyss."
The tipping point would be when the Amazon, which acts as a huge suction pump that pulls in enough moisture to create the rain clouds that keep it healthy and thriving, can no longer do so.
Then, the giant ecosystem will not need logging to become deforested. It will rapidly begin drying out and eventually turn from a rainforest system to a more arid savanna on its own, warn the scientists.
Four more years of Rousseff as president could be just the recipe for that disaster. In fact, Brazil just refused to sign a global pact to reduce deforestation put forth by the UN.
That is a far cry from the "war effort" the Earth System Science Centre report is calling for to stop deforestation before the mighty Amazon forest is pushed past the point of no return.
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