Environmental scientists have shocking news that parts of the Amazon are emitting more carbon dioxide than they are absorbing. The rainforest is now producing over a billion tons of CO2 a year. The Amazon used to be a carbon "sink" where CO2 was sucked up and converted into oxygen. It has now become a source of carbon dioxide. The biggest reasons for this flipping from sink to source are logging, deforestation and forest fires. The Amazon is losing its nickname of being the lungs of the world. Researchers predict the rainforest will create CO2 at an accelerating rate in the future.
The research on CO2 emissions is published in the journal "Nature". Researchers analysed 600 profiles of CO2 emissions produced by fires at sites in Brazil's Amazon between 2010 and 2018. They found the fires produced about 1.5 billion tons of CO2 a year, while forest growth removed just 0.5 billion tons. The difference of one billion tons is equivalent to the annual emissions of Japan - the world's fifth-largest polluter. Researcher Professor Simon Lewis said: "The south-east Amazon sink-to-source story is yet another stark warning that climate impacts are accelerating."