Amazon Rainforest Fires Threaten Climate Change Efforts

More than 74,000 fires have consumed approximately 7,200 square miles this year in the Brazilian portion of the Amazon, according to Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research. The world counts on its largest rainforest to cleanse our atmosphere of greenhouse gases.

More than 55,000 fire alerts have been issued this month in the Amazon’s Pará region. Fires are not uncommon in the Amazon, but this region — with some of the wettest land in the world — rarely sees massive fires.

The amazon produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. According to the World Wildlife Fund, if the rainforest is damage it can start to admit carbon, the major driver of climate change.

The lungs of the world are burning.

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Jim Sergent, Elizabeth Lawrence and George Petras, USA TODAY