Posted on 01 February 2024
The Amazon rainforest, often referred to as the "lungs of the planet" for its crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide, recently experienced its most severe drought in at least 50 years, mainly driven by climate change. Apart from being a climate buffer, the Amazon is a biodiversity hotspot, housing approximately 10% of the world's species, including endemic and endangered flora and fauna. Human-caused climate change was the main driver behind this extreme drought, according to the World Weather Attribution group. Deforestation has heightened the Amazon's susceptibility to weather extremes, impacting ecosystems and the millions who depend on its rivers. The research suggests that, in the absence of human-caused warming, such a severe drought might occur once every 1,500 years, but climate change has elevated the likelihood to one event every 50 years. Despite some progress in reducing deforestation rates, urgent global action is imperative to stabilize the climate and safeguard the Amazon's pivotal role in mitigating global warming.