Amazon fire – a matter not confined to a country

(VOVWORLD) - The Amazon countries will convene a summit on Friday to work out a shared policy on environmental protection and sustainable development of the forest. The summit comes during devastating Amazon forest fires that are hurting global efforts to cope with climate change.
Amazon fire – a matter not confined to a country - ảnh 1 Amazon rainforest experiences a record number of wildfires this year. (Photo: VNA)

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. It covers more than 7.6 million square kilometers straddling Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Suriname, and French Guiana.

The fires began in late July but it was three weeks later that the world became aware of their seriousness and devastating consequences. The fires have been blamed on dry weather and local people’s carelessness while farming.

The Amazon forest must be protected

Protecting the Amazon rainforest is essential in coping with climate change because of the huge amount of CO2 the forest absorbs. The Amazon produces 20% of the world’s total oxygen and has been called the lungs of the earth. According to the World Wildlife Fund, if the Amazon fires are not controlled, they will emit vast amounts of carbon – the main agent causing climate change. The vast swaths of rainforest play a crucial role in the world's ecosystem because they absorb heat instead of reflecting it back into the atmosphere. With fires ravaging the vegetation, research shows it could take more than a century to recover the carbon storage that is being lost.

Experts say the Amazon fires are accelerating global warming and decimating regional biodiversity.

Trees in the Amazon pump water from the soil into the atmosphere, producing much-needed rainfall in other areas. Deforestation means loss of biodiversity. Tens of thousands of tree and plant species and hundreds of thousands of insects and other wildlife inhabit the Amazon.

Multinational cooperation is needed

The effects of forest destruction in the Amazon aren’t confined to the Amazon. They affect the globe and are an urgent global issue. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for protecting the Amazon by all means. A summit on the current situation in the Amazon and ways to protect the forest will be convened in Leticia, Colombia on Friday. The UN Chief has called on the international community to take stronger actions to extinguish the Amazon fires quickly and implement a comprehensive afforestation policy.

G7 leaders, at their summit in France last week agreed to spend 20 million euros  or 22 million USD to send fire-fighting aircraft to the Amazon.

US President Donald Trump has phoned the Brazilian President and promised to help Brazil cope with the fire. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged 12 million USD to protect the Amazon’s ecology and called on world leaders to save the endangered species there.