Brazil hosting Amazon summit: What you need to know

The leaders of eight Amazon rainforest nations are meeting in Brazil to tackle pressing challenges facing the critical ecosystem.

Representatives from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela will join the two-day meeting of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), which kicked off on Tuesday in the northern Brazilian city of Belem.The summit come just months after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, promising to get Amazon deforestation down to zero by 2030 after years of destruction and largely unchecked development under his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

“We will discuss and promote a new vision of sustainable, inclusive development in the region,” Lula said in a speech opening the summit.

“It has never been so urgent to resume and expand that cooperation. The challenge of our era and the opportunities that arise will demand joint action,” he said.Why is the Amazon so important?
The Amazon – a massive rainforest twice the size of India that sprawls across eight countries and one territory – is a crucial carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide emissions, which are driving the climate crisis.Atmospheric chemist Luciana Gatti, a researcher for Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research, said deforestation leads to more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and generally means reduced rainfall and higher temperatures.

“By deforesting the Amazon, we are accelerating climate change,” Gatti told The Associated Press.

She co-authored a study published in the journal Nature that found that the heavily deforested eastern Amazon has ceased to function as a carbon absorber and is now a carbon source. Gatti said half of the deforestation in the eastern Amazon needs to be reversed to maintain the rainforest as a buffer against climate change.

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