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Sun, Dec

COP27: Amazon Rainforest Crisis

CLIMATE WATCH - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued a new Living Amazon Report, 2022 at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The eye-opening report defines a horror story of human destruction of the world’s largest rainforest. There’s no other way to look at it. 

Commercialization of the Amazon Rainforest is rampant in a pattern of ignorance amidst reckless abandon with a level of stupidity that’s nearly beyond comprehension, as the iconic nature reserve has been pushed to the edge of ruin. It is hard to believe that pure ignorance and greed could wreck the world’s most critical asset, but it is happening, way too rapidly. 

According to the WWF report, 35% of the Amazon rainforest is either totally lost or highly degraded. (Source: Living Amazon Report 2022, World Wildlife Fund publication, November 8, 2022) 

“The situation has begun to show signs of nearing a point of no return: seasons are changing, surface water is being lost, rivers are becoming increasingly disconnected and polluted, and forests are under immense pressure from increasingly devastating waves of deforestation and fire. This could lead to irreversible change in the near future,” Ibid. 

As it happens: “The tipping point, according to studies by Thomas E. Lovejoy, 1941-2021, former president of the Amazon Biodiversity Center, and Carlos Nobre, Nobel Laureate and Brazil’s top climate scientist is said to occur when deforestation and degradation combined exceed the threshold of between 20% and 25%, a figure that refers to the eastern, southern and central Amazon.” (Source: The Amazon Will Reach Tipping Point if Current Trend of Deforestation Continues, Mongabay, October 3, 2022) 

As stated in the report presented at COP27, there is no scientific consensus on exact probability of a point of no return because of the massive complexity of the ecosystem; however, it is known that probability increases with deforestation, degradation, and the impact of climate change. 

It’s only too obvious that the Amazon Crisis essentially calls for the world to collectively pull together and take whatever actions are necessary to hopefully (underlining hopefully) preserve natural resources that are essential for life or face societal chaos. That’s what COP27 is supposed to be all about, but based upon prior COPs dating back to 1992, the cumulative impact of 30 years of bombastic hot air has been just that, hot air, as nonstop destruction of the environment and poisoning of the atmosphere continue apace, actually intensifying by the year. 

According to the WWF report: There are (1) six-hundred (600) infrastructure projects in operation along Amazon rivers (2) twenty planned road projects, (3) four-hundred operating, or planned, dams; meanwhile, numerous mining operations continue to dump chemicals such as mercury into rivers. According to PRODES, a satellite monitoring system, the pace of commercialization of the Amazon trudges ahead as 4.2 million square miles of the rainforest was cleared for commercial development last year alone. 

The upshot of this hellbent commercialization is already apparent in another recent report from Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG) claiming that 26% of the forests have already “irreversibly transformed.” “The savannization of the Amazon is already visible in Brazil and Bolivia while Ecuador, Columbia and Peru seem to be heading in the same direction.” (Mongabay) 

The WWF calls for “urgent action,” requiring massive collaboration worldwide. The WWF advocates following the principles of the COICA-led “Amazon for Life” initiative organized for conservation of >80% of Amazon forests by 2025. COICA – Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indigenas de la Cuenca Amazónica founded in 1984 in Lima. 

In a hopeful message within the clutches of an impending disaster scenario, the WWF says of its own report: “The report collects successful experiences implemented by WWF and partners throughout the biome that can be replicated and scaled. A different future is possible for the Amazon, if we collectively act now.” 

The delegates (30,000) to COP27 carry an enormous burden not only for the Amazon Rainforest, but also for all of the major ecosystems of the planet that are showing rapid deterioration and threatening to fail to support life on Earth. 

In particular, the ocean is literally under a wartime attack by human-influenced overfishing and out of control global warming, as the ocean absorbs 90%+ of planetary heat. It’s not only enormously destructive to ocean life; it is heating up the world’s largest ice sheets way-way too fast, e.g., Greenland’s massive ice sheet may already be a goner.

What will COP27 accomplish? 

Postscript: Nature, the illustrious British scientific journal, conducted an anonymous survey of IPCC authors in November 2021: Most of the respondents (climate change scientists), in fact 88%, said global warming constitutes a “crisis,” and nearly as many said they expect to see “catastrophic impact during their lifetimes.” Few of the IPCC scientists believe the world will limit warming.

Conclusion: The real truth hurts! 

(Robert Hunziker, MA, economic history DePaul University, awarded membership in Pi Gamma Mu International Academic Honor Society in Social Sciences is a freelance writer and environmental journalist who has over 200 published articles appearing in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide.)