First: the Amazon is now a net carbon source, mainly because of humans setting it on fire. Second: even subtracting emissions caused by fires, the southeastern Amazon is now a net carbon emitter.
That part of the Amazon—the heart of cattle country in Brazil, the world’s biggest producer and exporter of beef and soy—no longer needs our help to spew carbon into the air. It has started doing so all by itself.
“We’re killing the Amazon. And that’s not something our climate models have taken into account. As bad as the predictions are, they’re actually optimistic,” says Gatti.
“The Amazon has become a carbon source way sooner than anyone thought. That means we’re going to reach the horror-show scenario way sooner, too.”