Deforestation in the Amazon will expose millions of Brazilians to extreme heat by 2100 (study)

Brasilia, 1 Oct 2021 (AFP) – The advance of deforestation in the Amazon, combined with global warming, will expose about 12 million Brazilians in the north of the country to extreme heat in 2100, which represents health risks , including death, according to a study published this Friday (1).

“Large-scale deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, associated with climate change, will increase the risk of exposure to extreme heat” , indicates a study by the public health school of the prestigious Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) and the University of São Paulo (USP).

The researchers predict a increase in current temperatures between 7.5° and 11.5° to 2100 in northern regions of the country, considering moderate and extreme scenarios.

“Approximately 12 million people in the northern region of Brazil will be exposed to extreme risk of thermal stress”, indicates the study, which for the first time links the destruction of the forest. and global warming to human health.

Sustained exposure to thermal stress can cause dehydration, exhaustion and, “in more severe cases, stress and collapse of vital functions, which leads to death”.

Furthermore, it affects “the mood, mental disorders and reduces people’s physical and psychological performance”.

– “Limit” for survival -O study demonstrates that “there is a limit to deforestation in the Amazon that will impact the survival of the human species”.

“If deforestation continues at current proportions, the effects will be dramatic for civilization,” said the researcher Paulo Nobre, from Inpe.

The destruction of the largest tropical forest on the planet has seen strong growth since the coming to power of President Jair Bolsonaro, in 2019, in favor of opening the forest for agricultural and livestock activities. mining.

And the devastation is very close to its record level.

In the last 12 months to August, the Amazon lost 8 .712 km², 5% less than the 9,126 km² destroyed between August 2019 and July 2020, the maximum recorded since Inpe began publishing this data in 2015.

Environmentalists, associations of indigenous people – who mostly live in the Amazon – and the international community accuse the Brazilian government of allowing an increase in deforestation and of dismantling the organisms that protect the biome.

– “Mass migration” – In addition to the harmful effects on health, the researchers warn of the socioeconomic effects, which could affect around 30 million people living in the impoverished northern region.

“The population of this region could live in precarious conditions of survival, boosting effects such as mass migration”, they warn.

The increase in forest fires, the expansion of agricultural areas and the mining activity tend to “drive disorderly growth and a process of unplanned urbanization, lack of basic sanitary infrastructure and more frequent informal work”, they note.

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