The wildfires in the American West are burning vast expanses of specially protected forests — those that are part of carbon-offset projects meant to counterbalance the carbon dioxide pollution being pumped into the atmosphere by human activity.
It’s all part of an effort that started in 2015, when Imran Khan — then a provincial politician and now Pakistan’s prime minister — backed a program dubbed a “Billion Tree Tsunami.” The initiative reached its province-wide target in 2018 and was so successful that federal officials expanded the drive nationally in 2019 with a new goal of 10 billion trees — or, the “Ten Billion Tree Tsunami.”
Direct planting accounts for about 40% of the program’s new trees.
The other 60% come from assisted regeneration, in which community members are paid to protect existing forests so that trees can propagate and thrive.
Area lost is 57% higher than in the previous year and is the worst since 2012.
“Deforestation is still out of control,” Carlos Souza, a researcher at Imazon said. “Brazil is going against the global climate agenda that is seeking to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
In June, then-environment minister Ricardo Salles resigned amid a criminal investigation over allegations that a police investigation into illegal Amazon logging was blocked.