President Joe Biden wants America to go to bat for the Amazon in a big, $500 million way.
If approved by Congress, the money would be rolled out over five years as part of an effort to save trees that are part of a crucial canopy for the world, the New York Times reports.
It’s great news for the planet and its 3 trillion trees, which filter dirty air from the atmosphere. As humans continue to cut down trees, we are simultaneously cranking out more air pollution. So, the half-billion dollars pledged by Biden could be a lifesaver for the Amazon’s billions of trees — and for air-breathers around the world.
The Amazon held an estimated 390 billion trees in 2013, but it’s estimated that hundreds of millions are also cut down each year.
“The impacts of climate change will be felt the most by those who have contributed the least to the problem, including developing nations,” Biden told the Times. “As large economies and large emitters, we must step up and support these economies.”
The $500 million would be placed with the Amazon Fund, which invests in projects to save the trees in the Brazilian Amazon.
Some of the trees in the rainforest are up to 1,000 years old. The trees are often cut to make room for farms and other human development. The results can be terrible, reducing or even eliminating part of the forest’s ability to filter our air, according to the Times.
Fortunately, the Brazilian government is stepping to the plate, as well. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has pushed for policies to reduce deforestation. He took office again in January after previously holding the presidency from 2003-2010.
Reuters reported that tree-cutting in Brazil was curbed in January by about 61%, as compared to the same time period in 2022.
“It is positive to see such a relevant drop in January,” the World Wildlife Fund’s Brazil conservation specialist, Daniel Silva, said to Reuters. However, since the research was based on satellite images, Silva told Reuter he was hesitant to call the data evidence a trend reversal, as it could be partly due to cloud cover.
The Amazon money pledged by Biden follows the $1 billion he promised to the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries change to cleaner technology and improve climate resiliency, the Times reports.
The next step is convincing and getting approval from Congress, which has been sometimes reticent to offer similar aid.
“We’re at a moment of great peril but also great possibilities, serious possibilities,” Biden told the Times.
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