A Climate Bomb in the Amazon

The Brazilian Amazon is burning, threatening the world’s largest repository of biodiversity. If the fires are not controlled soon, they could release a “climate bomb” of stored carbon that would accelerate climate change.

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  • Gabrielle Sierra
    Director, Podcasting

Asher Ross - Supervising Producer

Markus Zakaria - Audio Producer and Sound Designer

Rafaela Siewert - Associate Podcast Producer

Episode Guests
  • Monica de Bolle
    Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Thomas Lovejoy
    President, Amazon Biodiversity Center
  • Stewart M. Patrick
    James H. Binger Senior Fellow in Global Governance and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program

Show Notes

Deforestation has reached a tipping point in the Amazon Rainforest under the leadership of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Unprecedented fires, set intentionally to clear land for development, threaten to destroy biodiversity, alter weather patterns, and release vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. The consequences will reach the entire planet, but some argue that Brazilians have a sovereign right to use the land as they please. In this episode, three experts examine what’s at stake and what can be done. 


From CFR


The Amazon and You,” CFR President Richard N. Haass


Deforestation in the Amazon,” InfoGuide


How Brazil’s Burning Amazon Threatens the Climate,” Amelia Cheatham


The World Waits for No Country,” Richard N. Haass


The Global Impact of the Amazon Rainforest Fires

From Monica de Bolle 


The Amazon Is a Carbon Bomb,” Peterson Institute for International Economics


Amazon Deforestation Is Fast Nearing Tipping Point When Rainforest Cannot Sustain Itself,” Peterson Institute for International Economics


From Thomas Lovejoy


Amazon Deforestation: Exploring What’s Left of Brazil’s Rainforest,” Into the Unknown


Read More


The Amazon Is Completely Lawless,” New York Times


Fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest jump in October,” Al Jazeera


Could a Biden Administration Help Save the Amazon Rainforest?,” TIME


Brazilians, more than others, say climate change is ‘catastrophic risk’,” Thomson Reuters Foundation


The Glimmer of a Climate New World Order,” New York


China Wants Food. Brazil Pays the Price.,” Atlantic 


The Brazilian Amazon is still burning. Who is responsible?,” Washington Post


Who Owns the Amazon?,” New York Times


Watch or Listen


Brazil’s Environmentalists Worry Fire Season Will Worsen Amazon’s Deforestation,” NPR


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