Surge in extreme forest fires fuels global emissions

By Xiaoying You
December 20, 2023
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Shenyang, China — Global forest fires emitted 33.9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) between 2001 and 2022, according to a report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This makes the CO2 emissions generated by forest fires each year higher than those from burning fossil fuels in Japan — the world’s sixth-largest CO2 emitter. Driving the emissions spike was the growing frequency of “extreme forest-fire events”. Xu Wenru, a co-author and a landscape ecologist at the CAS Institute of Applied Ecology, found that the growth in emissions had been mostly fuelled by an uptick in infernos on the edge of rainforests between 5 and 20º S and in boreal forests above 45º N. …Wang Yuhang, an atmospheric scientist and professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, says the report complements his work which “indicates a roughly 20% rise in global burnt area by the 2050s compared to the 2000s”.

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