15
May
2020

The Amazon is near a Tipping Point. The Need of a Novel Development Paradigm

Date:
15 May, 2020 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Speaker:
Professor Carlos A. Nobre
Venue:
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Professor Carlos A. Nobre will be discussing their paper The Amazon is near a Tipping Point. The Need of a Novel Development Paradigm.

Abstract

The Amazon forest is being increasingly affect by many drivers of change, namely climate change arising from both global warming—primarily hydrological changes—and regional deforestation and increased frequency of forest fires. Those poses a great risk of a tipping point being transgressed that would lead to a large-scale, irreversible savannization of central, eastern and southern Amazon. Model calculations indicate that we should not exceed 20-25% of total deforested area to be on the safe operating space for this driver of change. Currently, total deforestation in the basin is around 15-16%. Observations show a lengthening of the dry season in parts of the Amazon and increased mortality of many plant species, perhaps precursory signs of a tipping point. For decades, and again with recent annual deforestation increases, the Amazon development debate has been torn between opposing views of land use: a vision of setting aside large tracts of the Amazon forests for biodiversity conservation purposes and, on the other hand,  a resource-intensive development vision, mostly through agriculture/livestock, energy, and mining. We need a Third Way in which a sustainable development pathway will come about via a innovative standing forest-flowing rivers bio-economy to harness the immense biological assets of Amazon biodiversity.

Bio

Carlos A. Nobre is an Earth System scientist from Brazil. He obtained a PhD in Meteorology from MIT (1983). He worked as a researcher for Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research (1976-1980) and National Institute of Space Research (1983-2012). He was Secretary of R&D Policies of Ministry of Science and Technology of Brazil (2011-2014) and President of the Federal Agency for Post-Graduate Education-CAPES (2015-2016). He has been involved with Amazonian science for 40 years and was the Program Scientist for the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) (1996-2004). He proposed the hypothesis of Amazonian ‘savannization’ in 1991 and the existence of two stable climate-vegetation equilibria for the Amazon, in 2003. Presently, he is advancing with a new development paradigm for the Amazon for an innovative standing forest bio-economy using Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. He has authored and co-authored over 240 scientific publications. He is foreign member of the US National Academy of Science, full member of the Brazilian Academy of Science and of the World Academy of Science. He was awarded the 2016 Volvo Environmental Prize, the 2010 Von Humboldt Medal of EGU and was one of the authors of IPCC AR4 awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.”

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