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Example 1: Global Growth - Drought in 2005 in the Amazon Region
The European Union is supplied with food from the country of Brazil, among others.
This has led to favoring cattle farming and the cultivation of soybeans in the Amazon region.
The necessary areas of arable land are created by clearing the rainforest. Up to now, around 20 % of the forest areas have been cleared, and a further 20 % damaged by the falling of individual trees. Up to around 80 % of the cleared areas will house cattle. Around 40 % of the meat is delivered to the EU.
In the meantime, climate change has led to a temperature increase in the southern Atlantic of around 0.5°C. The length of the rainy season in the Amazon region is thus decreased. This effect is amplified by the effects of slash-and-burn farming (so-called pyro clouds) and diminished evaporation over the areas of arable land and grazing land.
Drought catastrophes increasingly occur in the Amazon region. In the year 2005, the water level of the rivers in the Amazon basin fell below their average level of 14 to 17 meters. Many lakes in the Amazon basin have completely dried up. This resulted in fish death and water shortages. In total, around 500,000 people were directly or indirectly affected by the consequences of this drought.
For a total damage of the rainforest in the Amazon region of around 50 %, a dangerous limit value is exceeded; the same is true for three successive years of drought. The entire Amazon basin then changes irretrievably into a savannah or desert. The existence of around 30,000 types of plants, 2,500 types of trees and 3,000 fish species is at stake.
As a result of the gradual death of the Amazonian rainforest, an abrupt rise in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere by 10 times the yearly value must be taken into account. At the same time, the rise in average surface temperatures in the southern Atlantic is accelerated. The number and strength of hurricanes is expected to rise.
Even today, the expansion of cattle farming and the cultivation of soybeans in the Amazon region is leading to substantial methane emissions and thus to an increase in the greenhouse effect.
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