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Amazon fires won’t mean the end of all life on Earth by ClimateYou Senior Editor George Ropes

This article by Peter Brannen in The Atlantic, “The Amazon Is Not Earth’s Lungs, is a novel and, for the time being, a reassuring perspective on life on Earth. The Amazon fires won’t mean the end of all life on Earth. They won’t consume 20% of the world’s oxygen, or even 6%. Actually, if all the plant life on Earth and all the plankton in the oceans were to be consumed, the Earth’s oxygen supply would be depleted by less than 1%. Where does all our oxygen come from? From the organic matter that has lived and died throughout Earth’s long, 4.543 billion-year history, and was buried underground, where in time and under the right conditions, it became, you guessed it, fossil fuels. So, ironically enough, the same source of the CO2 now causing the climate crisis is also the source of our life-giving supply of oxygen. So, if it’s any consolation, we won’t die of asphyxiation from the Amazon fires, although the CO2 that the fires release will accelerate the rise in global temperature, which threatens our continued existence in a different but no less final way.

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