Near-record flooding has displaced thousands of people in the Brazilian Amazon, reports the Associated Press.
Water levels at a measuring station on the Rio Negro in Manaus, the Amazon’s largest city, stood just 74 centimeters (29 inches) below a record set in 1953. The flooding comes just five years after a severe drought that stranded river boats, isolated communities, and contributed to massive forest fires. Drought is currently affecting southern Brazil, reducing hydroelectric production and threatening agriculture.
Speaking on his weekly radio program Monday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said climate change could be responsible for the severe weather swings.
“Some things are changing in the world and we need to start looking at them with more attention,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
Lula recently committed Brazil to reducing its deforestation rate 70 percent by 2018 from a 1996-2005 baseline in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Globally deforestation accounts for roughly 18 percent of emissions, a share larger than all the world’s cars, trucks, ships, and planes.