Why the Amazon doesn’t really produce 20% of the world’s oxygen
Of the many important reasons to worry about the thousands of fires raging in the world’s largest rainforest, oxygen supply is not one of them.
As the news of fires raging in the Amazon spread across the world last week, so did a misleading yet oft-repeated claim about the rainforest’s importance: that it produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen.
That claim appears in news coverage from CNN, ABC News, Sky News, and others, and in social media posts by politicians and celebrities, such as French president Emmanuel Macron, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris, and actor and environmentalist Leonardo di Caprio.
Some have taken it to mean that we’re at risk of jeopardizing the world’s oxygen supply. “We need O2 to survive!” former astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted last week.
However, the figure—which has earned the forest the title