• Step on the gas

    Step on the gas

    While the Amazon and Congo basins emit a similar amount of CO2, new data shows that they contribute differently to climate change. The Congo, in fact, emits up to four times more methane (CH4) than the Amazon. According to the WWF, this has an effect on the livelihoods of people living in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, DRC, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

    The study – which acts as a baseline description of present-day functioning to track changes in emissions – was conducted by a group of scientists from Belgium, France and Brazil. It covered different stages of the annual flood cycle by using an infrared analyser to measure CO2 and a flame ionisation detector to measure CH4 concentration.

    As reported by SciDev.Net, biochemist and lecturer at Uganda-based Makerere University John Omara says the concentration of peat where wetlands join the rivers either directly or indirectly, coupled with higher temperatures in the tropics, could explain why the Congo river experiences elevated levels of methane.

    15 December 2015
    Image: Gallo/GettyImages