Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has surged to its highest level since 2008, the country’s space agency (Inpe) reports. A total of 11,088 sq km (4,281 sq miles) of rainforest were destroyed from August 2019 to July 2020. This is a 9.5% increase from the previous year. The Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming. Scientists say it has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019. The Brazilian president has encouraged agriculture and mining activities in the world’s largest rainforest.