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Deforestation in the Amazon. Photo: Marcelo Horn / iStock

Tropical rainforests are known for their greenhouse gas gobbling abilities, but human impacts may have changed that. According to a study published Thursday in Science, tropical rainforests may be emitting more CO2 than they soak up.

"Much of that carbon contribution is due to deforestation … but more than two-thirds comes from a less visible source: a decline in the number and diversity of trees in remaining forests," writes Carolyn Gramling for Science News.

Yes, but: NASA scientist Joshua Fisher told Science News that this study only looked at above-ground carbon. Much CO2 is absorbed by rainforest soils, and atmospheric data still indicates that rainforests are net carbon absorbers, not emitters.

What they did: The researchers developed an algorithm that allowed them to measure the carbon density of forests from satellite images, taken yearly from 2003-2014.

What they found: According to the study, rainforests emit 862 tetragrams of carbon a year, but only absorb 436 tetragrams/year.

Go deeper:

  • Forest destruction emits more carbon than trucks and cars, says Reuters.
  • "This shows that we can't just sit back. The forest is not doing what we thought it was doing," study author Alessandro Baccini told the Guardian. He adds that when it comes to reducing carbon, fixing forests is "low-hanging fruit. We know how to protect and sustain forests. It's relatively cost effective"

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.