I had realized that deforestation, particularly in the Amazon, is a contributing factor in climate change. What I hadn't realized was that climate change is also contributing to Amazonian deforestation. But according to Holdren, the rainforest hasn't just been burning lately because of people clearing forests. Rather, climate change has altered rainfall patterns and the forest is actually drier than it used to be and more susceptible to burning. In short, there's a frightening feedback loop at work.
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.