Skip to comments.Forests no longer allies in climate-change fight
Posted on 04/05/2007 2:29:07 AM PDT by jsh3180
OTTAWAFearing the effects of forest fires and tree-destroying insect infestations, the federal government has decided against using Canada's forests in the calculations for totalling up the country's greenhouse-gas emissions.
Instead of forests being used as a credit to offset other emissions, the government is now afraid that including forests in the formula could drive up Canada's climate-change burden.
Government scientists made the call after learning of the damage that could come to forests from 2008 to 2012 and realizing the forests could become another source of emissions, pushing Canada even further from its Kyoto targets.
In addition to destroying trees, which take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, insect infestations increase the threat of wildfires. For example, the mountain pine beetle, a current threat in Western Canada, burrows into a tree and prevents it from drawing water, killing it and turning it to kindling.
"I know for the average guy in the street, they think, `Big forests, lots of trees, how could it be?'" said Tony Lempriere, a senior economist with the Canadian Forest Service in Ottawa. "But if you think of fires, that's a lot of carbon and they're very unpredictable."
The Kyoto treaty, which Canada ratified in 2002, gives countries the option of using agricultural land and managed forests in the calculation of a country's total emissions. Managed forests are those that are regularly cut down and replanted.
This should work to the advantage of a heavily forested country like Canada because trees and plants naturally act as a carbon "sink," taking in carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen.
But the realities of life on a hotter planet have changed norms.
"We were always aware that there was risk of (forests becoming a carbon) source which is why in the negotiations Canada negotiated for having an option. ... We wanted the ability and the time to do further analysis," Lempriere said.
Eric Richer, a spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird, said in an email that the decision to take Canada's managed forests out of the Kyoto equation applies only to the treaty's first commitment period, from 2008 to 2012.
"We will keep monitoring the situation and reassess, if need be, for the second commitment period," after 2012, he wrote.
The risk to Canada's forests may be greater than the government analysis predicted. Since the study's completion, the mountain pine beetle, which has devastated British Columbia's forestry sector, has crossed into Alberta.
The insect eats into a tree where it feeds, reproduces and stops the tree from drawing water. Once infested, nothing can save the tree.
"It will run its course right to Newfoundland and take out all the rest of the pine in Canada," Dirk Brinkman, a Vancouver-based forestry expert, said in a telephone interview.
The government decision has angered environmentalists, who say the Kyoto opt-out clause, negotiated under the Chrétien government, means Canada is not taking responsibility for its total emissions.
"The problem is that ultimately we're going to have to include our forests because forests and ecosystems can be bigger emitters (of greenhouse gas) than industry," said Brinkman.
In 2003, Brinkman said, forest fires in Europe, the United States, Australia and Canada sent more emissions into the atmosphere globally than any other source, including industry.
Brinkman, a recognized specialist in sustainable forest management, is married to Joyce Murray, who is contesting the federal Liberal nomination in Vancouver Quadra riding.
Louise Comeau, a climate-change expert in Ottawa, said Canada had always assumed it would realize a greenhouse-gas benefit from managed forests.
But she said damage caused by climate change has turned that assumption on its head. "We've got more trees being destroyed than we have growing, and so our forests are turning into a source of emissions as opposed to a sink for carbon."
Forests account for 402 million hectares of Canada's 909-million-hectare land area. Managed forests take up 240 million hectares.
From 1990 to 2004, there were only three years when Canada's forests became a net source of emissions, rather than a carbon sink 1995, 1998 and 2004. Since 2000, there has been a slight trend toward forests becoming a source of emissions.
The Conservatives announced their decision not to use Canada's forests in the Kyoto equation in one of two reports that were delivered recently to the United Nations body that oversees the climate change agreement in Bonn, Germany.
Under Kyoto, Canada committed to reduce emissions to 6 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. But emissions have climbed.
Someone else agrees carbon credits are about the dumbest thing going.
Must kill the carbon units.
The world has gone insane.
I worked under an NSF grant studying GW problems @ U of M biostation for two years. There was a researcher there doing experiments on forests as carbon sinks, of course, going in on the premises they would be carbon sinks. You should have seen the squirming and backtracking and making up of false reasons when it turned out forests were net carbon sources.
The discussion section of that paper was sheer fiction because they were trying to make up reasons why their results didn’t match their forgone conclusion, ya don’t want that grant money drying up ya know!
The world has gone insane.
This is one of the most convuluted pieces of reasoning I’ve read in a long time.
First we were to plant trees to offset carbon...
Second we learned that trees actually raise the temperature
Now we have to count them as emitters of CO2, not carbon sinks
And lastly then there is this:
Is this a Freudian Slip? I thought kyoto was to deal with ANTHROPOGENIC emissions, not natural phenome! The author works real hard to make global warming ‘the cause’ for the beetle infestation, when it is a natural phenome resulting not from global warming, but lack of forest diversity and lack of natural predation of the beetle.
“The problem is that ultimately we’re going to have to include our forests because forests and ecosystems can be bigger emitters (of greenhouse gas) than industry,” said Brinkman.
This is nuts.
Not a lot of MENTAL in the environMENTAList movement....
We’re in Bizarro world, through the looking glass, on another planet etc. etc.
These people are jut too damn funny.
We need to add volcanoes into the equation, too.
Or plug them somehow.
And add underground coal fires.
Or put them out.
And the resulting soil erosion is a good thing, of course -- just look at the paradise known as Haiti.
Didn't they ridicule President Reagan when he said this?
The whole thing is farcical,except while laughing we are getting ready to pay out actual money for this scheme being figured out by educated idiots.
Seem to remember something about that. No time this morning to research.
Hononlulugal and I are doing the POGW ping list while xcamel is on vacation.
Mars, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto next!
Then we'll capture the Asteroids.
Mankind marches on!
Perhaps we can spray the forests with DDT and cover them with asbestos.
"Instead of forests being used as a credit to offset other emissions, the government is now afraid that including forests in the formula could drive up Canada's climate-change burden."
Forests are forests and they do what they do. Science is about uncovering the reality of what forests do in their gas exchanges, growth, disease, etc. Politics is deciding how to "credit" what forests do as a positive or negative to some political formula thought up by governments.
It can't get any clearer.
Growing more forests in United States could contribute to global warming (Save Earth! Cut trees!)
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory ^ | December 5, 2005 | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
LIVERMORE, Calif. Planting trees across the United States and Europe to absorb some of the carbon dioxide emitted by the burning of fossil fuels may just outweigh the positive effects of sequestering that CO².
In theory, growing a forest may sound like a good idea to fight global warming, but in temperate regions, such as the United States, those trees also would soak up sunlight, causing the earths surface to warm regionally by up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Forests affect climate in three different ways: they absorb the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, and help to keep the planet cool; they evaporate water to the atmosphere, which also helps keep the planet cool; and they are dark and absorb a lot of sunlight, warming the Earth.
Using climate models, researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology have found that forests in the mid-latitude regions of the Earth present a more complicated picture. Trees in these areas tend to warm the Earth in the long run.
The darkness of these forests absorbs abundant sunlight, warming the land. While the darkness of the forest lasts forever, the effect of the forest sequestering carbon dioxide slows down over time as the atmosphere exchanges CO² with the ocean.
The conclusion: Planting a forest in the United States could cool the Earth for a few decades, but would lead to planetary warming in the long term. These are the results of a study that will be presented at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
On time scales longer than a few centuries, the net effect will actually be warming in these regions, said Govindasamy Bala of the Livermore team. We thought planting trees across the northern hemisphere would help curb global warming by the CO² absorption but what we found was a different story.
The authors discovered that a global replacement of current vegetation by trees would lead to a global warming of 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Global replacement with grassland led to cooling of about 0.7°F.
The researchers also found that planting trees between 30 and 50 degrees latitude worldwide saw the global mean surface air temperature increase by 0.7°F. Regional warming in North America and Eurasia was as high as 8°F. In earlier studies, planting trees in the boreal forest regions (found mostly in the upper half of the Northern Hemisphere) caused a warming of surface temperatures.
Although it was previously known that trees could have an overall warming effect in the boreal forests (north of 50 degrees), this is the first study to show that temperate forests could lead to net global warming, said Livermores Seran Gibbard, lead author of the study.
The story is different for the tropical forests. In tropical regions, forests help keep the Earth cool by not only absorbing carbon dioxide, but by evaporating plenty of water as well.
Should we give carbon credit to the planting of forests? Probably not for countries in mid and high latitudes, Bala said. But the tropical forests present a win-win because they cool the planet by evaporative cooling and the uptake of carbon.
Co-author Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution warned that proposals to grow more forests to cool the planet should be greeted with caution.
I like forests. They provide good habitats for plants and animals, and tropical forest are good for climate, so we should be particularly careful to preserve them, he said. But in terms of climate change, we should focus our efforts on things that can really make a difference, like energy efficiency and developing new sources of clean energy.
The research, also authored by Thomas Phillips and Michael Wickett of Lawrence Livermore, will appear online in the Dec. 8 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. bttt
The Gaia Religion’s “holy trinity” - “saviors of mother earth”, are pictured here:
James Hansen, Deepak Chopra, and Algore’s plan to “End the war on Terra” http://www.championtrees.org/climate/WaketheFolkUp.htm
That is a good find. We’re going to have the enviroweeenies so tied up in knots they’ll be spouting gibberish and bouncing off the walls.
We have to kill the trees before they kill us all...
Moreover, they are so caught up in their insanity they can’t even acknowledge fundamental facts. There is only a fixed amount of carbon on the planet. So, any annual carbon budget, or carbon cycle analysis will be dealing with the same amount of carbon. The issue then is where does it go. That poor schlub who found trees were net carbon sources failed to work with the larger picture. Whether a sink or a source, the tree is either putting more carbon back into the soil, or drawing it out of the soil, or out of the air and the water in the soil and air. If he did it properly, the total picture would net out to zero and he would have an honest appraisal of how carbon gets partitioned in the environment by trees.
Even then, if you take a closer look, you will find fascinating differences in carbon utilization among different species of trees, as well as the microorganisms associated with them.
You are being had, reducing CARBON DIOXIDE emissions will have ZERO impact on anything other than adding more burden and slowing down your economy. It will do didly squat for “global warming”.. you are being conned.
Total CO2 in in the atmosphere is about 350 parts per MILLION, or to put it another way, that’s 350/1000000 or .035% of the total atmosphere of the earth is Carbon Dioxide... of that only a very tiny percentage of it comes from human activity...
I believe its something like 3-4% so that’s about .0014% of the Atmosphere is CO2 caused by human activity.. and only about 25% of that is CO2 caused by economic activities the other 75% is created simply because of the fact we BREATH and deficate, and basically live....
So, the amount of the atmosphere that can remotely be contributed to burning of fossil fuels over the past few hundred years is .... Wait for it.... 0.00035% of the atmospheric content, or 3.5 parts per MILLION... so there are another 3.5 parts per Million in the atmosphere of CO2 because of human burning of fossile fuels over the last few hunhdred years, than there would be if we didn’t burn them at all.
Now, if you think an additional 3.5 Parts per Million over 200 years is causing global warming, you are frankly insane.
“...theyll be spouting gibberish and bouncing off the walls. Wait...” ~ listenhillary
The gibberish has been going on behind the scenes for a L O N G time:
The NFTS Alliance for the New Humanity coverage ~ a ground breaking event with Deepak Chopra and Al Gore (and many more!) happened on Dec. 11-14, 2003 in Puerto Rico and News for the Soul was there to cover it - and will be there again! These are the people who are going to lead the rest of us in changing the world. http://www.newsforthesoul.com/alliance.htm
Deepak even appears on Al Gore’s cable TV venture Current TV: http://www.slate.com/id/2123953/
And “The young staff of reporters, producers and hosts includes Gotham Chopra, son of self-help guru Deepak Chopra and Laura Ling (Channel One News, MTV). http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/7/19/84047.shtml
James Hansen, Deepak Chopra, and Algore plan to “End the war on Terra” http://www.championtrees.org/climate/WaketheFolkUp.htm
Deepak on his blog http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2005/10/dear_friends_i.html : “..trading emissions to reduce global warming ..” “The future is not built through events but through awareness.” “We believe that if enough people share the value of peace, war can be brought to an end. If enough people shift their awareness toward social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability, the injustice, oppression, and destruction of the eco-system can be stopped. Every great change in the world requires a shift in awareness first. Such a shift is already occurring—now it needs critical mass, which in turn needs organization. The Alliance aims to connect caring communities and groups (what we wish to call “peace cells”) at a global level, and thus to promote understanding of humanitys underlying unity.”
Posted by Scott at 07:02 AM http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2004_04.php
Deep, deep Deepak
I am unfamiliar with the phenomenon of Deepak Chopra, but I didn’t have to read more than a sentence or two into Kay Miller’s account of his recent visit to the Twin Cities to hear the echoes of the Confidence Man, of the Duke and the Dauphin, and of Elmer Gantry, all in a New Age guise.
We appear to have here the recurrenece of a classic American character in cosmopolitan form. Kay Miller’s profile of Chopra in this morning’s Star Tribune begins:
Gini Rackner waited in a line 50-deep to meet Deepak Chopra. He had changed her life. She wanted to thank him.
“He’s right up there with the Dalai Lama, Buddha and Jesus — the people on Earth who spread love, compassion and good health among other souls on Earth,” Rackner said.
She was one of nearly 1,000 people who heard Chopra speak at the Minneapolis Convention Center recently. For an hour before the speech, dozens of Golden Circle participants who paid $99 for premium seats and a private reception with Chopra sipped wine from plastic glasses and waited in a line that stretched to the door.
“This is so stupid. I feel like I’m meeting God,” one teary-eyed woman told him. “I have read so much of your stuff. Now I don’t know what to say.” Chopra gave her a beatific smile. “Shall I sign this ‘To the goddess?’”
At the end of the profile Miller highlights Chopra’s versatility:
On other nights in other places, Chopra will talk with corporations about maximizing profits or with golfers about improving their swings.
“When I speak to Kellogg Business School, it is about spiritual states, but it has more to do with ‘How do I make my shareholders happy?’ “ he said.
“This is most enjoyable, because these people are coming from simplicity, innocence and tender hearts. I want people to get to this larger domain. And it doesn’t matter where I bring them from.”
Mr. Chopra indeed appears to be the master of his domain, if not of the larger domain.
From the Fall 1991 issue of ScienceWriters:
The Newsletter of the National Association of Science Writers
The Maharishi Caper: Or How to Hoodwink Top Medical Journals
by Andrew A. Skolnick
what drove them even crazier was research that was in progress showing that not only were the forests (in northern michigan, mostly aspen) net carbon emitters, but the majority of the carbon in the summer season was in the form of VOC’s, a major component in the formation of ground level ozone. It was amazing to see them wrestle with that one!