Planting trees and stopping deforestation are two of the best ways to protect life on the planet.
This is a crosspost from the Eureka Springs Independent by Dr. Luis Contreras. You can view the original here. Luis publishes a weekly column in the paper, and from time to time we will share them here.
We need to emit less and draw down more carbon in the short term. Reducing carbon dioxide is the long-term battle, the parallel strategy of reducing super pollutants is perhaps even more important to avert disastrous consequences in the near-term. It is all about standing forests or dead forests.
Living trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow and store the carbon as cellulose and other carbon carbohydrates. Planting trees removes carbon dioxide and creates rich carbon soil. Several projects to plant millions, billions, and even trillions of trees are in the works. This is a low-tech proven solution, ideal for a planet with seven billion people.
When wood is burned, the carbon dioxide absorbed over years while the tree was alive, is released into the atmosphere all at once, along with highly toxic pollutants including black and brown carbon, nitrous dioxide, methane, particulate matter, and other deadly gases.
The main source of brown carbon is the smoke released by the incomplete combustion of wood and organic matter. Brown carbon is emitted mainly by biomass combustion. Stanford climate scientist Mark Z. Jacobson says, “Brown carbon from burning biomass has a greater impact on health than fossil fuel soot emissions. Deaths from biomass emissions are eight times greater than those from fossil fuels, in large part because solid biomass fuels are used in close proximity to where people live. The only practical method of mitigating solid fuel emissions is to eliminate them entirely.”
Losing the war on climate
The 2030 deadline to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, based on atmospheric observations and the best science, is non-negotiable. We are falling behind due to obscene federal decisions. Rolling back prices at Walmart helps people – rolling back environmental regulations kills people.
Foresters see timber in the forest
Last month, Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) said, “Selling trees is the best way to preserve forests.” Here is how Westerman sees the world, “The key to keeping forests healthy and resilient is strong demand for forest products…” Westerman dreams of timber and holds “Seed to Sawmill Tours” to promote deforestation.
Standing forests create quality jobs
Family forest owners should be compensated to keep and preserve standing forests. Arkansas foresters can train and manage a new army of climate warriors dedicated to plant one million trees in Arkansas by the end of 2019, creating thousands of quality jobs.
Why not use fossil fuel subsidies to fund reforestation and forest protection? Trump’s $12 billion farmers’ aid to compensate for the 2018 tariffs shows paper money is not a problem.
Please join the Dogwood Alliance initiative, Unified Call for Forest Protection in the United States, Stand4Forests.org, and ask the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to stop Enviva from burning our forests, DogwoodAlliance.org.
Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet manufacturer, is planning an enormous plant in Lucedale, Miss., in the Gulf Coast region. If built, this plant will be the largest wood pellet plant in the world. Every year, up to 130,000 acres of forests would be cut down, turned into 1.4 million tons of wood pellets, and shipped overseas to be burned for electricity in Europe and Asia. This is an industry that destroys forests, harms public health, and threatens our climate at every step of the process.
Enviva’s CEO wrote, “The solution to climate change grows on trees,” where he falsely promotes burning forests in the U.K. This is a clear attempt to deceive poor communities who end up paying for the mills with their money and their lives.
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything,” said Albert Einstein, reflecting on Nazi Germany. It just takes some bad leadership to lead people in the wrong direction. This is happening in America today under a corrupt administration.