NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 30, 2007

Despite the anti-forestry scare tactics of celebrity movies, trees are the most powerful concentrators of carbon on Earth, says Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace and chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd.

Rather than cutting fewer trees and using less wood, environmentalists ought to promote the growth of more trees and the use of more wood, says Moore.  Consider:

  • Although old trees contain huge amounts of carbon, their rate of sequestration has slowed to a near halt.
  • A young tree, although it contains little fixed carbon, pulls CO2 from the atmosphere at a much faster rate.
  • When a tree rots or burns, the carbon contained in the wood is released back to the atmosphere.
  • Since combustion releases carbon, active forest management -- such as removing dead trees and clearing debris from the forest floor -- will be imperative in reducing the number and intensity of fires.

To address climate change, we must use more wood, not less. Using wood sends a signal to the marketplace to grow more trees and to produce more wood, says Moore.  That means we can then use less concrete, steel and plastic -- heavy carbon emitters through their production. Trees are the only abundant, biodegradable and renewable global resource.

Source: Patrick Moore, "An Inconvenient Fact," Vancouver Sun, August 29, 2007.

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