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No Greener Greenhouse
August 26, 2005 2:44 AM   Subscribe

Trees don't suck as much as hoped. In an paper published in the journal Nature, Swiss scientists challenge the belief held by some that rising levels of atmospheric CO2 will make the Earth a greener greenhouse. The belief that forests act as carbon sinks is a key aspect of the Kyoto protocol. Heavily forested nations such as Canada lobbied hard for the recognition that forest and agricultural land management practices that absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere contribute significantly towards achieving the Kyoto greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limitation and reduction targets. These beliefs may be overstated. "Some scientists and politicians cling to the idea that a carbon-dioxide-rich future might favour the greening of planet Earth. It's time to disillusion them," says Christian Körner, one of the scientists who authored the paper.
posted by three blind mice (16 comments total)

 
Dear Chairman Ergen Haughey,

As a user, I feel your website's recent post using the phrase "sucks" has not been thought through very well.

We desperately try to teach our children to refrain from using the type of crude and inappropriate language your posts actually promote and encourage.

Please consider how your posts are serving to undermine me as a parent and encourages imitative behavior that most parents do not find acceptable.

I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:49 AM on August 26, 2005


I need to get more oxygen so I can grow taller.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:58 AM on August 26, 2005


Since I live VERY near to many trees, I have a special relationship to them.
As you can read here, it's not only about feelings.

But wasn't it a clear thing that we can't just count on trees to safe our air...?!
posted by seitensprung at 3:03 AM on August 26, 2005


Dear Mr. Lisboa,

Three Blind Mice shares your concern for the childrens. The language in the post was carefully screened by the panel of rodents at Three Blind Mice and approved for its scientific precision and educational value. The term "sucks" as used in this post is an abbreviation of the scientifically descriptive term "sucks up."

Educating childrens is an important goal here at Three Blind Mice and it is a responsiblity not taken lightly. Three Blind Mice appreciates that you as a parent take an active role in your child's education. Your feedback is always welcome.

Yours, etc.

posted by three blind mice at 3:05 AM on August 26, 2005


I don't suck up as much as people had hoped either.
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:17 AM on August 26, 2005


I, however, sometimes suck too much.
posted by mek at 3:23 AM on August 26, 2005


But wasn't it a clear thing that we can't just count on trees to safe our air...?!

Indeed seitensprung. But, apparently, we can't count on trees as much as was thought.
posted by three blind mice at 3:28 AM on August 26, 2005


Since I live VERY near to many trees, I have a special relationship to them.
As you can read here, it's not only about feelings.


Recently I was walking in an old groth forrest in Washington State. Among the Douglass Firs and giant Western Red Cedars there was one particularly huge ceder that had been the sight of a 1972 "Save the Trees" protest. In commemoration of their saving of the tree the StT organization had placed a bench and plaque.

The bench and plaque were made of redwood.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:41 AM on August 26, 2005


You know, spell check is a wonderful thing.

-old growth forest-
posted by Pollomacho at 6:52 AM on August 26, 2005


The bench and plaque were made of redwood.

Oh the Humanity!
posted by odinsdream at 6:55 AM on August 26, 2005


The point is, odinsdream, they don't have redwoods in the NW woods. Save the Trees only gave a shit about their own trees, but were perfectly willing to buy products made from someone else's trees.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:09 AM on August 26, 2005


So, if I use wood in any part of my life, I'm a hypocrite if I want to minimize deforestation?
posted by odinsdream at 1:07 PM on August 26, 2005


seitensprung: "But wasn't it a clear thing that we can't just count on trees to save our air...?!"

Not really. As far as my extremely limited understanding goes, there was only one legitimate argument against the Kyoto protocol (though it probably wasn't the reason so many americans disliked it): it was basically a license to pollute all you wanted so long as you planted enough trees (well, "carbon sinks") behind the factories. The connection, pretty unwarranted in my book, between the number of trees and the health of an environment was made. Sure, trees are a really big part, maybe the biggest part, but they're not the only part, and a simple chemical equation based on single trees in labs is unlikely to work out in the larger world. What's needed is something much more comprehensive than the tradeoff program Kyoto proposed.

This is nice, because it might be the impetus for someone to put such a program together. If they did, it could very well rid american politicians of their only real excuse not to go for it. That would be great. But I really need to digest this stuff; these links are really great. Thanks, three blind mice.
posted by koeselitz at 1:28 PM on August 26, 2005


"it was basically a license to pollute all you wanted so long as you planted enough trees (well, "carbon sinks") behind the factories."

Well if it works in Sim City, it should work in reality!
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2005


When I hear "Kyoto Protocol" I always think it's a Japaneese ass-doctor convention.
posted by cpchester at 6:39 PM on August 26, 2005


The doesn't suck study is a limited study in a given region with a forest of a given age and classification. Thus it is dificult to generalize such results globally.

One thing is clear, more trees is better than less trees. Developing and implementing well designed forest management policies particular to specific conditions of the area or region is a positive goal in and of itself, whether there is a benefit as a CO2 sink or not.

As such odinsdream should not be overly concerned about being a consumer of wood products. If your remain concerned then focus on gaining a better understading of whether or not sound forest management practices are being used for the wood products you are purchasing. There are increasing number of programs such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Inititative (SFI) certifications. Everything from pencils and paper to furniture and building materials come with such certifications and the list is growing as more forests get certified around the world.
posted by WoodChuck at 2:49 PM on August 27, 2005


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