Forests will become an invaluable "carbon sink" > Articles & News
26 May 2018
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Forests will become an invaluable "carbon sink"

Forests will become an invaluable "carbon sink"
Net forest growth is now holding down the rate of climate change, making forests an invaluable "carbon sink". Reducing this sink by cutting down more trees adds carbon to the air and makes climate change worse just like burning any other carbon-based fuel.

As a whole, EU companies are profitable. But this does not mean that an EU company losing money is also profitable. Similarly, those cutting down trees in one location to burn them do not help the world just because trees grow elsewhere. Without the cutting, there would be more trees and more carbon in the forest overall.

It is true that cutting down trees today creates additional capacity for trees to grow on the same land in the future - in the way that emptying a bucket creates the capacity to refill it. But because burning wood is inefficient and trees regrow slowly, this refilling unfortunately takes decades to centuries even if the wood displaces fossil fuels.

Under the present versions of the Renewable Energy Directive, most Europeans alive would pay more only to increase global warming throughout their lifetimes, and future Europeans would still face the potentially irreversible consequences of thawing permafrost and melting glaciers. In addition, the forest bucket is heavily depleted as a new paper in Nature just showed. The real challenge to rebuilding forests stocks is to reduce the effects of logging.

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February 05, 2018