They may be chasing their own tails here. The carbon cycle is a natural process, but now climate-obsessed humans assume they can achieve something by attempting to tinker with it. But they also promote so-called ‘carbon capture and storage’, which in the unlikely event it was successful would reduce growth rates of CO2-dependent trees and other vegetation.
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Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment, says Phys.org.
But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks.
If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke.
In a paper published in Science, University of Utah biologist William Anderegg and his colleagues say that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes.
“As long as this is done wisely and based on the best available science, that’s fantastic,” Anderegg says. “But there hasn’t been adequate attention to the risks of climate change to forests right now.”
Meeting of minds
In 2019, Anderegg, a recipient of the Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, convened a workshop in Salt Lake City to gather some of the foremost experts on climate change risks to forests.
The diverse group represented various disciplines: law, economics, science and public policy, among others. “This was designed to bring some of the people who had thought about this the most together and to start talking and come up with a roadmap,” Anderegg says.
This paper, part of that roadmap, calls attention to the risks forests face from myriad consequences of rising global temperatures, including fire, drought, insect damage and human disturbance—a call to action, Anderegg says, to bridge the divide between the data and models produced by scientists and the actions taken by policymakers.
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