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  • Writer's pictureTamanna Mohapatra

A brief summary of an excellent article on deforestration’s relation to Carbon Content in the world

As I was waiting for my car oil change to get done, I started reading one of the better articles written on the topic of global climate changed caused by CO2. I read this article in the Nature Conservancy magazine. One of my new year resolutions is to read all the amazing magazines lying around the we are off to a good start here.We all know that lack of trees caused worldwide by massive deforestation (cutting of forests) is a major cause of increased carbon gases in the atmosphere (aka GHGs- green house gases). It’s therefore simple logic that planting of trees should reverse this huge problem. Forest protection is now seen as one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools we have to combat climate change:

Some interesting statistics: 1. 32 million acres of woodland are cleared each year.

2. Tropical forests alone absorb nearly one-fifth of the annual emissions of CO2

3. Logging and forest loss account for 17 percent of the emissions responsible for climate change — more than from all the planes, trains and automobiles on Earth.

4. Price of an offset in the US-A company can purchase a credit for a metric ton (2,200 pounds) of CO2 for about 25 cents.

5.The cost of burning a gallon of gasoline in a car, which releases about 19 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere is $3.50 (nat. avg)

6. Each tree, each blade of grass is about half carbon. The total carbon stored in all of the forests in the world together adds up to about 1 trillion tons—about 1.5 times the amount found in the atmosphere.

7. 32 million acres of forest worldwide are cleared each year — an astonishing acre per second

My version of some oft heard terms:

1. Carbon Sequestration: A technique for the long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon, for the mitigation of global warming. Carbon dioxide is usually captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical or physical processes.

2. Climate treaty: World leaders met in Copenhagen in Dec 09 to design a new international climate treaty to replace the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol that expire in 2012.

3. Carbon trading via offsets: It is one of the ways countries can meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon emissions and thereby mitigate global warming. If a company releases too much CO2 into the air they can pay for that by buying carbon offsets from the government or another company that hasn’t used up it’s share of CO2.

Experiment conducted in Bolivia by nature conservancy:

They first solved the equation that Xtrees = Ytons carbon.The amount of carbon the project was preventing from being released to the atmosphere was 5.8 million metric tons of CO2 over 30 years. “That’s the equivalent of taking more than a million cars off the road for a year.

Next they calculated Ytons carbon = Z$ savedThe money companies pay for the carbon offsets goes towards conservation efforts. For example, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), a large utility company based in California, has agreed to purchase 200,000 metric tons of carbon offsets as part of its ClimateSmart program. The Conservation Fund will receive more than $2 million from the company’s program, which is voluntarily funded by utility ratepayers. Carbon is helping fix the forest.

And the last part of the puzzle was calculating YTons Carbon = N Local JobsNations might be more willing to protect forests and slow emissions rates when there are financial incentives to do so.

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