Archive for August 9th, 2007

Canadian logging practices contributing to atmospheric CO2 … or not

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Article on the CTV website …

B.C. eco-warrior walks red carpet with DiCaprio

Updated Wed. Aug. 8 2007 8:49 AM ET

Canadian Press

TORONTO — B.C. eco-warrior Tzeporah Berman is taking her fight for the forests to Hollywood, where she’s set to walk the red carpet Wednesday at a gala premiere for Leonardo DiCaprio’s upcoming documentary “The 11th Hour.”

The longtime conservation activist appears briefly in the film to warn that Canadian logging practices are contributing to the death of the world’s forests.

… Full CTV news story ->click here<-

Apparently Berman claims in the film that logging activities in Canada contribute more CO2 to the atmosphere than all the vehicles on California’s roads. However, she neglects to mention that when trees are harvested, their carbon is not instantly vapourized into CO2, and that during a tree’s lifetime it pulls CO2 from the atmosphere.

Kudos to the Financial Post for providing a more balanced report, actually going on to state …

But there is a problem with her argument: its underlying facts are wrong — or at least, misleading — according to the Canadian federal government’s own reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the globe’s global warming intelligence centre. In fact, in 11 of the past 16 years, Canada’s managed forests have sucked up more greenhouse gases than they have emitted.

… and going on to quote research from the Canadian Forest Service and the Ontario Forest Research Institute. The full FP article is ->here<-

Also kudos to the Vancouver Sun for getting the opinion of Dr. Gary Bull, of the University of British Columbia’s Forestry faculty …

Berman, who has campaigned for preservation of old-growth forests for a decade, says the larger the tree, the more carbon it stores.

“That’s why tree-planting is not a solution, because the trees grow too slowly,” said Berman. “The solution in Canada is greater conservation of our existing old-growth forests.”

Again, Bull refutes that statement, because while old-growth trees store carbon, they are no longer sequestering carbon, which is the process of transforming carbon dioxide to carbon within the tree.

“Old forests don’t add any extra carbon storage because they get old and stop growing and can actually be a carbon emitter, whereas young forests that are growing are storing lots of CO2. Yes, the forest industry may cut down trees and release carbon that was stored, but the sequestration rate [eventually] goes up because the young trees are absorbing more carbon dioxide.”

Bull, who says he admires Berman and has had her speak to his students, said forest fires tend to burn stands of trees every 120 years or so, which releases all their carbon into the atmosphere.

“Even if we don’t emit it by cutting the trees down, nature will do it,” said Bull.

… full Vancouver Sun article ->here<-

I predict that “The 11th Hour” will do well at the box office, and will win a couple of Academy Awards.

(By the way, I will probably make a point of watching The 11th Hour, since I am concerned about the evidence of human-caused climate change … despite my annoyance over their misrepresentation of Canadian forestry)