Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate C

Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate C

Postby Oscar » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:45 am

Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change (Slides)

[ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/scien ... .html?_r=1 ]

By JUSTIN GILLIS DEC. 23, 2014

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QUOTE: ""Every time I hear about a government program that is going to spend billions of dollars on some carbon capture and storage program, I just laugh and think, what is wrong with a tree?” said Nigel Sizer, director of forest programs at the World Resources Institute, a think tank in Washington. “All you have to do is look out the window, and the answer is there.”"

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LA VIRGEN, Costa Rica — Over just a few decades in the mid-20th century, this small country chopped down a majority of its ancient forests. But after a huge conservation push and a wave of forest regrowth, trees now blanket more than half of Costa Rica.

Far to the south, the Amazon forest was once being quickly cleared to make way for farming, but Brazil has slowed the loss so much that it has done more than any other country to limit the emissions leading to global warming.

And on the other side of the world, in Indonesia, bold new promises have been made in the past few months to halt the rampant cutting of that country’s forests, backed by business interests with the clout to make it happen.

In the battle to limit the risks of climate change, it has been clear for decades that focusing on the world’s immense tropical forests — saving the ones that are left, and perhaps letting new ones grow — is the single most promising near-term strategy.

That is because of the large role that forests play in what is called the carbon cycle of the planet. Trees pull the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, out of the air and lock the carbon away in their wood and in the soil beneath them. Destroying them, typically by burning, pumps much of the carbon back into the air, contributing to climate change.

Over time, humans have cut down or damaged at least three-quarters of the world’s forests, and that destruction has accounted for much of the excess carbon that is warming the planet.

But now, driven by a growing environmental movement in countries that are home to tropical forests, and by mounting pressure from Western consumers who care about sustainable practices, corporate and government leaders are making a fresh push to slow the cutting — and eventually to halt it. In addition, plans are being made by some of those same leaders to encourage forest regrowth on such a giant scale that it might actually pull a sizable fraction of human-released carbon dioxide out of the air and lock it into long-term storage.

With the recent signs of progress, long-wary environmental groups are permitting themselves a burst of optimism about the world’s forests.

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[ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/scien ... .html?_r=1 ]
Oscar
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