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Planting trees may do more harm than good

Weird looking tree

The Guardian reports today on a study by ecologists that claims planting trees in order to combat climate change is a pointless exercise at best and a counter-productive action at worst.

The study, co-authored by Ken Caldeira of the global ecology department at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Stanford, California and Govindasamy Bala, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, also in California, says that trees reduce greenhouse gasses by taking in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis but they also trap heat in the forest canopies. Apart from at the equator, they reckon that the heat trapped outweighs the heat released (through the reduction of carbon dioxide). The further away from the equator you are, the worse the balance in terms of heat-trapping versus carbon-dioxide absorption.

This adds some more weight to the arguments of those people, and I count myself amongst them, who say that it's all very well having these nice carbon-offsetting schemes (and it's better than nothing) but we should concentrate on addressing the issues at source, rather than paying someone else to take the polluting effects of our behaviour off our conscience.

Planting trees to save planet is pointless, say ecologists [via The Guardian]

Related stories: Do carbon-offset schemes work? | Carbonfund.org offers free carbon offset for links | Cemtrex: newest player in the carbon credits market 

Photo credit: Weird looking tree from germanium's Flickr photostream used under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

December 15, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living, Planet saving | Permalink


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