NewEnergyNews: EUROPE’S FORESTS SUCKING UP EMISSIONS

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    Monday, December 03, 2007

    EUROPE’S FORESTS SUCKING UP EMISSIONS

    It is a rare pleasure when reporting on climate change that NewEnergyNews has the opportunity to quote an authority with “good news” and “better news”:

    Kauppi: “The good news is that trees are extremely efficient mechanisms for capturing and storing carbon…The better news is that Europe’s forests are thriving and expanding and therefore will play an increasingly important role in helping the EU to reach its environmental goals.”

    Because plants breath in carbon dioxide and use it for energy, forests act as
    carbon sinks, absorbing the CO2 emissions from human fossil fuel consumption.

    European Forests Absorbing More Carbon Dioxide
    Andrea Thompson, 29 November 2007 (LiveScience)

    WHO
    Pekka Kauppi, University of Helsinki; Laura Saikku, co-author; Aapo Rautiainen, study member

    Carbon sinks are vital in the carbon cycle.

    WHAT
    Expanding Forests Key to Meeting EU Climate Change Goal for 2020; Credit for forest expansion likely needed by EU to reach ambitious post-2012 goal of cutting greenhouse gas emission…

    WHEN
    The paper evaluates the potential impact of reforestation on the EU goal of 20% reductions in 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2020.

    WHERE
    - Published in a forthcoming issue of the British journal Energy Policy

    WHY
    - Between 1990 and 2005, EU forests absorbed 11% of emissions. Kauppi and other researchers had expected no more than 5% absorption.
    - The improvement is attributed to reforestation.
    - The larger part of the work came from the newer, mostly Eastern European, EU nations’ reforested regions.
    - Reaching the EU goal will require cutting emission/GDP unit by half.

    Scientists are able to make detailed calcualtions about emissions and the effect of the factors in the carbon cycle. In this case, the news is good. To a point. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Aapo Rautiainen, study member: "Every year, the expanding European forests remove a surprisingly large amount of carbon from the atmosphere…According to rough estimates, their impact in reducing atmospheric carbon may well be twice that achieved by the use of renewable energy in Europe today."
    - Laura Saikku, co-author: “Policies that accelerate the expansion of our forest biomass not only represent a win-win for climate change and biodiversity, they also open up economic opportunities…Landowners can benefit with new industries like forest-based bio-energy production. This could also help to reduce one of the main threats to sustained forest expansion – the need to need to open land to produce agricultural biofuels as alternatives to fossil fuels.”

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