Older trees remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than newer ones. So why is California now giving companies carbon credits to clear cut old-growth forests?
The state’s cap-and-trade program, that began in 2012, allows credits for replacing older trees with newer ones, asserting that the newer ones will suck up more CO2 as they grow. But this is just “wrongheaded” thinking that flies in the face of science, say environmentalists. Older trees are not just better - but far better at removing CO2, according to a new study in Nature - and cutting them down unleashes the carbon they’ve absorbed all their lives.
These misguided rules, say a coalition of environmental groups, are undermining the cap-and-trade program and “incentivizing the destruction of old-growth forests,” not only in CA, but in all of North America. The coalition is calling on CA’s Air Resources Board and Climate Action Reserve to reconsider the rules.
Not surprisingly companies like Sierra Pacific stand to gain $100 million from these logging-friendly provisions they lobbied for. They should be punished - not rewarded - for clear cutting old-growth forests!
Tell CA to cut climate-credit incentives for forest destruction.
We, the undersigned, agree with environmental groups that California’s cap-and-trade rules should not be incentivizing the destruction of forests.
A new paper published in Nature in January puts to rest any debate about the important role older trees play in combating climate change. According to Grist, the paper summarizes research done by dozens of scientists on “673,046 trees belonging to 403 tree species in managed and wild forests across the world.” It found that the older trees keep growing and absorbing CO2 at a faster rate than younger trees.
Even though the study doesn’t contradict the long-held belief that young forests suck up more CO2 than old-growth forests, overall, that’s only because there are more smaller trees in younger forests. But cutting down old trees is not the answer, because doing so unleashes the carbon they’ve absorbed all their lives, according to one of the scientists involved in the study.
This news study confirms what common sense already tells us - that what’s best for the climate is that we leave our aging trees in place and stop the destruction of old-growth forests.
We request that California cut out its incentives that reward companies with carbon credits for clear-cutting forests.
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