Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The Sierra forests can prevent Global Warming
California's Global Warming Solutions Act is a landmark attempt to cap greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the state's economy. Signed into law in September 2006, the California Air Resources Board is figuring out the precise formula by which the state will reduce emissions 25 percent by 2020.
Imagine a grand formula that somehow left out — cars. Or industrial manufacturing. Leaving out one of these huge emissions sources would render any climate legislation toothless.
Fortunately, both will likely be accounted for. But will forests? Judging by recent statements, it isn't clear whether the state recognizes the outsize role California's forests play in naturally absorbing carbon emissions, or the quantity of carbon dioxide released when these forests are irresponsibly clear-cut.
Deforestation and logging account for one-fifth of all global carbon emissions — more than all trains, planes and, yes, automobiles combined. Any serious attempt to address California's contributions to climate change must include an understanding of what's happening in the forests of the Sierra Nevada.
The painting is by Laura Tasheiko