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If that happens, climate breakdown is likely to become much more severe in its impacts, and the world will have to cut down much faster on carbon-producing activities to counteract the loss of the carbon sinks.
What’s Happening: Scientists have observed for a while that tropical rainforests have been storing less carbon but this new study highlights the rapid decline of their carbon sequestration capacity.
Rainforests like the Amazon have been viewed by the international community as an important natural tool in fighting climate change, but we’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that forests can only clean up so much of our mess.
As the Guardian went on to explain,
“The uptake of carbon from the atmosphere by tropical forests peaked in the 1990s when about 46bn tonnes were removed from the air, equivalent to about 17% of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. By the last decade, that amount had sunk to about 25bn tonnes or just 6% of global emissions.”
This loss in sequestration is occurring largely due to trees dying.
Why This Matters: We’re pushing our tropical forests to the brink, as we saw with the devastating Amazon Rainforest fires last year, human activity is an urgent threat to these important and delicate ecosystems. What’s really worth noting here is that governments, like the United States, that are lead by conservative leaders with tendencies to be climate laggards are proposing massive initiatives to plant trees as the basis of their climate strategies. These tree-planting initiatives also come without a significant goal to transition away from fossil fuels or much of the activity that’s contributed to the current state of the climate crisis. This new study shows that trees aren’t going to be effective carbon sinks unless we stop emitting greenhouse gases in the first place.
Verra, a non-profit that sets the standards used to assess carbon reduction projects and certifies their effectiveness, announced that it has strengthened its forest preservation and restoration standard, updating it based on its ten years of experience in evaluating projects and on the latest science.
Why this Matters: We cannot hold warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius without nature-based solutions such as preserving existing forests and restoring others
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer For all the high-tech solutions proposed to draw carbon out of the atmosphere, the low-tech of the natural world can be just as effective. Planting trees falls into this category. So does farming kelp. As Maine Public Radio reports, Portland-based Running Tide Technologies is growing “massive amounts of seaweed” […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Palm trees are the iconic imagery of warm coastal cities like Los Angeles and Miami. In fact, in Miami, palms make up over 55% of the city’s total tree population. Yet climate change and rising global temperatures are forcing city leaders to rethink the prominence of the palm. Miami […]
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