TUESDAY 03 MARCH, 2009 |
Suzuki: Tree Planting Good, Renewable Energy Better
While no-one doubts the critical role that trees play in our ecosystem in
relation to the cleaning up of carbon dioxide emissions, the David
has weighed in on the tree offsetting debate to question
the effectiveness of such programs compared to uptake of renewables such as wind
power and solar energy.
Responding to a story on Canada's
, the David
Suzuki Foundation said
said that tree-planting projects are not the most
effective way to avoid dangerous temperature levels as a tonne of carbon stored
sequestered in a forest is not equivalent to a tonne of offsets generated by energy
programs or renewable
The Foundation says that it is much more difficult to gauge amount of carbon
that trees absorb from the atmosphere than it is to quantify reductions in
fossil fuel use. Levels of greenhouse gases sequestered by tree-planting offsets
can also vary wildly depending on the species, climate, geography and methods
used for establishing and maintaining such projects.
Trees are also at risk from natural phenomenon including wind, insect
infestations and fire. When a tree dies or is killed, much of its carbon content
is given back to the atmosphere as it decomposes or is burned.
The other pressing issue according to the Foundation is time - trees can take
years to sequester appreciable levels of carbon, whereas the greenhouse gas
reduction benefits from solar
systems and wind
can be relatively immediate.
While the David Suzuki Foundation strongly advocates the planting of trees to
address many issues including global warming, when it comes to carbon offsets,
the organization maintains that consumers and companies should invest products
that are timely, permanent, and accurately quantified under such certifications
as the Gold
, a certification that tree planting projects cannot be granted due to
their potentially unstable nature.
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