Mankind Is Beating Climate Change By Cutting Down Old Forests

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Another of those things that are true as a result of recent research but which the researchers don;t really want to point out. Here the insistence is that the world’s forests are younger because we keep cutting down the old ones. Which is excellent news really as that climate change is, as all right thinking people agree, the true terror of our times. We should do anything, including closing down industrial civilisation, to abate that climate change so that fact that we’re cutting down those old forests to do so is just great, innit?

Climate breakdown and the mass felling of trees has made the world’s forests significantly shorter and younger overall, an analysis shows.

The trend is expected to continue, scientists say, with worrying consequences for the ability of forests to store carbon and mitigate the climate emergency and for the endangered wildlife that depends on rich, ancient forests.

The analysis of more than 150 previous studies found the death rate of trees has increased, doubling in North America and significantly increasing in the Amazon, for example. The impact of forest destruction had cut the area of old growth forest by a third since 1900, the researchers said.

The bit they should then go on to say is that old growth forests store, but do not extract more, carbon. Young forests continue to extract more carbon from the atmosphere. They’re growing, see? Thus younger forests are still extracting more and more carbon while old growth ones are static stores and add no further influence.

The reason they don;t say this is obvious for they’re not really interested in what is happening to the carbon balance in the slightest. They want to make sure that we don;t use forests for anything more than gawping at. Which is fair enough, it would just be more honest of them if they detailed the science first then told us their preferences, rather than using the prejudice filter first on that scientific evidence before they speak.

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Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

(a) Anything from the Guardian on climate is an outright lie, the truth being that biomass has increased by a third just during the satellite era. There’s more green stuff to go around, old and young.
(b) Tim it’s good to see you slowly losing your climate religion. One of these days you may even admit that China is the bad guy in international trade and international relations.

John B
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John B

Mankind is beating climate change AND beating the tides.

Cnut Rex call you office.

Spike
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Spike

Don’t the old, dead trees release their “stored carbon” – as the new growth captures it – whether they rot or burn?

jgh
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jgh

So don’t rot or burn them. Use them to make buildings or books.

In fact, the most carbon-friendly thing you can do is cut down loads and loads of trees, put them in huge holes in the ground, and cover them in net-CO2-negative concrete*. 🙂

*Cement absorbs CO2 as it cures, see Biodome passim. With the right tricks you can get the CO2 emmisions in making the cement to be less than the CO2 absorbtion when it cures.

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

It is termites, the insects that produces twice as much CO2 as mankind, who chomp on the fallen trees and therefore are to blame. One looks forward to Greta’s termite extinction policy.

Peter
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Peter

Of course this all depends on whether CO2, a trace gas (0.045 parts per million!) is the driver of climate change. That is, climate sensitivity is very aligned with changes in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Alas, the historical record doesn’t show such a neat alignment and the physics of it is also suspect. Hence, CO2 may play at best a minor role in what is going on. Plus, there is some evidence that the world is starved of CO2 given the greeening that is going on. That if there was more CO2 around plants would grow faster… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

Yes, one of many ways in which allegedly man-caused global warming might be self-correcting, radiation of excess heat back to space being another. Our existence here is evidence that this planet has self-corrected from a lot of things.

Perhaps government orthodoxy, fixated on carbon, would botch Planetary Climate Management as badly as it botched Planetary Covid Management.

Peter
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Peter

Agree. Pretty much every “green” initiative I can think of has made the environment worse. Wind farms: cutting down forests, killing bats and birds. Intermittent. Requires fossil fuel backups. Biomass: cutting down virgin forest, destroying habitats and endangered species. Has to be shipped from USA to UK. Has lower fuel intensity so vast amounts are needed compared to coal, oil or natural gas. Not sure what the landscape looks like after deforestation, but one can bet it leads to loss of top cover, erosion and I don’t know what else. EVs: rare earths required with all the poor environmental issues… Read more »

Charles
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Charles

When you say “Thus younger forests are still extracting more and more carbon while old growth ones are static stores and add no further influence.” you seem to have overlooked the bit of the article which says “mass felling of trees”.