A brief summary of an excellent article on deforestrations’s relation to Carbon Content in the world

As I was waiting for my car oil change to get done, I started reading one of the better articles written on the topic of global climate changed caused by CO2. I read this article in the Nature Conservancy magazine. One of my new year resolutions is to read all the amazing magazines lying around the house..so we are off to a good start here.
We all know that lack of trees caused worldwide by massive deforestation (cutting of forests) is a major cause of increased carbon gases in the atmosphere (aka GHGs- green house gases). It’s therefore simple logic that planting of trees should reverse this huge problem. Forest protection is now seen as one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools we have to combat climate change,

Some interesting statistics:

1. 32 million acres of woodland are cleared each year.
2. Tropical forests alone absorb nearly one-fifth of the annual emissions of CO2
3. Logging and forest loss account for 17 percent of the emissions responsible for climate change — more than from all the planes, trains and automobiles on Earth.
4. Price of an offset in the US-A company can purchase a credit for a metric ton (2,200 pounds) of CO2 for about 25 cents.
5.The cost of burning a gallon of gasoline in a car, which releases about 19 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere is $3.50 (nat. avg)6. Each tree, each blade of grass is about half carbon. The total carbon stored in all of the forests in the world together adds up to about 1 trillion tons—about 1.5 times the amount found in the atmosphere.
7. 32 million acres of forest worldwide are cleared each year — an astonishing acre per second
My version of some oft heard terms:
1. Carbon Sequestration: A technique for the long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon, for the mitigation of global warming. Carbon dioxide is usually captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical or physical processes.
2. Climate treaty: World leaders met in Copenhagen in Dec 09 to design a new international climate treaty to replace the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol that expire in 2012.
3. Carbon trading via offsets: It is one of the ways countries can meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon emissions and thereby mitigate global warming. If a company releases too much CO2 into the air they can pay for that by buying carbon offsets from the government or another company that hasn’t used up it’s share of CO2.
Experiment conducted in Bolivia by nature conservancy:

They first solved the equation that Xtrees = Ytons carbon.
The amount of carbon the project was preventing from being released to the atmosphere was 5.8 million metric tons of CO2 over 30 years. “That’s the equivalent of taking more than a million cars off the road for a year.
Next they calculated Ytons carbon = Z$ saved
The money companies pay for the carbon offsets goes towards conservation efforts. For example, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), a large utility company based in California, has agreed to purchase 200,000 metric tons of carbon offsets as part of its ClimateSmart program. The Conservation Fund will receive more than $2 million from the company’s program, which is voluntarily funded by utility ratepayers. Carbon is helping fix the forest.
And the last part of the puzzle was calculating YTons Carbon = N Local Jobs
Nations might be more willing to protect forests and slow emissions rates when there are financial incentives to do so.
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5 Responses to A brief summary of an excellent article on deforestrations’s relation to Carbon Content in the world

  1. I was just doing some surfing on my Jack Phone during my spare time at work , and I came across something I thought was intriguing. It linked over to your website so I jumped over. I can’t really find the relevance between your site and the one I came from, but your site good none the less .

  2. Yashwant says:

    Although I agree that financial incentives will definitely be a big motivator for protecting trees and forests there are other practical realities that may act as a major stumbling block in this endeavour. I am reminded of cutting of trees in ‘The Garden City of India’ in order to expand the width of major roads in order to reduce the problem of traffic. I wish that local agencies over there take cognizance of the equations like the ones that you have mentioned and find alternative ways to eliminate traffic problems rather than resort to cutting trees. Or else, someone should force them to indulge in Carbon trading as a way to compensate for the actions that they are undertaking recklessly in the guise of urbanisation.

  3. Pretty insightful post. Never thought that it was this simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this subject clearly and you’re the only one that ever did that. Kudos to you! Keep it up

  4. robin says:

    I was wondering whether there is a link to the article in Nature Conservancy that you quote from.

    You might want to note that replanting trees may not restore the wrecked biomes if the replacement is executed as an industrial / mono-culture exercise. James Lovelock discusses this in his book a Final Warning, noting that he only had success with replanting trees on his land when he let nature take it course – unfortunately, the time scale involved in such an approach is unlikely to make a lot of commercial sense to agencies selling the offsets.

    Your Public Broadcasting Service has some very interesting reports on the market in trading tress: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/carbonwatch/

    I also have some material about the emissions associated with change of land use on a smallish climate change blog that I run. The article http://petrolog.typepad.com/climate_change/2010/01/cumulative-emissions-of-co2.html provides links to a number of the background papers people are quoting from. You will also find some material on the site about problems with the offset market

    • tamannam says:


      these are great links..I’ll look through them as soon as I get a chance. You are right about mono-culture exercise. What’s needed is bio-diversity at all levels and in all forms…but I feel; planting is at least better than destroying or in other words, a small step in the right direction.
      Regarding the exact article; I think you would find it if you searched on their website..pl. let me know if you can’t. I can help you

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