Forests can’t handle all the net-zero emissions plans. Companies and countries expect nature to offset too much ‘carbon’

Posted: November 5, 2021 by oldbrew in climate, COP26, Critique, Emissions, IPCC, net zero, trees
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The bottom line (of this article) is that ‘To actually reach net-zero will require reducing emissions close to zero.’ Does anyone seriously expect that will happen? ‘Research indicates that net-zero strategies that rely on temporary removals to balance permanent emissions will fail.’ Extrapolating from some existing pledges to plant millions of trees, it’s possible this could require ‘one-third of the world’s farmland’. Worse still for the carbon offsetters, some of their prized forest assets have been known to go up in wildfire smoke. And so on. All the so-called climate ambition looks ever more absurdly unrealistic on examination, without even looking at the plausibility of the supposed need for it.
– – –
Net-zero emissions pledges to protect the climate are coming fast and furious from companies, cities and countries says TechXplore.

But declaring a net-zero target doesn’t mean they plan to stop their greenhouse gas emissions entirely—far from it.

Most of these pledges rely heavily on planting trees or protecting forests or farmland to absorb some of their emissions.

That raises two questions: Can nature handle the expectations? And, more importantly, should it even be expected to?

We have been involved in international climate negotiations and land and forest climate research for years. Research and pledges from companies so far suggest that the answer to these questions is no.

What is net-zero?

Net-zero is the point at which all the carbon dioxide still emitted by human activities, such as running fossil fuel power plants or driving gas-powered vehicles, is balanced by the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Since the world does not yet have technologies capable of removing carbon dioxide from air at any climate-relevant scale, that means relying on nature for carbon dioxide removal.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global carbon dioxide emissions will need to reach net-zero by at least midcentury for the world to have even a small chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F), an aim of the Paris climate agreement to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The devil of net-zero, of course, lies in its apparent simplicity.

Continued here.

Also from the Talkshop: Use of forests to offset carbon emissions – not as easy as it may seem [2020]

  1. oldbrew says:

    Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles

    ‘Every tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapor into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away.’ – Fred Pearce
    – – –
    So a world with a lot more trees than before could have unintended consequences, in some regions at least.
    = = =
    Stop burning trees! Go for nuclear and gas to go green
    Friday 5th November 2021

    London, 5 November – Net Zero Watch today is calling on Boris Johnson to stop the obscene burning of millions of trees in British power stations and adopt a gas and nuclear strategy already gaining pace in Europe and other parts of the world
    – – –
    The other part of that policy would be to find and burn more UK gas, not rely heavily on world markets.

  2. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Just imagine if we had easily accessible gas available in Britain….

  3. […] Forests can’t handle all the net-zero emissions plans. Companies and countries expect nature to of… […]

  4. Gamecock says:

    “Extrapolating from some existing pledges to plant millions of trees, it’s possible this could require ‘one-third of the world’s farmland’.”

    Then what? You can plant ‘one-third of the world’s farmland’ once . . . then what?

    Oh, there is that other thing. They promise to plant trees. They may or may not actually plant trees. They may or may not do anything more after they have been planted. There is no audit. It is a pocketful of mumbles.

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