The Inconvenient Truth of Global Climate Change

It is no secret that people on the Political Left are trying to capitalize on the global scare campaign called “Global Warming.” Of course now, with the recent winters in North America that were colder than previous the new buzz phrase is “Global Climate Change.”

Environmental scare campaigns like “Global Climate Change” are designed to accomplish two goals. One, advance further government intrusion into the lives of law-abiding citizens. Two, to create fundraising opportunities for the very organizations that are perpetrating the scare campaign.

And so the latest scare — Global Climate Change — is aimed at reducing the “carbon footprint” that humans have left on the Earth. No doubt when they first dreamt up this scare campaign, extremist environmentalists saw an opportunity to get cars off the road, stop the use of gas powered lawnmowers, and maybe even force high density living on all of us. Surely these extremists see the Global Climate Change Scare as their path to Nirvana.

Ah, but something happened on the way to their Utopia. It turns out the environmental movement’s rhetoric doesn’t match the science of “carbon footprints” and “global climate change.” And in Oregon, the key to combating Global Climate Change may lie in harvesting the holy grail of the environmental movement — old growth forests.

In the most recent issue of Wired magazine (not exactly a “right-leaning” publication), the magazine takes on some of the claims of the environmental movement in regards to global climate change. Below is the conclusion the folks at Wired reached with respect to old growth forests and global climate change:

Ronald Reagan’s infamous claim that “trees cause more pollution that automobiles” contained a grain of truth. In warm weather, trees release volatile chemicals that act as a catalyst for smog. But the Gipper didn’t mention another point that’s even more likely to make nature lovers blanch. When it comes to fighting climate change, it more effective to treat forests like crops than majestic monuments to nature.

Over its lifetime, a tree shifts from being a vacuum cleaner for atmospheric carbon to an emitter. A tree absorbs roughly 1,500 pounds of CO2 in its first 55 years. After that, its growth slows and it takes in less carbon. Left untouched, it ultimately rots or burns and all that CO2 gets released.

Last year, the Canadian government commissioned a student to determine the quantity of carbon sequestered by the country’s woodlands, which account for a tenth of global forests. It hoped to use the CO2-gathering power of 583 million acres of woods to offset its Kyoto Protocol-mandated responsibility to cut greenhouse gas emissions. No such luck. The report found that during many years, Canadian forests actually give up more carbon from decomposing wood than they lock down in new growth.

A well-managed tree farm acts like a factory for sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, so the most climate-friendly policy is to continually cut down trees and plant new ones. Lots of them. A few simple steps: clear the oldest trees and then take out dead trunks and branches to prevent fires; landfill the scrap. Plant seedlings and harvest them as soon as their powers of carbon sequestration begin to flag, and use the wood to produce only high-quality durable goods like furniture and houses. It won’t make a glossy photo for the Sierra Club annual report, but it will take huge amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere.

How about that! Cutting down trees and planting new ones is actually good for the environment! Governor Kulongoski are you listening? If Oregon is really serious about being a leader in the reduction of carbon emissions, then Oregon should allow our timber industry to thin forests, salvage burnt timber, and harvest trees.

It would be a win-win for Oregonians: a cleaner environment and a boost to jobs and the economy. Who would possibly oppose something like that?

Oh yeah. The environmentalists.