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E-M:/ protect forests and stop global warming with one call
There is a new rule-making effort in process that
could either hurt or help forests in a major way. It is the
Kyoto-protocol/global warming treaty that the US signed a year or so ago. The
Clinton administration is working to develop rules on how to deal with forests
(both public and private) in the rule.
Why forests? Because they hold carbon dioxide,
which when emitted is a leading cause of global warming. What is at issue is
whether or not the rule is favorable to forests or favorable to timber
industries. What the industry wants the rule to say is that young plantations
hold more carbon and are better "sinks" of carbon than older, more 'decadent'
forests. This is a lie. Older forests, particularly old-growth forests are
holding more carbon, and pull in more carbon from the air than young
mono-cultures do, and they are natural forests to boot. The timber industry
wants to reward their business-as-usual clearcuts and industrial plantations
under the protocol. This is especially important for MI because there are so
many industry lands and many areas with trees are not forests but rather pine
plantations/deserts--this could encourage people to keep land in native forest
with a long rotation, rather than short rotation for pulp.
Of course, the administration is leaning towards
the industry's side (when do they ever do the right thing without some pain and
pressure?). We are trying to make them realize that protecting forests is the
responsible thing to do, both for the forests and politically. They need to hear
July 18 is a national call in day for people to
voice their concerns to the responsible beaurocrats and politicians. Roger
Ballentine is the man behind the plan and has the power to make the changes we
want to see. Please call him at 202-456-1782 on July 18 and tell him to protect
forests and stop global warming through the Kyoto agreement. You can also
call your representative and senators and tell them to help stop global warming
and protect forests by also calling Roger Ballentine.
More details and facts and figures of this fairly
complex issue are attached below. Please refer to them for more in depth
information. If you have further questions, please contact me at 812-337-1631 or
email me at email@example.com
Protect Our Forests! Slow Global Warming!
Forests and climate change are closely linked. Conserving forests can
mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. As they grow, forests actually
take the gas carbon dioxide (CO2) - the main cause of climate change
- out of the atmosphere and store it in leaves, stems and soil.
In addition to providing clean water and vital habitat for many plants and
animals, old-growth and late successional forests take far more CO2
out of the atmosphere than do short-rotation, industrial timberlands. We now
have an exciting opportunity for climate change policy to protect forests and
for better forest management to reduce climate change.
However, the timber industry is fervently working to lock-in forest rules
under the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that will reward short-rotation tree
farming and other "business-as-usual" timber projects. The following key points
emphasize the urgent need for forest protection in order to ensure the maximum
offset of climate change:
- Deforestation and logging exacerbate climate change. Land use changes, particularly deforestation and the
logging of native forests, are responsible for releasing a substantial amount of greenhouse gasses (GHG), the
compounds that cause climate change. Since the beginning of the industrial age
up to 30% of the excess CO2 released by humanity has come, not from burning
fossil fuels, but from land use changes. A huge pulse of CO2 is emitted when
the large trees of a native forest are logged and its soils are disturbed.
Research shows that it takes several centuries – if ever – to reabsorb this
carbon by repeatedly growing a plantation, logging it, and making wood
products1. In the meantime, the pulse remains in the atmosphere,
where it causes climate change.
- Protecting old-growth forests and promoting longer timber rotations can
reduce the effects of climate change. Carbon sequestration occurs when
forests convert atmospheric CO2 into stored carbon. By taking CO2 out of
the atmosphere, forests reduce the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere and
prevent climate change. The level of carbon storage increases with forest
age1, therefore, conserving and restoring old-growth stands will be
more beneficial than planting young trees. Additionally, moving short rotation
timberlands (e.g. 45 years) to longer rotations (e.g. 140 years) will increase
both the amount of carbon stored and the timber value of the
- GHG accounting standards and environmental safeguards need to be developed
and enforced to maintain project credibility and avoid unintended
consequences. Without these standards, climate policies may encourage
increased logging of old-growth forests, poor forest management and conversion
of forests and other ecosystems to plantations.
- Poor GHG accounting would also be disastrous for the atmosphere. The
U.S. may try to claim a large - but non-existent - reduction in emissions
between the Kyoto Protocol’s "base year" of 1990 and "first commitment year"
of 2008 – the first year that emissions must be 7% below the base year’s. This
would wreck the Protocol! The U.S. would do this by subtracting CO2
withdrawals by growing trees when figuring its emissions for 2008, but not for
1990. This is actually possible under Kyoto’s rules!
- Whole trees should not be chipped to create biomass fuels. We do not
support the creation or expansion of plantation forests to be used as a
biomass energy source. Plantation forests do not store as much carbon as older
forests and are, therefore, an inefficient use of land. Furthermore,
plantations do not promote forest health or provide habitats for many
Forest rules under the Kyoto Protocol will be adopted at this November’s
COP6 meeting of international delegates. These rules will translate into
strong financial incentives for forest activities that are deemed to remove
CO2 from the atmosphere As described above, native forests excel at this, and
the rules SHOULD reward their protection and restoration.
- Rules that promote forest protection must be included in the United
States’ platform at this year’s Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP6).
- But instead, the current U.S. platform may credit "business-as-usual"
forestry projects. We need to make sure the timber industry does not
obtain rules that fund logging and plantations. Instead, strong rules are
necessary to ensure that maximum carbon sequestration is achieved while
promoting old-growth conservation and restoration and sustainable forestry
- Limit the amount of carbon that can be claimed
through forest conservation. We need to make sure that the final rule
does not allow the polluting industries to claim their entire reduction of CO2
by forest conservation--they need to make real steps to reducing the amount of
carbon dioxide they pollute our air with, and there must be a cap on the
amount that can be claimed.
GET INVOLVED!! PROTECT OUR FORESTS, SLOW GLOBAL
WARMING! Write a letter to Roger Ballentine, the Deputy Assistant to
the President for Environmental Initiatives, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania
Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20500 and tell him you want to see the above points
include in any regulations on climate change.
Host a letter writing party, hold a call in day on July 18
to Roger Ballentine (202-456-1782), organize a press event! There are many
things you can do to protect our forests and curb global climate change. To get
more involved or for more info contact:
Frank Ambrose, American Lands Midwest Organizer 116 ½ S. College #10,
Bloomington, IN 47404, 812-337-1631, firstname.lastname@example.org
1 .Harmon, Mark E., Ferrel, William K., Franklin, Jerry F., Effects
on Carbon Storage of Conversion of Old-Growth Forests to Young Forests,
Science, Vol. 247, 699 – 702, (1990).
2 Willer, Chuck, Community Based Forestry and Corporate Forestry, a
Comparison, Coast Range Association, Corvallis, OR