Forests could save 50% of world carbon abatement costs
By: Rupert Oliver in Environment
Just taken a look at “Smart Solutions to Climate Change”, a comprehensive new analysis of the economic costs and benefits of different approaches to climate change edited by Bjorn Lomborg (the so-called “sceptical environmentalist”). It’s a fairly daunting tome, comprising pages of numbers and equations with very little concession made to the “general reader”. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort if only to understand its startling conclusions with respect to the potential value of forestry carbon sequestration as one of a number of “Smart Solutions”.
The report makes clear that forest carbon must form an integral part of a global strategy to mitigate climate change. In fact, Lomborg concludes that if society were to place strict limits on emissions in order to meet a 2oC temperature increase limitation, then forestry has potential to lower the overall costs to society of meeting this target by as much as 50%.
What is particularly startling is that this conclusion, and the numbers it is based on, takes no account whatsoever of the considerable benefits to be derived from the increased use of sustainably managed timber in construction. As far as the egg-head economists who wrote the forestry chapter are concerned, forestry is good only for storing carbon in standing trees. None of the fancy models on which this amazing conclusion is based acknowledge the fact that timber goes on storing carbon after it is felled. Nor do they recognise that increased use of timber in construction will also reduce dependence on more carbon-intensive products like steel, aluminium, concrete and plastic.
Just imagine the potential savings to the world economy if all the benefits of forestry and forest products were accorded their full value.
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