Saturday, March 10, 2007

Why Planting Trees for Carbon Neutrality is a Problem, not a Solution.

Australian PC Authority magazine’s cover story for this month’s (April) edition is ‘Green Computing’. In the article’s ‘Before you buy your PC’ section, there is a picture of trees with the caption ‘Planting trees allows manufacturers to claim their products, on balance, don’t create CO2’.

The article criticizes the base assumptions the chip makers use to argue the manufactures are Carbon Neutral.

The more general problem with this kind of Carbon Neutrality is that it is not sustainable. It consumes a different, very finite resource; land. Land that we are going to need as we move away from using mined fuels (coal, petroleum and radioactives).

It is okay to use trees that are harvested to produce energy or fibre. These trees are not a carbon sink. They are being used as a pool in the ongoing carbon cycle. Carbon goes in as trees are planted and grow, carbon comes out as trees are felled for timber or to be burned as fuel.

The carbon neutrality described in the article mentioned above is fraudulent. There is no substitute for not burning coal & petroleum for energy.