Earth
Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:43
Use of Forests to Offset Carbon Emissions Requires an Understanding of Risks
TEHRAN (FNA)- Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions -- a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it's important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke.

In a paper published in Science, University of Utah biologist William Anderegg and his colleagues say that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes. "As long as this is done wisely and based on the best available science, that's fantastic," Anderegg says. "But there hasn't been adequate attention to the risks of climate change to forests right now."

Meeting of minds

In 2019, Anderegg, a recipient of the Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, convened a workshop in Salt Lake City to gather some of the foremost experts on climate change risks to forests. The diverse group represented various disciplines: law, economics, science and public policy, among others. "This was designed to bring some of the people who had thought about this the most together and to start talking and come up with a roadmap," Anderegg says.

This paper, part of that roadmap, calls attention to the risks forests face from myriad consequences of rising global temperatures, including fire, drought, insect damage and human disturbance -- a call to action, Anderegg says, to bridge the divide between the data and models produced by scientists and the actions taken by policymakers.

Accumulating risk

Forests absorb a significant amount of the carbon dioxide that's emitted into the atmosphere -- just under a third, Anderegg says. "And this sponge for CO2 is incredibly valuable to us."

Because of this, governments in many countries are looking to "forest-based natural climate solutions" that include preventing deforestation, managing natural forests and reforesting. Forests could be some of the more cost-effective climate mitigation strategies, with co-benefits for biodiversity, conservation and local communities.

But built into this strategy is the idea that forests are able to store carbon relatively "permanently," or on the time scales of 50 to 100 years -- or longer. Such permanence is not always a given. "There's a very real chance that many of those forest projects could go up in flames or to bugs or drought stress or hurricanes in the coming decades," Anderegg says.

Forests have long been vulnerable to all of those factors, and have been able to recover from them when they are episodic or come one at a time. But the risks connected with climate change, including drought and fire, increase over time. Multiple threats at once, or insufficient time for forests to recover from those threats, can kill the trees, release the carbon, and undermine the entire premise of forest-based natural climate solutions.

"Without good science to tell us what those risks are," Anderegg says, "we're flying blind and not making the best policy decisions."

Mitigating risk

In the paper, Anderegg and his colleagues encourage scientists to focus increased attention on assessing forest climate risks and share the best of their data and predictive models with policymakers so that climate strategies including forests can have the best long-term impact. For example, he says, the climate risk computer models scientists use are detailed and cutting-edge, but aren't widely used outside the scientific community. So, policy decisions can rely on science that may be decades old.

"There are at least two key things you can do with this information," Anderegg says. The first is to optimize investment in forests and minimize risks. "Science can guide and inform where we ought to be investing to achieve different climate aims and avoid risks."

The second, he says, is to mitigate risks through forest management. "If we're worried about fire as a major risk in a certain area, we can start to think about what are the management tools that make a forest more resilient to that disturbance." More research, he says, is needed in this field, and he and his colleagues plan to work toward answering those questions.

"We view this paper as an urgent call to both policymakers and the scientific community," Anderegg says, "to study this more, and improve in sharing tools and information across different groups."

 

 

 

 

Bottom top
Iran to Fight Coronavirus More Seriously via Increase of Medical, Health Items Production

TEHRAN (FNA)- An official with the Industry Ministry said that Iran has succeeded in multiplying production of various items and equipment to help the nationwide battle against COVID-19.
Labour: Unemployment in UK Could Go 'Way Beyond Anything We've Experienced'

TEHRAN (FNA)- Unemployment could soar to levels “way beyond anything we’ve experienced before” unless the government extends the furlough scheme and gets to grips with the looming crisis, Labour announced.
White House Reportedly Plans to Interview Pentagon Officials for 'Political Litmus Test'

TEHRAN (FNA)- The American magazine Foreign Policy quoted unnamed sources as saying that as of next week, White House staffers will start interviewing political appointees at the US Department of Defense.
Washington State Claims US Gov't Providing Unsterile COVID-19 Screening Supplies Amid Surge in Testing Demand

TEHRAN (FNA)- Medical supplies sent by the federal government to help with coronavirus testing have been too slow to arrive and have failed quality control checks, according to Washington state’s top health official.
Official: 20% of Iranians Infected with Coronavirus

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian medical official said that nearly 18mln people in Iran have so far been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Top Security Official: US Assassination of General Soleimani Huge Gift to Terrorists

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said that Washington's assassination of former IRGC Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani was the biggest gift to the terrorists in the region.
Iran No More Needs Foreign Aid to Repair Offshore Drilling Rigs

TEHRAN (FNA)- An official of Mostazafan Foundation announced that Iran has become self-sufficient in repairing offshore drilling rigs.
Iran Identifies 2,449 New Coronavirus Cases

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian health ministry announced on Saturday that 2,449 new cases of infection to COVID-19 virus have been diagnosed in the country in the past 24 hours, adding that 1,148 patients have been hospitalized.
Tehran, Moscow Confer on Energy Cooperation, Upcoming Joint Commission

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian envoy to Moscow Kazzem Jalali met with Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Tikhonov and held talks on the upcoming mutual energy cooperation within the framework of the joint economic commission.
Over 1 Ton of Narcotics, Four Smugglers Captured in Southern Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Anti-narcotics police seized 1,087 kilograms of illicit drugs and disbanded four trafficking gangs in South of Iran, a judiciary official of Hormozgan province announced on Saturday.
More Coronavirus Restrictions in Place in Iran as of July 5

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that wearing mask will be compulsory in crowded and public places as of Sunday (July 5).
Iran’s FM Wishing Instant Recovery for Pakistani Counterpart

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed hope that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi who has tested positive for coronavirus will recover immediately.
UK Chancellor Urges Public to Head Back to Pubs, Restaurants to Help Save Economy

TEHRAN (FNA)- Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged Britain to “eat out to help out” in a bid to boost the economy as it emerges from a lockdown slump.
US Troops Ordered to Suspend Activities in Colombia After Presence Deemed Unlawful

TEHRAN (FNA)- US troops have been ordered to suspend activities in Colombia for 48 hours after a court ruled that their presence in the South American country was unlawful.
COVID-19 in Spain: Local Lockdown in Catalonia Due to Virus Outbreak

TEHRAN (FNA)- The government of Catalonia announced on Saturday that the county of Segria will be placed under lockdown to try to contain the spread of COVID-19.