Posts Tagged ‘carbon sequestration’

Prolonging problems to keep selling the solutions?

December 12, 2012

While going through security checks at a number of airports this week, I got to wondering whether once a “commercial” solution to a “problem” has been “found” there is a tendency to keep the problem alive long after it is no longer a problem – just to keep the sales of a commercial solution alive. I was then sitting through a presentation by a start-up company in the carbon sequestration business and was struck by the fact the entire marketing strategy is built on building up a fear of carbon emissions and the strategy collapses if this false premise is abandoned. The  questions then started piling up:

  1. Airport Security – Is the vested interests of the security industry (manufacturers of scanning machines, security manpower companies etc.) such that the perceptions of security risks will never be allowed to diminish?
  2.  Computer security – Is there a vested interest of the virus protection software suppliers to ensure that perceptions of risks are never allowed to diminish? and does it extend as far as – directly or indirectly – helping the production of damaging viruses?
  3.  Renewable energy: All the billions spent in subsidising the development and deployment of  wind and solar power are in the pursuit of a solution to a problem that does not exist but where the vested interest is too strong to allow the perception of the problem to diminish or disappear.
  4. Carbon sequestration: As with renewable energy subsidies, the billions milked from tax money for the development of carbon sequestration systems now creates a vested interest in first denying that carbon sequestration is uselss for its stated objective and second that reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is irrelevant to trying to control climate (if at all such control is possible).
  5. Influensa vaccines. The benefits of vaccination against flu are dubious but the vested interest of the sellers of the vaccines in maintaining the fear of flu every winter  are obvious.

I feel sure there must be many cases where solution providers work to keep the problem alive and well.

Deforestation? Carbon sequestered in forests is increasing

June 7, 2011

A new paper studying forest area and the density of forests by researchers from the University of Helsinki, the US Forestry Department and Rockefeller University:

A National and International Analysis of Changing Forest Density

by Aapo Rautiainen, Iddo Wernick, Paul E. Waggoner,Jesse H. Ausubel, Pekka E. Kauppi

doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019577  pdf

Carbon mass by region 1990–2010.

Annual change in forest area a, carbon density d′, and carbon mass q by region (a) 1990–2000 (b) 2000–2010.

The density of forests and woodland across much of the world is actually increasing

In countries from Finland to Malaysia, the thickening has taken place so quickly that it has reversed the carbon losses caused by deforestation between 1990 and 2010. In Britain, forest density has increased by 10.8 per cent from 2000 to 2010 and by 6.6 per cent across the whole of Europe. Even South America and Africa, which have suffered deforestation because of logging and farming, have recorded increases in forest density of 0.8 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively. The research, carried out by teams from the University of Helsinki and New York’s Rockefeller University, shows that forests are thickening in 45 of 68 countries, which together account for 72 per cent of global forests. Traditionally, environmentalists have focused their concern solely on the dwindling extent of forested areas, but the authors believe evidence of denser forests could be crucial in reducing the world’s carbon footprint. Professor Pekka Kauppi of Helsinki University, a co-author of the study, said: ‘People worry about forest area, and that’s quite correct. But if you want to know the carbon budget, it cannot be monitored observing only the changes in area. It is more important to observe this change in forest density.’  Aapo Rautiainen, lead author of the report, also based at Helsinki University, said: ‘The reversal occurred in Europe much earlier, then a little bit later in North America, and it has now spread to certain parts of Asia. So that is a positive sign.’  In China, an ambitious reforestation programme has added three million hectares to the country’s forests every year over the past decade, but green campaigners believe this is predominantly composed of one species – eucalyptus. 

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