Canada's CO2 reality

Our forests do not absorb more carbon emissions than they emit.

Neil Stephenson’s assertion that our forests absorb more CO2 than they emit is not backed up by current research. According to recent studies, our forests have emitted more CO2 than they have absorbed since at least 2001. Healthy, living trees do absorb more CO2 than they emit, but decomposing, dying and especially burning trees emit more CO2 than they absorb.

Unfortunately, since 2001, pine beetle infestations and forest fires have caused more CO2 to be emitted from our forests than is being absorbed by those forests.

Hopefully, at some point, our forests (and wetlands, grasslands, etc.) can return to being the carbon sinks they were meant to be, but at this point, they are net carbon emitters.

Those who argue against action to counter climate change have pushed to remove CO2 emissions caused by burning, decomposing and dying vegetation from the equation. I suppose some will always want to adjust the goalposts to suit their particular agenda.

John Kemp, Kelowna

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