OK, Maybe I Was Serious

A while back I suggested, part tongue-in-cheek:

Once trees hit their maturity, their growth slows and therefore the
rate they sequester CO2 slows.  At this point, we need to be cutting
more down, not less, and burying them in the ground, either as logs or
paper or whatever.  Just growing forests is not enough, because old
trees fall over and rot and give up their carbon as CO2.  We have to
bury them.   Right?

Now, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore writes:

There is a misconception that cutting down an old tree will result
in a net release of carbon. Yet wooden furniture made in the
Elizabethan era still holds the carbon fixed hundreds of years ago.

a veteran of the forestry protest movement, should by now have learned
that young forests outperform old growth in carbon sequestration.

old trees contain huge amounts of carbon, their rate of sequestration
has slowed to a near halt. A young tree, although it contains little
fixed carbon, pulls CO2 from the atmosphere at a much faster rate.

When a tree rots or burns, the carbon contained in the wood is released back to the atmosphere....

To address climate change, we must use more wood, not less. Using wood
sends a signal to the marketplace to grow more trees and to produce
more wood. That means we can then use less concrete, steel and plastic
-- heavy carbon emitters through their production. Trees are the only
abundant, biodegradable and renewable global resource.


  1. dicentra:

    So... when I print off tons of paper at work and toss it in the landfill, I'm both sequestering CO2 AND encouraging the paper industry to plant more trees, who inhale C02 like nobody's business.

    Wow, this AGW stuff just keeps getting better and better.

    But here's my question: if we succeed in sucking enough C02 out of the atmosphere so the climate cools, will we be encouraged to drive more SUVs, rip the insulation out of our houses, and leave the door open in the winter so that we do, in fact, heat the whole d@^n outdoors, like our fathers warned us not to?

  2. Ed on West Slope:

    Build large bridges over large rivers ... out of wood?
    Put population limits on Cows, Moose, little Japanese kids in commercials??

    Better yet, Suck up to the task, start getting proper data, throw out the garbage and take the 15 to 40 years to really learn what we talking about. If I were to practice engineering in as sloppy a manner that AGW is thrown about, I believe I should expect a charge of incompetence to be thrown my way and I would have no good defense.

  3. Mesa EconoGuy:

    We need to start building skyscrapers out of wood (to reduce concrete, steel, and plastic use). When they burn down, the carbon released will be easily absorbed by the now-younger-average-age forests (since we’re replanting rapidly), which in turn will provide us with even more wood, because we’re planting more forests, which will absorb the near total combustion of Paris, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Chicago, and every other major city about once every 4-5 years, because we’re now building everything out of wood.

    This is known as green-friendly urban renewal planning.

  4. la petite chou chou:

    You all seem very sarcastic.

    It is true, though, that growth rate has a positive impact on CO2 uptake by the tree. Younger trees are better at photosynthesizing than older trees because the older they are, the less they are growing.

    I've also used the "trees are the only renewable resource" argument on environmentalists. But they really don't care. *shrug*

  5. Mesa Econoguy:

    I was completely serious.

    Update – more trees about to be used: