Monday, October 20, 2008

Green Carbon

I attended a phone call organized by Pew Envirionment Group on Friday to hear Brendan Mackey present the findings from Green Carbon: The role of natural forests in carbon storage. The report is a publication of the Australian National University that argues the importance of protecting primary forests to climate change mitigation and also demonstrates how conventional approaches to measuring carbon stocks in forests greatly underestimate the amount of carbon stored in primary forests.

He calls this carbon "green carbon," to contrast with the "brown carbon" stored in forests that are managed commercially by the forest industry for timber production. Dr. Mackay pointed out that much of the World's remaining primary forests are in industrialized countries like Canada and Russia, yet the current UN climate change negotiations' special discussion on preventing forest degradation only applies to the tropics and developing countries.

Actually, forest degradation in industrialized countries is also on the radar but in a more less visible way and is threatened to just be subsumed under a broader discussion of carbon stocks in managed forests. We could fail to see and appreciate the green carbon for all the brown.

No comments: