[Vwdiesel] Re: OT Ecosystem

James Hansen jhsg at sasktel.net
Tue Feb 22 01:29:34 EST 2005

CO2 and fixing of carbon freed by fossil fuel usage aren't about land based
photosynthesizers at all.  Plant a million trees, let them age, mature, die
and eventually rot and/or burn in the most organic natural pristine fashion
possible.  EVERY bit of CO2 that was fixed by them is released when you
include the leaves and twigs that fall off over their lives.  Rotting is
only slow burning.  It's all eventually released again, as there are no
mississippian age type swamps of significance around to trap the carbon
through preservation by acidic water, and covered by sediments.  Rotting and
reuse is the terrestrial based carbon cycle, keeping a relatively fixed
amount of carbon locked up as cellulose and other rotting and half rotted
plant stuff.  Now cutting trees down sure looks like hell, beats up the
local ecosystem terribly, but does not significantly stop using up carbon
freed from fossil fuel usage.

The greedy Weyerhausers and Louisiana Pacifics of the world are doing
exactly the same thing around here (Sask)- clearcutting private land to get
around reforestation laws. That is unethical and contrary to the intent of
preservation of a resource... resource sort of has an idea behind it that
there should be some left for the future at some point.

it is the oceans that we look to for our carbon sink.  Dead organic matter..
er... sinks...  and gets locked away by sediment and cold etc.  Ocean
critters use enormous amounts of carbon to make shells that eventually
become limestone, and the plankton and other green bugs make most of the
planet's O2.  Sunken carbon is locked up carbon. As carbon percentage rises
in the atmosphere, shelfish shells get thicker, and help to restore the
homeostatic balance of atmospheric carbon. Best not kill off the ocean.
Trees don't do diddly for the CO2 levels overall, but do make nice air to

I have also seen the moonscape produced by deforestation of private land.
Blech.  Where I once stomped mountains covered with old growth fir in my
youth, there now exist eroded hillsides of neatly planted reforested pulp
wood...  yeah, really pretty.  They should keep the tree planters a little
more stoned, or teach them which little brown mushrooms to eat, so the rows
aren't quite so straight...  It doesn't look right that way, more like a
walk through an old growth Christmas tree farm.  blech.  I hear ya about the
old growth rain forest...

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