A lot of "carbon-capture via trees" at the moment is just commercial forestry with some superficial greenwashing: huge plantations of generally non-native species (especially pines or eucalyptus - that's right, the flammable ones), in monoculture, with very little ecological value. Particularly concerning is that in a lot of places these are being planted on former grasslands or even peatlands, which as you say are an important carbon sink and habitat in their own right. If that's how rich countries like the UK and Ireland do it, tree-planting is going to be a disaster for biodiversity when rolled out worldwide.Grumble wrote: ↑Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:42 pmSome carbon capture can come from letting trees grow and improving grasslands - or rather restoring them to meadows. Interesting stories recently saying that the best and quickest way to reforest is often just to leave woods alone - and give them room to expand.
Trees will just plant themselves and grow to a natural, diverse forest on their own in all but the most isolated patches or degraded soils. There's been a fair bit of work in the tropics trying to encourage seed-dispersing organisms (big birds, monkeys, fruit bats, etc.) to come and poo in the right place too.
Restoring wetlands - as is happening to some extent already on the UK coast because of rising sea levels and ageing flood-defence infrastructure - stores way more carbon per unit area than a forest. About two-thirds of wetland habitats have already been lost to drainage, reclaiming etc., half of that since 1970. (Happy International Wetlands Day, everybody!) Re-wetting fens and peatlands will help to stop them drying out and releasing their carbon, and encourage them to function as a carbon sink instead.
Regenerative agriculture is also a cool idea. The soil under intensive farmland has generally got basically no organic matter in it any more, and topsoil erosion is happening super fast in a lot of places. If use of fertilizers and biocides is reduced, soil would become more productive and also start storing carbon again.
Of course, this is all pissing in the wind given that we're currently cutting down 10 million hectares of primary forest a year:
http://www.fao.org/state-of-forests/en/Between 2015 and 2020, the rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares per year, down from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s. The area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990.
Agricultural expansion continues to be the main driver of deforestation and forest degradation and the associated loss of forest biodiversity. Large-scale commercial agriculture (primarily cattle ranching and cultivation of soya bean and oil palm) accounted for 40 percent of tropical deforestation between 2000 and 2010, and local subsistence agriculture for another 33 percent.
Those ecosystems are much more valuable than anything we can plant, so preserving them should be a priority. Cattle and their fodder are ridiculously overproduced. And not just in poor countries like Brazil: Australia is one of the world's top deforesters, again generally for cattle https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs ... d/10452336
Yeah, there's no pathway to net zero without massive emissions reductions and land-use changes. Luckily, the UN reckon we already have the tech to do away with 70% of emissions. Unfortunately, at the moment we in the wealthy enlightened west are still subsidising fossil fuel projects, beef production and other unsustainable practices with public money, which is daft as f.ck.Grumble wrote: ↑Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:42 pmI don’t think that would get us to net zero, and really the word “net” leaves a lot of wriggle room. I’m not sure how important that is though, there’s a long way to go in reducing carbon emissions before we worry about the hardest stuff. If we’re getting to a real net zero rather than an accountancy net zero then there’s going to need to be a lot of investment in CCS very soon.
To meet the Paris Agreement's target of "only" 2°C warming, the world needs to hit net zero by 2050 and then go negative. But 2050 is a long way away, and the sooner reductions happen the smaller the area under the curve. The lag in ecological and climatic systems is decades long, so at the moment the increases in fires and storms we're seeing are just the result of pre-1990ish emissions. We've doubled anthropogenic CO2 since then, and nobody's sure what's round the corner.
The big issue is getting global governance to commit to sufficient action. The coronavirus recovery was originally supposed to be greened, but that seems to be going down the shitter in the EU at least (and the latest CAP is shite).
If I've learned anything in the last year, it's this: even at a point when people are dying in their thousands on a daily basis from climate change-related catastrophes, a large chunk of politicians, media and businesses will ignore science and exacerbate the issues for perceived short-term gains. I'm not full of hope, to be honest.
Let's take it as read that we already have the tech and the knowledge for ~70% emissions reductions. How do we get governments to use that tech, instead of the stupid sh.t they're doing now like opening new coal mines?