02 October 2007 - Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance: Will Reforestation Solve Global Warming

Rutgers University Department of Environmental Sciences Professor Alan Robock gives a presentation about the effects of reforestation on global warming.

this is a graph of the global average

temperature in the world and it shows that it's was low in the end of the 19th century and rising steadily rising the 20th century but it hasn't been rising steadily it's gone up and then stayed flat and got up gone up fast and so even though carbon dioxide has been going up during this whole period so how can we explain this temperature change by the way this is in degree Celsius so you multiply by about 24 degrees Fahrenheit it also shows that 2005 was probably the warmest year for the past hundred twenty-five years and if you look at other data it was probably the warmest year for the past two thousand years in the beginning there were a lot of volcanic eruptions here and most of this warming was natural although a little bit of it was caused by greenhouse gases after World War two when industry started there was a lot of pollution of the atmosphere and it blocked out the Sun and caused cooling and that counteracted the effects of these carbon dioxide and other gases that warm the planet but after the EPA was formed in other places around the world cleaned up their act now the temperature has been rising

steadily for the past 30 years and the effect of the greenhouse gases really dominates and this is the last couple years I got these data on Monday so this is the latest as of September 10th amount of co2 in the atmosphere about 380 parts per million what you can see is that there's a seasonal cycle it goes up during the winter and in the spring it starts to go down all summer long and then it goes up in the winter and down like that but superimposed on that there's this upward trend does anybody know what causes this seasonal cycle trees trees are a part of it so forests are part of it in the summer and the spring when the trees start making leaves and branches and flowers those are made out of carbon they take photosynthesis takes it out of the atmosphere and sucks it out and the co2 concentration goes down as it decomposes in the winter it goes back up but in addition humans are putting co2 and some of that stays in the atmosphere so on top of that there's this upward trend in earlier this year was 387 parts per million that's the highest it's been in the last 20 million years where does the co2 go that we put in well about 40 of

it forty percent of the co2 that we put in by burning coal and oil and chopping trees down goes into the atmosphere about sixty percent of it comes out every years about half of that gets dissolved in the water and about half of that goes to land cover to growing more vegetation more trees so this carbon sink if this didn't happen the co2 will be going up much faster and climate will be changing much faster one of the issues is is are these ratios going to change in the future or are they going to stay the same it looks like the ocean is becoming more saturated and will absorb less co2 I mean you all know if you have a can of coke does it hold its fizz more when it's colder when it's warm when it's cold so that's carbon dioxide dissolved in the in the I gave this talk in France was they said oh we say Perrier here we don't say coca and so as the oceans warm they'll their ability to hold co2 will go down and more will remain the atmosphere we don't really know it very well but it looks like forests and also become kind of saturated and their ability to take co2 out their ability to continue to grow also goes down so how to force affect

climate well growing for us sequester carbon obviously there wasn't a force there and now there is all those trees are made out of carbon so they're there the carbon that makes the trees was taken out of the atmosphere so that takes it out of the atmosphere amateur force which isn't growing which is stable very slowly sequester's carbon the only way it can sequester carbon is if is if the forest litter at the bottom that falls down eventually builds up and that get goes down to the ground that's where our colon oil came from in the first place but that's a very slow process carbon fertilization is increasing forest growth by making the trees Oh bigger with more co2 in fact when people have green houses they pump co2 in to make the crops grow faster so one of the ways of using co2 taking it out of there doing I think in the Netherlands to grow tulips as they take it out of the shell takes it out of the stack when they burn oil and put it in greenhouses and grow more tulips so but a recent paper shows that climate change is slowing the growth of tropical forests so because it's getting warmer

and drier in the tropics the forest don't grow as much in spite of the excess fertilization that's counteracting some of that now trees also evaporate more they pump a lot more water into the atmosphere and that cools the surface and so that's also something good for the climate they also this water that goes in the atmosphere increases cloud cover and that rains more and that also produces cooling and reflects more sunlight so all the things in blue are things that are good for the client but the thing in red is that it produces warming by being darker so what do we do about it this is I'm summarizing a very detailed talk or even a semester course in this so I'll just give my opinion I don't think global warming is good I think humans are causing it and we have to do something about it and slow it down as much as we can so some of these suggestions are to use energy more efficiently hybrid autos trucks solid-state lighting instead of these incandescent bulbs like we have here more efficient furnaces and appliances and in conservation better insulation better public transportation bicycles just don't use as much when we

do use it use it efficiently use renewable energy use solar and wind energy geothermal energy biomass and then carbon sequestration if you burn coal you should trap the carbon dioxide and pump it back underground or underwater and not let it go into the atmosphere we know how to do that it's already being done to pump into oil wells to get more oil out that's not what I think we should do with it but we can put it in and up and not let it back in the atmosphere costs more to do it that way but it's possible to do it especially off and if you use biofuels you grow crops you burn it and then you sequester that will be an eps ink if you do it for co2 at least it won't get into the atmosphere

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