Trees and carbon credits


A decade-long experiment led by Duke University scientists indicates that trees provide little help in offsetting increased levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

The trees didn’t offset nearly as much carbon as once thought and is not nearly enough to offset emissions. Worse, only those trees that got substantial water and nutrients were able to store “significant” amounts of carbon.

That means proposals to use trees to bank increasing amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by humans may depend too heavily on the weather and large-scale fertilization to be feasible.

So now we have a burgeoning trading market in carbon credits that may have no scientific credibility to back it up.

Tip: SusHI

  • Joe Hartley

    This should come as no surprise to anybody who ever studied the carbon cycle in high school biology. I realize that leaves out all of the Bush administration.

    Apparently there’s one place that additional CO2 does have an effect, and that’s in vines like kudzu, which don’t fix as much CO2 as something as massive as a tree does. There is some cleansing effect of trees and vines and rain forests, of course (provided they don’t get clear cut), but hardly enough to act as an atmospheric filter for human-released CO2.

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