So what are we doing about it ?

By Katie Macdonald – Ecoforests

Climate Change

 

You’ve heard the term before – but what is the real, scientific definition behind it? The term “climate change” refers to the global change in climate patterns. More specifically, this change is one that has become apparent since the mid to late 20th century. Climate change is the result of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, caused by fossil fuels, pollution and deforestation.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by more than 40% since pre-industrial times. In the 18th century, there was 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv) of CO2 in the atmosphere. As of December 2015, there was 401.85 ppmv. Latest data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed that, globally, 2015 was the hottest year on record to date. The year was 0.90°C warmer than the average temperature recorded between 1901 and 2000.

These significant changes are not solely a result of natural occurrences. Research shows it is primarily human activities that have caused the global warming climate changes we’ve seen since the mid 20th century.

So, what are the implications?

If we don’t act fast, a number of dangerous consequences may plague our world in the years to come including severe risks to wildlife, dramatically altered landscapes, rising sea levels to the point of serious threat to low-lying territories, increased prevalence of drought, fire and flood, stronger storms, more heat related illness and disease, and economic losses.

But a recently signed global agreement gives us hope…

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France 

It was a gathering of the European Union and 185 countries around the world. The 21st yearly session reached an ambitious deal: the Paris Agreement. Nearly 200 nations signed, committing to a universal agreement to aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions. The deal set a goal to limit global warming to less than 2°C and to strive to keep temperatures at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Specific procedures defined in the agreement include bringing green house gas (GHG) emissions down to net zero within a few decades, rapidly reducing GHGs in the second half of the century and undergoing regular, 5-year reviews of emissions reductions throughout the term of the deal.

Simply put, contrary to the outcome of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (which primarily called to action only developed nations and ultimately failed to lower emissions), the Paris Agreement obliges countries to move aggressively, to peak their emissions before 2030 and then to eliminate emissions by 2050 through reforestation and other initiatives.

Carbon Emissions Must be Reduced…But That’s Not Enough 

Even those of us who don’t know much about climate change know that combatting it successfully means reducing the amount of carbon emissions released into our atmosphere.

True.

But is this all it takes?

The answer is no.

Damaging human activities have been negatively impacting the world’s climate for so many years now that we are in a grave position that calls for more than simply a reduction in carbon emissions (which is a serious global challenge in and of itself). The present state of our planet needs more. Not only must we make a universal commitment to reduce green house gas emissions, but we must also make plans to sequestrate carbon.

What is carbon sequestration?

It is the capture and storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). More specifically, it is a climate change mitigation strategy that involves the long-term storage of CO2 to slow the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the air.

CO2 is captured naturally from the atmosphere through various biological (i.e. peat production, reforestation, agriculture), chemical (i.e. mineral carbonation, industrial use, chemical scrubbers) and physical processes (i.e. bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, burial, ocean storage) as well as artificial processes (i.e. saline aquifers, reservoirs, ocean water, aging oil fields, carbon sinks) designed to produce similar effects.

Did you know that forests are the largest terrestrial store of carbon?

The Role of Our World’s Forests in Climate Change  

Forests are home to millions of species worldwide and are vital for life. They protect soil from erosion, produce oxygen, store carbon dioxide, help to control the climate, provide food, shelter and medicines, and purify the air we need to breathe and the water we need for survival.

Over the last 50 years, we’ve lost half of the world’s original forest cover. When forests are cut down, carbon absorption ceases. But that’s not all. If the wood is burned or even left to rot after the deforestation process, the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere as CO2. Deforestation causes 15% of global greenhouse gases and is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, following coal and oil.

In light of the recent shift in emphasis from carbon emissions reductions to carbon storage enhancement, reforestation and forestry management have become highly favourable strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon accumulation.

EcoForests and Forestry Management

While EcoForests has been managing forests and providing forestry investment management opportunities to investors and companies worldwide for almost two decades, it just so happens that our business philosophy now directly ties into the world’s most recent commitment to combat climate change.

The potential for forestry practices to mitigate climate change is substantial. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that forestry practices could sequester between 12-15% of all fossil fuel carbon emissions between 1995 and 2050.

Compared with the temperate zone of the planet, tropical plantations actually sequester carbon much faster. The average tropical tree sequesters 22.6 kg (50 lbs) of carbon per year. On a typical EcoForests plantation, we have  1000 tropical trees per hectare, which means a total of 22000 kg of carbon sequestered every year. And that’s just one plantation. We own and manage 5000+ hectares of tropical plantations in South America.

Sustainable forestry practices have the potential for multidimensional reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide. How? Because, as opposed to improvements in fuel economy and decreases in fuel demand which lead only to reduced emissions, sustainable forestry practices can reduce emissions and produce a net sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It’s a powerful initiative that has received much attention in recent months and years.

As an EcoForests investor, you can benefit from impressive returns and build your wealth over the long term. But more importantly, you can feel good about the fact that you’re investing your money in an initiative that has real impact on the global battle against climate change.

The world’s climate is changing…

 

Are you ready to do something about it?