Climate Change: As environmental alarmists entertain themselves by turning off lights, their efforts sometimes lead to unintended consequences. A new study, for example, shows they may be warming the earth by saving trees.
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The latest effort to save the earth, something called Earth Hour, asked people around the world to turn off their lights for an hour to reduce carbon emissions and draw attention to climate change.
An initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, this rolling blackout began in New Zealand at 8 p.m. Saturday and moved west as other time zones reached that hour.
As reported by CNSNews.com, municipal authorities in Sydney, Australia, turned out the lights on that city’s famous Harbor Bridge and Opera House. In last year’s Earth Hour (yeah, we missed it too), organizers claimed 2 million people took part and Sydney’s emissions of greenhouse gases were reduced by 10% during that hour.
This year, 27 “partner cities” were named on the campaign’s Web site. They included Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and Phoenix. Sort of reminds us of last July’s Live Earth concert series, when the various NBC networks provided 75 hours of free air time to Al Gore and friends for concerts on its various stations.
NBC host Bob Costas sat in a darkened studio for a full minute as an energy-saving gesture while millions watched on their energy-consuming plasma TVs.
Never mind that it involved flying rock stars around the planet in emission-spewing private jets to plug their electric guitars into Godzilla-size amplifiers. Everything was fine, we were told, because everyone was buying “carbon offsets,” a scam that lets warming hypocrites continue their energy gluttony because they’re paying somebody somewhere to plant a tree.
In the green scheme of things, trees are a good thing and deforestation is bad. We must plant as many trees as we can to suck up all that CO2, the pollutant that sustains all plant and therefore all animal life on earth. Old-growth forests must be protected from those nasty loggers.
Trouble is, according to Thomas Bonnicksen, professor emeritus of forest science at Texas A&M University, forests left in “pristine” condition have too many trees and too many dead ones, both of which provide fuel for the devastating forest fires that ravaged California last year.
Bonnicksen is also a visiting scholar at the California Forest Foundation and has authored a study available at its Web site (calforestfoundation.org). It shows that four large California wildfires produced 38 million tons of greenhouse gases through fire and subsequent decay of dead trees — 10 million from the fires themselves and 28 million from the post-fire decay. This is equivalent to the emissions from 7 million cars for an entire year.
Bonnicksen says the four fires studied involved forests averaging 350 trees per acre where 50 an acre is considered normal. Some California forests, he says, have more than 1,000 trees per acre, with young trees growing under big trees, serving as “ladder fuel” and dead trees and woody debris on the ground.
He advocates “thinning” the forests so they’re less like time bombs waiting to explode. “Harvested trees can be turned into long-lasting wood products that store carbon,” he notes, adding that it’s important to remove trees destroyed by fires and insects “so that they don’t decay and send more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”
So it just might be forest fires that are causing global warming, not the other way around, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently claimed.
Bonnicksen concludes by saying that “reducing the number and severity of wildfires may be the single most important short-term action we can take to lower greenhouse gas emissions and really fight global warming.”
Even more important than throwing rock concerts and turning your lights off for an hour.
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, March 31, 2008 4:30 PM PT