The amount of CO2 coming from decaying beetle killed pine is so huge it makes a joke out of efforts to curb CO2 emissions by taxing fossil fuels.
VANCOUVER — The tiny mountain pine beetle has transformed British Columbia’s vast pine forests into a major source of greenhouse gases, federal scientists say.
By the time the unprecedented infestation ends, the rice-sized beetles will have killed so many trees an extra billion tonnes of carbon dioxide will be wafting through the atmosphere, researchers from the Canadian Forest Service report in the journal Nature Thursday.
That is five times the annual emissions from all the cars, trucks, trains and planes in Canada, says lead author Werner Kurz, who warns the beetle’s impact goes far beyond the B.C. border. …
By the end of 2006, 130,000 square kilometers of forests had been attacked – an area almost twice the size of New Brunswick. And by the time the infestation is over, the scientists estimate the pine beetle will have been responsible for the release of 990 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, or 270 million tonnes of carbon.
The figures include the amount of carbon the dead trees are no longer taking up as well as the carbon released as they decay.
Is there something that can be done other than simply allowing all this CO2 to vent into the atmosphere?
Logging companies have been encouraged to salvage the dead wood before it rots. And there is growing interest in turning the trees into biofuel.
While the idea is controversial, Kurz says creating biofuel from the dead forests would mean less oil and gas would need to pumped out of the ground to fuel vehicles. "And you are creating a biofuel that is not competing with the human food supply," he says, referring to growing controversy over using corn, wheat, and other food crops to produce fuels for vehicles.
If the B.C. government wants to deal with CO2 it seems that this is where something could be done to create a real impact! Source:http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=d034f1b8-6284-47a9-b723-2763f3fc0472&k=67407