Move over Alberta oil sands, B.C.’s dead pine trees take top spot by emitting almost twice the green house gases.
Premier Campbell of B.C. had no sooner finished boasting that the forests were a great ally in reducing green house gases than the bad news arrived…the forests are the problem. Will the green movement drop it’s fixation on the oil sands and target the B.C. forests. Can the green movement bring itself to ask for wood gasification plants to spring up all over the province? After all, wood is renewable energy.
“We have few natural allies in our fight against climate change that are more important than our forests,” the Campbell government’s Throne Speech read. The centrepiece of that speech was the Premier’s climate action plan, which promises to reduce one-third of the province’s GHG emissions by 2020.
Two months later, federal researchers published findings that exposed a fatal flaw in that great green design. The pine beetle epidemic has killed so many trees that the province’s forests are now net emitters of greenhouse gases. Using computer modelling, they’ve determined the scales tipped in 2003, when the forests began to release more emissions than they absorbed.
By last year, the devastation wrought by the tiny, hungry beetles in British Columbia contributed more GHG emissions than all of the province’s human activity put together – and nearly double the output of Alberta’s much-maligned oil sands.