February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 2, NUMBER 8, AUGUST 1989
CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN FORESTS
Forestry as a Response to Global Warming: An Analysis of the Guatemala
Agroforestry and Carbon Sequestration Project, M.C. Trexler, P.E. Faeth,
J.M. Kramer, 68 pp., June 1989. World Resources Inst. (1709 New York Ave. NW,
Washington DC 20006; 202-662-3499).
Presents the technical and economic analysis underlying the first forestry
project ever to be financed for sequestering carbon to offset the carbon dioxide
emissions to be produced by a new electric facility in Connecticut. (See NEWS,
this Global Climate Change Digest issue--August 1989.) The analysis is
subject to many uncertainties, but indicates the project will more than offset
the emission of 15.5 million tons of carbon from the power plant over 40 years.
For carbon sequestration projects in general, there is likely to be a
relationship between cost and long-term reliability; planting trees in temperate
regions would be more expensive than in the tropics, but the reliability of
carbon sequestration appears higher. Protecting standing forests appears to be
the cheapest alternative to carbon sequestration, but it is difficult to
estimate the return on investment. Reforestation in the form of woodlot and
agroforestry is likely to be less costly to fund and more socially acceptable
than large-scale plantations, but requires much larger land areas. The ultimate
contribution of carbon-sequestration forestry to mitigating global warming is
uncertain and must be viewed as one of several policy options for countering
global warming, but benefits, including those related to economic development,
warrant further work on this issue.
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