A Climate Counternarrative: Dubious Carbon Accounting is Making a Canopy Problem Look Like an Energy Problem (for Consent and Profit)

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Denis de Bernardy


The modern rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is man-made but driven by land stewardship changes rather than industrial activities like fossil fuels. Carbon cycle research fails to adequately convey surface-level interactions like plants soaking up carbon dioxide emitted near them. Clear-cutting a forest, for instance, produces a large plume of biogenic carbon dioxide that wind can carry away, while a thinned forest produces no net carbon dioxide flux above the canopy. The carbon stock models used in carbon accounting capture snapshots of the effects of such plumes, so they go uncounted despite dwarfing emission sources that do get tracked. This dubious accounting then serves to justify specious activities to curb and sequester the latter. These plumes became significant when farmers and loggers removed canopy during the industrial era. They can be curbed by strategically putting plants back in. Their magnitude explains the modern rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide without contradicting isotopic findings. (Plants are simply cycling the carbon first.) Fossil fuels contribute a small amount due to sources with no nearby plants, like industrial smokestacks. Smokestack output could be fed to plants, or just left as is since curbing these plumes would turn around the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.




Agriculture, Climate, Forest Sciences, Soil Science


climate change, nature conservation, soil, topsoil loss, carbon accounting, carbon sequestration, bio-sequestration, narrative, newspeak, climate policy


Published: 2023-05-12 09:47

Last Updated: 2023-10-14 12:16

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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