Forest Carbon

THE ACCOUNTING ISSUE

International
Mind the gap: Study shows estimates of current land-based emissions vary between models due to differing definitions
by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in www.phys.org, Nov 22, 2023. “A new study published in Nature demonstrates that estimates of current land-based emissions vary between scientific models and national greenhouse gas inventories due to differing definitions of what qualifies as “managed” land and human-induced, or anthropogenic removals on that land, and shows how global mitigation benchmarks change when accounting for land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) fluxes in scientific models from the national inventory perspective.”

Canada’s “Managed and Unmanaged Forests”. Screen capture (Source). Comment: I guess if the forests are potentially readily accessible to intensive forestry but we leave them alone, we consider them “managed”. ‘Sure makes the forestry-related GHG balances look better; surely obscures the real impacts of intensive forestry practices on GHG balances.

Government of Canada
Canada’s forest carbon reporting system
“The National Forest Carbon Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System (NFCMARS) is Canada’s forest carbon reporting system. Its purpose is to estimate forest carbon stocks, changes in carbon stocks, and emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases in Canada’s managed forests.”

Critiques
Concerns about Canada’s forest carbon quantification and accounting
Office of the Auditor General of Canada/Environmental Petitions. Summary: This petition raises concerns about how the federal government accounts for carbon emissions and removals from Canadian forests…The petition asserts that wildfire emissions are under-reported, and that the federal government has an overly broad definition of what constitutes a “managed forest.” … Status: Completed – Response(s) to petition received

Canada’s Emissions Accounting Obscures Climate Costs of Logging, Reports Warn
Christopher Bonasia for the Energy Mix, May 9, 2023

Nova Scotia
“New paper out on life cycle #GHG dynamics for different scenarios of forest-based bioenergy in Nova Scotia”
Post on this website,  21 Jan 2023

PEI
P.E.I.’s new forestry commission lists 5 ways to modernize how wood becomes energy
Arturo Chang · CBC News. July 20, 2023: The commission offered five recommendations:
– That all biomass supply contracts for the 44 provincially owned buildings should be renegotiated to provide more clarity.
– That there is a clearer definition of biomass in those revised contracts.
– That for future projects, there’s a comprehensive review of the environmental impact of biomass harvesting on the long-term wood supply, including an assessment of the carbon emissions from moving the product from harvest sites to the plant.
– That the government more clearly define the role of public forests as a potential source of biomass for provincially owned buildings.
– That it determines how the forest biomass sector can contribute to the province’s “Path to Net Zero” by 2040.


RELATED NEWS

Jan 31, 2024:
3 Reasons Why Forest Carbon Offsets Don’t Always Work
Andrew Moore in NC State News. “While reducing emissions through carbon offsets is important to reaching global net zero goals, the effectiveness of the REDD+ framework remains in question. Erin Sills, the Edwin F. Conger Professor of forest economics at NC State, along with other researchers, studied REDD+ projects that generate carbon offsets for the voluntary market and found that many projects overestimate their impact.”

Jan 26, 2024:
How the EU’s Definition of Forest Degradation Is Sparking Controversy in Canada
By Alice Palmer in Sustainable Forests, Resilient Industry. Defining forest degradation in terms of whether or not a logged site is replanted satisfies neither industry not the conservation community.

Dec 19, 2023:
Northern Perspectives on the European Deforestation Regulation
By Gordon Murray, The Wood Pellet Association of Canada

Dec 7, 2023:
MPs urge government to get serious about tracking logging emissions
By Kate Allen Climate Change Reporter for The Star. “Every year, the federal government reports how much the logging industry contributes to our economy: $34.8 billion of Canada’s GDP in 2021, according to the latest figures. But how much does that sector contribute to the climate crisis? The answer is hazy, because of what environmental groups, scientists, and Ottawa’s environment commissioner have described as a lack of transparency around the federal government’s emissions reporting. Now a group of more than 25 MPs and senators, including nine Liberals, have added their names to the growing chorus of calls to change how emissions from logging are tracked, saying the current system is “undermining public accountability and creating a hidden subsidy for carbon pollution from the sector.”

Oil and gas must cut emissions more than a third by 2030
By Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press reported in advisor.ca “Companies can buy offset credits or contribute to a decarbonization fund that would lower their required reduction”
Related, see: The arc of progress in global carbon markets bends toward integrity by Manulife March 22, 2023 “As the world continues to adapt to climate change, carbon markets are integral to aiding the transition to net-zero emissions. Carbon markets must continue to strengthen to build stakeholder confidence and ensure that climate mitigation is delivered, highlighting the importance of establishing clear carbon standards that are systematically applied throughout development and management lifecycles to ensure quality and integrity.” Comment: Time for the B.S. about forest carbon accounting to end if NS woodlot/forested land owners and managers want to benefit which would also be good for our forests and biodiversity.

Dec 6, 2023:
Carbon removal is needed to achieve net zero but has its own climate risks
In The Conversation. “…Net-zero carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions refers to a balance between CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere and CO₂ removals from the atmosphere, such that the net effect on CO₂ levels in the atmosphere is zero. It is often assumed that if such a balance is achieved, the net effect on climate would also be zero. However, in a recent paper in Nature Climate Change, we show that unless we consider a number of other factors — such as permanence of carbon stored in vegetation and soils, changes in the reflectivity of landscapes and the full suite of greenhouse gases emitted — balancing CO₂ emissions with removals will not achieve the intended climate goal.

Revolutionizing what we understand about America’s forests
In news.nau.edu/ “Forests and the carbon they capture play a pivotal role in combating climate change, and a new study co-authored by NAU researchers is set to transform forest conservation efforts nationwide by providing new, more accurate models for calculating and predicting how much carbon they hold.”

Nov 26, 2023:
What is biomass? The latest fuel source to get clean tech tax credits
By David Baxter Global News. “Ottawa plans on expanding its clean technology and electricity tax credits to include heat and electricity produced by burning biomass, as outlined in its fall economic statement…However, some environmental groups argue that biomass is not as green as it seems, including Stand Earth”. A balanced report.

Nov 16, 2023:
Reviewing use of wood chips for heat: Forestry Commission provides P.E.I. government with five recommendations
By Caitlin Coombes in The Hamilton Spectator

Nov 14, 2023:
P.E.I. MLA outraged at burning of 20K cubic metres of Fiona debris
By Caitlin Coombes for Canadian Biomass “An estimated 20,000 cubic meters of waste from post-tropical storm Fiona is being burned…“Does this not go against everything the province has been trying to lessen our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce carbon output?” Fox asked Myers”

Nov 13, 2023:
How Much Can Trees Fight Climate Change? Massively, but Not Alone, Study Finds.
By Catrin Einhorn The New York Times

Nov 12, 2013
Floating factories of artificial leaves could make green fuel for jets and ship
By Robin McKie The Guardian

Nov 9, 2023:
Canada says it can fight climate change and be major oil nation. Massive fires may force a reckoning
By Suman Naishadham and Victor Cavan The Associated Press

 

Oct 30, 2023
He Pioneered Carbon Offsets to Save Tropical Forests. Now the Market Is Collapsing.
By Phred Dvorak in the Wall Street Journal Oct 30, 2023 “Mike Korchinsky used offset credits to funnel millions of dollars to conservation projects. Now he’s fighting a crisis of confidence in the industry.”

Oct 27, 2023
‘Soil is everything’: Inside one Dal prof’s work to understand how dirt can help humanityDal prof’s work to understand how dirt can help humanity
Article in Dal News by Stephanie Rogers, Oct 27, 2023.”Dr. Brandon Heung likes thinking about soil…Dr. Heung’s work falls under the umbrella of digital soil mapping and understanding how soils change over space and time…Dr. Heung and a group of Dalhousie researchers recently received funding from the Forestry Innovation Transition Trust to undertake research on Nova Scotia’s forests over the next five years. “We’re trying to understand carbon dynamics within the forest, looking at how much carbon we can sequester into the soil,” he said. “I like trying to understand the relationship between the environment and soil.”

Sep 28, 2023
Temporary carbon storage in forests has climate value — but we need to get the accounting right
H. Damon Matthews et al., in The Conversation Sep 28, 2023. “…what if we measured and tracked both the amount and time of carbon storage? As we show in our new research published in Nature Communications, this can be done using the tonne-year metric — defined as the amount of carbon storage multiplied by the number of years that it remains stored.”

July 28, 2023
Farmers are being paid millions to trap carbon in their soils. Will it actually help the planet?
G. Popkin in Science Vol 381, Issue 6656.

July 24, 2023
The carbon costs of global wood harvests
Liqing Peng et al., 2023 in Nature. Related: Just How Good Is Wood? By Mark Harris in Anthropocene Magazine July 24, 2023

July 6, 2023
What does carbon offset actually mean for US forests?
by Sarah Kuta, University of Colorado at Boulder in phys.org “In a single calendar year, a mature tree can take in roughly 48 pounds of CO2, which remains stored in its woody fibers until some event—like a wildfire, a pest infestation or clearcutting by a logging company—triggers its release into the atmosphere. This natural process is at the heart of the world’s carbon offset industry, in which companies and consumers counteract their CO2 emissions by buying credits from projects that remove or reduce emissions. Carbon offsetting is part of a broader group of so-called nature-based solutions to human-caused climate change. Now, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are working to bring more transparency to this fast-growing industry.” Cites this paper: Lilli Kaarakka et al, Managing forests for carbon–Status of the forest carbon offset markets in the United States, PLOS Climate (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000158

June 1, 2023
The effectiveness of global protected areas for climate change mitigation
L. Duncanson et al. in Nature Communications “Forests play a critical role in stabilizing Earth’s climate. Establishing protected areas (PAs) represents one approach to forest conservation, but PAs were rarely created to mitigate climate change. The global impact of PAs on the carbon cycle has not previously been quantified due to a lack of accurate global-scale carbon stock maps. Here we used ~412 million lidar samples from NASA’s GEDI mission to estimate a total PA aboveground carbon (C) stock of 61.43 Gt (+/− 0.31), 26% of all mapped terrestrial woody C. Of this total, 9.65 + /− 0.88 Gt of additional carbon was attributed to PA status. These higher C stocks are primarily from avoided emissions from deforestation and degradation in PAs compared to unprotected forests. This total is roughly equivalent to one year of annual global fossil fuel emissions. These results underscore the importance of conservation of high biomass forests for avoiding carbon emissions and preserving future sequestration.”

Also view: Protected Areas in Nova Scotia help to mitigate climate change, clearcuts do not
Post on NSFN May 26, 2017. Cites this paper: Cameron, R. P., and P. Bush. “Are protected areas an effective way to help mitigate climate change?: A comparative carbon sequestration model for protected areas and forestry management in Nova Scotia, Canada.” The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies 11 (2016): 1-13.