Car­bon sink ar­gu­ment ab­surd

Calgary Herald - - OPINION -

Re: “Prov­inces can lead on cli­mate re­search,” Opin­ion, Dec. 12

Re­peat­ing cli­mate myths doesn’t make them come true. F. Larry Martin sug­gests with­out sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that our forests make Canada a net car­bon sink. So no need to re­duce our ex­trav­a­gant en­ergy use, en­ergy waste, and emis­sions.

Ac­cord­ing to Martin, “Ot­tawa has not sci­en­tif­i­cally es­tab­lished that Canada is a net con­trib­u­tor to ad­verse cli­mate change.”

As Nat­u­ral Re­sources Canada’s graphs clearly show, Canada’s man­aged forests were net car­bon sinks un­til 2001. Since then, they have been net sources adding to our man-made to­tals, not sub­tract­ing. In years when Canada’s forests were car­bon sinks, the amount of car­bon they ab­sorbed was nowhere near our man-made emis­sions. This trend will only get worse with warm­ing.

In 2007, the Harper govern­ment de­cided to leave Canada’s forests out of its Ky­oto equa­tion, be­cause they would be a li­a­bil­ity, not an as­set.

Martin’s ar­gu­ment is void. Forests are a nat­u­ral car­bon sink in bal­ance with nat­u­ral car­bon sources. Burn­ing fos­sil fu­els adds long-se­questered car­bon to the car­bon cy­cle. Nat­u­ral sinks ab­sorb only a frac­tion of man-made emis­sions. As forests burn and in­sect in­fes­ta­tions spread, for­est sinks lose ca­pac­ity. Can is­landers and coastal dwellers claim the ocean as a car­bon off­set, too?

Ab­surd ar­gu­ment.

Ge­of­frey Pounder,

Rocky Moun­tain House

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