“We have planted forests, but they are now burning in the fire.” This is what the CO2 manager of Microsoft said at an online show Think Tank Carbon 180. Forests funded by companies such as Microsoft and PP have been burned in the US states of Washington and Oregon. In this way they try to offset their CO2 emissions.
It is not yet clear how much CO2 compensation was lost in the burning of hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest. There are more Still Burning is going on. But BP alone has more than $ 100 million in carbon credits in one of the damaged projects.
Planting trees is a popular way for companies around the world to achieve their climate goals. Living trees absorb C02, thus offsetting emissions from companies using fossil fuels.
Shell, after many years of absence, for example Again Landed in the woods. The EU’s climate plans, issued in July, include a plan to plant 3 billion trees.
Environmental organizations are critical of this way of achieving climate goals. According to Oxfam Novi, there is not enough space in the world to plant all those trees.
According to the organization, to realize the climate plans of the four largest European energy companies (Shell, PP, Eni and Total), it would be necessary to plant new trees twelve times larger than in the Netherlands.
“We support afforestation, but not to this extent,” said Marita Hudges, a climate expert at Oxfam Novip. “Because it’s not like that. Companies consider themselves rich very quickly.”
Forestry project coordinator Marijen van der Boss calls it the wrong way of thinking if you want to offset the CO2 emissions of miliodefens with forests.
“In the United States, it offers a single crop of cheap, fast-growing tree species that are fire-sensitive.”
He calls today’s wildfire something ‘disgusting’. “Some forests have been burning for a month.”
Wildfires often occur due to global warming. Annual 5% of the world’s forests are on fire. These are old forests like Russia and planted forests like America.
It simultaneously releases C02 stored by trees. It accounts for one-fifth of the emissions we all produce from fossil fuels.
In the United States, this means that companies have to compensate in some other way. Law in California increases the amount of compensation forests in Western America. Van der Boss: “This is really a business.”
And in Europe?
Gert-John Naburs, a forest expert at the University of Wageningen, hopes that this type of forestry will grow in Europe as well, thanks to the EU’s Green Agreement.
For this he looks at two types of forests. “Commercial gardens with clean compensation forests and woods should yield wood for a long time and absorb CO2 for decades.”
Unlike Oxfam Novi, he thinks there is room for it. “There is enough land to evacuate people.”
It may also be present in many wildfire areas, such as Greece and Italy. “You should choose low-fire-sensitive species and create wildfires in the wild because wildfires are a growing problem.”
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