12. All states shall negotiate to preserve and protect forests and enhance carbon sinks

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Rapporteur: Metta Spencer

Carbon Sinks

A carbon sink is a reservoir that stores carbon, keeping it sequestered instead of circulating in the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Plants, the ocean, and soil are the main carbon sinks in nature. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air for use in photosynthesis, leaving some of this carbon in the soil when they die and decompose. The oceans also store much of the planet’s carbon dioxide.

All of these sinks are being ruined by human activities today, and heroic measures are required to protect them and use them even more extensively to sequester carbon and prevent runaway global warming. Here we will examine these natural carbon sinks as well as some technological inventions that are being proposed for use in capturing and storing or recycling carbon.


Some nations occupy land with large carbon sinks such as rainforests. And some nations — especially the industrially advanced ones — emit disproportionate amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. We are all being challenged now to reduce such emissions, mainly by using less fossil fuel. People living in rich countries find this especially hard to do, for we are accustomed to the use of abundant energy. At the same time, we are asking people in the less developed countries not to adopt the same greenhouse gas-emitting technologies that had made us rich. This is unfair, but it is also essential. Every country must cut back, including both those that caused most of the global warming problem itself and those blameless ones that will be forced unjustly to sacrifice. But naturally, not all countries seem willing to accept the necessary deprivations.

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“Canadians asked to find ash trees in a bid to preserve the species: Co-ordinator for the National Tree Seed Centre in Fredericton, McPhee is asking Canadians to help him find mature stands where seeds can be gathered and later stored for future generations in the centre’s deep-freeze vaults. “We’re looking to protect the genetic diversity of the species,” McPhee said in an interview. “We’re looking for natural stands of trees that are in seed …. We want Canadians to be our eyes — to let us know they’re out there.” “Jon Sweeney, a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service,… Read more »

An interesting article by Julie Jocsak at the Saint Catharine’s Standard (1 March 2019) around the restoration of oak savannah ecosystems in the Niagara region of Ontario. Many oak savannas have been over-taken by introduced and invasive species, threatening endemic and native eco-systems’ flora and fauna.


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This Bolsonaro guy is apparently one of the most dangerous people on the planet. What can the rest of the world do about his policies? https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/world/americas/bolsonaro-amazon-deforestation-galvao.html?fbclid=IwAR2NArsRkaN_L4RCO3EjJaJhCltnUxRRjex48wiVK3GUBpsDQ7V01-763Bo

Carol Wells

The permafrost is a huge carbon sink. These wildfires in the Arctic must be speeding up the melting. Does anyone know how much effect they are having?

Beverly Anderson

Seriously, something has to be done urgently about Bolsonaro’s horrible policies. Surely he must be open to a financial deal, isn’t he? Who is trying to organize a campaign to pay him to keep the rainforest intact? I just read an article about how he was elected by a combination of YouTube and WhatApp — though they didn’t intend to do it. It seems that the poor of Brazil rely on WhatApp to get clips of videos that they cannot afford to watch with YouTube (I guess the connectivity price is too high or something). So there were right-wing disinformation… Read more »

This is a serious critique of the potential that forestry offers for reducing climate change. I cannot appraise it but I think it should be taken seriously I hope someone works through the logic.

For First Time Ever, Scientists Identify How Many Trees to Plant and Where to Plant Them to Stop Climate Crisis By Good News Network – Jul 7, 2019 Around 0.9 billion hectares (2.2 billion acres) of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human-made carbon emissions. The Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich has published a study in the journal Science that shows this would be the most effective method to combat climate change. The Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich investigates nature-based solutions to climate change. In their latest study, the researchers showed for… Read more »

John Bacher

ottAWA THROWS A LIFELINE TO 50 MILLION TREE PROGRAM CUT BY ONTARIO GOVERNMENT The federal government is putting up $15 million over four years to rescue the 50 Million Tree Program which was cut by the Ontario government of Premier Doug Ford in its last budget, CBC News has learned. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna made the announcement today in Ottawa, saying the new cash will extend the program for at least another four years. She said in a statement to CBC News on Tuesday evening that preserving the program will mean cleaner air, a healthier environment and good local jobs.… Read more »

From Derek Markham @derekmarkham Perhaps one day in the distant future we’ll be able to go 3D-print an apple tree, or build an internet-connected modular maple tree from a kit, or have access to hyper-trees that grow at 10X the normal rate, but until that day arrives (and probably for long after), we’ll need to keep buying young trees, planting seeds, and taking cuttings the old-fashioned way, which is actually much simpler and cheaper than any tech solution to anything. They say that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but since we don’t have an… Read more »

There’s a new study proving that there’s enough room on the earth for another trillion trees at least, and if he hurry and plant the right kinds in the right places, we can slow global warming a lot. In fact, when the trees are mature about 40 to 70 years from now, they will be able to reverse most of the damage we’ve done, pulling back a lot of the carbon now in the atmosphere. But we have to hurry, and we have to do it right! It will take many billions of dollars, but it’s still the cheapest and… Read more »

Sam Lanfranco

Depends on one’s perspective. I look at it as 1 person and 4,700 trees.
All we need is 637 other like minded individuals, or 319 at 9,400 trees

You have probably seen this wonderful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSTV-KcAd_0

Sam Lanfranco

One of the problems with tree-centric innovation, and with too much of agriculture and knowledge in general is the failures to (a) collaborate, (b) listen, and (c) learn and then (d) try. In some areas an innovation goes viral almost the minute it proves itself (1970’s use of growth hormones to aid beer production). In other areas, e.g. vaccine, the knowledge is resisted for stupid (and sad) reasons. In the agriculture section here is a new collaboration where I know some of the people on the Indian (ekutir) side. See: https://blooom.farm/ Several years ago I aided a bit in C.… Read more »