We just got a health warning because of the smoke from 1200 wildfires, and the State Air Resources Board voices its goal of slashing emissions by 30 percents by 2020. The scheme is based on increasing utility bills and on blackmailing businesses. Often, in the morning, when my kids fight over the newspaper’s weather page, I tell them to look outside. Look at that smoke!
Every year, wild fires destroy millions of oxygen generating trees because some believe in the unconditional protection of the forests. As a result, sanctuaries are not regularly cleaned; fuel packs up below the trees, waiting for the right spark that will turn everything to ashes before the erosion of the charred sterile soil begins. It is not nuclear science: trees transform carbon in oxygen while fires generate smoke and carbon; eventually, rotting dead trees will also release carbon.
The board should focus on fire prevention and forest maintenance and protection. Human activities and fuel fossil burning have historically been presented as the main responsible for the Green house effect that causes Global warming. Last year, the fires in San Diego released in one week 25% of the CO2 that the whole of California releases in one month. In 2002, 7 million acres of forest burnt to the ground and in 1997, the Indonesian fires were credited for the tens of thousands of tons of CO2 that made that particular year the worst ever in co2 emission.
While we point fingers at fossil fuel for Global Warming, we conveniently avoid talking about these wildfires that have become more destructive than ever in human history because of the laws put in place to protect our forests: no logging, no cleaning, no access at all in sanctuaries, fuel amassing on the ground. These restrictions have caused more damages ever and for the first time in century, fire resistant forest have burn to the ground, literally gone in smoke.
It is easy to remember, and so logical:
- Burning forest in America release about 10 tons km-2 of CO2 annually.
- Burnt trees stop processing carbon.
- Dead biomass (dead trees and plants) rot and release more CO2
- The whole cycle releases as much CO2 – if not more – as fossil fuel burning.
- Extra C02 increases the Green House effect.
- Increase of the Green House effect increases the dryness of our forest.
- Extra dry forest – what ever is left – burn just looking at it.
- CO2 emissions from wildfires are predicted to increase by 50% by the year 2050
Where will your children be?
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