There’s an excellent Op-Ed, by forestry expert Bernd Heinrich, in today’s NY Times showing how off-setting carbon by tree planting is harmful because it does not preserve rainforests (having the opposite effect), and because trees are only temporary carbon sinks.

As Heirich states clearly:

While carbon credits can be generated by switching to cleaner technology or nonpolluting sources in energy production, they can also be gained by unrelated steps, like planting trees, that are said to deter global warming.

…this may seem logical, and energy companies would have you believe it works in the real world. But it is actually terrible for the planet

planting more trees is decidedly not the same thing as saving our forests. Instead, planting trees invariably means using them as a sustainable crop, which leads not only to a continuous cycle of carbon releases, but also to the increased destruction of our natural environment.

This is horrifying. The world’s forests are a key to our survival, and that of millions of other species. … And the global-warming folks at Copenhagen seem oblivious, buying into the corporate view of forests as an exploitable resource.

Why are they oblivious? I think I know some reasons why, to be shared in an upcoming post.