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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #11

Posted on 15 March 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

 Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet? 

 Tree Canopy

From Greta Thunberg to Donald Trump and airlines to oil companies, everyone is suddenly going crazy for trees.

The UK government has pledged to plant millions a year while other countries have schemes running into billions.

But are these grand ambitions achievable? How much carbon dioxide do trees really pull in from the atmosphere? And what happens to a forest, planted amid a fanfare, over the following decades? 

Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet? by David Shukman, BBC News, Mar 14, 2020

Editorial of the Week...

The Coronavirus Pandemic Proves That We Can Overcome the Climate Crisis—If We Want To


One positive takeaway from the world’s response to the coronavirus epidemic is that it’s entirely possible to successfully combat two other existential and intertwined global crises: climate change and air pollution. But “possible” doesn’t mean “probable.”

The European Space Agency (ESA) has produced a remarkable new video using data gathered from their Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, which specifically tracks atmospheric air pollution. The images reveal a sharp and sudden decrease in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over Italy from January to mid-February, which scientists believe is tied to the reduction in human activity in the nation due to the coronavirus outbreak. Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte ordered a lockdown across northern Italy on March 8 to try to contain the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19.

High concentrations of NO2, a highly reactive gas that forms from vehicle emissions and power plants, can harm the respiratory systems of humans and animals, aggravating respiratory diseases like asthma and increasing the risk of respiratory infection. NO2 can also reduce plant growth and even cause acid rain

The Coronavirus Pandemic Proves That We Can Overcome the Climate Crisis—If We Want To, Opinion by Martina Moneke, Truthdig, Mar 14, 2020

Toon of the Week...

2020 Toon 11 

Hat tip to the Stop Climate Science Denial Facebook page.

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • Is becoming vegan the best thing people can do to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions? (Justine Wickman)
  • New blog post: Fallacy taxonomy and icons available on Wikimedia (Baerbel)
  • SkS New Research for Week #11 (Doug Bostrom)
  • UK’s CO2 emissions have fallen 29% over the past decade (Simon Evans)
  • Could the Atlantic Overturning Circulation ‘shut down’? (Richard Wood & Laura Jackson)
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12 (John Hartz)
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12 (John Hartz)

Climate Feedback Claim Review...

Sea levels rose faster in the past century than in previous time periods

CLAIM: "Sea level rise has been slow and a constant, pre-dating industrialization"


SOURCE: New study shows sea level rise has been slow and a constant, pre-dating industrialization by Thomas Lifson, American Thinker, Mar 7, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAY: Sea levels have risen at increased pace since industrialization, with the fastest rates of sea level rise occurring in the late 20th century. At local geographic regions, sea levels can rise faster or slower than the global average, and in the past, these local variations might have been large in magnitude. However, at the global scale, sea levels are rising at an accelerated rate due to human-induced global warming.

Sea levels rose faster in the past century than in previous time periods, Edited by Nikki Forrester, Climate Feedback, Mar 12, 2020

SkS Week in Review... 

Poster of the Week...

2020 Poster 11  

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Comments 1 to 5:

  1. Regarding the story, "Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet? " I doubt anyone has said planting trees will save the planet. But growing and managing forests is a great idea. Well managed forests produce multiple benefits- sequestering carbon, producing wealth for the owner when valuable trees are harvested, wildlife habitat, soil protection, stream and wetland protection, watershed protection, produces oxygen, recreation values, spiritual values, etc. I have been a forester in Massachusetts for 47 years.

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  2. Also, I have trouble  understanding why they're planting trees in the understory of an existing forest. It would make more sense to plant trees where there are no trees but once were. Standing  trees produce seeds which should be able to "stock" the understory.

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  3. @2 JoeZ,

    100% agreed unless we are talking about introducing diversity of species that were lost, like the new plans to reintroduce the American Chestnut to the Eastern North American forests, or other species to monoculture forestry plantations.

    Mixed-species versus monocultures in plantation forestry: Development, benefits, ecosystem services and perspectives for the future

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  4. I think it would have been a better article if they explained what species were planted and why those species. If it was different species to enhance diversity- that may be fine if they'll survive the planting. Planting trees under other trees usually results in failure unless the new trees are shade tolerant and the soil is ideal for that species. As for American chestnut- I planted 3 several years ago. One has survived. The American Chestnut Foundation has been breeding trees that are 15/16 American chestnut and 1/16 Chinese chestnut. I got the trees from that organization.

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  5. Recommended supplemental reading;

    The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming by Bruce Lieberman, Article, Yale Climate Connections, Mar 19, 2019

    Note: Lieberman's article includes a list of articles about this topic that were posted in February of this year. 

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