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Forests or solar-wind

ARTHUR KELLER

Beavertown

The current administration believes solar panels and wind turbines are the answer to Global Warming and are planning to spend tens of trillions of dollars on this possible solution.

But is it a solution or does it actually contribute to the problem? If the biggest contributor to Global Warming is the loss of trees due to fires, insects, and industrialization, why not replace the trees?

World Resources Institute — The tropics alone lost 30 million acres of tree cover in 2010. At least 1.8 Giga tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are associated with this loss, equivalent to the annual emissions of 400 million cars. Even more today. Studies show that the social cost of carbon emissions is about $417 per ton. World Wildlife Fund Inc./Etc. — Up to 420 million acres of forest could be lost between 2010 and 2030. Stopping this tree loss is critical for climate change — rising temperatures, changes in weather/water patterns, increased frequency of extreme weather events. A single tree absorbs a ton of CO2 in its lifetime. Rainforests help regulate weather and temperature patterns on Earth. The Amazon rainforest alone is responsible for producing around 20 percent of our oxygen, and over 25 percent of our medicines.

(We have only explored 1% of all the plants, imagine the diseases we could cure with the 99% we have yet to explore.)

One-fifth of the world’s fresh water is in the Amazon Basin, supplying water to the world by releasing water vapor into the atmosphere that can travel thousands of miles. Trees play a key role in the local water cycle too by helping to keep a balance between the water on land and water in the atmosphere. When this balance is thrown off, it affects precipitation and river flow.

President Trump’s trillion trees promise at the World Economic Forum in 2020 would have essentially restored U.S. forest area back to where it stood in the year 1630. But President Biden is only committed to installing thousands of solar panels and wind turbines that neither absorb CO2, produce oxygen or medicine, nor are they key to our water cycle.

Making solar panels requires coal and charcoal and wind turbines (made of steel and concrete) requires coal adding to our CO2 footprint. The deforestation required to install same also adds to the CO2 footprint. In addition we have no means of disposing of spent units safely.

Centuries ago more than 60 percent of the planet was covered in forests; by 2030 it will be 10 percent.

The situation remains bleak at the global level. Investing in the restoration and sound stewardship of forests will create jobs, contribute to more sustainable economies and protect the forest ecosystems our world desperately needs.

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