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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 2, NUMBER 8, AUGUST 1989

REPORTS...
CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN FORESTS


Item #d89aug12

Forestry as a Response to Global Warming: An Analysis of the Guatemala Agroforestry and Carbon Sequestration Project, M.C. Trexler, P.E. Faeth, J.M. Kramer, 68 pp., June 1989. World Resources Inst. (1709 New York Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006; 202-662-3499).

Presents the technical and economic analysis underlying the first forestry project ever to be financed for sequestering carbon to offset the carbon dioxide emissions to be produced by a new electric facility in Connecticut. (See NEWS, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--August 1989.) The analysis is subject to many uncertainties, but indicates the project will more than offset the emission of 15.5 million tons of carbon from the power plant over 40 years. For carbon sequestration projects in general, there is likely to be a relationship between cost and long-term reliability; planting trees in temperate regions would be more expensive than in the tropics, but the reliability of carbon sequestration appears higher. Protecting standing forests appears to be the cheapest alternative to carbon sequestration, but it is difficult to estimate the return on investment. Reforestation in the form of woodlot and agroforestry is likely to be less costly to fund and more socially acceptable than large-scale plantations, but requires much larger land areas. The ultimate contribution of carbon-sequestration forestry to mitigating global warming is uncertain and must be viewed as one of several policy options for countering global warming, but benefits, including those related to economic development, warrant further work on this issue.

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