Billionaire tech trio Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Bill Gates promote technological solutions to the carbon footprint that is causing climate change. Carbon capture technology or nuclear power are some of their ideas, but nature already knows how to deal with CO2. Trees automatically collect carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into the molecular components of wood and leaves. They don’t require new inventions or industrial processes to be successful, and old trees bind most of the carbon. For this reason, forest conservation offers significant advantages over tree planting, as well as costly and complicated technology proposals.
Old growth is the king of carbon
In total, living and dead trees, along with forest soil, contain carbon, which is 80 percent of the carbon in the earth’s atmosphere. Trees over 21 inches in diameter make up only 3 percent of the forest, but they contain 42 percent of the carbon above ground. The largest 1 percent of large diameter trees around the world store a staggering 50 percent of all carbon that is captured by forests.
Trees keep carbon out of the atmosphere for a long time. Even if they die on the ground and decompose, their carbon content tends to shift to the ground instead of the air. Long-lived trees like Douglas firs, western red cedars, and redwoods sequestered carbon for centuries.
Carbon sequestration could double if deforestation is stopped
The Proforestation concept argues that forest conservation is necessary to control CO2 pollution. With Proforestation, societies would value forests for the role they play in stabilizing the atmosphere. Growing trees as opposed to harvesting and replanting commercial wood would cost little and store large amounts of carbon. Forests, even in their current state, remove a third of all man-made CO2 emissions annually. Scientists reckon that protecting existing forests so they can continue to grow would double their global carbon uptake.
How could society use less wood products to protect forests?
ABOUT Bill Gates
Bill Gates is a technologist, business executive, and philanthropist. He grew up in Seattle, Washington with an amazing and supportive family who sparked his interest in computers from a young age. He dropped out of college to start Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Today Bill is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with Melinda French Gates, where he works to bring his wealth back to society.
Bill grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. His late father, William H. Gates Sr., was a Seattle attorney and a co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His late mother, Mary Gates, was a teacher, regent of the University of Washington, and chairman of United Way International. Bill has three children.
ABOUT Elon Musk
Elon Musk co-founded and ran Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company. As co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon leads all product design, engineering and global manufacturing of the company’s electric vehicles, battery products and solar energy products. As a lead designer at SpaceX, Elon oversees the development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to orbit and ultimately to other planets
Elon is also the CEO of Neuralink, which is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers. He also founded The Boring Company, which combines fast, affordable tunneling technology with an all-electric public transportation system to reduce congested urban congestion and enable high-speed travel over long distances. Elon was previously the co-founder and seller of PayPal, the world’s leading internet payment system, and Zip2, one of the first internet map and directions services.
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