What fun!

Saving the world’s forests will be one of the cornerstone achievements of the Cop26 climate summit, the UK environment minister Zac Goldsmith has said, with some of the biggest forested nations and consumers of forestry products signing up to an “unprecedented” conservation deal.

Zac’s position in life is somewhere between a very very lot and entirely defined by his inheritance. Which was really created by Jimmy’s forestry exploitation in the Diamond and Crown Zellerbach takeovers.

Fun, eh? And I’ve not seen anyone else mentioning that….

23 thoughts on “What fun!”

  1. Goldsmith is a scumbag Tory chancer who is in politics to fill his time up. None of the Cockrot 26 crap will go anywhere as the 3rd world is there for handouts and they and the Johnson Gang can all fuck off. We need to stop paying taxes for political scum to piss up walls. Glasgow already stinks of piss without Bogus Johnsons extra contributions.

  2. Will an exemption be made to allow Drax (generating 6% of UK electricity) to continue to burn biomass imported from Canada and the US, presumably via carbon-neutral shipping?

  3. I was under the (clearly erroneous) impression that, as the area of the planet’s surface devoted to agriculture was declining, then the forested area was actually increasing.

    But young Zac and his pals clearly know far more about this than I do…..

  4. When you cut down a tree to use the wood in building, furniture or whatever, the CO2 is locked in and the new tree you plant will absorb a whole lot more in its growth period. Older trees don’t store much CO2, they just cycle it.

  5. “Net zero” is the slogan/policy. But activists focus on “zero”.
    If forests absorb 30% of CO2, then we only need to cut by 70%, the rest is absorbed.
    But no. Only complete abstention can satisfy the activists.

  6. Regression to mean or something.

    Jimmy Goldsmith was a very impressive man with a great deal of uncommon sense. Zac seems like a big drippy pussy.

  7. It’s the problem with the Tories, isn’t it. So many of them are people who are related to someone, know someone, went to school with someone. They’re the children or grandchildren of movers & shakers, not the genuine article. Few of them have ever had to succeed in anything. They got a free ride.

  8. How much net carbon does a mature tree capture? I remember from schooldays a discussion on animals ‘being the right size’. There’s a limit to the possible size of a land animal. Weight increases as the cube of size, but bone strength increases as the square of size. Beyond some limit, an animal would break its own bones just by standing up. The same sort of thing must be true of trees. If a tree is more than a couple of centuries old, it must have to start shedding weight almost as fast as it makes new wood. I can remember a couple of mature trees near my house (one oak and one sycamore) which have shed major branches in the past 10 or 15 years. I suspect that a mature tree has to limit its own size by keeping its own weight low enough not to snap the trunk. Hence no net carbon capture in the long term. So, why are the ecofascists so worried about logging? It clears out the least carbon hungry trees and allows carbon net absorbers to take their place.

  9. Funny enough, I’m inclined to think Labour has rather better class of politician than the Tories. Even the Abbopotimus. Most of them have got to the top of their party by their own merits. That’s a tough struggle. It’s also one of their failings. They expend much of their energies on each other. But it’s why they’re still in the game. What they’re selling is a crock. But they can still convince people to buy it.

  10. It’s why you don’t have a UKIP government. The goods were saleable. They won the Referendum. But they had no effective politicians. Including Farage. Any politician worth his salt would have realised that the referendum result was just winning the opening battle. Not a time to declare victory. The campaign was leaving. That would be a war of attrition. Something UKIP were totally unprepared for.

  11. @ decnine
    Trees capture no long term carbon at all. Dig under any forest & there’s virtually no soil at all. What there is is mostly from secondary growth. Anyone familiar with Epping Forest knows this. Kick aside the leaf mould & you’re straight into hoggin. A mixture of clay & gravel. Been there since the ice age.
    Grass captures carbon because it creates soil. Soil is very high percentage carbon. Grazed land captures more. Hurrah for cows!. Biggest creator of high carbon soil is ploughed agriculture. There a church I know in Essex. It was built on flat land near a river. The river was a much wider 10’s of thousands of years ago. Now not much bigger than a stream following its course. So the church was built on the pebbles of its bed. The doorstep’s now 10 ft lower than the surrounding fields. A thousand years of agriculture’s done that. Something like a ton of carbon for every cubic meter.

  12. I saw an article in which a 2,000 year old tree was being protected from forest fires, apparently without any thought that the tree might, just might, have experienced such an event before in its 2,000 year existence.

    Meanwhile I’ve just acquired a copy of Michael Shellenberger’s ‘Apocalypse Never’ in which a man with a lifetime’s experience of environmental campaigns puts forward the argument that we are not all going to die as the planet erupts in a ball of fire. I’m sure the book, not being screamingly alarming, won’t get much coverage.

  13. Also I think people see trees as carbon capture because trees are large & noticeable. Each square meter of ground has the same amount of sunlight falling on it. That falls on the same area of cellulose forming chlorophyll in the plants. Which all have very much the same efficiency. So why do people think trees produce more cellulose than any other plants?

  14. I was flicking through Twatter earlier and found a statement by Andrew Lilico, a journo-economist who has a tendency to go off the rails, even worse than Pritchard in the Gatesy Telegraph :

    Currently one of the main theories of the mini-ice age of the 18th century is that it was the result of widespread re-vegetation in the Americas following the deaths of 56m Amerindians post-1492.

    I have encountered this wrong-headedness in the past. I read a paper dome years ago where an academic tried to blame the 14th Century mini Ice Age on reforestation after the Black Death.

    The climate had worsened long before the Plague took hold. Indeed some might even claim that poor weather and frequent crop failures made the population weaker and less able to withstand the rigours of the Black Death ( I don’t personally hold entirely to this theory). It took until the 1750s for the British population to recover from the disasters of the 1340s and 50s and much of this was thanks to agricultural rather than climate improvement. Re and de- forestation have a very marginal effect on the climate when compared to astronomic or major volcanic activity.

  15. I forget exactly how much more forested area there is in the world since 1980. I read it somewhere, possibly one of Matt Ridley’s. 13% is swimming around the back of my head, or was it 13 million… somethings?

    It’s more, is the point though. The forests aren’t in need of “saving”.

  16. ISTM that if forests are indeed “a good thing”, then giving them commercial value, eg by sustainable harvesting, would be a better option than just “saving” without direct economic benefit. Would also be an alternative to slash and burn agriculture as a means of supporting the populace. Much more likely to succeed.

  17. bloke in spain,

    “It’s why you don’t have a UKIP government. The goods were saleable. They won the Referendum. But they had no effective politicians. Including Farage. Any politician worth his salt would have realised that the referendum result was just winning the opening battle. Not a time to declare victory. The campaign was leaving. That would be a war of attrition. Something UKIP were totally unprepared for.”

    UKIP were a very mixed coalition with little else in common than the EU. You had old socialists, old blue rinse conservatives, libertarians. And the reason it worked was that it had lots of people who cared about it happening. They were the New Model Army, the Rebel Alliance. And having won, they went home.

    I mean, Farage isn’t really a politician, but that was part of his appeal. He was a real person. He came to Swindon and did a speech and took questions, and it wasn’t like most politicians who do it in secret so they only meet their supporters for a photo op. Farage took a few sceptical questions and answered them, and then came out to the bar to drink and talk.

    Most politicians are just zombies. I spent a year with the Conservative Party volunteering and so forth. And none of them really give a toss about anything. They just want jobs in the machine. It’s why Boris is effortlessly shifting them to a bloated big state party. No-one is going to fight it, except Steve Baker, because they just want a job.

  18. @decnine

    Trees come in various sizes, with the very biggest containing over 1000 cubic metres of wood and living thousands of years.

    In one sense, any plant is merely part of a cycle of growth, which absorbs carbon, and decay, which releases it again. However, if you plant a field of grass today, it will absorb carbon for a short time before quickly getting to the cycle of growth and decay, so the net absorbtion is limited to a year or so. If you plant a tree, it can easily grow for 100 years, continuing as a net absorber all that time. Once it’s sufficiently grown that the ongoing absorption is small, you can then cut it down and turn its wood into products, defering decay for a while longer, during which period you can grow another tree. In principle, you could do the same for grasses – harvesting them and preserving the cuttings (in the world’s largest sileage pit?), but that’s a lot more work than just sitting back and watching a tree grow.

    There are two problems with forests as carbon sinks. Firstly, forest fires suddenly release a lot of the carbon which was supposed to be locked up for decades, so defeating the storage. Secondly, while you’re growing a new forest somewhere, someone else is negating all your efforts by cutting down one elsewhere.

    Ultimately, if the problem is carbon released by coal, oil, and gas, then the solution has to be somewhere in the range from reducing such activity, to halting it completely, to reversing it (i.e. burying some form of carbon for thousands of years).

    Or, of course, adapting to the new environment.

  19. Deaths of 56 million American Indians?? There have not been 56 million American Indians counting all from the day the first stumbled across the Bering land bridge until this morning.

  20. “Firstly, forest fires suddenly release a lot of the carbon”: not in British broadleaf woodland. You can’t burn it; that’s why we could have campfires in the woods when we were boys. You can burn a conifer plantation. Though maybe even that isn’t easy here – when did you last read of a British “forest fire”? Last year I saw a paper trying to pass off a heath fire as a “forest fire” which suggests to me that the real thing is rare.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a “forest fire” in northern France either whereas Mediterranean France can blaze away happily.

  21. Natural fires are common events, less frequent in northern latitudes but still not unknown. There was a big one near Moscow a few years ago and Siberia has them quite often.
    Carbon sequestration may happen in roots, but even that I’m doubtful about. What do all the worms and bugs eat?
    If you have a fruit tree make a bonfire around it this winter. The ash is great fertiliser.
    I’m with the Gaia hypothesis. The more CO2, the more the grass / wheat / rice grows, the more we have to eat.
    Bugger carbon zero so long as there is anyone starving.

  22. ‘Or, of course, adapting to the new environment.’

    In other words Charles, ‘If God had wanted us to suffer from global warming, He wouldn’t have invented the air conditioner’.

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