Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Carbon Offset
Eco-Promise to reduce Greenhouse Gas- Vencon USA Flooring Program
“If every flooring consumer in the United States purchased product with a Eco-Promise, of planting nine (9) trees per order, together we could plant 486,000,000 trees, covering 810,001.61 acres, absorbing 12,150,000 tons of greenhouse gases – every year”
‘Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes, “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”1 via the greenhouse effect. Anthropogenic effects, processes, objects, or materials are those that are derived from human activities, as opposed to those occurring in natural environments without human influences. A scientific consensus holds that man-made carbon dioxide is the primary factor driving climate change 1’. This means such activities as flying, driving, eating red meat, non-sustainable forestry practices and pretty much anything that burns gasoline adds harmful carbon compounds into the atmosphere.Solutions
Either one can slow the rate of increase of greenhouse gasses and/or one can actually focus on reducing the total amount. Slowing the increase means flying less, driving less, carpooling, eating less red meat, purchasing products produced locally, buying energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, lowering the thermostat and purchasing renewable power. Reducing greenhouse gasses means planting trees in a certain way. There is experimentation with adding iron particles to the oceans but this approach is not yet scientifically proven to work.TREE-PLANTING PROGRAMS FOR CARBON SEQUESTRATION
Some companies have taken the approach towards funding reforestation as a way of ‘going green’ by offsetting the carbon they use. The major question businesses have is: ‘What type of reforestation program maximizes carbon sequestration and overall positive publicity while minimizing potential negative backlash and cost?’First, companies need to know that it is impossible to generically link the planting of a tree to ‘x’ amount of carbon sequestration. As of June, 2007, forestry science studies in carbon sequestration related to trees simply indicate the following:
- According to the US Forest Service, large diameter, long-lived, leafy trees tend to be the most beneficial in regards to carbon sequestration. This is why Atlanta’s 9 million-plus (predominantly mature, broad-leafed) trees soak-up 46,345 tons of carbon each year but Calgary, Canada’s nearly 12 million trees (many conifers) only sequester 21,422 tons per year.
Tree species is a strong determining factor regarding carbon sequestration. Trees vary between being fast or slow in storing carbon… and tree species also vary in how much they output harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) such as isoprene, which produces the greenhouse gas ozone. Therefore, one needs to select a tree species that rapidly sequesters carbon but which also does not have a high output of VOC’s. In the United States, American basswood, dogwood, Eastern white pine, Eastern red cedar, gray birch, red maple and river birch are some of the tree species with these characteristics.
- One study indicates that generally speaking, trees planted closer to the equator sequester more carbon than those planted far to the North. It is unclear if this is because the more Southern tree species are more likely to be large diameter, long-lived, leafy trees or for other reasons.
- In another study in Hawaii, it was found that when eucalyptus was interspersed with the mimosa, it performed better at absorbing carbon. This appears to be because the mimosa added nitrogen to the soil. Thus, ‘mixing’ trees in some cases may increase carbon sequestration amounts as would simply planting trees in nitrogen-rich soil as it makes trees grow faster and thus more effective at storing carbon.
- Research indicates that trees growing in sunlight as opposed to shade have greater emissions of VOC’s.
- The use of power tools and vehicles in maintaining certain trees increases carbon dioxide into the air.
- Long-lived trees (those that will likely live more than 50 years) are preferred by the Forest Service for carbon sequestration as dead trees rot – releasing all of the carbon that has been stored.
ABOUT VENCON USA LLC (www.venconusa.com)
Started in 1989, VENCON specializes in “GREEN” hardwood, laminate and cork flooring products from quality manufacturers in Europe. All VENCON flooring is glue less and can be installed easily by the Do-It-Yourselfer. Additionally, all flooring is environmentally responsible and manufactured using the patented Uniclic or Valinge glue less locking system.