So I sat and I thought and as I sat and I thought, well, I thought:
“It’s ongoing, isn’t it?”
And then, as I sat some more, I thought some more:
“And as it’s ongoing, that means its effects are growing too.”
Which struck me as disturbing, because, as we all know, there’s other impacts which look persuasively like they too are getting bigger. And bigger. Year upon year. Upon year.
“Like flooding. Due to record rainfall.”
“And the atmospheric carbon dioxide graph”
“And generally all kinds of atmospheric climatics that show the expenditure of larger dollops of energy. In impactful manner. Like droughts. And hurricanes. And whirlwinds. They even had one of those in Birmingham last year. That’s the Original Birmingham, not the one in Alabama. Which has probably always suffered from such weatherliness.”
What I then worked out, with my trusted pencil and paper, was that, at the present rate of forest clearance, we lose, get this, the carbon dioxide fixing capacity every eight years to uptake one megatonne of our favourite gas each and every year thereafterwards. That does assume, I grant you, that no carbon is fixed by that forestland post harvest – which will NOT be true. But it will be nowhere near the capacity of mature forest.
This further underlines the tendency to exponential of the forest clearance saga and could probably lead to new “tipping points” beyond which we will find no turning back.
At the post glacial forest maximum, we had around twice the current forest, despite sea level increases having flooded out a lot of the glacial period lowland forest. (Think 120 metre SLR globally. Think Cantre’r Gwaelod – now the Irish Sea – or Doggerland – now the North Sea. And multiply them up. A significant natural loss of forest.) If we have lost around 800 MT forest mass or maybe four billion hectares that is carbon fixing capacity, CFC, of 60BT/annum/annum lost.
Does agriculture manage 25% of that? Somehow I doubt it. Net CFC loss = 45BT/annum.
I rest my case or, as the Great Forest Gump might well say: “That’s all I have to say about that subject.”