Climate change is dominating discussions at the Sand Harbor summit. People seem to be accepting the fact that climate change is going to happen. Scientists are now estimating that the air temperature in the Tahoe basin could increase by a phenomenal 10 degrees within the next century. If that’s the case, winter snow will be a rare event. People will marvel at old photos about the way things were because there will be no snow for the ski industry. Little seems to be said about how to slow the effects of climate change.
One thing is for certain. The Forest Service is making matters worse by excessively cutting trees. Trees are needed to help mitigate the effects of climate change. Two-thirds of the world’s carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees. The other one-third is taken up by physical and biological processes in the oceans. The US Department of Energy estimates that the average American produces 19 tons of carbon dioxide in one year through the burning of fossil fuels and cement production. Over a 100-year lifetime, a tree absorbs about 1 ton of carbon dioxide. Therefore, every American needs about 1,300 trees for the duration of his life to offset his personal production of carbon dioxide. As a by-product, trees release pure, clean oxygen for us to breathe.
I agree our forests have become too dense and there is a place for fuel reduction. However it should be done wisely with care. Excessive thinning is not the way to go. We need our trees. They are things of beauty, giving us cool shade and providing habitat for wildlife. They absorb carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen to breathe. If we don’t get a grip on this, we are dumber than the lemmings. The future will see us suffocating in the heat.
South Lake Tahoe