Letters to the Editor

Build carbon banks now; plant trees

Perhaps one reason we hear more about carbon emission instead of carbon absorption is that there are bad guys. We can blame energy producers like coal plants, or energy users like China, or car drivers for carbon emissions. We can feel virtuous if we take the bus or set our thermostats to 65 degrees. We can campaign to tax those bad carbon emissions.

But carbon absorption doesn’t have a bad guy. It could be inexpensive. Carbon absorption could even have bipartisan support. We need to create more carbon banks. By that I mean trees, preferably those that could safely shade our roofs and streets. Not only would the resulting shade help cool our local neighborhoods, but those trees can pull tons of carbon out of the greenhouse gasses to create wood and at the same time produce oxygen. Even the air above trees is cooler than the air above dirt or grass. That’s the science of photosynthesis and transpiration.

So let’s plant our carbon bank trees to absorb greenhouse gasses. Let’s especially cool the waters of streams, ponds, and lakes with shade. Cooling water runoff may help our salmon and the orcas that need them.

We’ve lost about a seventh of the trees in the world. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. Let’s get started now for the next 20 years. Let’s do more than point fingers at carbon emitters and start planting trees.