Protesters have been arrested in more than 200 cities across the U.S. in the latest wave of protests to escalate nationwide after the presidential election.The protests were sparked by the November election, in which Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.A rally in Minneapolis on Sunday ended with the arrest of several protesters."People are very angry.We're not here to make a statement,"...
In a way, timber felling is a lot like the forest itself, says James Gifford.
The process is slow, but it’s also slow because the forest has been cut down.
It’s the kind of thing that will eventually give us some real advantages over the world.
The big problem, says Giffard, is the huge amount of energy needed to cut it down.
If we did it ourselves, the amount of biomass we would need to cut would be much, much greater.
It is also much more expensive than logging.
To get a bigger profit out of the process, timber industry bodies and governments have worked together to make it easier to cut.
But, says Dr Giff, there is still a lot we don’t know about the forest.
The world’s major timber producers are still very much under-represented in the global carbon cycle.
In Europe, for example, only 15 per cent of the timber harvested is produced in the EU.
The industry is still dominated by US and Chinese companies, says Mr Giff.
But that is changing, says Prof John Williams, a conservationist and forest expert from the University of Sussex in England.
In the 1970s, the United States saw the first major increase in forest carbon since the 1950s.
Today, the US produces more timber than the entire world.
This is largely due to the US logging boom.
US timber output is now up by more than 25 per cent, compared with the past 30 years.
The boom, and the growth in global demand, has helped to shift the US to the top of the list of countries producing the world\’s largest amount of carbon.
It also helped to lower its carbon intensity, which accounts for around three quarters of the emissions produced.
This has led to a huge drop in the cost of forest harvesting.
Dr Williams estimates that a lot of the increase in US production is due to a combination of cheaper land, better timber and better management.
The US has already made major strides towards reducing its carbon footprint.
For instance, it has set up a carbon tax that will be paid directly to the government.
But the US is not alone in this.
The European Union has also implemented a carbon price to encourage better forest management.
Other countries, like India, Brazil and China, are also on the move towards a carbon-neutral economy.
If the US and other countries like it are to follow suit, it will be crucial to ensure that their carbon footprint stays at or near the carbon-positive threshold, says Professor Williams.
This will help to reduce carbon pollution worldwide.
But how do we ensure that we keep the forest in balance?
Dr Williams points to the way in which the global economy has changed in recent decades.
In those years, the carbon intensity of the economy has grown faster than that of the forest sector.
The result has been a dramatic increase in the amount that goes into deforestation and the other forms of pollution.
In some ways, he says, it is even worse than the logging boom, since logging does not produce as much carbon as the burning of fossil fuels.
As the world grows more dependent on wood and oil for energy, the need for forest protection is growing.
But Dr Williams says that, in general, the growth of carbon emissions in recent years has been largely in line with what has been happening in the forests.
The growth in the carbon footprint of the world, he points out, is likely to continue.
And if we continue to burn fossil fuels, the forests will continue to shrink, he adds.
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