On Monday, the EPA released its proposed rules for lowering CO2 emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. While everybody’s got an opinion on how much impact these rules will have on the US’ contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change, I’m particularly happy that the agency has taken a “states as laboratories” approach: each US state will be responsible for decreases in their emissions, but will also have flexibility to determine how to make those cuts. Many are discussing the boost this could give to renewable energy development; I’m hoping that some states also consider greater support for natural systems that can trap and store carbon emissions… particularly forests.

Yep, deforestation has a huge impact on our overall emissions of carbon, because these ecosystems absorb tons of carbon as plant food… and that carbon is then sequestered in those plants, and, eventually, in the ground. The following infographic from the American Forest Foundation gives an overview of the benefits forests provide to us, particular as a barrier to increased carbon emissions… and, by extension, global warming.

Take a look at the graphic, and then let us know what you think: what can we do to protect existing forest land, and even expand it?

Need to see a larger version of this graphic? Click on it…

Putting forests to work
Source: American Forest Foundation

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