Printing News
Copenhagen on My Mind: Reducing Deforestation And Digital Media Tree-Wash
(Gold printing)

Most people will tell you that they care about saving our forests, but they tend to be uninformed or misinformed when it comes to knowing the causes of deforestation or some of the places being affected most significantly by land use change that kills trees, pollutes rivers and contributes to climate change. Until recently the conventional wisdom has been to demonize paper and print media as the major culprit behind killing trees and to idealize digital media as green and groovy alternative without consideration for the full backstory or life cycle footprint of either.

Pixels Do not Grow on Trees

Paper and print media supply chains are far from being sustainable, but may be far less of a threat to forests than the “Tree-Wash” claims about how digital media saves trees or how pixels are greener than pages. “Tree-Wash” is my term for a special class of “greenwash” making false, misleading or unsupported marketing claims that ignore the causes of deforestation associated with digital media, or that fail to identify the actual trees and forests allegedly being saved or planted.

However, the Copenhagen Climate Summit and technologies developed to verify land use are likely to play a major role in changing the status quo with regard to foot-printing forests, identifying trees and the calculating the climate impacts of coal-powered IT. From Dec. 7 to Dec. 18 representatives of 191 nations and at least 65 world leaders will attend the United Nations “COP15” Climate Summit in Copenhagen to seek agreement on a new global treaty to limit emissions of greenhouse gases; one of the most significant issues to be addressed is protecting and restoring global forest ecosystems. I well be traveling to Copenhagen to cover the last week of the Climate Summit and report on how the decisions being made are likely to impact the forestry, papermaking, printing, publishing and IT sectors that the graphic arts depend on. I hope to hear from all of you who have questions for the leaders convened in Copenhagen. I will do my best to track down the answers. Please send me your questions and follow me on Twitter: @dcarli #COP15.

Are You Seeing REDD?

Deforestation and the sustainable management of the world is forests are serious issues that should be top of mind given the world is focus on climate change. Trees sequester carbon equal to half of their dry weight, and scientists estimate that as much 20 percent of total emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted due to deforestation, land use change and forest degradation. For that reason, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a major issue that will be addressed in Copenhagen.

Sustainable forestry will play an increasingly important role in supporting the literacy and sanitary existence of the world is growing population. In addition to providing millions of jobs and providing the wood fiber used to produce over 350 million tons of paper per year, the world is forests also serve as the planet is lungs by converting or sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide into woody biomass and providing other important environmental services. In addition, sustainably harvested forest biomass will increasingly be employed by a new generation of integrated biorefineries to replace fossil fuel energy and petrochemical feedstocks.

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