China trees absorbing more CO2 than it was thought

China trees absorbing more CO2 than it was thought
China is engaged in large programmes to conserve and expand its forests. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: China’s policy of aggressively planting trees is likely playing a significant role in tempering its climate impacts. An international team has identified two areas in China where the scale of carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption by new forests has been underestimated.

The group sayd, these areas together account for a little over 35% of China’s entire land carbon “sink”.

The researchers’ analysis is reported in Nature journal and it was based on ground and satellite observations.

A carbon sink is any reservoir – such as forests or peatlands – that absorbs more carbon than it releases, thereby lowering the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

China is the world’s biggest source of human-produced CO2, responsible for around 28% of global emissions.

But recently, the country stated an intention to peak those emissions before 2030 and then to move to carbon neutrality by 2060.

The specifics of how China would reach these goals is unclear, but the country inevitably has to include not only deep cuts in fossil fuel use but ways also to pull carbon out of the atmosphere.

Co-author of the study Prof Yi Liu at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, said: “Achieving China’s net-zero target by 2060, recently announced by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, will involve a massive change in energy production and also the growth of sustainable land carbon sinks.”

He told: “The afforestation activities described in [our Nature] paper will play a role in achieving that target.”

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