Letter: Protect our forests

Thursday, July 12, 2018

In responding to Jon Bos’ excellent op-ed piece of June 27 on global warming, I will focus on his statement about atmospheric carbon dioxide, “These concentrations can only drop if we emit no CO2, nada, nothing.” This is not technically accurate, for, if more carbon is removed from the atmosphere than released into it, the impacts of climate change will improve over time.

Therefore, if we take climate chaos seriously, it is critical that, in addition to transitioning from fossil fuel use to solar-powered electricity for heating and cooling, the dense forests of western Massachusetts must be preserved, as the only carbon sink over which we have control …

As the oceans have warmed, they are able to store far less carbon. Not so with the planet’s forests. Our forests are the only significant natural CO2 sink, which state policies could influence to help decrease global temperature. It is therefore essential that the Senate Bonding Committee strike the poorly conceived final amendment of Gov. Charlie Baker’s Environmental Bond Bill (H. 4613), “To Enact the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership,” sponsored without regard for its climate impacts by Rep. Stephen Kulik. It would hand over management of western Mass. forests to the federal government, namely the U.S. Forest Service, eager to stoke the biomass market within the region. The state should follow the lead of the American Lung Association, which cautioned against biomass in schools; should abandon the subsidizing of biomass; and stop offering grants for pellet boilers, through Mass. Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources. Clean energy does not come out of a smoke stack, and now, more than ever, we need our forests standing.

To take action, go to: www.facebook.com/4climatenhealth.

Bart Bouricius