COP15: New USGS Study, Interior Secretary Salazar Tout Climate Role of U.S. ForestsDecember 15, 2009
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is making the link between land conservation, forest stewardship and global warming solutions at U.N. climate negotiations this month.
"Carbon pollution is putting our world--and our way of life--in peril," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in his keynote speech from COP15, the global conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark. "By restoring ecosystems and protecting certain areas from development, the U.S. can store more carbon in ways that enhance our stewardship of land and natural resources while reducing our contribution to global warming."
Salazar's remarks were underscored by a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment indicating the United States presently stores 73 billion metric tons of carbon in soils and 17 billion metric tons in forests. This is equivalent to more than 50 years of America's current emissions from burning fossil fuels.
"The first phase of a groundbreaking national assessment estimates that U.S. forests and soils could remove additional quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a means to mitigate climate change.
"The lower 48 states in the U.S. hypothetically have the potential to store an additional 3-7 billion metric tons of carbon in forests, if agricultural lands were to be used for planting forests. This potential is equivalent to 2 to 4 years of America's current emissions from burning fossil fuels."
To read the full release, visit the USGS news portal.
To read more about PFT's efforts to conserve working forests for their many public benefits, including wood, water, wildlife and a well-balanced climate, read our Working Forests, Winning Climate program overview.