Current Energy Position Papers

2015 is a pivotal year!

This page contains details about our Global Forest Health - State of Emergency and a developing paper on Carbon Negativity - these papers are available for download in the file section below. See the most recent files added for new material about trees as methane sources. This will be incorporated into the text below as time permits.

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Forest Health: A Global State of Emergency

And a Course of Action


by Alan Page and Karen Ribeiro, December, 2014

Contact: alan@greendiamondsystems.com


This paper will address the following:


  • Are global forests in a state of emergency

  • Why/how fossil energy use must change to Carbon Negative systems … now

  • How to stabilize carbon-rich stocks (assets)

  • How to restore forest ecosystem health


Glossary:

Assets: A financial term used to describe some positive source of value.

Biochar: A common term used for charcoal suitable for horticultural use that may or may not have been modified by addition of microbes and nutrients not found in raw new charcoal. The term has much ambiguity associated with its lack of specifity – be careful and ask questions before making decisions.

Carbon Positive: Any situation or system that releases more carbon, in the form of carbon containing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, propoane, etc. than can be recovered by natural processes (if at all).

Carbon Neutral: Any system wherein the emissions of carbonaceous greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane are in balance over a reasonable period of time. The time span selected may depend on the urgency of the situation and the area of concern. In a low urgency situation with stable storm patterns a forest area may be carbon neutral over a period of 300 years with periodic periods of negativity and positive carbon releases.

Carbon Negative: Only a few natural systems have the potential to be carbon negative wherein they sequester or withhold more carbon from returning to the atmosphere than has been released. These systems include carbonate rocks “weathered” from “reduced” sources of material, deep ocean deposits of carbonate in the form of calcified body parts, and charcoal formed from biological “feedstocks” such as trees and other plants.

Carbon Uptake: The process of acquiring carbon from a source. Used herein to describe the process of carbon dioxide absorption from the atmosphere around a plant.

Credit creation: The process of facilitating human activity by a government or financial entity. The choice to provide the liquidity for carrying out a project to any capable entity determines the direction a society can adopt.

Charcoal: A solid carbon product made from the heating of organic matter in the absence of air or the stopping of combustion before the carbon is oxidized.

Emergency: An emergency requires immediate action in order to mitigate substantial loss.

Liability: A financial term used to describe a claim against assets of an entity. It may also be a non-financial term to describe a condition that may or will have negative consequences to life.

Maintenance: Any action that extends the useful life of any process.

Methane: The second most common greenhouse gas (83+/-times the affect of CO2); formed in living and dead trees, wetlands, ruminants, other decaying wet organic matter.

Mining: The process of extraction of value from any source while ignoring all externalizable costs. This practice has been the most common form of value recovery and creation in human history.

Photosynthesis: The process of light energy being used within a plant to convert carbon dioxide and water to sugar.


Are global forests in a state of emergency?

YES, We have a global forest emergency! Our political leadership has chosen to deny this reality and have created it by rewarding those who carryout mining with power and financial status while crippling maintenance of all phases of human life by those without discretionary income.


According to Climate Code Redi:


How fast and how profoundly we act to stop climate change caused by human actions, and work to return to a safe climate, is perhaps the greatest challenge our species has ever faced, but are we facing up to what really needs to be done?


We have to come to terms with two key facts: practically speaking, there is no longer a 'carbon

budget' for burning fossil fuels while still achieving a two-degree Celsius future; and the

2°C cap is now known to be dangerously too high.


For the last two decades, climate policy-making has focused on 2°C of global warming impacts as being manageable, and a target achievable by binding international treaties and incremental,

non-disruptive, adjustments to economic incentives and regulations.


But former UK government advisor Professor Sir Robert Watson says the idea of a 2°C target 'is largely out of the window', International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol calls it 'a nice Utopia', and international negotiations chief Christiana Figueres says we need 'a miracle'. This is because, in their opinions, emissions will not be reduced sufficiently to keep to the necessary 'carbon budget'.”



If in fact there is no additional CO2 holding capacity in our planet's atmospheric buffer, then we have an emergency and we must:


  1. Do everything possible to stabilize existing carbon rich stocks,

  2. Cause the existing carbon uptake mechanisms (like forests) to function at peak efficiency,

  3. Get off non-renewable carbonaceous energy1 immediately,

  4. Continue to stabilize the old carbon sources and carbon taken up each year.


This emergency requires immediate action in order to mitigate substantial loss. This climatic emergency in our forests involves pending (short term) loss of harvestable trees, the inability to regenerate and regrow a similar forest, the demise of the ecosystems they support, and erosion or destruction of related physical infrastructures such as roads, bridges, and powerlines. Additionally, such an emergency requires every entity and able bodied person to cooperate in the mitigation effort.

In order to sound the emergency alarm and elicit a response from the community, people need to understand the nature of the emergency. The risks from doing nothing must clearly outweigh the effort involved with taking effective action. Consider how long it took those aboard the Titanic to respond to the reality of their sinking ship.

The August 12, 2014 issue of Time Magazine featured a “LightBox” photo series of raging fires within Yosemite National Park. By September 18, 2014 these fires were still only 10% contained2. This may become the new normal – forests emitting carbon rather than sequestering and storing it; even as human interventions in forests re prohibited. If any significant proportion of the world's forests do become carbon positive, the earth will have entered a series of positive feedback loops that will be impossible to reverse and “life as we know it” will have ceased to exist. The craters found in the permafrost of the Yamal Peninsula now (9/2014) appear to be formed by the rapid release of large pockets of trapped methane gas3. While this is new to terrestrial topography it has been happening for decades in the seas around the Arctic circle4.


Managing Forests:


Forests and farms are the ubiquitous natural carbon uptake areas. Here is a brief example of carbon uptake by trees:


It takes 6 molecules of CO2 to produce 1 molecule of glucose (containing 6 C atoms) through the process of photosynthesis which releases 6 molecules of oxygen as a by-product. There is a net atmospheric gain of 1 molecule of Oxygen for every Carbon molecule “ingested” by a tree.


The natural condition, particularly in a forest, is one of intense competition. Forests start after a heavy cutting and frequently are re-established whenever there is a new seed crop and available growing space with resources that seedlings can colonize. A starting forest may have 500,000 or more seedlings per acre but when harvested years later there may be fewer than 300 trees per acre. Most species that can form a high forest re able to live for several hundred years given a stable climate and no damaging wind or ice loads. Normally more than 499,800 trees have died and rotted per acre over a 150 year period, releasing CO2 and other greenhouse gases which were sequestered back to the atmosphere. It is not likely that this 150 year plus longevity will be possible given the present rate of climate change. Recent studies of living and dead trees and tree parts have shown that most wood wherever it occurs is likely to be a periodic source of methane. It would appear that slow growing trees of any size may be sources of methane and that only by growing trees fast is it possible to counter the release of this very damaging greenhouse gas. True carbon sequestration in a forest will require the removal of slow growing trees on a regular basis and efficiently recovering the energy in the usable tree parts and forming charcoal as a stable carbon negative soil amendment to be used locally.


Effects of Management:

Active thinning done at the right time can improve the growth rate of the trees that are left to grow. Careful study and analysis are needed to maintain the efficiency of carbon uptake. Thinnings not used for durable or other essential products must be used in a local carbon negative energy extraction system and the char must be used locally.


Significant research into the action of biochar in soils has been done within the last ten years by J. Lehmann at Cornell University. His group and others have shown that the increased cation and anion exchange sites in soils having biochar incorporation come from charged areas on the carbon of the biochar. Dr. Ogawa of the Kansai Power Environmental group has studied the incorporation of biochar into soil by micro-organisms for much longer because the use of char in soils has been a significant part of Japanese agricultural practice for generations.

There is little question that the incorporation of micro-organisms in biochar offers protected sites for beneficial bacteria to form commensual communities that are free from predator destruction and a site for deposition of additional carbon based materials (glomulin) that act as a glue to hold soil particles to the biochar granules. The biochar is also colonized by hyphae of soil mychorrizal fungi which move moisture and nutrients between these sites and plant roots.

The effects of enhanced microbial populations in agricultural soils have been known in detail for soils without biochar and are described in publications by the USDA and Soil Science Society of America. The addition of biochar to soils acts to enhance the ability of the soil micro-biota to do their job and is likely to have many of these predictable outcomes:

1. Improvement of soil porosity for air and water: biochar has a large surface to volume ratio that comes from the cellular structure of the plant material that was charred,

2. Extended Carbon Residence Time: Soil carbon having a much longer residence time in the form of biochar carbon than is possible for more reactive soil carbon from humus,

3. Greater soil structural strength: this strength develops from the stable micro-biotic connections made between soil particles and biochar through the glues that are secreted by beneficial soil bacteria and fungi that reside in the biochar,

4. Maintenance of a productive relationship between plant roots and beneficial microbes : damaging soil organisms can overwhelm plant roots when the actions of these pathogenic organisms can not be effectively countered by weak responses from unaided or damaged plant roots – beneficial soil micro-organisms can quickly replace or substitute for an extensive plant root system thereby allowing the plant to concentrate energy that would have been used in plant root growth in other areas of the plant,

5. Increased ability of plant roots to gather water and nutrients during periods of stress: the same principle is at work here as in 4 above,

6. Effects of Reduction of Bulk Density: the volume of available soil water is increased because of the increased void space from the biochar added as well as from enhanced soil structure and the strong affinity that biochar has for the soil solution in general.

7. Strong retention of soil anions and cations: as mentioned above studies of biochar additions and enhanced microbial populations in agricultural soils have shown that both cation and anion exchange can be improved, there is no reason to expect that the same situations do not occur in forest soils.

8. Detoxification of organic molecules: the charged sites within and around biochar attract and hold organic molecules for extended periods; the proximity to protected populations of bacteria and fungi within and around the biochar and the long residence time for compounds held on charged sites on the biochar enable many different kinds of molecules to be broken into less toxic components.


These factors explain the rapid recovery of pine trees in Japan shown by Dr. Ogawa. The effective application of pre-inoculated biochar around the base of a tree will greatly improve the availability and

rate of uptake of water and nutrients.


Tall trees are very risky storage entities and dense forests generally grow very slowly. The following issues need to be taken into consideration:


  1. It takes a much longer for a crop to mature in a dense forest stand, exposing the trees to more internal and external damage from strong winds, flooding, drought, fire, ice and pests or disease, than if the stand had been thinned appropriately;

  2. Waiting to thin a forest stand until the thinning can generate a profit may cause the area to sequester less carbon than if the thinning had not taken place. There are several components to this problem – stress effects on the remaining trees that may cause premature death, growth rate decrease or lack of positive response, stem breakage, degrade of upper stem sections, among other factors. The occurrence of any or all of these problems may be difficult to predict.;

  3. Early thinning done appropriately and at the right time can concentrate most of the productive capacity of the site on a fewer number of trees thereby shortening the growth period;

  4. Unharvested biological material that dies and rots is a positive reinforcing climate change factor since the collected carbon will have been released.


So in this new emergency situation it is important to be able to collect as much of the stored carbon and either prolong its stability (sequestration) as charcoal, as a long term building material or as an energy source to replace fossil energy (this energy release could be part of the char production process) before it rots and to do it at the right time in the life of the forest so that the trees that are left can grow rapidly.


It has been pointed out above that humanity has created value from all possible sources with as little regard for consequences as possible. We call the process “mining” in extreme cases, but in fact there are many things that can be done better and still create “value” with a different approach that focuses on “maintenance”. Unfortunately our currency and credit system do not have any means to allow normal people to function in a forest time frame. So forests are mined for value and abandoned between harvests out of economic necessity.The forests we have in much of the northeastern United States are where they are because the land which had been farmed / used as sheep pasture) was abandoned around the 1850s. The trees of these new forests have been cut and sold whenever there was money to be recovered.


Many foresters try to follow a Forest Management Plan (FMP). In Massachusetts this plan may contain a State supplied section titled “Stewardship Issues” which makes it seem as if a forest owner has the duty to seek appropriate environmental choices when making management decisions. In reality, the authors of the original Stewardship Issues guidance did not suggest that owners actively seek out possibilities in a broad energy perspective. This guidance does not address the economic costs and implications of many of the other mandates for managing a forest, including:


  • biodiversity

  • rare species (endangered, threatened, and special concern)

  • riparian and wetlands areas

  • soil and water quality

  • forest health factors (weather, insects, diseases, air quality, human activity)

  • fire

  • wildlife management (managing for diversity, protecting/enhancing existing habitat)

  • cultural resources

  • recreation and aesthetic considerations


There remains few reliable economic incentives or support for landowners to adequately address or even understand these stewardship issues beyond the income from timber sales that normally involve long distance transport of products.


Why/how fossil energy use must change to Carbon Negative systems … now

The fact that there is no future capacity for the earth's atmosphere to accept more CO2 from fossil sources – or unnecessary release from natural sources – should be a wake-up call for each forester to do due diligence regarding what is feasible and necessary from their perspective.


Ideally this due diligence will include:


  1. Educating themselves on sustainable thinning and ecosystems management,

  2. Collaborating in a variety of complementary energy markets,

  3. Looking for carbon free energy sources,

  4. Developing renewable fuels for heating,

  5. Generating or purchasing electricity from carbon neutral or negative sources,

  6. Finding or developing sources of local liquid fuels from existing carbon sources that are likely to be released soon.


Moving away from carbonaceous energy:


While wind and solar power are not carbon negative and environmental/energy costs for turbine and photovoltaic panel production can be high, the innovations in both over the last decade makes both excellent renewable sources of energy even on the community level. Solar options with dedicated financing and a commitment for power distributors to pay a reasonable price for output are worth exploring in most regionsii.


An emerging discussion involves the generation of energy by systems that are described as “Over-Unity” (OU)5, meaning that they produce more energy out than is invested. Our current energy systems convert a small fraction of the energy value of the fuel into usable work. It is claimed that Over Unity technologies have been know for at least a century. Mr. Nicola Tesla had many patents that are now being re-researched for use in this area. It is claimed that Tesla and many other inventors have been systematically discredited and their technologies suppressed6. Recently many of these OU systems are coming to light in ways that challenge everything about how energy is currently produced, delivered and used. The recent CIA declaration that about 50% of reports of unidentified flying objects were government sponsored give credence to the possibility of a coming shift in global energy sourcing.


All of these technologies require significant energy releases for R&D, production of the systems, maintenance of the facilities and distribution, and dismantling and disposal at the end of life. So of themselves they are not carbon negative. One group claims to be able to solidify CO2 at room temperatures7.


The Outlook:

If any of the above techniques are viable (economically rewarding) they will eventually either be again suppressed or they will go viral and be unstoppable. The issue that this paper addresses is that until some form of carbon negative or carbon neutral energy becomes so pervasive that any and every part of our polluting lifestyle has been mitigated we will need to take steps locally and individually to do everything we can to be responsible for our own energy pollution. This mandate should stay in place until the climate control system has become able to manage the annual green house gas fluxes without human carbon negative activity.


Spend time researching technologies that appear promising. Exhaust all the skills available to either find the reality behind the claims or to try to make the technology work in your community.


Techniques and Systems to be Researched and Developed:

There are three different kinds of systems described above:

  1. low carbon sources that could eventually provide pollution-free energy, and

  2. carbon-negative systems that both produce energy and remove carbon from atmospheric circulation

  3. Over Unity alternatives


Regardless of what energy source the bulk of society chooses to adopt, carbon negative processes will be needed to stabilize the climate control system. There are many different techniques to provide carbon-negativity and a usable energy output. It will remain to be seen which becomes more valuable, the energy or the carbon-negativity. The energy can be recovered from local bio-fuels in several forms:

  1. heat (either as a by-product of some other use or as a function of direct burning)

  2. burnable gas or liquid

  3. concentrated liquid for later use or transport to a centralized refinery

  4. electricity and heat – either for direct use or transport over existing infrastructure


Sustainable carbon negative energy production may involve electricity production but limitations on the transport distance of feed stocks may require the production and capture of some concentrated energy form, gas, liquid or stored electricity. Examples of these possibilities are very limited. Few off-the-shelf devices are carbon-negative. Most wood using systems burn a fuel to ash and CO2 plus water. One has to look hard to find ways to recover charcoal before all of the energy is removed. Several sources of potentially carbon-negative technologies can be found. Their mention here does not carry any recommendation or evaluation beyond the possibility of some future capability. Entities offering such systems include: Cool Planet8, Clear Stak/Agfuels NE9, All Power Labs10, Sandri Oil11, Stak Properties12, Coop Power13 and others that use wood or bio-based fuel sources, but most have not developed this carbon negative aspect of their products. If carbon negativity is an important part of your energy choice you will have to be very persistent. The possibility of carbon negativity and sustainability will require that you look particularly for systems that can use local fuels with limited additional refining and the capability to recover carbon in a long term stable form.


Since most people arrive at normal activities in liquid fossil fueled vehicles, a source of renewable liquid fuel is essential to avoid disruptions in the short term. The combination of a mix of renewable and or free (over unity) energy products could facilitate continuous operation of very local facilities. Such capabilities are not considered economic in the “normal” business calculations of today. Cool Planet has such technology available but does not appear to be interested in local / sustainable implementation (their website makes such claims but there has been no indication of the capability to follow through).


Stabilizing existing carbon rich stocks for long term sequestration:


Carbon rich sources exist all around us. They include soils, farm residues, and forests as well as wooden structures, furniture, human organic wastes, abandoned coal mines, old oil and gas wells, other existing stocks of carbonaceous wastes of all kinds, and polar and coastal deposits of methane. Farms, forests, and other local lands have great potential for benign carbon storage, The values of the various kinds of carbon storage potential have not clearly evaluated, defined or measured for use in our market economy.


Much of what is defined as “market value” should be called extractive or “mined” asset capture or recovery. We lack a system for valuing or appreciating the contributions of ecosystems of all kinds, human labor and community support, and moral imperatives that preserve and sustain living ecosystems and the wider aspects that give land “value” to us all, particularly carbon stability.


This may seem to be beyond the capacity of local or individual efforts, but in fact there is one proven technology that is very old and very easy to practice. Stabilizing carbon requires that the carbon stock or biological feedstocks (fallen, dying trees, corn stalks, and much more) be prevented from decaying and releasing CO2 by transforming it into a non-reactive form at normal temperatures. Charcoal is such a non-reactive compound.


Charcoal is easily formed, but the systems for doing so without emissions are not “off the shelf”. Fortunately many of these systems are low tech and many producers of these technologies are keenly focused on the energy sovereignty and agricultural benefits of their technologies and often make their systems available through open source channels. Advocating for the development and use of “carbon- negative” systems that are available to all is a clear solution for carbon stabilization.


So in this era of climatic instability it is important to be able to stabilize as much of the carbon collected by trees before it rots and to do it at the right time in the life of the forest so that the trees that are left can grow rapidly. As we harvest carbon stocks, it is also important to have the intention of minimizing damage to the remaining trees and the forest soils. There are many parts of this process that need to be addressed proactively. In particular, the maintenance and thinning of forest stands should be done by people who live close to the forest and do not add to the pollution or cost of the activity either by their travel or by the equipment they use.


How to restore forest ecosystem health - Continuing to stabilize old carbon sources and annual carbon uptake:

Summary: The emergency forests face will not go away without careful consistent attention to the impacts of both humans and geologic processes that destabilize the climate maintenance system. While humans are no the only sources of climatic instability the things humans value can not long withstand wide climatic swings. Forests are part of the biological stabilization system that humans can easily interact with and help to perform the functions that they have always done. Long term effectiveness of this essential cooperative linkage can only come about with the development of systems that provide the incentive structures that enable those who live and work in forests to perform their tasks appropriately. There are many things that have to change in order for this to come about.


The first phases of the proposed conversion of our energy use may take on the qualities of a Manhattan Project, but the restoration of global ecosystem health will require the institutionalization of climate maintenance system sensitivity and the ability to adapt local processes to the needs of the global system for without climatic stability everything else will be unstable.


Local efforts will be the key to limiting the impacts of resource choices. are likely to focus on local carbon sources or storage points. These high carbon areas include farm fields and residues, homes and buildings, home utensils and furnishings, family and local waste, and local forest growth and mortality.


Carbon stabilization can be done at the local level in two general ways:


  1. keep what is alive or stable in a situation where the condition does not change, or

  2. turn the material which will rot into a fuel and retain as much of that fuel as charcoal that can be used for constructive purposes in the community (wastewater filtration, soil remediation) and then be returned to the soil either for land/ecosystem restoration or for increasing agricultural productivity, fully realizing the benefits of the stable, recalcitrant carbon.


There are few alternatives available for this process to be realized without careful intervention by interested local people all the way through the process. There is much work to do to help community regions become the careful responsible areas they can be.


Afterword

This is a simplified discussion of a very complex topic. It is written without detailed discussion of sources for brevity. Where there appear to be untested possibilities, the questions are raised along with the reasons for us all to dig deeper into the facts to clarify what is true from the hype. For instance, it may be difficult to understand the reality of the very long term greenhouse gas emissions, particularly of methane, given the “Think About It” campaign hyping up the use of natural gas as a “bridge” fuel. Is it is possible that it is a bridge to nowhere?


We don't know when a true global catastrophe will appear, but we do know that the 40 years required for emissions to fully affect climate puts the onset of this emergency around the time of the 1970s oil crisis. This onesided debate is a few decades overdue. (Though, we might note the contrast in political will in addressing defined threats from radical Islam).


There is general agreement from the Arctic Methane Emergency Group that we are hitting Arctic methane release tipping points as Arctic Sea ice is lost14. It now appears that the Arctic Sea Ice will be gone during summer months by 2016. It is expected that if the release of these significant amounts of methane occurs, major changes in weather patterns will prevent the livable climate stability.

There are several groups advocating major efforts which only governments can undertake effectively, but there are indeed important energy changes possible at the community and neighborhood levels. These possibilities of a local nature are not likely to be facilitated by traditional financing and governments now in place15.


The problem we face is not that geo-engineering tactics might lull us all into complacency, shirking our carbon emission cutting responsibilities. The problem is that too few of us fully understand the imbalance in the natural world and the root issues of the extractive economics responsible for the imbalance. An international carbon fee or “tax” is imperative as reparation to the environment and to the vast social injustices that have been perpetrated by “too big to fail” operations and soul-less enterprises for many decades.


There is an interesting community organizing concept being developed and deployed by the “Fix the World Project”16. The concept came from their frustration with the lack of cooperation that they got from the groups that called themselves investors. They call the concept: Cottage Industry Community Units (CICU). A CICU is designed to provide a way for local groups to come together and pool resources and expertise to tackle any community need. The whole idea is explained in a free online book available in their site see the link below17.

1 Energy Position Paper. 2008. Alan C. Page, Ph.D Green Diamond Systems Belchertown, MA https://sites.google.com/site/commongoodforestry/home/energy-position-paper-2007/energy-position-paper-2008

3Add video links

4http://sites.google.com/site/commongoodforestry see the Details of our climate crisis page.

5 http://peswiki.com/index.php/Main_Page

6http://hopegirl2012.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/public-awareness-announcement-we-now-have-the-evidence-of-paid-government-trolls-targeting-the-online-reputation-of-bloggers-radio-show-hosts-and-other-positive-change-agents/

7http://www.keshefoundation.org/applications/environment-agriculture/121-environment-en.html

The link to solidification of CO2 is out of date so no information is available at this time.

10Link: All Powerr Labs – http://www.gekgasifier.com

14 Press Release: Urgent Message to Governments from the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, AMEG

AMEG’s Declaration: Governments must get a grip on a situation which IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has ignored. A strategy of mitigation and adaptation is doomed to fail. It will be impossible to adapt to the worst consequences of global warming, as IPCC suggests. The Arctic must be cooled, ASAP, to prevent the sea ice disappearing with disastrous global consequences. Rapid warming in the Arctic, as sea ice retreats, has already disrupted the jet stream. The resulting escalation in weather extremes is causing a food crisis which must be addressed before the existing conflicts in Asia and Africa spread more widely.

15 CED – Adaptive Program for Agriculture: Embattled Farmers: 1776 and 2003 by Jody Aliesan Published on Friday, December 19, 2003 by CommonDreams.org

16http://www.fixtheworldproject.net/

17http://hopegirl2012.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/how-to-fix-the-world-complete2.pdf

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A CARBON NEGATIVE COMMENTARY:

by Alan Page, Ph.D., Research Forester


You Get What You Accept”


A call for community wide responsibility for very local responses to a global problem by use of well understood small scale techniques that are not described or promoted by the current scientific community.

THERE IS NO ADDITIONAL DUMPING SPACE FOR WASTE CO2, if our children are to have a world with an average temperature less than 2 degrees above the current global average.


If there is no additional CO2 holding capability in the planetary buffer, then we must:

  1. Do everything possible to stabilize existing carbon rich accumulations, and

  2. Cause the available carbon uptake mechanisms to function at peak effect for climate change mitigation, and

  3. Get off carbon based non-renewable energy immediately, and

  4. Continue to stabilize the old carbon sources and safeguard CO2 recovered in various natural systems each year.

Read “The Money Mafia” by Paul Hellyer, former Minister of Defence for Canada. Or watch his March 18, 2015 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv8XB3qE8JM#t=335

ThTThese topics are discussed in increasing detail in the more complete Summary starting with a general overview followed by individual sections that probe each area in more depth. References are provided only in the detailed discussions to limit the length of each stage. Copies of the current version of the full discussion are available online at Common Good Forestry – Current Energy Position Papers.

<ht<https://sites.google.com/site/commongoodforestry/home/energy-position-papers>

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Summary of Energy and Climate Issues

for EVERYONE - 2014

By Alan C. Page, Ph.D. MA Licensed Forester #184, NH Licensed Forester #218

Contact: alan@greendiamondsystems.com Cell: 413-883-0642

You Get What You Accepti.

This is a simplified discussion of the interaction of Energy and Climate, a very complex topic. Humanity is engaged in an energy based experiment involving an attempt to gain global control of everything by those with the power and money to do so. There can be no control group for this experiment, and we are all now in a situation for which there can be no insurance policy for most of the biosphere. Detailed discussions of each topic is available in Annexes and end notes for brevity.


Read Paul Hellyer's book, “The Money Mafia – A world in crisis” , or watch his March 18, 2015 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv8XB3qE8JM#t=335  before doing anything more than scanning the following. We have been led down a primrose path that must not continue. This paper can not adequately describe the range of actions that must accompany the topics covered here.


The “Developed” portion of the Earth's population has been led down a path of untested assumptions that have separated people from the source of their survivalii. The combination of our energy use and the climatic consequences may have led us to the point of one last set of choices, and yet most are unaware of the causes and opportunities. It appears that the greed of a few and the gullibility of the crowd have brought us to this cross-roads. We all have choices to make and they need to be made well.


Be careful because, You Get What You Accept. (It is hard to believe that there are so many areas of our existence that have been distorted for private gain, but that is the challenge of our time. None of us are going to see the whole picture because there are so many parts, so it is essential for each one to keep an open mind and find ways to survive while making the most appropriate changes proactively!)

POLICY ON INFORMATION QUALITY IN THIS DOCUMENT:

Where there appear to be untested possibilities, questions about the basis for these possibilities are raised along with the reasons for us all to dig deeper into the facts to clarify what is true from the hype. For instance, it may be difficult to understand the reality of the claims for natural gas (methane) given the “Think About It” campaign being broadcast to hype the use of natural gas as a “bridge” fueliii. Is it possible that it is a bridge to nowhere? Are we in the midst of an emergency that we have not acknowledged?iv


The source of the profound climatic problem:

There is general agreement among those engaged in polar research that we are about to or have already trip(ped) Arctic methane release tipping points as Arctic Sea ice is lostv. It now appears that most of the Arctic Sea Ice will be gone during summer months by 2016. It is expected that, if the release of significant amounts of methane, that is now held within Arctic permafrost, the shallow Arctic seas and along coastal-shelves, occurs, major changes in weather patterns will follow soon after. Indeed, the current destabilized polar vortex is an example of what can be expected to become much more common and to intensify in both content and duration. The stability that humanity has come to expect will disappear. There are several groups advocating major efforts that only governments can undertake. There has been little mention of proactive measures that can and must be done at the community and smaller scales. These possibilities of a local nature are not likely to be facilitated by any of the current financing or by governments now in placevi.


If there is no additional CO2 holding capability in the planetary buffervii, then we must:

  1. Do everything possible to stabilize existing carbon rich stocks, and

  2. Cause the available carbon uptake mechanisms to function at peak effect for climate change mitigation, and

  3. Get off non-renewable carbon based non-renewable energyviii immediately, and

  4. Continue to stabilize the old carbon sources and safeguard carbon taken up each year.

These topics will be discussed separately in the next paragraphs.


1. Do everything possible to stabilize existing carbon rich stocks (accumulations):

Carbon rich accumulations exist all around us. They include soils (including wetlands), farm residues, and forests as well as wooden structures, furniture, human organic wastes, abandoned coal mines, old oil and gas wells, other existing stocks of carbonaceous wastes or residues of all kinds, and polar and coastal deposits of methane. The first three areas and some of the others are local and are currently “mined for value”. Our society does not have a mechanism in place to even define, much less, recognize acceptable practices, mechanisms and techniques that result in maintenance of the stability of the accumulated carbon. The lack of “value” ascribed to “maintenance” of the life sustaining capacity of such practices guarantees that there will be few who can or even try to carry out the necessary activities.


Essential vocabulary:

Carbon Status:

There are three terms that we must become conversant with: Carbon Positive, Carbon Neutral and Carbon Negative. Most energy producing systems today are carbon positive – they release more carbon as CO2 than can be recovered by their process (if any). Natural systems are normally carbon neutral – the emissions of CO2 are in balance over a reasonable period of time. Only a few natural systems can be carbon negative – they gather carbon from the atmosphere and hold a portion of it from release for extended periods. These systems include: rock weathering where carbonate rocks are formed from more reduced sources of material, precipitation of some marine carbonaceous material and charcoal


Greenhouse Gas Effect (GGE):

There are many greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor and CFCs) to list a few). They differ in their effects on atmospheric heat loss. The normal gas used to compare the effects is carbon dioxide.


Energy Efficiency – Energy Return on Energy Invested:

Humanity is conditioned to expect that it will always take more energy input than


The formation of a carbon-negative society may seem to be beyond the capacity of local or individual efforts, but in fact there is one technology that is very old and could become part of normal life if it were developed, made available at an appropriate (local) scale, and used widely – that is making charcoal. Stabilizing carbon requires that the carbon stock be transformed to take a form that is not reactive at normal earth temperatures. Charcoal is such a non-reactive compound. Charcoal is easily formed, BUT the systems for doing so without emissions or collection of energy are EITHER not off the shelf, expensive or poorly promoted. We must advocate for the development and use of “carbon–negative” systems that are available to all. The “Carbon Capture and Storage” (CCS) hype by the “Clean Coal” advocates is neither honest or helpful. Recently Federal efforts to commercialize CCS have been abandoned.


Other energy sources, delivery systems and community organization:

Energy sources today involve a limited and inefficient delivery system that allows providers to be compensated for the use of most of it. The conversion systems are classed as “symmetric” systems and limit the amount recovered to a fraction of the energy supplied by the fuel source. Alternative sources from the “asymmetric” or universal free energy spectrum have been systematically suppressed as Hellyer observes. A number of insiders are now coming forward to reveal details of how these sources can be tapped without using significant amounts of outside energy.


There is an interesting community organizing concept being developed and deployed by the “Fix the World Project”ix. The concept came from their frustration with the lack of cooperation that they got from the groups that called themselves investors. They call the concept: “Cottage Industry Community Units" (CICU). A CICU is designed to provide a way for local groups to come together and pool resources and expertise to tackle any community need. The whole idea is explained in a free online book available at their website see the link belowx. See Annex 2 for more discussion.

Trees and forests as carbon sinks and sources:

The August 12, 2014 issue of Time Magazine had a “LightBox” picture of the Yosemite National Park ablaze. This may become the new normal of a CARBON POSITIVE FOREST. SO WHAT? Why should you care? That is really the message of this whole paper! Forests should not become carbon positive. If any significant proportion of the worlds forests do become carbon positive the earth will have entered a series of positive feed back loops that will be impossible to reverse and “life as we know it” will have ceased to exist. The craters found in the permafrost of the Yamal Peninsula that appeared in the summer of 2014 appear to be formed by the rapid release of large pockets of trapped methane gas. While this is new to terrestrial topography it has been happening for decades in the seas around the Arctic circle. This extension of this phenomenon should be viewed with ALARM. There are tremendous quantities of methane in similar situations. Stopping the release of these gases should be a topic of immediate concern.



Note that the simple accumulation of carbon by forest trees was not included as a carbon negative vehicle since that is only the first step in the process of turning tree gathered carbon into a stable, non-reactive, compound. The present concentration of carbon trading on forest “preservation” appears to be a poorly thought out practice with little long term advantages. The formation of charcoal from the carbon accumulated by plants that will die and rot or plants that can be determined to be slowing the growth of others that have the capacity to be long term occupants of the site and the eventual inclusion of that carbon in soils or other long term storage venues is the only way that we have found to reliably store or sequester that carbon. This fact will be the main focus of the rest of this document.


Recent investigation into methane production by trees both living and deadxi has raised serious questions about the relation between tree growth rate and annual effect on global warming by unmanaged forests. It appears that large slow growing trees may be significant sources of methane and may also be at increasing risk to death or structural damage as climatic change intensifiesxii.


Biochar a special term used generically:

Biochar has been adopted as a term to describe any charcoal that is expected to be used in soils; unfortunately there are many forms that this can take before finally being finally applied and much confusion can result. It is our position that “biochar” is an unhelpful but simple term for carbon-negative,soil-applied charcoal that should be used only for charcoal that is finally applied to soil. When “biochar” is done well it is beneficial in myriad ways. Biochar is complicated because the broad use of this term that has little in common in all forms of use, other than having charcoal as a primary component, and does not carry any clear description of what to expect from its use except that some portion may be carbon-negative. When charcoal is finally applied to the soil a portion of it will be stable for centuries or more. In this sense it is likely always to be carbon negative. Over time this natural carbon occurrence (think of charcoal formed by forest and range fires) will always be benign or beneficial in the long runxiii.


The urgency for carbon-negativity regardless of which energy source dominates the market:

Regardless, of the source of energy found to run any community, it is imperative that carbon accumulations be stabilized because even free energy devices are generally not carbon-negative because they involve the use of energy to build, maintain and decommission the devices and they do not take in carbon in any form. It seems logical that until the climate has returned to a stable situation – where the earth has ceased to add heat to any part of the global mass the removal or stabilization of carbon release sources will be necessary.


2. Cause the available carbon uptake mechanisms to function at peak effect for climate change mitigation:

First, follow the suggestions to get off non-renewable carbonaceous energy sources. Forests offer a special case where there has been much misinformation disseminated by many different sources for many different reasons. If a forest dies because of our inattention then it will be even harder to restart one.


Forests and farms are the ubiquitous natural carbon uptake areas. Farms involve annual activity, but forests are generally thought to be self-sufficient and better off if left alone. As our climate changes this too must be reevaluated. Active forest thinning if done at the right time can improve the growth rate of the trees that are left to grow. Unfortunately, waiting until the removal of material will pay dividends immediately, frequently causes the area to accumulate and stabilize less carbon than if one or more pre-commercial thinning(s) had taken place at the right time(s).


Information and disinformation sources:

The paper by Coveyxiv presents a new perspective for evaluating what might be effective strategies for reducing the greenhouse gas effect (GGE) of forest retention. If the observations are correct slow growing large trees are potentially carbon positive.

Other recent scientific papers have confused this issue by failing to compare carbon uptake on a unit area basis. There is no doubt that most individual large trees may take in more CO2 than single small trees, but they may also lose much larger amounts of carbon when branches or whole trees die. Small trees occur in enormous numbers and those numbers are always changing. So while there is significant unit area uptake with small trees there is also significant loss of carbon if it is not captured before it rots. The important criteria involves summation of both the uptake and the loses from all source gases within a given area over an extended period of time. Careful study and analysis is needed to decide how to maintain the efficiency of uptake. It is a truism that tall trees are very risky storage entities. Dense forests are generally growing very slowly. This results in three outcomes, 1) it takes a much longer time for a crop to be grown thus exposing these trees to more possible damage, 2) much of the initial tree population dies and rots before it is economic to recover , and 3) methane is periodically released from the wet portions of biomass – thereby returning the carbon with a variety of GGFs to the atmosphere – possibly with a net zero balance from carbon accumulationxv.


Early thinning can concentrate most of the productive capacity of the site on a fewer number of trees and the growth period can be significantly shortened. Unharvestable biological material that dies and rots is an atmospherically carbon-positive component since the collected carbon will have been released with no net affect on human carbon fuel use.


So in this new climatic situation it is important to: 1) be able to collect and stabilize as much of the carbon collected by trees before the carbon based parts rot, 2) to do it at the right time in the life of the forest so that the trees that are left can grow rapidly, and 3) to harvest this material in a manner to minimize the damage to the remaining trees and the forest soils. There are many parts of this problem that need to be addressed proactively. The maintenance should be done by people who live close to the forest and do not add to the pollution or cost of the activity either by their travel or by the equipment they must use. See Annex 3 for more discussion.


3. Get off carbon based non-renewable energy immediately:

The fact that there is no future capacity for the earth atmosphere to accept more CO2 from fossil sources or unnecessary release from natural sources should be a wake-up call for each member of the human race to do due diligence regarding what is feasible and necessary from their perspective. This “due-diligence” should include:

  1. Exploring for LOCAL sources of energy from carbon free sources,

  2. Developing local renewable fuels for heating,

  3. Generating or purchase of electricity from carbon negative sources, as well as

  4. Finding or developing sources of local liquid fuels from existing carbon sources, such as our current land fill materials, agricultural residues and unthinned and / or old forests, any of which are likely to be quickly converted to CO2 or methane and released to the atmosphere as the organic matter decays.

  5. Follow the efforts of the “free energy” proponents now apparently successfully working their way toward global acceptance of proven technologiesxvi. As with the “Think About It” campaign one may find it difficult to discern reality from the hype! If such developments proceed without “official” disruption (a big IF), energy use will be much less of an environmental problem than is now the case. There are many questions that need to be asked and followed up as if our lives depended on the answers. See Annex1 on this topic for more details.

  6. Regardless of the progress of others in the above processes, each one should find a way to be involved in a “Cottage Industry Community Unit” (CICU) as described by the Fixtheworldproject.net to provide a local fabrication group for those functions that have been shown to work for others or to pursue development of ideas from within the local group.

  7. Above all remember importing a product or solution from outside that can be done locally is equivalent to allowing an other entity to “mine” your area for value. Just as with operation of a “normal mine”, that choice results in expenditure of energy (release of CO2) and sends resources and or wealth away from your area just as if there were a mine in the center of town.

  8. Remember that just because it appears that someone else can do something cheaper than you can, many of these calculations do not include the damaging affects (costs) of energy use or depletion of the natural environment.


4. Continue to stabilize the old carbon sources and safeguard carbon taken up each year:

Local efforts are likely to focus on local carbon accumulations or storage points. These high carbon situations include farm fields, local forest growth and mortality and residues, local wetlands, homes and buildings, home utensils and furnishings, and industrial, commercial, family and community wastes.


Carbon stabilization can be done at the local level in two general ways: 1) keep what is alive or stable in a situation where the condition does not deteriorate, or 2) turn the material which will rot or burn to ash into a fuel and retain as much of that fuel as charcoal which will be used for constructive purposes throughout the community and then be placed in a soil situation so that it does not deteriorate for millenia.


There are few alternatives available for this process to be realized without careful intervention by interested local people all the way through the process. There is much work to do to help each region to become the careful responsible area that it could be. See Annex 4 for more discussion.

iThere is a long history of psychological manipulation of people, crowds, voters, etc. That was honed to an art form by Edward Bernays during the twentieth century. We have what we now enjoy because of the efforts to change wants into needs thus maintaining the consumer based economy. This has resulted in the pyramiding of wealth and the accumulation of pollution to extremely toxic levels. The story of this period is worth some study.

iiIf not included in this copy, the Annexes are available at Common Good Forestry

iiiThe true energy situation of earth bound inhabitants will work it self to clarity only as the fraudulent base for wealth and value is replaced by an honest system that recognizes the biological basis of life as a model for setting human goals. Unfortunately, the current energy focus of rapid access to large stored reserves and the use of the atmosphere as a carbon dump is completely unsustainable even without considering the affects of the climate catastrophe. It does appear that there may have been considerable inappropriate manipulation of the physics underlying energy production, delivery and use. However, the time is near when humanity will either clarify these distortions or it will be subjugated by those who now control the energy sources. There is no

ivSee Annex 1 for more discussion

v Press Release: Urgent Message to Governments from the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, AMEG

AMEG’s Declaration: Governments must get a grip on a situation which IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has ignored. A strategy of mitigation and adaptation is doomed to fail. It will be impossible to adapt to the worst consequences of global warming, as IPCC suggests. The Arctic must be cooled, ASAP, to prevent the sea ice disappearing with disastrous global consequences. Rapid warming in the Arctic, as sea ice retreats, has already disrupted the jet stream. The resulting escalation in weather extremes is causing a food crisis which must be addressed before the existing conflicts in Asia and Africa spread more widely.

vi CED – Adaptive Program for Agriculture: Embattled Farmers: 1776 and 2003 by Jody Aliesan Published on Friday, December 19, 2003 by CommonDreams.org

vii http://www.climatecodered.org/2014/05/the-real-budgetary-emergency-burnable.html

How fast and how profoundly we act to stop climate change caused by human actions, and work

to return to a safe climate, is perhaps the greatest challenge our species has ever faced, but are

we facing up to what really needs to be done?

We have to come to terms with two key facts: practically speaking, there is no longer a "carbon

budget" for burning fossil fuels while still achieving a two-degree Celsius (2°C) future; and the

2°C cap is now known to be dangerously too high.

For the last two decades, climate policy-making has focused on 2°C of global warming impacts as

being manageable, and a target achievable by binding international treaties and incremental,

non-disruptive, adjustments to economic incentives and regulations (1).

But former UK government advisor Professor Sir Robert Watson says the idea of a 2°C target "is

largely out of the window”, International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol calls it "a nice

Utopia", and international negotiations chief Christiana Figueres says we need "a miracle". This is

because, in their opinions, emissions will not be reduced sufficiently to keep to the necessary

"carbon budget"

viii Energy Position Paper - 2008 and ¾ By Alan C. Page, Ph. D. – Green Diamond Systems Belchertown, MA https://sites.google.com/site/commongoodforestry/home/energy-position-paper-2007/energy-position-paper-2008

ixhttp://www.fixtheworldproject.net/

xhttp://hopegirl2012.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/how-to-fix-the-world-complete2.pdf

xiCovey, K. R., S. A. Wood, R. J. Warren II, X. Lee, and M. A. Bradford (2012), Elevated methane concentrations in trees of an upland forest, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L15705, doi:10.1029/2012GL052361.

xiiClimatic affects include weather destabilization, increased duration of drought, intense rain or snow events, icing and high winds any of which may have profound effects on tree health and stability.

xiiiSee Annex 3, 4 & 5 – this is a complicated area that is worthy of much study and personal experimentation.

xivSee xi above.

xvSee Annex 5 for details on forest growth and development.

xvihttp://www.fixtheworldproject.net/

See the latest EnergyClimate paper and or Annex file below for more details

 
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