CO2 and Indonesian Peat Fires

GreenFudge is broadly a pro AGW blog. i.e. they support the theory of man-made global warming. Whatever you may feel about that, their blog makes interesting reading.

I picked up the following quote from This GreenFudge Post

Deforestation is responsible for 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and the draining of peat forests or peat bogs releases even more CO2 than deforestation does.
[end quote]

Now to me, that sounds like 20% + 20% plus a bit more or about 45 % of total man-made Carbon Dioxide emissions. This incidently roughtly correlates with Al Gores "An Inconvenient Truth", although he places the figure at 30 % and spends less than 1 minute on it. Also the original Sheffield University research into the burning of the Indonesian peat forests in 1997 is illuminating. Sheffield University placed the burning Indonesian peat forest as contributing between 15 and 45% to the global total of AGW CO2.

So anyway, an minimum of say one fifth up to about one half of CO2 emissions come from either burning Indonesian peat forests or Brazilian and African rain forest.

The burning of the Indonesian Peat bogs are particularly useless. This all came about because 20-30 years ago, the Indonesian government decided to drain the massive Indonesian Peat forests in order to plant other crops.

The forests, based on peat, that in places are 30 meters thick and are over 30,000 years old spontaneously caught fire. This was a very big deal in the Far East in the late 90’s /2000’s when the smoke and pollution caused massive problems to Indonesia and surrounding countries. We heard little in England but see Reuters report here and Wikipedia here

The current Indonesian problems are being compounded by the useless rituals we have encouraged like getting them to grow Palm oil to replace diesel and petrol.

We also know the deforestation, due to slash and burn farming practiced by the poor, as they strive (and usually fail) to get a better living in places like Brazil and Africa, causes immense local and global problems.

Yet, are we really concerned about these massive and useless causes of pollution? Would it not be the most appropriate and easy to fix items to put on the agenda? Should these not essentially be absolutely top No 1, 2 and 3 on that agenda?

Unfortunately not.

Now compare this to the total amount of global CO2 emissions from air traffic which from this source is 3.5%. (that includes the aircraft enhancer by the way)

Slash and Burn farming contributes nothing to the environment or mankind, and very little to the poor sods doing it.

Air travel though does serve a useful purpose and is massively important for humanity and will be more so in the future.

Seriously addressing the issue of poor exploited farmers in Indonesia who are ruining the environment both locally and globally though ignorance and poverty really should be the top priority. Instead all that happens is The Great and The Good posture and pose over (for example) air transport.

Say you were able to cut air transport by 50% a year. This 50% cut would equate to reducing deforestation and slash and burn by less than 4%.

If you were to do away with air transport altogether for a whole year it would be like extinguishing the burning peat and forest fires for about 25 days.

Let us, at least, get our priorities right.

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