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15.12.2009 01:00Uutiset » Tapahtumat

AGI:n “ympäristötoimittaja” Don Carli on paikan päällä Kööpenhaminan ilmastokokouksessa. Ohessa miehen englanniksi kirjoittama artikkeli tapahtumasta sekä linkki miehen twitter-sivuille.

COPENHAGEN ON MY MIND – REDUCING DIGITAL MEDIA TREE-WASH

Most people will tell you that they care about saving our forests,
but they tend to be uninformed or misinformed when it comes to knowing
the causes of deforestation or some of the places being affected most
significantly by land use change that kills trees, pollutes rivers and
contributes to climate change. Until recently the conventional wisdom
has been to demonize paper and print media as the major culprit behind
“killing trees” and to idealize digital media as “green and groovy”
alternative without consideration for the full backstory or life cycle
footprint of either.

Pixels Don’t Grow on Trees
Paper and print media supply chains are far from being sustainable, but
may be far less of a threat to forests than the “Tree-Wash” claims
about how digital media saves trees or how pixels are greener than
pages. “Tree-Wash” is my term for a special class of “greenwash” making
false, misleading or unsupported marketing claims that ignore the
causes of deforestation associated with digital media, or that fail to
identify the actual trees and forests allegedly being saved or planted.

However, the Copenhagen Climate Summit and technologies developed to
verify land use are likely to play a major role in changing the status
quo with regard to foot-printing forests, identifying trees and the
calculating the climate impacts of coal-powered IT.

From Dec. 7 to Dec. 18 representatives of 191 nations and at least
65 world leaders will attend the United Nations “COP15″ Climate Summit
in Copenhagen to seek agreement on a new global treaty to limit
emissions of greenhouse gases; one of the most significant issues to be
addressed is protecting and restoring global forest ecosystems.

I’ll be traveling to Copenhagen to cover the last week of the
Climate Summit and report on how the decisions being made are likely to
impact the forestry, papermaking, printing, publishing and IT sectors
that the graphic arts depend on.

I hope to hear from all of you who have questions for the leaders
convened in Copenhagen. I will do my best to track down the answers.

Are You Seeing REDD yet?
Deforestation and the sustainable management of the world’s forests are
serious issues that should be top of mind given the world’s focus on
climate change. Trees sequester carbon equal to half of their dry
weight, and scientists estimate that as much 20 percent of total
emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted due to
deforestation, land use change and forest degradation. For that reason,
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is
a major issue that will be addressed in Copenhagen.

Sustainable forestry will play an increasingly important role in
supporting the literacy and sanitary existence of the world’s growing
population. In addition to providing millions of jobs and providing the
wood fiber used to produce over 350 million tons of paper per year, the
world’s forests also serve as the planet’s “lungs” by converting or
“sequestering” atmospheric carbon dioxide into woody biomass and
providing other important environmental services. In addition,
sustainably harvested forest biomass will increasingly be employed by a
new generation of integrated biorefineries to replace fossil fuel
energy and petrochemical feedstocks.

According to some reports just one day’s deforestation is equivalent
to the greenhouse gas emissions of eight million people flying to New
York; in order to address such a serious challenge and provide a basis
to monitoring the reduction of deforestation and forest degradation, an
impressive array of geo-locative and remote sensing capabilities are
being developed to map the world’s forests and identify the location of
individual trees with startling precision.

For example, as part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010,
the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and
its member countries and partners is undertaking a global remote
sensing survey of forests covering the whole land surface of the Earth.
FAO is also providing technical support for national forest assessments
and the establishment of national forest monitoring systems. See:
Global Forest Resources Assessment

Do You See the Forest or the Trees?
Remote sensing of forest biomass and geo-locative tagging of trees will
become increasingly important as the exemption of carbon dioxide
emissions from bioenergy use will only be appropriate if there is a
system that also counts emissions from deforesting land and land use
activities that degrade forest ecologies. In that way, if biomass for
energy use results in deforestation, emissions are counted as land use
emissions equivalent to fossil fuel emissions. However, these new
applications will also be making it possible to stem the tsunami of “Go
Digital, Save Trees” Tree-Wash marketing claims that many marketers of
e-billing, e-books and digital media have been flooding the market with.

One of the little known but significant causes of deforestation in
the United States related to digital media is the practice of Mountain
Top Removal, employed to mine the coal used to generate electricity in
states like West Virginia. In 2008 over 41 million tons of coal were
extracted by means of Mountain Top Removal in West Virginia. Coal
provides the majority of electric power in 32 states, and 99 percent of
the electricity generated in West Virginia comes from coal.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that by 2013 an
area the size of Delaware will have been deforested to extract coal. In
addition to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the energy
consumed by digital media’s IT infrastructure, the deforestation, toxic
air pollution and water pollution impacts associated with coal mining,
coal combustion and coal waste need to be considered before making
claims about digital media being greener than print or saving trees.

Truth in Augmented Reality
Deforestation, illegal logging and land-use changes that result in
greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental damage are serious
matters that billions of people care about. With today’s advanced
remote sensing and geo-location capabilities consumers have every
reason to expect marketers making claims about their offerings saving
trees, or resulting in the planting of trees, to identify the trees in
question and account for the life cycle impacts associated with their
products. Even if the FTC does not yet prosecute such cases, that would
not preclude a competitor from calling on the National Advertising
Review Council to review the truthfulness and accuracy of a green
marketing claim.

As we enter the “Post Madoff” trust-but-verify age of social-media
powered transparency and climate awareness, it is becoming more
possible and important than ever to monitor the green message content
and supply chain impacts of advertising. Pixels may not grow on trees,
but it is increasingly likely that remote sensing and augmented reality
pixels can and will be used to hold marketers responsible for the
carbon footprint of their media supply chains and the truthfulness and
accuracy of advertising claims they make about saving or planting trees.

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