Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Enough Trees in Australia to neutralize CO2 produced?

Another day...another bit of quick research, calculations and theories :D

Living in Australia if you travel at all, you travel a lot because of the sheer size of the place and distance between populated areas. One thing I have done a bit of over the last few months is planting trees, giving away free trees, encouraging people to plant a tree (it really is a rewarding, feel good experience) and taking care of a small garden/helping others with their own gardens.

As some will recall I am employed in the environmental sector - I'd felt office-bound for too long and the whole tree planting experience was good for my mind, body and soul (tried not to be cliche but seems there's no avoiding it).

One thing I started to notice during this recent activity was tree plantation efforts of others. Driving up the highway one thing you see is a lot of trees and young saplings that have just been planted or well on the way to becoming healthy adolescent trees.

I'll mention at this stage I'm talking about Australian native trees, they survive well in the absence of water (thanks to adapting to the local weather).

On one of my more recent trips on the highway I got thinking..."wow there are a lot of trees, I wonder if the numbers of trees in Australia and their ability to absorb and utilize CO2 represents a significant figure - Something to counter argue the need of the carbon tax".

As with yesterday's experiment, the passing of the Government's Carbon Package has driven me to do some research. And here is what I discovered:

According to one acre of trees stores 2.6 tonnes of CO2 per year. And according to Google's Public Data Explorer (World Bank World Development Indicators) there are 1,493,000Km2 (368,928,334 acres) of forests in Australia.

This means 959,213,668.4 tonnes is already being absorbed by trees in Australia (theoretically speaking). If you divide this by 23 tonnes (CO2 per capita - As given by...wikipedia) a population of >41mil would have their contributions to CO2 neutralized this way. Australia's Population is <23mil.

Given this information, how a tax on Carbon pollution for Australia came to be  becomes...just more frustrating a thought. On one hand the Government expects us to reduce Carbon Pollution, on the other hand they encourage an ever-increasing population...which is a real problem. The Australian Government encourages this with financial benefits, leave entitlements, etc. The population rises, trees fall victim to urban sprawl (2010 forest coverage is down considerably from 1990) and our standard of living is sacrificed. Point in case? The Carbon Tax. A tax imposed on this generation for living in the transitional period between reliance on fossil fuels and the emergence of a clean technological era which can be proved as being the natural order of things anyhow. 

Sure organic decay also contributes to greenhouse gas concentrations (however small the scale) but 'forests' aren't the only plants in the Country - We are also a country of keen gardeners.

Given this information just makes me question the need and true purpose of a Carbon Tax. How about you?


  1. Despite my love of the environment I cannot stand "green taxes", often the money brought in by them does nothing for "the green initiative". There is only one country in the world I think that though that is taking in more CO2 than it is producing, and it's known as a carbon sinkhole.

  2. Green taxes allow me like Mark though it's good to see people are actually trying something to save the environment. Taxing and other methods are better than nothing which is a strategy some lesser countries try to employ to help the environment.

  3. Come on, you can do it! I support your blog bro.