Trees are the source of much of our household tissue. And trees and soil store huge quantities of carbon to add to greenhouse gas totals.
LONDON, 27 June, 2019 − The household tissue you use to blow your nose could be adding to the problems of climate change.
A substantial portion of the tissue products we buy – toilet paper, paper towels and facial tissues – comes from boreal forests, the dense ring of trees which encircles much of the globe just below the Arctic Circle.
These forests – and the soils they stand in – contain vast amounts of carbon; when trees are felled and the land they are growing in is disturbed, carbon is released into the atmosphere, adding to the already dangerously high levels of climate-changing greenhouse gases.
A new report looking at tissue use in the US says Americans are voracious consumers of tissue products; they make up only 4% of the world’s population yet account for more than 20% of global tissue consumption.
The report, by the US-based environmental organisation, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), says much of the tissue in the US originates from trees in Canada’s boreal forests.
“The consequences for indigenous peoples, treasured wildlife and the global climate are devastating”
“This vast landscape of coniferous, birch and aspen trees contains some of the last of the world’s remaining intact forests, and is home to over 600 indigenous communities, as well as boreal caribou, pine marten and billions of songbirds”, says the NRDC.
It says that when boreal forests are degraded, their ability to absorb man-made greehouse gas emissions declines.
“In addition, the carbon that had been safely stored in the forests’ soil and vegetation is released into the atmosphere, dramatically undermining international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
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