CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION: CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION AND TREES WITHIN USIU COMPOUND
UWASE BARAKABUYE DIANE 644687
LETHOME ZAHRA IBRAHIM 644691
GITONGA EUNICE MUTHONI 650426
TOM ENANE IVY 652037
LYNNBRIELLE WANGA 650666
SUMMER SEMESTER 2018
Introduction and Literature Review
Global warming is the increase in atmospheric as well as oceanic temperatures which then leads to climate change. Climate change can be defined as statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time. It may also be referred to as change in average weather conditions or in the time variation of weather within the context of long-term average conditions. Climate change is caused by factors such as biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by earth, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions CITATION Ame10 l 1033 (Advancing the Science of Climate Change, 2010).
Greenhouse gas emissions have increased over time, especially from 2001 to 2010, which was highly contributed by fossil fuel combustion and industrial activities which led to levels of carbon dioxide(CO2) rising for more than 70% in the given period. Reasons for the rising levels of greenhouse gases include; contribution from the energy and industry sectors especially in developed countries with more advanced industrial sectors and energy supply as compared to the lesser developed countries whose CO2 omission levels are lower. There has also been an increase in the use of coal in 2001-2010 as compared to other energy sources especially in developing economies. Countries need to be actively involved in mitigating as well as adapting to changes that will positively impact the climate. The objective of mitigation is to reduce the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere to a particular level, the various technologies necessary for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, the coordination of mitigation in different countries which involves coming up with policies on climate change CITATION Tec l 1033 (Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, 2014).
Climate change mitigation involves the intervention of human beings in various ways so as to reduce the sources of greenhouse gases or to develop sinks for similar gases. This is due to the drastic changes in climate that have been experienced over time which have led to drastic effects experienced by human beings as well as the consequences of the changes in numerous ecosystems. Therefore mitigation is aimed at reducing the harmful effects of climate change on people and on the ecological wellbeing. In Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the objective of mitigation is to stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere so as to prevent dangerous consequences on the climate system, and this should be done within a period that will ensure that ecosystems are able to adapt to the changes, and in a manner that sustains economic development CITATION Tec l 1033 (Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, 2014).
Human activities associated with energy production and consumption is known to increase greenhouse gas emissions especially in the urban areas that have a higher population CITATION Tec l 1033 (Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, 2014). Human activities also include deforestation, which basically reduces the number of trees that act as carbon sinks and therefore reduce the levels of CO2 emission in the atmosphere, and this is done mostly for settlement purposed where people are extending their settlements to the forest regions due to high population growth rates. For instance the world population from 1970 to 2010 increased from 3.7 billion to 6.9 billion, resulting in the increase of production and consumption levels. Mitigation policies need to be put in place, that emission of CO2 is accounted for by each sector and as a result ensure that there changes are made in both the supply and consumption of energy, the industry sector and land practices in various regions. Implementation of implementation strategies will be less costly when countries work towards reducing the impact of greenhouse emissions globally as opposed to wanting to reduce the levels in a particular region CITATION Tec l 1033 (Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, 2014).
The energy sector is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases globally which is due to the high energy demand in numerous industries such as transportation, manufacturing, production, and building. The energy supply sector can become more efficient in reducing CO2 emissions such as fugitive emission reductions in extracting fuel and in the conversion of energy, and the utilization of energy supply technologies with low gas emission like renewable energy CITATION Can08 l 1033 (Canadell & Raupach, 2008). Using renewable energy comes with numerous other benefits such as reducing air pollution, employment opportunities, reduced accidents as compared to supplying other energy sources, and improved access of energy. Nuclear energy can also be another source of energy, however there are numerous risks involved with it such as safety concerns CITATION Tec l 1033 (Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, 2014).
Carbon sinks are natural systems that suck up and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The main natural carbon sinks are plants, the ocean and soil CITATION Joa12 l 1033 (Mullen, 2012). Plants grab carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to use in photosynthesis; some of this carbon is transferred to soil as plants die and decompose. The oceans are a major carbon storage system for carbon dioxide. Marine animals also take up the gas for photosynthesis, while some carbon dioxide simply dissolves in the seawater. “Combined, the Earth’s land and ocean sinks absorb about half of all carbon dioxide emissions from human activities,” said Paul Fraser of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. But this sinks, critical in the effort to soak up some of our greenhouse gas emissions, may be stopping up, thanks to deforestation CITATION Joa12 l 1033 (Mullen, 2012).
Forests play a very important role in mitigating climate change by absorbing a very large amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and therefore it is vital that such carbon sinks are properly managed to mitigate the buildup of atmospheric CO2 CITATION Can08 l 1033 (Canadell & Raupach, 2008). However strategies need to be put in place so as to mitigate climate change through forestry which include; reforestation so as to increase the area of forest land, to reduce deforestation as well as forest degradation, to widen the use of forest products that can reduce CO2 emission, and finally to increase the carbon density of existing forests. Forestry as a strategy for mitigating climate change also has some disadvantages, for instance in case of fire outbreaks the carbon stored in the trees will be released to the atmosphere and such conditions are attributed by hot and dry seasons experienced in particular regions for a long period of time. Forests can also affect some properties of land such as sunlight reflectivity and evaporation where the trees act as barriers between the land and the sun. Reforestation as well as expansion of forests can also have socioeconomic impact if not well planned such as a decrease in food security in a particular region since most of the land is dedicated to forestry. However a well-managed forest project can have numerous positive benefits such as sustainably produced timber and energy as well as rural development CITATION Can08 l 1033 (Canadell & Raupach, 2008).
Methods of Measuring Carbon in Trees
Trees are natural carbon sinks and the amount stored in each depends on the species as well as the size of individual trees. Stored carbon in the trees can remain in a living tree or in cut trees for many years, after which the tree decomposes and the stored carbon returns to the atmosphere. Therefore forests in general play a vital role in the carbon cycle and can help in reducing the amounts of carbon in the atmosphere. Scientists first measure the diameter and height of a tree and use that as a sample within a particular plot to estimate the biomass of the trees CITATION Sou1 l 1033 (Southeastern Forests and Climate Change).
Amount of Carbon dioxide can be measured using numerous methods; however there are two commonly known methods;
This method is by far the easiest. First one is required to measure the circumference of the tree about 1.3 meters height from the ground, and this should be done and recorded at least three times then find the average circumference. A table is then provided containing a column with circumference and another with total dry weight, therefore using the average circumference one can convert it to dry weight (biomass). Half of a tree’s dry weight is the amount of carbon
Climate change in recent times has been due to increased industrial activities which have led to drastic shifts in climatic conditions all over the world. The levels of Carbon in the atmosphere have been increasing over time especially as a result of human activities like deforestation for settlement or energy purposes. Increasing our forest regions will likely assist in reducing the amount of Carbon in the atmosphere.
Hypothesis/ Research Questions
How much carbon is stored in trees?
How have carbon sinks in USIU assisted in climate change mitigation?
Has USIU been able to achieve climate change mitigation?
What are the benefits of climate change mitigation to USIU?
Do trees mitigate global warming?
What is the variety of tree diameter in USIU?
To assess the tree diameter categories in USIU.
To define the role of trees in our environment as carbon sinks.
Calculating the amount of biomass in kilograms stored in trees.
Calculating the amount of carbon stored in the trees within USIU compound.
To estimate the carbon stored in trees.
Research Methodology and Data Collection
The research will utilize descriptive research design. Data collection will involve both primary and secondary data sources. Secondary sources will involve books, journals and any other material from the university library. Primary sources will include observation, and interviewing experts in the field of forestry.
The main method however will involve sampling, where we will divide the USIU compound into blocks and from there randomly select the representative blocks. And using the allometric equation, calculate the biomass of trees. This will involve the use of a tape measure to measure the diameter and height of trees in the selected block.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Advancing the Science of Climate Change. (2010). America’s Climate Choice: Panel on Adancing the Science of Climate Change.
Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. (2014). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 31-108.
Canadell, J. G., & Raupach, M. R. (2008). Managing Forests for Climate Change Mitigation. Science.
Mullen, J. (2012). Climate and Energy Resolutions. Investor Network on Climate Risk.
Southeastern Forests and Climate Change. (n.d.). Project Learning Tree, 139-160.