Monday, June 11, 2007

Rolling Stone pretends to be carbon neutral

NY Times, June 11:
Just about every major magazine has made some sort of nod to global warming, and Rolling Stone plans to do so in its June 28 issue: on top of the requisite interview with former Vice President Al Gore and an essay by the environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the magazine will start printing on paper that is said to have less of a negative impact on the environment.

But as Rolling Stone and others try to be green, they draw criticism from environmentalists who think that if this is walking the walk, it is doing so with a pronounced limp.

Rolling Stone will be printed on what it calls “carbon neutral paper,” because it is made through a process that the magazine claims adds no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The paper, which is considerably thinner than what Rolling Stone uses now, is made by a Canadian mill, Catalyst Paper, that the magazine says has reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by 82 percent since 2005 and been cited by the World Wildlife Fund for its conservation efforts.

Catalyst offsets the small amount of carbon released in making the paper by planting trees that will not be harvested for more paper, but rather left standing to help cool the climate, said Lyn Brown, a vice president at Catalyst.
The article goes on to say that RS is drawing fire from the CoGW because of the fact that the magazine refuses to use recycled paper (which, they say, doesn't reproduce photos very well).

Catalyst Paper, the mill mentioned in the article, does an admirable job of being less wasteful of the wood fibers used to make pulp -- instead of buying freshly-cut trees, they buy sawdust, "waste" wood, etc. from other mills that would normally send the debris to landfills. Catalyst also tries to ensure that its suppliers are selling wood products harvested from "sustainably managed forests". All well and good -- about as much as can be expected from a paper producer.

The term "sustainably managed forests" usually means massive replanting to replace the trees that are harvested. Perhaps someone can answer this for me, because I don't know -- how many young trees are planted to replace each mature tree that is harvested? If the replacements aren't as much of a carbon dioxide sink as the trees they replaced, the process can't be considered "carbon neutral" in the short term.

If the climate "tipping point" is only 10 years away as the AGW alarmists warn, these trees won't stop it from happening.