Light on the Arctic Horizon

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


They may not officially constitute a tipping point, but the forests that line the Artic Circle hold massive potential to speed up or slow down global warming.

Nearly half of the greenhouse gas carbon that exists on land is contained in these forests, much of it in permafrost. If the permafrost melts, the peat and other plant matter trapped in it would decay, releasing carbon which would, in turn, speed the melting. The trees also store carbon.

Development, mining and logging account for a quarter of the carbon loss in forests, so new Canadian initiatives to give financial perks for preserving land in that country’s so-called “boreal forests” could have some positive effect. Boreal forests in Canada and Scandinavia are likely to be better cared for than those in the U.S. and Russia, whose environmental records, frankly, suck. Canada is also exploring options to sequester carbon dioxide in these relatively pristine lands—a practice that seems questionable, but may be the best option—after reducing our carbon emissions—for keeping our feet out of nature’s fire.

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate