What can Canadians do best for the environmental health of planet Earth? A new look is being provided by the IBUKI satellite launched in 2009 by Japan’s JAXA space agency.
The defined mission is to measure CO2 and methane emissions and absorptions from orbit and compare to those of static terrestrial units. In short, it has found that regions having many devices match satellite measurements much better than those sparsely located. What is more spectacularly revealed is the seasonal variation in these greenhouse gases (GHG).
Just like tides rise and fall, the concentrations vary by 10 per cent during each year. While common publications describe the slow creep upwards of average CO2, in reality it currently varies from 360 to 390 ppm in northern latitudes in time with seasonal growth.
IBUKI confirms that our boreal forests are the “lungs of the earth,” and our per capita emissions are miniscule compared to our per capita absorption. Tropical areas with spectacular growth are more than neutralized by the effects of equally vigorous decay.
Environmental scientists around the world are working to either interpret or inject their spin on this new information. Some suggest the role of Canada and Russia to care for their boreal forests is far more important than the European/Kyoto guilt trip of how far we drive SUVs, mine energy resources or grow food for the world.
David A. Kelly