For as long as climate change legislation has been debated in Oregon, the forestry sector has been the ghost in the room.
If policymakers bothered to discuss it at all, they assumed the sector was carbon neutral, with the greenhouse gas emissions from logging offset by replanting and forest growth each year. But no one really knew; the data didn’t exist for Oregon. And in a state where big timber exercises outsize political clout relative to its economic importance, the politics of including it in any potential regulation or strategy to increase carbon stocks was simply a nonstarter.
As lawmakers gear up to make another attempt to pass a climate change bill in 2019, new data suggests that the forest sector is not only a factor in Oregon’s carbon picture, it is THE factor and one of national and even international importance as lawmakers look to reduce the concentration of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere.
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