A personal perspective

Allan LaurieThe views expressed here are entirely those of the author, Allan Laurie, who does not purport to express a wider industry view of this often hotly debated subject.

Whether or not you agree with the debate of carbon emissions, climate change and green house gases, there is no question it is now at the forefront of the media, it affects Government's policies and is something that impacts all of us every day.

I confess to being a proponent to many climate change arguments and if you owned a forest or are involved making a living from it, why wouldn’t you be.  Forests are a major lynch pin between continuance and change of our climate.

Most scientists agree that deforestation is having a major impact on climate.  Whether or not you agree with the them, I believe the more important issue the human race faces is one of using all resources wisely and the sustainability of them.

As a forester the most frustrating thing I see is the competition that timber has from steel in the likes of new home framing.  This is happening when steel - a finite, high-energy use,and unsustainable product - competes with wood, a completely sustainable low-energy use product.  Clearly if steel manufacturing in the house framing market paid its true environmental cost, the choice to use sustainable environmentally-kind product would be a no-brainer.

Much of the debate around climate change is about how much the weather has changed. I believe, the weather changes in the last 10 or 20 years has little to do with climate change. Rather the real centre of the debate, is around what is anthropogenic (human induced) change.

Milutin Milanković (1879 – 1958) is credited with the theory that is now known as the Milanković cycles.  He determined, via mathematical process, that matters like orbital variation and axial tilt played a major role in determining our climate.

To quote from wikipedia - "After his death, most of the scientific community came to dispute his "astronomical theory" and did not recognize the results of his research. But ten years after his death and fifty years from the first publication, Milanković's theory was again taken under consideration.  In the beginning, recognition came slowly."  But later the theory was proven to be accurate, as technologies gave us the ability to accurately map these “astronomical variations”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milutin_Milankovi%C4%87

We must all accept we are heading toward another ice age.  But do not be concerned about racing to the store to stock up on your Swandri apparel just yet as we are just 6,000 years in to the current cycle, with another 23,000 years before we should really start to worry.   Many of our man mined resources will be well and truly exhausted by then, but timber will still exist and be replenishable.

More information about “astronomical variations can be found on the following links:
Regarding anthropogenic change, I suggest that climate is not the issue. What is is the human races insatiable appetite for resources!

It is important to remember the planet Earth will be here whether or not we are, but it is the ability of humans to exist on it long-term that is at stake.

If we are able to recognise the benefits of sustainable resources above the resources that can not be replaced, and raise global awareness of our forest industry and the need to retain, nurture, harvest and replant them, then there is no downside.  

The only way forward for climate and country is to get out there and plant more trees” - A. Laurie