Forests Could Speed Up Global Warming, Scientists Say

Planting forests as carbon "sinks" now thought counterproductive.

Published: 08-Nov-2000

LONDON (Reuters) - Global warming could happen faster than scientists expect because forests, instead of mitigating climate change, could speed it up, researchers said Wednesday.

As environment ministers prepare for a major climate change conference in The Hague next week, scientists at Britain's Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research said planting forests to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and reduce global warming could be counterproductive.

Two studies published in the science journal Nature using computer models of global warming show that as temperatures rise, forests, or so-called carbon sinks, are likely to emit more CO2 into the atmosphere, leading to further warming of the climate.

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