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Schoolkids Look Forward to Zero-carbon Life

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Students at a Beijing High School began the school year last Tuesday by donating pocket money to plant trees for carbon sequestration. Donations from the High School affiliated to the China Building Materials Academy will fund tree planting at nearby Changying Park, Beijing Youth Daily reported September 3, 2009.

In an address entitled "Zero-Carbon Life," Li Nuyun of the State Forestry Administration told the school assembly "There are two ways to cope with climate change: One is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; the other is to enhance carbon sequestration. Planting trees absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2)," said Li.

Carbon sequestration is the process of eliminating CO2 from the atmosphere. One way to achieve it is to plant trees, which absorb CO2 and produce oxygen.

"The distance between Xizhimen [in downtown Beijing] to Badaling [a popular section of the Great Wall] is 43 km. If you travel in a private car you will discharge 21 kg of carbon. Traveling by rail will discharge 2.6 kg of carbon, and going by bus will discharge less than 1 kg of carbon," said Li. "That's why the government encourages people to use public transport."

Carbon sequestration by planting trees is easier and cheaper than reducing emissions. Zhou Caixian, vice director of the Beijing Forestry Carbon Sequestration Office, told Beijing Youth Daily. "In the past we planted trees to prevent sand erosion, but now we plant trees to absorb CO2," said Zhou.

It is calculated that a 1.6 Liter car discharges 5.6 tons of CO2 annually. "Planting 0.5 mu (333.5 sq m) of forest costs 1,000 yuan (US$146.4) and will absorb 5.6 tons of CO2 over 20 years," said Zhou.

Beijingers can contribute to carbon sequestration activities in several ways. For 1,000 yuan (US$146.4), car owners can buy a "carbon sequestration logo" that indicates they have offset their car's annual emissions by donating to carbon sequestration projects.

(China Development Gateway by Sun Wan September 7, 2009)