Trees Take on Greenhouse Gases at Super Bowl

By Timothy Gardner
New York (January 30, 2007)- It’s red mangrove trees versus greenhouse gases at the Super Bowl in Miami Sunday. The National Football League is hoping to tackle the game’s heat-trapping gas emissions by planting 3,000 mangroves and other trees native to Florida, but the plan could be more of an incomplete pass than a touchdown when it comes to global warming, experts said. “It’s probably a nice thing to do, but planting trees is not a quantitative solution to the real problem,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University.

The NFL began planting the trees in August and will finish in May. This year’s Super Bowl features the Chicago Bears against the Indianapolis Colts.
The NFL claims the trees planted in Miami, and at the last two Super Bowls, make the games “carbon neutral” because the trees will eventually absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, emitted at the events. Power for the game and fuel for generators at the adjacent NFL Experience Super Bowl theme park, along with its more than 1,200 vehicles, will emit about 500 tons of CO2 on Super Bowl Sunday, according to the U.S. Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Attempts by U.S. companies and organizations to offset carbon are taking root as evidence mounts that heat-trapping emissions from industry and the burning of coal, oil, and gas cause global warming that could lead to deadly flooding, storms, and heat waves.
Jack Groh, the NFL’s environmental coordinator, said the carbon absorbing potential of the mangroves will blossom as the trees reproduce and grow into forests. But he acknowledged that it could be hard to ensure that trees planted by children at schools- another of the NFL’s programs- will last into the future. He said the NFL was constantly trying to learn how to make its climate-neutral program better.
Read the full article at Reuters.
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