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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SunShot Catalyst Innovators Take on Software Challenges to Deploy Solar Technology Across America

We just finished the radio side of covering this story by interviewing Dr. Elaine Ulrick of USDOE.  Kudos to Dr. Ulrick and her team for leadership and innovation on reducing costs of solar and putting in programs to build on the US success around job creating for the solar industry.  Great story.

Dr. Elaine Ulrich

Dr. Elaine Ulrick
Balance of Systems/Soft Costs Program Manage

SunShot Catalyst Innovators Take on Software Challenges to Deploy Solar Technology Across America

Last week, the Energy Department launched a largest-of-its-kind hackathon in an effort to help build software solutions that will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for Americans to choose solar energy to power their daily lives. About 700,000 coders, developers, and data scientists will be participating in this series of software challenges, as they compete for up to $500,000 in prizes. 
The SunShot Catalyst Prize program is a new model for the federal government’s innovation and research and development programs. Catalyst’s prize challenge framework introduces American innovators to the many tools, capabilities, data assets, and additional resources developed by the Energy Department and its national laboratories. Catalyst’s open, fast-paced innovation cycle allows crowd-sourced engagement and strong partnerships with the nation’s growing networks of technology mentors, incubators, and accelerators.
In January, SunShot competitively selected 17 promising teams to move forward in the overall Catalyst Prize competition. Each of the teams is vying for one of five $100,000 prizes that will be awarded in May, in addition to the $500,000 hackathon prize pot. As they race to the finish line, each finalist will host four or more challenges throughout this month and March on theTopCoder platform, working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Appirio, and TopCoder’s 700,000 member community, as they build a prototype product in just 60 days.
catalyst graphic2.pngTechnology development, commercialization, and scaled-up manufacturing have greatly reduced solar hardware costs since the inception of the SunShot Initiative.  However, driving down solar non-hardware soft costs such as financing, customer acquisition, permitting, installation, labor, inspection, and other expenses will help spur strong U.S. growth in solar deployment in the coming years. Taken together, soft costs make up as much as 64% of the total cost of going solar. Catalyst aims to leverage powerful datasets and use innovative software, information technology, and automation solutions to make it faster, easier, and cheaper than ever before to deploy solar technology across America.
Learn more about Appirio’s TopCoder platform, all of the open contests, and how to participate and visit catalyst.energy.gov to learn more about Catalyst and to join our community.


A National Power Grid: The Answer To Renewable Energy's Storage Problem?

This story fits in nicely with a show we have recorded but not yet released.  That is with NOAA and University of Colorado/Boulder whose ground breaking  R & D has created a model of clean energy for the US, without a lot of storage, that will make us 85% renewable in 15 years.  Remarkable.

The point of both stories--renewable energy, it appears, can flow everywhere, and on a consistent--when mixed properly--basis.  We just heard from DOE in the US that participated in a solar project in CA at 3.7 cents per KW delivered cost to consumers.  That is way past competitive--that is butt kicking low.

All of which returns energy production local, creates thousands of jobs and strips millions of pounds of carbon out of atmosphere.  You can see and listen to all of this at Renewable Now.biz

A National Power Grid: The Answer To Renewable Energy's Storage Problem?

Who needs batteries when renewable energy can flow everywhere, whenever it's needed?





Wind power is now as cheap as coal, and in some places, solar is cheaper than natural gas. But there's one thing that most people assume still holds back renewable energy in the U.S.: power plants need a constant source of energy, and there isn't a cheap enough way to store wind or solar at a large scale yet.

But a new study suggests we don't actually need to store that power. Instead—because the wind is always blowing somewhere in the U.S., and a cloudy day in one city will be sunny elsewhere—researchers suggest we just need a bigger grid, and better power lines that could send energy wherever it's needed.

By switching to a national grid and more renewable power, electricity could actually get cheaper by 2030, while cutting emissions 80% compared to 1990 levels.


In the past, most research has gone into trying to make better storage technology, not power lines. "Storage is necessary for other industries, like electric vehicles, and so it makes sense that research dollars would go to using the same technology for the grid," says Christopher Clack, a researcher at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory and one of the co-authors of the paper.

When they looked at maps of the weather across the entire country, the researchers noticed that there was a steady supply of wind, just not in one place. They built a detailed computer model that divided the country into 152,000 little squares, linked up regions with new power lines, and then calculated the best places to put new wind or solar plants. Then they told the model to find the cheapest way to cut emissions.

It's a conservative model, so if a similar system was actually built, it might actually cut emissions even more. "The model was deliberately a cost optimized solution," says Clack. "That is, there was no constraint on carbon, and we did not invoke demand management or storage. Technologies will always improve, which will help reduce emissions."

Since the switch to a nationwide grid would save an estimated $47 billion, that money could also be invested in new carbon-free tech. The cost of electricity would stay the same as it is today, but emissions would drop more. If the grid went even further—pulling in hydropower and other renewables from Canada—emissions could go even lower.

Storage technology is getting cheaper, and the World Energy Council predicts that it will drop another 70% in the next 15 years. But the model looked at high-voltage power lines that are available and affordable today.

The technology "is cheaper than storage, it can be produced today in large quantities, and it has a proven track record here in the U.S. and abroad," says Clack. "It also facilitate a much larger market for electricity—unlike storage—so it will enable economies of scale, and access to higher productive resources. Storage, on the other hand, will not give any access to cheap resources—it will simply allow a shift of generation in time."

At the climate talks in Paris, the U.S. pledged to cut total emissions 28% by 2025. A shift in the electric grid, which is responsible for 40% of all emissions, could go even further. But it would be a major political challenge because of the fragmented way electric grids are set up now. The researchers compare it to a project like building the national railroads or the interstate highway system. Doing that would be hugely ambitious at a time when the U.S. Congress has trouble passing an annual federal budget, but Clack remains optimistic that this sort of grid could be built.

"It creates a larger market, and throughout history these have help economies grow, reducing electricity costs. The fact that it lowers the cost of electricity and reduces emissions makes it palatable for everyone," he says.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ways to deal with global water scarcity

For decades we worried about the destruction of our world through world war.  Then meltdowns from nuclear power.  Now many of our greatest fears are wrapped around environmental disasters.

Rightfully so.  Whether it is too much water, the flooding and destruction of our coast lines to water scarcity, we face some challenging days.  Yet, brilliant people, in very community, are working feverishly on solutions.  Clean water sources would be abundant if we returned our supplies to their pristine condition.  Israel has proven for decades how much can be done with very limited supplies of water.

Our bent on destroying the natural capitol that keeps us alive has to transform to a passion for restorating and remediation.  In doing so we restore the pillars of our global economy.  Living in balance means living in peace and prospering.

Ways to deal with global water scarcity

global water scarcity  
   
Water shortage across the globe is more serious issue than what scientists have predicted earlier. Around 66%, or four billion people, across the world live without adequate amount of fresh water for at least a month in a year.

With the help of a computer models, study researchers have come up with more precise and comprehensive data about the problem when compared with previous studies. In the current research being headed by Dr. Arjen Hoekstra of the Netherlands' University of Twente, the team has included many variables like climate records, population density, irrigation and industry.

“Up to now, this type of research concentrated solely on the scarcity of water on an annual basis, and had only been carried out in the largest river basins. That paints a more rosy and misleading picture, because water scarcity occurs during the dry period of the year”, affirmed Hoekstra.


It is important to address water scarcity issue as otherwise it can result into economic losses owing to crop failure, limited food availability and poor business viability. The study researchers have recommended to reduce water scarcity by increasing dependence on rain-fed agriculture and not on irrigated agriculture and to improve the efficiency of water usage. Government, public and other sectors need to contribute in the efforts.



The research has confirmed that there is a global problem of fresh water availability. In fact, last year, the World Economic Forum has numbered the world water crisis in the top three global problems, along with climate change and terrorism.

Half of the population suffering from water scarcity is living in the world’s two most populous nations,   India and China, where fresh water demand is quite high. Water scarcity is also high in those places, where irrigated agriculture practice is done or there is low natural availability of fresh water. Such factors exist in the south and western United States. To cite an example, California has been facing drought for the past many years and conditions haven’t improved last year as well.
 

HuffingtonPost reported that, scientists, led by Dr. Arjen Hoekstra of the Netherlands' University of Twente, used a computer model that is both more precise and comprehensive than previous studies have used to analyze how widespread water scarcity is across the globe. Their model considers multiple variables including: climate records, population density, irrigation and industry.

“The fact that the scarcity of water is being regarded as a global problem is confirmed by our research," Hoekstra added. "For some time now, the World Economic Forum has placed the world water crisis in the top three of global problems, alongside climate change and terrorism.”

Csmonitor News report said, Freshwater is a key part of our lives. We drink it, we bathe in it, and we grow crops with it. But many people across the globe don't have enough of it. Some scientific studies have suggested that between 1.7 and 3.1 billion people face freshwater scarcity. But a new study blows those estimates out of the proverbial water.

"Water scarcity generally occurs only during part of the year, when there is a mismatch between water availability and demand," study author Mesfin Mekonnen explained to The Christian Science Monitor's Story Hinckley.

"There is no single silver bullet to deal with the problem around the world," said Tom Gleeson, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at McGill University who published a 2014 paper in the journal Nature Geoscience outlining six different ways to reduce water scarcity, in a news release.

According to the Discovery News, it’s no secret that our planet is undergoing a serious water crisis, with population growth putting increasing stress upon the supply of fresh water. But the situation is even worse than we thought. About 4 billion people across the world have serious difficulty getting enough water for at least one month of every year, according to a just-published study in the journal Science Advances.

The researchers also found that about 66 percent of the world’s population suffers from severe water scarcity for at least one month during the year. Of those 4 billion people, 1 billion live in India and another 900 million live in China. About 130 million live in the United States, mostly in western and southern states.

Fort Hood Looks to Renewable

Here's just one of a massive organization quickly shifting money into renewables and cutting their carbon footprint across the world.

Fort Hood Looks to Renewable Energy as Part of Larger Military

Flowers decorate a fence outside of Fort Hood's east gate on Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Killeen, Texas, in honor of those killed and wounded in the Fort Hood shooting on April 2.
Determined to cut its global electricity bill, the Army has embarked on an experiment at Fort Hood to pull in more power from renewable sources.

Officials broke ground late last month at the Army installation 75 miles north of Austin on a massive solar farm -- 63,000 panels covering 132 acres, or roughly the size of 100 football fields.

The solar project, which is being paired with an investment in a Panhandle wind farm, is the Army's bid at seeing whether it can take long-term measures to shave its $1.3 billion annual energy bill.

Fort Hood's solar and wind project, the largest undertaken by the Army, will cost roughly $100 million -- but officials say it will save $168 million over the next three decades and account for nearly half the power used on the post, or the equivalent of the power consumed by about 10,000 households over a year.

Renewable energy produced on Army installations increases energy security and mitigates rising energy costs, officials say.

Overall, the military, the single largest consumer of energy in the U.S., is dedicating at least $7 billion to renewable energy projects -- part of the Obama administration's efforts to emphasize cleaner, alternative sources of energy.

The deal has been embraced by officials at Fort Hood, home to roughly 40,000 soldiers.

Meeting Pentagon orders for more energy-efficient installations, the post had successfully cut its energy consumption by about 30 percent over the past 10 years by using energy-efficient technology and changing soldiers' behavior, said Brian Dosa, the installation's public works director.

And in 2012, the post activated a solar field of nearly 3,000 photovoltaic panels, generating enough power annually for 300 homes.

But with only a small staff and light resources, Dosa said he had been struggling to take the next step in greening the installation's energy mix.

So when Army officials called to ask whether Fort Hood would be interested in participating in this massive project, Dosa said, "I nearly fell out of my chair."

With its far-flung installations, sometimes in hostile terrain far from power plants or electricity infrastructure, the Army has been exploring ways to speed the development of distributed energy -- newfangled ways to generate electricity such as mini-solar panels.

The renewable energy project is part of an effort to "increase resiliency of the Army installation, by generating electricity on post and not being totally dependent on drawing energy from the grid," Dosa said. "This is a giant step toward energy security at Fort Hood."

Apart from the electricity needed for helicopter simulators, Fort Hood's energy needs mirror those of any small city: Lighting, air conditioning and infrastructure are among the chief demands. Overall, the base consumes about 250 gigawatt-hours of power annually, or roughly the amount used by 22,500 households.

Under the terms of the renewable energy deal, Apex Clean Energy Holdings, a Virginia-based company, will install about two dozen wind turbines in Floyd County, in addition to the solar panels at Fort Hood, for a total of 65 megawatts of capacity.

Apex Clean Energy will develop, finance, design, install, own, operate and maintain the project; the Army will buy electricity generated at the two sites at a locked-in overall rate of a little over 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. That rate is cheaper than the military currently pays for electricity at Fort Hood, Dosa said.

The solar panels and wind turbines could be operational by the end of the year, Dosa said.
"The Army is committed to partnering with industry to implement large-scale renewable energy projects that will strengthen the resiliency of our installations through increased energy security and sustainability," said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army overseeing installations, energy and environment.

At the ceremonial groundbreaking in late January, U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, touted the project's benefits.

"Using renewables makes sense on ... military posts throughout the country," Carter said, according to a news release from Fort Hood. "More importantly, and what we're all about here at Fort Hood, it frees up money to be able to make better soldiers here on Fort Hood. So, if it's cheaper energy, it gives us more money in our pockets to spend on training up the best warriors in world."

What the Earthwill be like in 10,000 years, according to scientists

Interesting possibilities but we believe the dramatic changes we are implementing now, and the new technology coming that will allow for large-scale storage and reuse of carbon, will paint a much different picture over the next century and 10,000 years.

We've heard many times on the radio side, and we agree, the shift from a fossil-fuel economy to one powered by clean energy is a 7 trillion dollar investment opportunity.  The world is waking up to the potential of creating new fuel, waste, industrial, transportation systems.  Smart cities are rolling across the globe.  Efficiency is the new currency.  We think the planet will look pretty good in a 100 years and 10,000 years.

What the Earth will be like in 10,000 years, according to scientists

 by Chris Mooney
A large group of climate scientists has made a bracing statement in the journal Nature Climate Change, arguing that we are mistaken if we think global warming is only a matter of the next 100 years or so — in fact, they say, we are locking in changes that will play out over as many as 10,000 years.

“The next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far,” write the 22 climate researchers, led by Peter Clark, from Oregon State University.

The author names include not only a number of very influential climate scientists in general but several key leaders behind major reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including MIT’s Susan Solomon and Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern in Switzerland.

The researchers’ key contention is that we have been thinking about climate change far too narrowly by only projecting outward to the year 2100, which the research says “was originally driven by past computational capabilities.” Rather, we should consider that the long-term consequences of human emissions for global temperatures and sea level will play out over many millennia.

“It’s a statement of worry,” said Raymond Pierrehumbert, a geoscientist at Oxford University and one of the study’s authors. “And actually, most of us who have worked both on paleoclimate and the future have been terrified by the idea of doubling or quadrupling CO2 right from the get-go.”

“In hundreds of years from now, people will look back and say, ‘yeah, the sea level is rising, it will continue to rise, we live with a constant rise of sea level because of these people 200 years ago that used coal, and oil, and gas,’” said Anders Levermann, a sea level rise expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the paper’s authors. “If you just look at this, it’s stunning that we can make such a long-lasting impact that has the same magnitude as the ice ages.”

The key reason for this is that carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for a very long time before being slowly removed again by natural processes. “A considerable fraction of the carbon emitted to date and in the next 100 years will remain in the atmosphere for tens to hundreds of thousands of years,” the study noted. Meanwhile, the planet’s sea levels adjust gradually to its rising temperature over thousands of years.

So what will the world look like in 10,000 years, thanks to us? That really depends on what we do in the next few hundred years with the fossil fuels to which we have relatively easy access. It also depends on whether or not we develop technologies that are capable of pulling carbon dioxide out of the air on a massive scale, comparable to the amount that we’re currently emitting.

But assuming that we don’t develop such technologies, here are the key factors to consider — as laid out in the new paper — about how we are shaping the planet’s very distant future.

From 1750 to the present, human activities put about 580 billion metric tons, or gigatons, of carbon into the atmosphere — which converts into more than 2,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide (which has a larger molecular weight).
We’re currently emitting about 10 gigatons of carbon per year — a number that is still expected to rise further in the future. The study therefore considers whether we will emit somewhere around another 700 gigatons in this century (which, with 70 years at 10 gigatons per year, could happen easily), reaching a total cumulative emissions of 1,280 gigatons — or whether we will go much further than that, reaching total cumulative levels as high as 5,120 gigatons.

In 10,000 years, if we totally let it rip, the planet could ultimately be an astonishing 7 degrees Celsius warmer on average and feature seas 52 meters (170 feet) higher than they are now. There would be almost no mountain glaciers left in temperate latitudes, Greenland would give up all of its ice and Antarctica would give up almost 45 meters worth of sea level rise, the study suggests.

Still, anyone observing the world’s recent mobilization to address climate change in Paris in late 2015 would reasonably question whether humanity will indeed emit this much carbon. With the efforts now afoot to constrain emissions and develop clean energy worldwide, it stands to reason that we won’t go so far.

Still, what’s striking is that when the paper outlines a much more modest 1,280 gigaton scenario — one that does not seem unreasonable, and that would only push the globe a little bit of the way beyond a 2 degrees Celsius rise over pre-industrial temperature levels — the impacts over 10,000 years are still fairly dramatic.

In this scenario, we only lose 70 percent of glaciers outside of Greenland and Antarctica. Greenland gives up as much as four meters of sea level rise (out of a potential seven), while Antarctica could give up up to 24. Combined with thermal expansion of the oceans, this scenario could mean seas rise an estimated 25 meters (or 82 feet) higher in 10,000 years. There is, to be sure, “a big uncertainty range on that prediction,” Pierrehumbert said by email.

Once again, a key factor that could mitigate this dire forecast is the potential development of technologies that could remove carbon dioxide from the air and thus cool down the planet much faster than the Earth on its own can through natural processes. “If we want to have some backstop technology to avoid this, we really ought to be putting a lot more money into carbon dioxide removal,” Pierrehumbert said.

Pierrehumbert said he believes that we will manage to develop such a technology in coming centuries, so long as human societies remain wealthy enough — but he added that we don’t know yet about how affordable it will be.

The new study fits into a growing body of scientific analysis suggesting that human alteration of the planet has truly brought on a new geological epoch, which has been dubbed the “anthropocene.” Taking a 10,000-year perspective certainly reinforces the geological scale of what’s currently happening.

The ability to carry an analysis out so far into the future, Levermann said, is really the result in recent years of several key scientific developments. One is that “we are now in a better position to model the ice sheets, really,” he said. 

At the same time, scientists have also recently begun to calculate so-called carbon budgets that describe how much we can emit and still hold the planet to a variety of temperature thresholds.

All of this coming together means that a conversation about increasingly long-range forecasts, and about the millennial scale consequences of today’s greenhouse gas emissions, is growing within the scientific world. The question remains whether a similar conversation will finally take hold in the public and political one.

 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Forests are supposed to help stop climate change. These forests didn't

Forests are supposed to help stop climate change. These forests didn't - See more at: http://www.readingeagle.com/ap/article/forests-are-supposed-to-help-stop-climate-change-these-forests-didnt#sthash.WwZv2NdY.dpuf
Forests are supposed to help stop climate change. These forests didn't - See more at: http://www.readingeagle.com/ap/article/forests-are-supposed-to-help-stop-climate-change-these-forests-didnt#sthash.WwZv2NdY.dpuf


Seems as though we don't have quite all the answers yet.

Forests are supposed to help stop climate change. These forests didn't  

Forests play a critical role in the global carbon cycle, helping to mitigate climate change by storing carbon that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere. So maintaining sustainable forest management practices that maximize the trees' ability to act as a carbon sink - for example, planting more trees than we harvest - has been recognized by activists as a key strategy in the fight against climate change.

But forestry has not always had the desired effect, according to recent research. A new study out in the journal Science Thursday makes the provocative claim that more than 250 years of forest management in Europe have actually contributed to climate change, rather than helped to stop it. 

The study reconstructs the land-use history of Europe from 1750 through the present day, taking into account both changes in land cover - that is, deforestation and afforestation - and management changes, including changes in the types of trees planted and the amount of wood harvested. The researchers then used models to examine the effects of these changes on the climate over time.

Through their reconstruction, the researchers made some key observations about the ways forests have changed in Europe in the past 250 years. First, they found that while deforestation removed nearly 200,000 square kilometers (or around 75,000 square miles) of forest cover in Europe between 1750 and 1850, subsequent reforestation efforts not only made up for the losses, but actually resulted in a net gain in Europe's overall forest cover during the study period. 

They also noted that these reforestation efforts tended to favor conifer trees, which produce a more commercially valuable type of wood, rather than the broad-leaved forests that dominated the landscape before. Broad-leaved trees are usually deciduous trees and have flat leaves, such as oaks. Overall, conifer cover increased by 633,000 square kilometers, while broadleaf cover decreased by 436,000 square kilometers. 

Finally, they observed that in the past 250 years, approximately 85 percent of Europe's forests came under human management and have been subjected to wood extraction practices, such as tree thinning and litter raking. 

These changes have had a number of effects on the climate since 1750, the models suggested. While it may seem as though a net gain in tree cover should have been good for the climate, the researchers found that Europe's forests have actually accumulated a carbon debt, releasing 3.1 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere overall since 1750. 

"European forests have failed to realize a net [carbon dioxide] removal from the atmosphere, and this is due to the fact that humans extracted wood from unmanaged forests by bringing these forests under management," said the study's lead author Kim Naudts, a researcher with the University of Versailles' Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory at the time the work was conducted. 

"Even a well-managed forest today stores less carbon than its natural counterparts in 1750," Naudts said. 

Additionally, the researchers found that replacing broadleaved forests with conifers had another unintended warming effect. Conifer leaves tend to be darker than those of broadleaved trees, Naudts pointed out, so they allow more sunlight to be absorbed. 

And, Naudts added, "the other effect is that they are more conservative with water, which leads to less evapotranspiration, and to drier air." Evapotranspiration is the process by which water evaporates out of a tree's leaves into the atmosphere. The resulting drier air also contributed to a warming effect. 

Overall, the researchers found that there was an increase in air temperature over the forests of about 0.12 degrees Celsius during the study period. This finding represents an especially interesting aspect of the paper, according to Rupert Seidl, a professor in the Institute of Silviculture at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, in an email to The Washington Post. (Seidl was not involved with the study.) And extending the paper's climate analysis beyond simply the amount of carbon released by the forests into the atmosphere is "important to get a better and more comprehensive understanding of the role forests play in the climate system," he said. 

Altogether, the study concludes that forest management in Europe over the past 250 years has not been the climate boon that some might have hoped for. In the paper's abstract, the researchers suggest that "the political imperative to mitigate climate change through afforestation and forest management. . . risks failure, unless it is recognized that not all forestry contributes to climate change mitigation." 

However, not all experts agree with the authors' harsh conclusions. Seidl, for instance, pointed out that using forests as a climate change mitigation tool is a new approach, one that did not exist for the majority of this paper's study period.

"The goal of past management was primarily to ensure local energy supply and maintain food security, and not regulating global climate," he said in his email. "So blaming past management for not cooling the climate is like blaming it for something it never set out to do in the first place." 

And other experts argued that the way the study was designed - examining the blanket effects of one long block of time from 1750 on - obscures the fact that more recent forest management techniques have had better results. According to Marcus Lindner, head of the Sustainability and Climate Change Research Programme at the European Forest Institute, forest management techniques started to have a positive mitigation effect in Europe in the 1950s. 

"Obviously forest loss and forest degradation strongly contributed to greenhouse gas emissions until the 1950s," said Lindner, who was not involved with the study, in an email to The Post. "I find it not credible to combine 200 years of suspected negative contribution to climate change mitigation with 60 years of positive climate change mitigation through management and then claim that (based on combined 260 years) forest management does not work." 

Asked about this, Naudts said that the researchers started with 1750 because that's the year used as a reference by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and "from a climate perspective, that's a very logical reference." 

So it may be that forest management in Europe has had greater success in climate mitigation when a more recent history is considered. Regardless, the study's authors suggested that paying more attention to the specific effects of certain land-use and management changes on the climate - as revealed by their historical effects - will benefit future forestry efforts. 

Naudts, for instance, suggested that foresters should not make management decisions based solely on the amount of carbon that will be released or stored under certain strategies. "If we manage them only for carbon we ignore the other unintended changes, like changes in solar radiation, absorption and evapotranspiration, and our study shows that those are actually quite important," Naudts said. 

And she added, "In Europe, it could be wise to avoid the use of conifers when you do afforestation or when you are managing your forests." 

A further key point to consider, according to Seidl, is that even current forest management "not only aims to cool the climate, but also is providing a wide range of other ecosystem services to a growing human population, from fiber and fuel to recreation and the provisioning of clean water." 

This is an issue considered by the authors of the study in their conclusions as well. The question they raise at the end of their paper is whether it's possible to design management strategies that cool the climate while simultaneously preserving the other ecosystem services that forests provide to humans, such as wood production. 

"I agree with Naudts et al. when they conclude that the key challenge for forest management is to develop strategies that fulfill a wide range of these functions and services - including climate change mitigation - simultaneously," Seidl said.