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Greenhouse Gases and Carbon Sequestration 9

Posted by michael
from the all-the-carbon-that's-fit-to-burn dept.
Nechton writes: "The results of a study discussed in an article in the May 24 research journal Nature indicate that elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide may have more limited effect on forest growth than previously expected. While many short-term studies have shown atmospheric carbon dioxide (a "greenhouse" gas) increases tree growth, the experiments reported in Nature showed that without additional nutrients, initial growth increases of mature loblolly pine trees leveled off after the first three years of exposure. The presence of elevated levels of carbon dioxide alone, which is occurring due to global industrialization and land use changes, may not result in a long-term increase in the rate of tree growth. However, the results also suggest that forest fertilization, already a practice in Southern pine plantations, might become even more beneficial in a high carbon dioxide world." In a nutshell (or a pinecone): it doesn't seem that increasedw forest growth will "cancel" out increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
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Greenhouse Gases and Carbon Sequestration

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  • Co2 emissions are the least of our worries as a species.. people whine about that when there's tens of thousands of nuclear and who knows how many chemical and biological stockpiles floating around. Anyhow, personal beefs aside, an engineer already figured this one out. You can indeed stimulate the growth of the real "lungs" of the earth as another poster has listed, with the benefit that regions of "dead" ocean come alive with fish and other species. Good stuff.

    Wired had a good piece on fertilizing the oceans with something as simple as soluable iron. When there exists a problem, technology will be developed to deal with it. Trying to change human nature is much more futile.. and I'd rather see the greenpeace crazies protesting to reduce nuclear stockpiles. [wired.com]

  • The ocean is also a huge buffer for atmospheric CO2. I don't think it's fully understood yet how much buffering it can do but some think it can do enough. I guess we'll have to just wait and see since Dubya is convinced that no problems exist.
  • Well heck if you're going to worry about nuclear devices then keep in mind that the sun becomes a red (white??) dwarf in a few billion years anyway. So what does it all really matter...? ;^)_________________________________________ Space travel is the key to our survival. This planet is getting used up and at some point it will not be a nice place to live. The Bush family will be spread over the globe like a plague. You will only be able to eat bbq. The common man on the street will be heavily armed with some form of plasma weapon because paranoia will reign. And the lucky ones will have the means to jettison themselves and thier family (if they're allowed to have one) into space to some pleasant planet in a nearby galaxy.
  • In a nutshell (or a pinecone): it doesn't seem that increasedw forest growth will "cancel" out increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

    And even if it did it would just give us more wood to harvest and eventually convert back to CO2. Sorry, but the only way to lower CO2 levels is to stop harvesting oil and then convert some "harvested" land back into forest.

    It's really quite simple, as we harvest oil we take carbon that was nicely stored in the earth's crust and place it into our atmosphere. The atmosphere's current carbon to oxygen ratio is now being altered. While trees will help by stripping out some of that carbon, it's a temporary solution. The carbon will be released either when the wood rots or gets burned.

    Another important fact is that the vast majority (>60%) of photo-synthesis takes place in the ocean. How great an effect do pine trees actually have on global CO2 levels? Doesn't sound too relevant to me. The effects of additional CO2 as they pertain to our oceans sounds much more interesting.

    Willy

  • Perhaps a crop that is known to suck down a lot of C02 in a few months. I suggest hemp, particularly Skunk-Northern Lights hybrids, grown exclusively female.
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Friday May 25, 2001 @11:36AM (#197889) Journal
    In a nutshell (or a pinecone): it doesn't seem that increasedw forest growth will "cancel" out increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    I don't think that's the point at all. An increase in the amount of foliage will definitely 'cancel out' increased carbon dioxide, but it doesn't seem that increased CO2 encourages foliage growth. Rather, the report suggests using other plant foods to encourage forest growth.

    It's a little like expecting an increase in oxygen to result in healthier human beings. Those without other necessities like food and water won't see any increased benefit from better air.

    Of course, feeding forests with chemical fertilizers can lead to its own set of problems.

    It would probably make more sense to look to the real 'lungs of the earth', plankton and algae, and see if we can get those guys to work. They are much easier to cultivate than trees.

    Dancin Santa
  • Well, a significant amount of wood is used for paper, and building... the former we, as a race, have a habit of burying... some people suggest tapping those buried plots for burnable fuel (which would release C02) but that's not a common practice yet, so we can just go ahead and leave that stuff buried... except of course the ENVIRONEMNTALISTS kept begging everybody to compost, and plow the dump-sites to accelerate bio-degradation... (oopsie for them)
    Personally, I figure the answer is using atmospheric C02 to create comestibles, which will feed bionengineered organisms (or just bioengineer plants) that produce long-lasting desirable products. I can't wait until the first goat based spider-silk factory is built or when agribusiness is harvesting nylon instead of cotton. I mean... when we can start growing diamond semi-conductors... we're gonna be hurting for carbon aren't we?

    Mindlessly optomistically yours
  • Exactly.

    This is the one and most important reason for continuing space exploration! Earth isn't going to stick arround forever. So in order for the human race (or the race that exists at that time, (remember that the usual lifetime for a single species is roughly 2-4 milion years before it evolves into something different)) to survive ve have to spend time and effort into space exploration and space travel.

    Yours Yazeran

    Plan: To go to Mars one day with a hammer.

  • Pollution research is full of tales of lakes and ponds that had lots of excess nitrogen and potash, but didn't have algae problems... until something added phosphorus. THEN the algae growth exploded, the water was full of green growing scum by day and green respiring scum by night, the fish and bottom-dwelling plants died off, and people wondered what the hell happened.

    It turns out that CO2 isn't the limiting nutrient for loblolly pines in a typical forest; nitrogen is. Okay. Sounds like a good thing to use when an SUV driver argues for the harmlessness of their habits because they can always re-plant the forests we once mowed down in Vermont, Guatemala and the Amazon basin.
    --

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