Putting a price tag on carbon dioxide emitted by different land use practices could dramatically change the way that land is used – forests become increasingly valuable for storing carbon and overall carbon emissions reductions become cheaper, according to research presented today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
"Without valuing the carbon in land, we risk losing large swaths of unmanaged ecosystems to agricultural crops and biofuels," said speaker Leon Clarke of the Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park, Md., a collaboration between the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., and the University of Maryland.
Most analyses of future global carbon dioxide output mainly consider carbon emissions from fossil fuels and industrial processes, or otherwise include only parts of the global carbon cycle. Some studies predict dramatic changes in how people use land as they cut down trees to grow food and bioenergy crops. This study is the first to value carbon in all natural and human systems.
The scientists found that addressing the land-based carbon is essential for stabilizing greenhouse gases at low levels. Overall, land contains 2,000 billion tons of carbon, compared to the 750 billion tons in the atmosphere. In addition, forests hold more carbon than grazing does. Converting land from forest to food or bioenergy crops releases carbon into the atmosphere. Conversely, turning agricultural land back into forests tucks carbon away on land, reducing it in the atmosphere.
In today's talk, JGCRI economist Clarke showed that including terrestrial carbon changes the carbon dioxide dynamics and costs of managing greenhouse gas emissions. When all carbon emissions—fossil fuel, industrial and land-use change emissions—are included in a global management plan regardless of their origin, deforestation slows and could reverse, managers place limits on the expansion of biofuels production, and emission control becomes cheaper.
Their analysis also found that emissions from land use changes were heavily influenced by how well crops grew.
"That means to limit atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, improving technology for growing crops is potentially as important as energy technologies such as carbon capture and storage," said Clarke.
The analysis by PNNL scientists at JGCRI explores what could happen to global economies and environments as biofuels become an important part of energy production. They included carbon dioxide emissions from energy, the atmosphere, land use, and terrestrial sources. The results offer insights into how to best incorporate biofuels into our global economy.
Further reports about: > Deforestation > bioenergy crop > bioenergy crops > biofuels production > carbon dioxide > carbon emissions > energy crops > fossil fuels > gas emission > global carbon dioxide > greenhouse gas > greenhouse gas emission > industrial processes > land use > land-use change > terrestrial carbon changes
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences