Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Seeing the forest and the trees helps cut atmospheric carbon dioxide

16.02.2009
Addressing carbon on land is essential for stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations

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.

Mary Beckman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.pnl.gov
http://www.globalchange.umd.edu/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins

12.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Materials scientist creates fabric alternative to batteries for wearable devices

12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

A two-atom quantum duet

12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>