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Thread: Co2 emissions

  1. #1
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    Co2 emissions

    What chemical other O can counteract c02 emissions ? Why cant we just plant more trees ?

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    What chemical other O can counteract c02 emissions ? Why cant we just plant more trees ?
    I don't know what you mean by counteract.

    Planting trees is one solution to CO2 emissions. The U.S. would have to grow about 12 billion tons of trees a year (dry weight) to counteract its CO2 emissions. That's about 40 tons of tree per person per year. Obviously it would probably be easier to use less fossil fuel than grow that many trees.

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    From this source:

    Question: How many acres of trees are planted annually in the United States?

    Answer: Tree planting on all ownerships total approximately 2.6 million acres annually. This annual planting roughly equals the size of the State of Connecticut. Compare this annual planting to 2.3 million acres of trees planted under the ten year Civilian Conservation Corps tree planting program (mid-1930's to mid-1940's) and to 2.2 million acres under the entire Soil Bank Program (1956 to 1961).

    Question: How many trees are grown in U.S. nurseries each year?

    Answer: Approximately 1.6 billion trees are produced and shipped by forest tree nurseries annually. Forest product nurseries produce 852 million trees, private nurseries produce 366 million trees, state nurseries produce 348 million trees, and federal nurseries produce 38 million trees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Brak View Post
    The U.S. would have to grow about 12 billion tons of trees a year (dry weight) to counteract its CO2 emissions. That's about 40 tons of tree per person per year. Obviously it would probably be easier to use less fossil fuel than grow that many trees.
    Just out of interest, is this the mass of wood that would need to be sequestered per year (thus removing all the CO2 that had gone into its growth), or the total amount of new growth required per year (some of which will end up returning CO2 to the atmosphere when it is eaten by insects and other creatures, or when it falls to the forest floor and decays)?

    Grant Hutchison

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    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/emission.html contains a graph showing ~6 billion tons of CO2 emissions per annum currently. Should we distinguish between the tons of carbon and the tons of CO2 being added to the atmosphere? How do we convert from tons of CO2 to tons of trees? How do we adjust for non-human caused sources of CO2 generation i.e., "the natural balance"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Clayden View Post
    What chemical other O can counteract c02 emissions ? Why cant we just plant more trees ?
    It isnt that oxygen counteracts carbon dioxide, it is that photosynthesis converts CO2 to O2 and plant food.

    We could plant more trees, but judging from the info above, it would need to be a couple orders of magnitude more trees. We could also try to increase the amount of photoplankton in the oceans also.

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    Florida already has about 90% of it's land area covered by trees and shubs. We could perhaps double our sequestation of CO2, by making better choices of tree and shrub varieties. We could plant trees or shrubs on the roof tops of houses and buildings, but we would generate more CO2 by building the structures stronger. Growing these trees without soil = hydroponics, would reduce the stress on the buildings, but would increase the evaporation of water, which may soon be in short supply for most of Earth; perhaps a more urgent problem than man made CO2. In locals which presently have few trees and shrubs, growing them would place an unexceptable burden on the fresh water acquifers. Plugging natural springs in Florida would likely help the water shortage in the Atlanta, Georgia area, but who is going to pay the large cost, and the lawsuits which would result from the alleged side effects of plugging natural springs? Pilot programs are appropriate. Neil

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    There are, I think some threads about growing more algae in the ocean. In my opinion, 100 meter pipes, up to ten meters in diameter, with flotation at one end so they just barely float vertically, would do this at least cost. The pipes have a one way valve so they fill as they rise with the swells and spray water as they fall between the swells (or the reverse) This brings nuetrient rich water to the surface for the algae. It also cools the surface water, but the spraying increases evaporation, which may produce alleged side effects. Neil
    Last edited by neilzero; 2007-Nov-08 at 11:08 PM.

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    Just out of interest, is this the mass of wood that would need to be sequestered per year (thus removing all the CO2 that had gone into its growth), or the total amount of new growth required per year (some of which will end up returning CO2 to the atmosphere when it is eaten by insects and other creatures, or when it falls to the forest floor and decays)?
    Both really. To begin with it would be new growth as the growing trees trap carbon in wood, but once a forest approaches maturity it the amount of carbon it absorbs and releases approaches balance. So once you've grown your forest for it to keep absorbing carbon you'd have to start sequestering the carbon in the wood. This can be done by turning the wood to charcoal or simply dumping logs in cool water lakes or letting them float out to sea and sink in areas of sedimentation.

    So if we somehow forested South Australia (900,000 km2) we'd trap about 10 billion tons of carbon. If the fast growing pines and eucalypts take about 10 years to approach maturity (don't ask me where the water's coming from) then we could perhaps sequester a billion tons of carbon a year. That's a sixth of what the United States emits. Hmmm... maybe we should plant the trees closer together then?

    I'll mention that growing trees in areas that have snowcover for part of the year can increase temperatures more than they decrease them because forests have a lower albedo and absorb more solar heat than a flat field of snow (and trees tend to grow slowly in those kind of places anyway).

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    Lightbulb Grass not Trees

    If, for some reason unknown to me, one is concerned about CO2 emissions, why not plant grass lands for livestock animals to graze upon. Grass, being a N-4 generation of plant life has a respiration rate 30 times greater than deciduous trees, thus producing 30 times more oxygen per unit of surface area in a given unit of time, compared to deciduous trees. Further, deciduous trees lose their leaves once per year while a grazed grassland is replaced daily, with Carbon being stored in yummy things like Angus beef cattle, and in turn humans.This seems like a better way of dealing with CO2 increase in the atmosphere, if for some reason one may possibly be concerned about this. Afterall, CO2 is responsible for only 0.5% of planetary temperature increase in temperature, if you must insist this is happening at all and humans can do anything about it if we really tried.

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    Unfortunately, of all the carbon eaten by a cow, less than 10% remains in the cow, the rest is released into the atmosphere. The situation is even worse with humans. Except for children undergoing growth spurts and people putting on weight all the carbon in a typical steak dinner is generally returned to the atmospere.

    However sequestering cows could be a partial solution. The strategic petroleum reserve could be emptied out and filled with cows instead.

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    Hi Fraunkensteen: Your 30 times may be the correct net for mowed grass compared to untended old growth forest. If we remove and sequesture the fallen limbs and leaves as well as the grass cuttings, the forest has the advantage of being about 30 times taller than the grass. 30 year old trees sequesture lots more CO2 than hundred year old trees. Perhaps you need to think volume instead of surface area. Neil

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    I understand that one of our ices ages contributers was too much vegetation, starving the earth of Co2 causing the plants to die. Has the earth found a happy medium yet is are we still in the test phases ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Clayden View Post
    What chemical other O can counteract c02 emissions ? Why cant we just plant more trees ?
    Sure. But where would you plant them?
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Clayden View Post
    I understand that one of our ices ages contributers was too much vegetation, starving the earth of Co2 causing the plants to die. Has the earth found a happy medium yet is are we still in the test phases ?
    Earth's climate and ecology are both dynamic systems, they change and interact constantly. It never ends, and as long as the planet is here it never will. The test phase is forever.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Brak View Post
    Both really. To begin with it would be new growth as the growing trees trap carbon in wood, but once a forest approaches maturity it the amount of carbon it absorbs and releases approaches balance. So once you've grown your forest for it to keep absorbing carbon you'd have to start sequestering the carbon in the wood. This can be done by turning the wood to charcoal or simply dumping logs in cool water lakes or letting them float out to sea and sink in areas of sedimentation.
    Or we can stop recycling paper and wood products! Seriously! Expressing concern over global warming while recycling one's newspapers is the height of hypocricy!

    So if we somehow forested South Australia (900,000 km2) we'd trap about 10 billion tons of carbon. If the fast growing pines and eucalypts take about 10 years to approach maturity (don't ask me where the water's coming from) then we could perhaps sequester a billion tons of carbon a year. That's a sixth of what the United States emits. Hmmm... maybe we should plant the trees closer together then?
    Planting them closer will not increase your canopy area.

    I'll mention that growing trees in areas that have snowcover for part of the year can increase temperatures more than they decrease them because forests have a lower albedo and absorb more solar heat than a flat field of snow (and trees tend to grow slowly in those kind of places anyway).
    Yeah, but grass instead of trees makes for a hotter, dryer summer though.

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