Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Carbon Sequestration, A Solution Not Discussed
Most people don't know what a tree is, at least, I can say I didn't know what a tree was until I heard the proper definition. Tell me if you knew this: a tree is a solar powered machine for turning air into wood.

The C02 that trees breathe in becomes O2 for us, and the C goes into the tree. Trees don't come from the soil, but the air.

Turns out we have a carbon problem, the International Panel on Climate Change has lots to say about it.

Well, can we use trees to get rid of the carbon? The idea is based on the ideas that we would grow trees and bury them, or, if not bury them, then, at least, prevent them from rotting. Rotting releases the carbon back into the atmosphere.

How much carbon gets released, total? I've been given to understand that the American total is 25% of the global total of emissions. Anyway, the US total per year is 1.44 petagrams so the global total is about 5 petagrams. (kilo, meta, giga, tera, peta). This site says global production is already over 6.32 petagrams.

And how much does a forest consume? One (probably healthy) forest consumes about 1.5 megagrams of carbon per year/per hectare.

And how many hectares of forest are there, total? About 4 billion, although it was probably closer to 5.5 billion a few hundred years ago.

So, if every acre of forest was harvested like this, we'd have 4,000,000,000 x 1,500,000 = 6,000,000,000,000,000 grams of carbon, compared to 5,000,000,000,000,000 grams of total carbon emissions. 6 petagrams versus 5 petagrams.

I love old growth forests. I'm just saying.

Think of all the algae!
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