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Thread: Global Warming...Fact or Fiction?

  1. #3751
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    Okay I'll bite: where's the "certain point"?
    Sorry should have specified that the comment related specifically to land plants. As I recall each genus or species ability to recover CO2 depends in part on the specific type of carbon pathway they have evolved to use. CAM , C3 or C4 are the main ones I think. (I think C4 is more efficient at fixing CO2 than C3 for instance.)

    So some plants are more efficient at turning carbon into sugers and plant mass than others. Anyway my comment was meant to point out that yes, plants get a boost from increases CO2 but it is not linear. There's an upper limit to how much CO2 they can absorb depending on type.

    Lastly, yes plant growth does trap CO2 which is why new growth forests are effective carbon traps. However mature forests trap much less because they're hit the balance point between new plant growth and the death of old plant material. And part of that old trapped CO2 always gets released during the decay cycle, not all but part.
    Last edited by Monash; 16 May 17, at 06:57.

  2. #3752
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Sorry should have specified that the comment related specifically to land plants. As I recall each genus or species ability to recover CO2 depends in part on the specific type of carbon pathway they have evolved to use. CAM , C3 or C4 are the main ones I think. (I think C4 is more efficient at fixing CO2 than C3 for instance.)

    So some plants are more efficient at turning carbon into sugers and plant mass than others. Anyway my comment was meant to point out that yes, plants get a boost from increases CO2 but it is not linear. There's an upper limit to how much CO2 they can absorb depending on type.

    Lastly, yes plant growth does trap CO2 which is why new growth forests are effective carbon traps. However mature forests trap much less because they're hit the balance point between new plant growth and the death of old plant material. And part of that old trapped CO2 always gets released during the decay cycle, not all but part.
    So when you say "to a point" you're referring to differences in plant types and absorption, yes? Regardless, wouldn't it be fair to say that overall more co2 = more plant growth = more net co2 sink?

    I think of greenhouse growers who keep co2 levels at an optimum of about 1500ppm. How does that reconcile with what you're explaining?

  3. #3753
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    We must remember, the earth's climate has stayed static for billions of years until 1750, when the industrial revolution began.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  4. #3754
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wooglin View Post

    I think of greenhouse growers who keep co2 levels at an optimum of about 1500ppm. How does that reconcile with what you're explaining?
    The second part of my comment applies. Greenhouse growers are in effect 'planting' new growth forests. Their tomatoes or grapes or whatever grow rapidly, storing carbon in the process and they then harvest the crop. In effect they remove the stored carbon and start again. If they left a crop in place till it matured, died and rotted the whole carbon fixing process would plateau.
    Last edited by Monash; 17 May 17, at 07:56.

  5. #3755
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    We must remember, the earth's climate has stayed static for billions of years until 1750, when the industrial revolution began.
    GN, I assume your being facetious. On that assumption the question is simply to what extent any current change in climate is advantageous or disadvantageous in terms of it's impact on our civilization. The sudden onset of a period of global warming might well have negative impacts. By the same token the sudden onset of a period of global cooling would be would not necessarily be a bundle of laughs either.

    This is largely because human population is concentrated (naturally enough) around those parts of the planet that are most fertile/ favourable to us now - under current climatic conditions. Change the conditions and you may well change those locations. (Followed by a lot of house moving.) The pueblo culture being a case in point. So IMO and the bleatings of certain environmental groups aside (who would find something else to complain about if not this) the issue should be and is being dealt with, if not quickly enough for my liking - by a combo of tech and economics.
    Last edited by Monash; 17 May 17, at 13:10.

  6. #3756
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Sorry should have specified that the comment related specifically to land plants. As I recall each genus or species ability to recover CO2 depends in part on the specific type of carbon pathway they have evolved to use. CAM , C3 or C4 are the main ones I think. (I think C4 is more efficient at fixing CO2 than C3 for instance.)

    So some plants are more efficient at turning carbon into sugers and plant mass than others. Anyway my comment was meant to point out that yes, plants get a boost from increases CO2 but it is not linear. There's an upper limit to how much CO2 they can absorb depending on type.

    Lastly, yes plant growth does trap CO2 which is why new growth forests are effective carbon traps. However mature forests trap much less because they're hit the balance point between new plant growth and the death of old plant material. And part of that old trapped CO2 always gets released during the decay cycle, not all but part.
    But as technology advances we may well be ale to move from dino-oil to new made oil and stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere without cutting our use of hydrocarbons. Biofules are carbon nuetral after all. So a greening earth eats more carbon, we cut more down to turn to oil to keep much of the new greening in new growth forrest stage.

  7. #3757
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Bio fuels are carbon neutral in that the amount of carbon absorbed equals the amount released when it burns, sort of. That said you also have to take into account the amount of energy required to convert the plant matter into fuel. You can produce fuel from corn or even wood chips etc but it takes energy to break down the lignin and other components.

    The best, most efficient bio fuel is algae, you can gene engineer it make it produce more fuel and there's not much conversion cost. Still either way bio fuel is still only carbon neutral, it won't reduce the level of CO2 produced by other sources (unless you don't burn it and just pump it underground!) There's a whole 'carbon ledger' element to these arguments. Part science part accounting.

    Anyway, the real problem with bio fuels is the fine particulates. Latest research has confirmed a link to lung disease and now heart disease. Apparently after you inhale these (nano scale) particles your own immune cells soak up the crap, carry it to any plaques in your arteries and dump them there. Thereby making everything much worse. Electric cars or fuel cells would prob be better long term.
    Last edited by Monash; 17 May 17, at 13:12.

  8. #3758
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Bio fuels are carbon neutral in that the amount of carbon absorbed equals the amount released when it burns, sort of. That said you also have to take into account the amount of energy required to convert the plant matter into fuel. You can produce fuel from corn or even wood chips etc but it takes energy to break down the lignin and other components.

    The best, most efficient bio fuel is algae, you can bio engineer it make it produce more fuel and there's not much conversion cost. Still either way bio fuel is still only carbon neutral, it won't reduce levels produced by other sources (unless you don't burn it and just pump it underground!) There's a whole 'carbon ledger' element to these arguments. Part science part accounting.

    Anyway, the real problem with bio fuels is the fine particulates. Latest research has confirmed a link to lung disease and now heart disease. Apparently your own immune cells soak up the crap , carry it to any plaques in the arteries and dump them there. Thereby making everything much worse. Electric cars or fuel cells would prob be better long term.
    Don't see EV's being able to really do heavy commercial or on demand work.

  9. #3759
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    It's only my guess of course but if you could go zero carbon for utilities, local ground transport, rail and sea transport the world could probably live with conventional long distance ground and air transport. At least for several decades until something better comes along. I could be wrong, it needs expert input/statistics.
    Last edited by Monash; 17 May 17, at 13:12.

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