Jun 15

This is definitely an inconvenient truth for the organic, buy local, farmer’s market crowd.

Scientific American reports on a new study from Standford University:

Modern high-yield farming lowered the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the Earth’s atmosphere toward the end of the 20th Century by a massive amount, according to a surprising study from researchers at Stanford University.

Technological advances in agriculture helped reduce greenhouse gas output by reducing the need to convert forests to farmland, the study said. Such conversion involves burning of trees and other naturally occurring carbon repositories, which increases emissions of carbon, methane and nitrous oxide.

If not for yield improvement techniques, which have dramatically helped corporate farms produce more crops with less land, authors of the study said an additional 13 billion tons of CO2 would have been loosed into the atmosphere per year.

“Our results dispel the notion that modern intensive agriculture is inherently worse for the environment than a more ‘old-fashioned’ way of doing things,” said Jennifer Burney, lead author of a paper on high-yield farming to be published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Overall, the study estimated that new farming methods averted emitting as much as the equivalent of 590 billion metric tons of CO2. That translates into as much as a third of the world’s total greenhouse gas output since 1850, a date often cited as the start of the Industrial Revolution in the West.

The production and use of fertilizer has led to significant greenhouse gas emissions, Burney said, but that increase pales in comparison with what might have been had more forests and grasslands been shifted to agricultural uses.

“Every time forest or shrub land is cleared for farming, the carbon that was tied up in the biomass is released and rapidly makes its way into the atmosphere,” said Burney, who is a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford.

Not that I really think it’s necessary to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, but if we are going to do that the organic, buy local, farmer’s market model often pushed by those same folks going to see Al Gore’s slide show isn’t the correct path to take.

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Feb 17

Domino Effect: Utah, then Texas, and now Virginia challenging EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations

By Editor CO2, EPA, GHGs, Texas, Utah, Virginia Comments Off on Domino Effect: Utah, then Texas, and now Virginia challenging EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations

The wrongly maligned CO2 molecule appears to be headed toward getting it’s well-deserved good reputation back.  Earlier this month Utah made headlines when a legislative panel approved a resolution urging the EPA halt it’s regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs).  Yesterday Texas followed suit – lawsuit that is.  And just today it’s reported that Virginia is joining in on this apparent Domino Effect:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli turned up the heat on global warming yesterday.On behalf of the state, Cuccinelli filed a petition asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its December finding that global warming poses a threat to people.

Cuccinelli also filed a petition with the federal appeals court in Washington seeking a court review of the EPA finding.

Gov. Bob McDonnell supported the moves.

“The attorney general is acting in the best interests of the citizens of Virginia,” McDonnell said in a statement.

“The current federal position could have a negative impact on job creation and economic development in the commonwealth and should be reconsidered.”

Who’ll be next? How about Massachusetts?

Hat tip: Climate Depot

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May 20

US is disproportionately GHG efficient

By Editor Chris Horner, GHGs, Planet Gore Comments Off on US is disproportionately GHG efficient

Chris Horner over at Planet Gore points out:

…the U.S. produces 28 percent of the world’s wealth in return for its 22 percent or so of the world’s GHGs.

Heavens. As it happens, the U.S. is disproportionately GHG (green house gas) efficient. If only the rest of the world met our standard, Kyoto would be met several times over.

But of course, bringing the U.S. to heel on Kyoto is not about GHG emissions, per se. It’s about wealth transfer, “leveling the playing” field, and all the rest that our friends have admitted to.

You’ll never hear Gore repeat this.

Gore lied.

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