President Obama has set 2030 as the target for reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to comply with the Paris Climate accord. Unfortunately, the Senate's new Energy Bill would allow states to count wood as a "carbon neutral" fuel when drawing up plans to comply with the EPA's Clean Power Plan.
The John H. Martin Award recognizes a paper in aquatic sciences that is judged to have had a high impact on subsequent research in the field. The 2016 Martin Award is for "Carbon dioxide supersaturation in the surface waters of lakes" by Jonathan Cole, Nina Caraco, George Kling and Tim Kratz. Cole et al (1994) documented that lakes are often supersaturated with CO2 and focused attention on inland waters as sources of carbon to the atmosphere.
The average American is responsible for one of the largest carbon footprints in the world. Some 37% of our carbon emissions is associated with electricity generation; 33% stems from transportation – largely personal automobiles. The remaining 30% is attributed to industry, residential use, and agriculture.
By now the lesson is clear: Burning coal and petroleum produces carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas that contributes to the warming of our globe. That alone is enough reason to believe fossil fuels are not a sustainable basis for society long-term.
Forest preservation is essential to combating climate change. Growing trees absorb carbon dioxide, storing it in their wood. Forest destruction is responsible for about 20% of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth's atmosphere.
Some of the most distinguished scientists in the US have written to UK energy secretary Ed Davey, urging him to abandon the government's "misguided" subsidies for companies burning wood pellets to generate electricity.
One of the key ways of mitigating climate change is to keep carbon away from the atmosphere where it is found as carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas. Carbon that is stored in trees and other woody plants, in soils, and in the oceans is said to be sequestered.
Many people have adopted a philosophy of buying local food because they are concerned about the carbon footprint of transporting food long distances. People are rebelling against tomatoes from South America and garlic from China, because they can reduce greenhouse emissions by buying locally. Some people even start their own gardens for this reason.
In an attempt to wean the nation from coal—an unhealthy source of energy that drives global warming, several policy groups have suggested switching to wood. Existing coal-fired power plants could be converted to burn wood with relatively little cost and expense. And trees have the benefit of being a renewable resource.
In our quest for renewable energy, attention has shifted to our nation’s forests. Forest-based energy has the potential to be “carbon-neutral.” The carbon released into the atmosphere when trees are burned is taken back out of the atmosphere when new trees grow.
Thankfully, the argument about the reality of global climate change seems finished. The majority of the public now joins the consensus of climate scientists, who have furnished compelling proof that the planet is warming and that humans are at least partly to blame.