Skip to main content

View Diary: Understanding the real danger of CO2 levels to Earth and life. (102 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Carbon from burned grass (0+ / 0-)

    That is replanted is carbon neutral.  But you already knew that.  And that's what my comment said even if the wording was nit-pickable.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:17:21 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I suppose some deep level number crunching (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ginny in CO

      needs to be done to verify that allegation.

      However, if the grass in question was NOT harvested and  burned, the carbon would remain sequestered and not in the atmosphere/ocean.   In fact, the US great plains in their primordial state with lots of perennial grasses (that did burn occassionally for sure, but not on a regular basis) sequestered a huge amount of carbon!

      In the case that the grass is grown and harvested regularly for energy, in that case I'd be shocked if the process really was energy and carbon neutral.  Just saying, modern agricultural uses a whole buttload of carbon-producing inputs.  And I'm just talking about fertilizer production - haven't even considered the tractors and other machinery involved . ..  .

      •  That's all true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO

        But I'm just talking about the plant alone.  If the source of carbon in the plant matter is from the air, and next year's crop will breathe it back in.

        However, now you have me questioning my understanding of that.

        Does the plant take up carbon from the soil?  Or just from the air?

        Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

        by yet another liberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:44:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Plant definitely get carbon from the soil (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ginny in CO

          there is a large pool of organic carbon in soil, that provides plants with nutrients, etc.  Of course, this came from plants in the first place, so in a stable ecosytem this is probably a legitimately carbon neutral situation.

          Here's a relevant snippet from Wikipedia:

          Soil carbon and soil health

          Soil carbon improves the physical properties of soil. It increases the cation exchange capacity (CEC) and water-holding capacity of sandy soil and it contributes to the structural stability of clay soils by helping to bind particles into aggregates.[3] Soil organic matter, of which carbon is a major part, holds a great proportion of nutrients, cations and trace elements that are of importance to plant growth. It prevents nutrient leaching and is integral to the organic acids that make minerals available to plants. It also buffers soil from strong changes in pH.[4] It is widely accepted that the carbon content of soil is a major factor in its overall health.

          [edit] Losses of soil carbon

          Although exact quantities cannot be documented, human activities have caused massive losses of soil organic carbon.[5] First was the use of fire, which removes soil cover and leads to immediate and continuing losses of soil organic carbon. Tillage and drainage both expose soil organic matter to oxygen and oxidation. In the Netherlands, East Anglia, Florida, and the California delta, subsidence of peat lands from oxidation has been severe as a result of tillage and drainage.

          Grazing management that exposes soil (either excessive or insufficient recovery periods) can also cause losses of soil organic carbon.

          Thus, my understanding is that if humans want to use/grow biomass for energy (or for food for that matter) - they disturb and destroy this large soil reservoir of carbon (i.e., release it to the atmosphere).   And compensate through the use of fertilizers (which primarily supply nitrogen and phosphorus, but require carbon to produce - e.g., in the Haber process).

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (159)
  • Community (65)
  • Baltimore (41)
  • Civil Rights (39)
  • Bernie Sanders (33)
  • Culture (32)
  • Elections (30)
  • Economy (30)
  • Law (26)
  • Texas (24)
  • Labor (22)
  • Environment (21)
  • 2016 (21)
  • Rescued (21)
  • Education (21)
  • Freddie Gray (20)
  • Media (19)
  • Racism (18)
  • Hillary Clinton (18)
  • Health Care (17)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site