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View Diary: BREAKTHROUGH: Gasoline, diesel, & jet fuel made from biomass (104 comments)

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  •  More plants may be helpful in fixing carbon (0+ / 0-)

    but it is useful to note two things. First, additional plants will decrease the albedo of the Earth so their effect may not be extremely efficient in many cases. Rapidly growing plants like bamboo at low latitudes would be the most useful while slow growing low albedo forests at high latitudes might even have a negative effect. Second, if you look at the numbers:

    Living biomass: 600 GtC
    Atmosphere: 760 GtC
    Soils: 1600 GtC
    Fossil fuels: 4700 GtC
    Oceans: ~40,000 GtC
    Sediments and limestone: 50,000,000 GtC

    and note that some climate change scientists expect that the atmospheric CO2 concentration will double in the next 50 years, then it is obvious that we might not be able to support enough living biomass on the surface of the planet for this to work. Please note that the atmospheric concentration is misleading since for every 8 GtC emitted, 4 will go into the atmosphere, 2 into the oceans, and 2 into soils (if I recall correctly from my atmospheric science courses). If you start pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere, the oceans and soils will try to maintain the steady state level. So in effect, any increase in measured atmospheric CO2 is doubled when you try to remove it. The end effect would mean that the Earth would require roughly 3 times the amount of living biomass it has today even without taking into account the feedback issues with albedo.

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