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posted by azrael on Saturday August 02 2014, @04:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the burning-stuff-produces-carbon-dioxide dept.

It has long been known that biomass burning -- burning forests to create agricultural lands, burning savannah as a ritual , slash-and-burn agriculture and wildfires -- figures into both climate change and public health.

But until the release of a new study by Stanford University Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, the degree of that contribution had never been comprehensively quantified.

Jacobson's research, detailed in a paper published July 30 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, is based on a three-dimensional computer model simulation of the impacts of biomass burning. His findings indicate that burning biomass is playing a much bigger role in climate change and human health issues than previously thought.

"We calculate that 5 to 10 percent of worldwide air pollution mortalities are due to biomass burning," Jacobson said. "That means that it causes the premature deaths of about 250,000 people each year."

Carbon, of course, is associated with global warming. Most carbon emissions linked to human activity are in the form of carbon dioxide gas (CO2), but other forms of carbon include the methane gas (CH4) and the particles generated by such fires -- the tiny bits of soot, called black carbon, and motes of associated substances known as brown carbon.

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  • (Score: 1) by Horse With Stripes on Saturday August 02 2014, @11:43AM

    by Horse With Stripes (577) on Saturday August 02 2014, @11:43AM (#76697)

    "We calculate that 5 to 10 percent of worldwide air pollution mortalities are due to biomass burning,"

    Aren't people using fireplaces, burning leaves, trash, etc also part of this "5 to 10 percent"?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02 2014, @12:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02 2014, @12:26PM (#76699)

    This whole talk of the "5 to 10 percent" is a shameful misdirection aimed with minimizing the media's coverage of the 1%. In 21st century America, the 1% is not simply hoarding most of the nation's capital and assets [], it also uses most of the country's natural resources. In other words, through their factories, importation of foreign goods and H1B workers [], the "top" 1% is responsible for most of the pollution north to Mexico []. Ask yourself, how many young urban professionals have fireplaces? How much trash do the underprivileged classes create? How many leaves does the country's most oppressed socio-economic group, the American woman, burn?

    Keep in mind that all mention of the 5% as somehow exploiting the average American is simply part of a widespread campaign to vilify one of black America's most important socially aware groups []. It is not surprising that much of the mainstream "media" has tried to label them as "muslim", painting them with the same brush as so-called "terrorists".

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @02:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03 2014, @02:00AM (#76824)

      I'm sorry to have to be the one to explain this to you, but not every use of the word "percent" is either a reference to or distraction from the socio-economic repression of "The 99%" by "The 1%." The word "percent," whether prefixed by "one," "ninety-nine," "five," "three," or any other number, does not necessary reference or obfuscate references to any group to whom such a designation has been applied, much in the same way that simple numbers like "eighty-eight" do not always reference Nazism. Sometimes numbers are just numbers, and percentages just percentages. Allowing the transient politics of the moment to dominate mathematical discourse is exactly the kind of thing that leads to the violent (and perhaps even justified) oppression of liberal arts majors by roving gangs of STEM fascists. In summation, I hereby co-opt your social justice movement and oppress your people in the name of 3.141592654 percent. Go check your privilege, because I just de-escalated it.