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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 Joe Desertrat on Monday August 04 2014, @02:26AM

    by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Monday August 04 2014, @02:26AM (#77061)

    "If you plant it outdoors, you get free energy from the Sun."

    Not only that, pot and hemp are environmentally friendly plants to grow if grown in a proper environment. They pretty much grow like weeds. I've seen pot sprout and grow several times from casually discarded seeds.

    Replace all the tobacco farms with pot and hemp farms and you will see a large decrease in the required pesticide and fertilizer use, both are harmful to the environment in use and in their production. Replace most farms growing crops for bio-fuels with hemp and you might actually see a net energy gain from the process, without any subsidies being required.