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(OT) Greenhouse gases and other stuff (Was Re: Lawn Fertilizers and Milorganite)

  • To: hosta-open@mallorn.com
  • Subject: (OT) Greenhouse gases and other stuff (Was Re: Lawn Fertilizers and Milorganite)
  • From: "Gerry/Bob O'Neill" <eoneill@ibm.net>
  • Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 21:09:18 -0400

At 08:28 AM 9/26/00 EDT, you wrote:
 >
>What I understand of the studies involving organic verses other farming 
>practices is that organic farming has less CO2 release into the atmosphere.
>Other gasses involved in the greenhouse effect are responsible for the 
>negative rating involving organic farming.
>
>The effects of CO2 on global warming is greatly increased by other gases.
>Any study that only looks at CO2 fails to be of much use as to prediction of 
>global temperature.
>
>
>I wish I had keep the article but I did not, I just thought that it was 
>interesting.
>
>Paul
 
Paul,
Major greenhouse gases include not only CO2 but also methane, NO/N2O/NOx,
CFC's.

CFC's result almost exclusively from non-agricultural sources. 

It's hard for me to imagine that organic farming methods would increase
methane input to the atmosphere (unless you are talking about cattle
farming) since methane efflux occurs primarily from anaerobic soils. The
major concern over CH4 is stimulation of wetland plant growth by CO2 that
results in increased carbon input to the anaerobic soils below, followed by
increased methane production. But it still comes back to CO2.

Gaseous nitrogen input is complex, since there are so many compounds
involved and they are produced from  both natural and anthropogenic
sources. But with the exception of over-fertilization with fresh manure,
intensive chemical farming is a greater source of nitrogen pollution than
organic/traditional, by far.

 The focus has been on CO2, rather than the other gases (which you are
right, tend to be more photoactive and thus contribute more to global
change than CO2, molecule to molecule) because concentrations of CO2 in the
atmosphere are rising at a much more rapid rate than the other gases, and
because the sources are anthropogenic and therefore potentially
controllable.  

Experimental studies that focus on CO2 exclusively do so not because other
gases are unimportant, but because of the effects of increasing atmospheric
CO2 on plant growth, and because of the overwhelming impact of CO2 of
global C cycling. In order to predict global climate change (including
global warming) you must understand sources and sinks of CO2.  Plants have
the potential to mitigate the input of CO2 to the atmosphere, but first we
have to understand the processes involved. 

I am in no position to dispute the article in the Star, because I have not
read it. But I sure would like to find out what their source was.  To say
the scientists "were surprised" at the results doesn't half describe what
the importance of those findings would be. 

Gerry
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