Here are some pretty cool facts that can help us combat Global Warming.
Trees also reduce the greenhouse effect by shading our homes and office buildings. This reduces air conditioning needs up to 30%, thereby reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned to produce electricity. This combination of CO2 removal from the atmosphere, carbon storage in wood, and the cooling effect makes trees a very efficient tool in fighting the greenhouse effect.
One tree that shades your home in the city will also save fossil fuel, cutting CO2 buildup as much as 15 forest trees.
Approximately 800 million tons of carbon are stored in U.S. urban forests with a $22 billion equivalent in control costs.
Planting trees remains one of the cheapest, most effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.
A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings.
Each person in the U.S. generates approximately 2.3 tons of CO2 each year. A healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually — or 2.6 tons per acre each year. An acre of trees absorbs enough CO2 over one year to equal the amount produced by driving a car 26,000 miles.
An estimate of carbon emitted per vehicle mile is between 0.88 lb. CO2/mi. – 1.06 lb. CO2/mi. (Nowak, 1993). Thus, a car driven 26,000 miles will emit between 22,880 lbs CO2 and 27,647 lbs. CO2.
Thus, one acre of tree cover in Brooklyn can compensate for automobile fuel use equivalent to driving a car between 7,200 and 8,700 miles.
If every American family planted just one tree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion lbs annually. This is almost 5% of the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year.
The U.S. Forest Service estimates that all the forests in the United States combined sequestered a net of approximately 309 million tons of carbon per year from 1952 to 1992, offsetting approximately 25% of U.S. human-caused emissions of carbon during that period.
Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.
For more on all the marvellous things trees do, check out this link. http://www.coloradotrees.org/benefits.htm
Now, a second solution to Global Warming but perhaps a false promise as I see it as a means of masking deeper issues like deforestization and fossil fuels etc. But, none the less, read on.
Scientists say they have invented a machine that can suck carbon dioxide out of the air – potentially creating a vital weapon in the war against global warming.
The blueprint for the CO2 ‘scrubber’ raises the prospect of a generation of machines which would help reduce the billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere by the use of fossil fuels.
The team of US scientists now plans to build a prototype which would capture one tonne of CO2 from the air every day.
Holy grail? How one of the CO2-scrubbing machines would look
Though the idea is considered a holy grail in the battle against climate change – and Sir Richard Branson has put up £12.6 million for anyone who makes it a reality – the machines would fall far short of a quick fix.
The prototype, being built at a laboratory in Tucson, Arizona, by a company called Global Research Technologies, will cost about £100,000 and take about two years to construct.
The devices – each nearly the size of a shipping container – would have to be produced in their millions to soak up human carbon emissions.
The idea is bound to be controversial, with environmentalists seeing so-called technological solutions to global warming as undermining attempts to promote greener lifestyles and industries.
But physicist Klaus Lackner, who led the U.S. team behind the invention, said the CO2 scrubber offered more hope than current efforts to cut carbon emissions by reducing fossil fuel use.
‘ I’d rather have a technology that allows us to use fossil fuels without destroying the planet, because people are going to use them anyway,’ he said.
Scientists say it is not difficult to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by absorbing it in various chemical filters. But the problem has been how to clean those filters of CO2 so they can then be reused to carry on the job.
Professor Lackner, of New York’s Columbia University, says the solution lies in a newly discovered property of absorbent plastic sheets known as ‘ion exchange membranes’ which are routinely used to purify water.
It turns out that humid air can make these membranes ‘exhale’ the CO2 they have trapped – leaving them clean and ready to absorb another load.
The Lackner team says the captured carbon dioxide could then be pumped into greenhouses to boost plant growth.
Here’s another quick fix that I like:
Go get your friends and spend an afternoon planting trees in your neighbourhood.