Friday, January 13, 2006

Kill the rain forests before they kill us!

Nothing is funnier than the truth.

LONDON (Reuters) - German scientists have discovered a new source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change.

The culprits are plants.

They produce about 10 to 30 percent of the annual methane found in the atmosphere, according to researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.
If the researchers are correct, plants contribute up to 180 of the 600 tons of methane that helps keep Mother Earth all warm and comfy.

"Significant methane emissions from both intact plants and detached leaves were observed ... in the laboratory and in the field," Dr Frank Keppler and his team said in a report in the journal Nature.

Methane, which is produced by city rubbish dumps, coal mining, flatulent animals, rice cultivation and peat bogs, is one of the most potent greenhouse gases in terms of its ability to trap heat.

But here comes the rich part:

Keppler and his colleagues discovered that living plants emit 10 to 100 times more methane than dead plants.

Scientists had previously thought that plants could only emit methane in the absence of oxygen.

David Lowe, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, said the findings are startling and controversial.

"Keppler and colleagues' finding helps to account for observations from space of incredibly large plumes of methane above tropical forests," he said in a commentary on the research.

Tropical forests. Rain forests. Traitorous rain forests. Who or what can an environmentalist trust? You can almost hear the despair and whine of the greenies in the last paragraph.

But the study also poses questions, such as how such a potentially large source of methane could have been overlooked and how plants produced it.

Could it be, just possibly be, that we still don't know an awful lot about how things work on this world?

There's an awful lot of methane that comes from other sources that we do not yet understand, some of it from the very earth itself. The knee-jerk enviro response has always been to blame humans first, especially United States humans. Do you suppose there will be some apologizing and mending of ways in light of this new research?

Neither do we expect it.


At 12:45 PM, Blogger AWG said...

Of course when the permafrost begins to melt in sunny Alaska, the methane gas output will put ol' Bossie the cow to shame.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will there will be some apologizing and mending of ways from the bloggers who didn't understand the report? The researchers released a press release when they saw how their work was being wildly misinterpreted.

"The most frequent misinterpretation we find in the media is that emissions of methane from plants are responsible for global warming....It is the anthropogenic emissions which are responsible for the well-documented increasing atmospheric concentrations of methane since pre-industrial times."


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