Sunday, May 27, 2007

Combating Climate Change: Farming Out Global Warming Solutions

Scientific American - Science News
May 25, 2007

Changes to agricultural practice and forestry management could cut greenhouse gas emissions, buying time to develop alternative technologies
By David Biello

Science Image: tilling-soy-field
Image: USDA
NO TILL?: By avoiding tillage, seen here, farmers can both increase the quality of their soil and sequester greenhouse gases.
Saving the trees could slow climate change, new research shows. Each year, nearly 33 million acres of forestland around the world is cut down, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Tropical felling alone contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon—some 20 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—to the atmosphere annually. If such losses were cut in half, it could save 500 million metric tons of carbon annually and contribute 12 percent of the total reductions in GHG emissions required to avoid unpleasant global warming, researchers recently reported in Science.