Mapping the guilt of fruits and vegetables out of state

From DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, probably the biggest load of crap I’ve seen in quite some time. I realize that’s harsh,  and I don’t think I’ve ever used that sentence to describe a scientific study, but there’s really no other way to say it when we have massive imports of fruits and vegetables from other countries, and they are worried about carbon in crops crossing state lines and regions in the USA. But the sad part is, this sort of “science” is so bloody obvious a fifth grader could tell you that “Their calculations showed that the most agriculturally active regions, shown in blue, are carbon sinks while the regions with larger populations, shown in red, are carbon sources.”

Carbon hitches a ride from field to market

Agriculture’s mobile nature makes predicting regional greenhouse gas impacts more complex

Based on US crop production, scientists determined which American regions are carbon sinks, or those that take in more carbon than release it, and carbon sources, or those that release more carbon than they take in. Their calculations showed that the most agriculturally active regions, shown in blue, are carbon sinks while the regions with larger populations, shown in red, are carbon sources. Credit: PNNL

 

RICHLAND, Wash. – Today, farming often involves transporting crops long distances so consumers from Maine to California can enjoy Midwest corn, Northwest cherries and other produce when they are out of season locally. But it isn’t just the fossil fuel needed to move food that contributes to agriculture’s carbon footprint.

New research published in the journal Biogeosciences provides a detailed account of how carbon naturally flows into and out of crops themselves as they grow, are harvested and are then eaten far from where they’re grown. The paper shows how regions that depend on others to grow their food end up releasing the carbon that comes with those crops into the atmosphere.

“Until recently, climate models have assumed that the carbon taken up by crops is put back into nature at the same place crops are grown,” said the paper’s lead author, environmental scientist Tristram West of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “Our research provides a more accurate account of carbon in crops by considering the mobile nature of today’s agriculture.”

West works out of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a partnership between PNNL and the University of Maryland. His co-authors are researchers at PNNL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Colorado State University.

Carbon, carbon everywhere

Carbon is the basis of life on Earth, including plants. During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide and convert it into carbon-based sugars needed to grow and live. When a plant dies, it decomposes and releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. After eating plants, animals and humans release the plants’ carbon as either carbon dioxide while breathing or as methane during digestion.

But the geography of this natural carbon cycle has shifted with the rise of commercial agriculture. Crops are harvested and shipped far away from where they’re grown, instead of being consumed nearby. As a result, agriculturally active regions take in large amounts of carbon as crops grow. And regions with larger populations that consume those crops release the carbon.

The result is nearly net zero for carbon, with about the same amount of carbon being taken in as is released at the end. But the difference is where the carbon ends up. That geography matters for those who track every bit of carbon on Earth in an effort to estimate the potential impacts of greenhouse gases.

Digging into data

Agricultural carbon is currently tracked through two means: Towers placed in farm fields that are equipped with carbon dioxide sensors, and computer models that crunch data to generate estimates of carbon movement between land and the atmosphere. But neither method accounts for crops releasing carbon in areas other than where they were grown.

To more accurately reflect the carbon reality of today’s agricultural crops, West and his co-authors combed through extensive data collected by various government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Looking at 17 crops – including corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton – that make up 99 percent of total U.S. crop production, the researchers calculated the carbon content of harvested crops by county for each year from 2000 to 2008.

Next they used population numbers and data on human food intake to estimate, by age and gender, how much carbon from crops humans consume. On the flip side, the co-authors also calculated how much carbon humans release when they exhale, excrete and release flatulence. They did the same analysis on livestock and pets.

But not all food makes it to the dinner table. The researchers accounted for the crops that are lost due to spoilage or during processing, which ranges from 29 percent of collected dairy to as much as 57 percent of harvested vegetables. Beyond food, they determined the amount of carbon that goes into plant-based products such as fabric, cigarettes and biofuels. And they noted how much grain is stored for future use and the crops that are exported overseas.

National crop carbon budget

Combining all these calculations, the researchers developed a national crop carbon budget. Theoretically, all the carbon inputs should equal the carbon outputs from year to year. The researchers came very close, with no more than 6.1 percent of the initial carbon missing from their end calculations. This indicated that the team had accounted for the vast majority of the carbon from America’s harvested crops.

The team found overall that the crops take in – and later return – about 37 percent of the U.S.’s total annual carbon dioxide emissions, but that amount varies by region. Carbon sinks, or areas that take in more carbon than release it, were found in the agriculturally active regions of the Midwest, Great Plains and lands along the southern half of the Mississippi River. Regions with larger populations and less agriculture were found to be carbon sources, or areas that release more carbon than they take in. The calculations indicated the Northeast, Southeast and much of the Western U.S. and Gulf Coast were carbon sources. The remaining regions – the western interior and south-central U.S. – flip-flopped between being minor carbon sinks or sources, depending on the year.

Informing policy decisions

Next, West would like his team’s methods applied to forestry, which also involves the movement of carbon-containing products from one locale to another. Comprehensive carbon calculations for agriculture and forestry could be used in connection with previous carbon estimates that were based on carbon dioxide sensor towers or carbon computer models.

“These calculations substantially improve what we know about the movement of carbon in agriculture,” West said. “Reliable, comprehensive data like this can better inform policies aimed at managing carbon dioxide emissions.” This research was funded by NASA through the North American Carbon Program.

###

REFERENCE: West, T. O., Bandaru, V., Brandt, C. C., Schuh, A. E., and Ogle, S. M.: Regional uptake and release of crop carbon in the United States, Biogeosciences, 8, 2037-2046, doi: 10.5194/bg-8-2037-2011, 2011. Published online Aug. 3, 2011. http://www.biogeosciences.net/8/2037/2011/

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory where interdisciplinary teams advance science and technology and deliver solutions to America’s most intractable problems in energy, the environment and national security. PNNL employs 4,900 staff, has an annual budget of nearly $1.1 billion, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab’s inception in 1965. Follow PNNL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Joint Global Change Research Institute is a unique partnership formed in 2001 between the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland. The PNNL staff associated with the center are world renowned for expertise in energy conservation and understanding of the interactions between climate, energy production and use, economic activity and the environment.

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94 Responses to Mapping the guilt of fruits and vegetables out of state

  1. jorgekafkazar says:

    Crap? Oh, come now. It’s not that good.

  2. Kasuha says:

    I’d not call this study load of crap, it may map only small part of the carbon cycle but it’s a step in the right direction IMO.
    Now we can see it’s about time to start building CO2 pipes to send the excess CO2 from industrial regions straight to crop fields where they need it most – instead of releasing it to the atmosphere which is unreliable in delivery of this important fertilizer to where we need it.

  3. Dave says:

    Insanity knows no state borders

  4. As I understand it cr*p is the base substance of fertiliser, fertiliser stimulates plants, plants absorb CO2 (Not “carbon”) and provide Oxygen …

    This study doesn’t do any of that.

  5. charles nelson says:

    For heaven’s sake, could some one tell me just how many angels can dance on the head of a pin..please?

  6. Myrrh says:

    “Until recently, climate models have assumed that the carbon taken up by crops is put back into nature at the same place crops are grown,” said the paper’s lead author, environmental scientist Tristram West of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

    AGWScience fiction scientists haven’t assumed that in their models, their premise is that the atmosphere is empty space and carbon dioxide an ideal gas which diffuses through all the atmosphere around the Earth to mix in thoroughly and stay up in the atmosphere accumulating.

    AGWScience fiction does not have: New research published in the journal Biogeosciences provides a detailed account of how carbon naturally flows into and out of crops themselves as they grow,

    Which is old research, well known from countless studies in the centuries carbon dioxide has been measured as well as ongoing local measurements studies. Carbon dioxide is extremely reluctant to travel far from home because it is heavier than air, it takes an outside force such as wind to get it moving and that movement is generally very localised by local wind patterns and local rainfall, which is carbonic acid, and when all is calm again, by the heavier than air carbon dioxide displacing air to come back to where crops are waiting for it. And, where the plants themselves are also producing it when not doing photosynthesis when they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, but like us taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide.

    So, has this study taken into consideration that wind patterns and such from areas which are ‘not carbon sinks but producers’ will also be producers in releasing it into wind patterns which may well even take it back home to where the plants were growing for the crop?

    And when will they stop using “carbon” when they’re talking about carbon dioxide?

  7. “These calculations substantially improve what we know about the movement of carbon in agriculture,” West said. “Reliable, comprehensive data like this can better inform policies aimed at managing carbon dioxide emissions.”

    And just what will these “informed policies” do differently than they would otherwise? I agree that this must be the biggest, most pointless heap of bovine ordure evah. And I’ve seen some large heaps in my time. BTW Kasuha – CO2 isn’t just “an important fertilizer”, it’s the ONLY source of carbon for plants.

  8. flicka47 says:

    Sheesh! A load of crap doesn’t even begin to describe this. I take it these clowns really didn’t do too much “research” on where crops are grown. I guess a “field” trip was out of order? California grows something like 80 to 85% of the brocolli, lettuce,strawberries,citrus, avocadoes, tree nuts, garlic,and tomatoes in the US. That’s not counting the grapes(both eating & wine),rice,cotton,apples and animal feeds(corn,alfalfa,oat hay and oats etc) grown in the state.(yeah and wheat too!) California is not L.A. There’s a reason the number one dollar product of the state is, and has been,and probably always will be agricultural products.

    So, how do they figure it is a “source” by their stupid reasoning?

  9. Shanghai Dan says:

    I think we’re overlooking the real significance of this study:

    We’re running the risk of running out of carbon in those blue areas! What will happen when we’re out of carbon because it’s all been stacked in the red areas? How can we grow food?!?!? Clearly we need some sort of International Body to help redistribute the carbon back to whence it came!

    /s

  10. NovaReason says:

    On the flip side, the co-authors also calculated how much carbon humans release when they exhale, excrete and release flatulence.

    For the more grammatically inclined in the audience, this sentence is the winner. To make it even better, they also drop the Oxford comma on other terms in series, meaning this was INTENDED to say that you breathe out flatulence. “products such as fabric, cigarettes and biofuels.

  11. H.R. says:

    “The result is nearly net zero for carbon, with about the same amount of carbon being taken in as is released at the end. But the difference is where the carbon ends up. That geography matters for those who track every bit of carbon on Earth in an effort to estimate the potential impacts of greenhouse gases.”

    I thought CO2 was a well mixed in the atmosphere, so it shouldn’t matter where it’s released. But as they said, it’s a net zero, so what good does it do track it if it has no impact on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere?

    Oh wait… tracking CO2 is a green job. Now I get it.

  12. Alan the Brit says:

    jorgekafkazar says:
    August 4, 2011 at 1:26 am
    Crap? Oh, come now. It’s not that good.

    Wonderfully put, Sir!

    You Colonials are a little behind the times, but of course you don’t have a Prince Charles*, (or A Right Charlie, as I like to call him) like we do! He who has been talking to his plants for years, presumably it is from those that he gets most of his barking environmental (the emphasis being on the last two syllables) ideas! This might be a new form for you of protectionism, we shall see. We had a similar piece of “Crap” from the UK Soil Association (run by a good mate of you know who*) a while ago, who wanted to stop some African counrty importing its produce into the UK under the banner of Carbon Footprint, yet said country’s ambassador showed that despite being labour intensive, their product had a lower Carbon Footprint than similar UK produce, despite flying it in!

  13. Eyal Porat says:

    It is this kind of “science” that shows these people has completely lost it.
    You realize the imminent conclusion from all this kind of bull is that mankind should be perished. It is just too dangerous to the environment.
    Total and utter waste of money, human ours and paper.

  14. I have the sceintific team for all this, S-H-1-T

  15. Alexander K says:

    This ‘study’ is not even as useful as crap as it cannot be recycled as fertiliser. It is similar to the loud Green whinges in the UK about the ‘food miles’ nonsense which has been thoroughly and serially debunked, but the Greenists still scream like spoiled children that one must ‘buy local’, which is not very useful for achieving a balanced and healthy diet in this day and age.

  16. Don K says:

    This one looks to be just plain weird. According to their map, California’s central valley — arguably the richest agricultural region on the planet — is a carbon source; the heavily populated East Coast metroplex is more or less neutral; and there is a substantial carbon source in the rather rural and comparatively thinly populated region along the Virginia-North Carolina border. The map doesn’t seem to support their their conclusions.

  17. omnologos says:

    I thought CO2 was well-mixed ?

  18. Mike M says:

    Kasuha says: ….it’s a step in the right direction IMO.

    And what ‘direction’ is that exactly? Perhaps you mean that we should want further study to break it down even further? How about discerning between various crops? Why gee, maybe corn really isn’t as bad as we thought and it’s those pesky tomatoes moving about that are so hard to estimate?

    Yeah, let’s waste another few million to study that one too while China builds new coal fired power plants every week. Get this straight in your mind, this BS cannot possibly have any direction at all because there is no possible DESTINATION for it beyond an attempt to justify requests for more government funding at OUR expense to keep these rent seekers employed.

    If you disagree and think that this ‘study’ might lead to something useful, even IF the CAGW nonsense had any basis at all, then I’m certain a lot of people here would enjoy hearing what that useful ‘thing’ would be? We could use a good laugh once in a while…

  19. Dr. John M. Ware says:

    Mercy, mercy, mercy, what a flap about nothing! With all this information, what will the government do? All it can do, it seems to me, is to regulate how food can be transported, which they already do. Will they say that Chicago can’t have Maine lobsters, or Miami can’t have Indiana corn? “Studies” like this one are based on the premise that CO2 is bad, bad, BAD in any form. What they are trying to do is to change our atmosphere into a flatusphere, at least in our thinking. Stupid research based on false premises; how did this make it through peer review?

  20. Bloke down the pub says:

    And as CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere, the relevance of their findings is what exactly?

  21. UK Sceptic says:

    If carbon is so awful maybe the people reponsible for this crap should cut all food containing carbon from their diets? Maybe they’ll finally wise up before they starve to death…

  22. LearDog says:

    The explanation by popuation doesn’t quite make sense to me – in that the Washington-NJ-NY-Boston corridor is mostly neutral, as is Chicago.

    What DID catch my eye is that giant red swath through the Piney Woods of East Texas – where timber must be counted as a crop…? But how that carbon sink is calculated as a carbon source escapes me at the moment. I need to read the paper.

    The explanation for east Texas isn’t population though. Maybe I need another cup of coffee….

  23. Fritz says:

    Places that grow beans are also exporting methane (another GHG) to the red zones…

  24. tango says:

    what a load of crap most of us are waking up to all the crap .the crap about global warming the crap about sea levels rising . the crap about no rain or crap heat just about crap its no crap it is all crap

  25. SimonJ says:

    Since “they” keep referring to Carbon Dioxide as Carbon, and bearing in mind the proportions (both numerical and mass) of the elements in said compound, I propose in future to refer to the said Carbon Dioxide as “Oxygen”. That should confuse things nicely!

  26. TXMichael says:

    “The Joint Global Change Research Institute is a unique partnership formed in 2001 between the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland.”

    Now, there’s yer’ problem. All dressed up and no where to go.

  27. Mike M says:

    Alan the Brit says: ..but of course you don’t have a Prince Charles*, (or A Right Charlie, as I like to call him) like we do!

    True but weez got more than enough Czars to make up for it.

  28. WillR says:

    The result is nearly net zero for carbon, with about the same amount of carbon being taken in as is released at the end. But the difference is where the carbon ends up. That geography matters for those who track every bit of carbon on Earth in an effort to estimate the potential impacts of greenhouse gases.

    OK. So now somebody tracks every bit of carbon on Earth? This and the previous post made me believe that the date is April 1, 2012 and I did a Rip van Winkle — even if a short one…

    Track every bit of Carbon? Ok S. McIntyre is right — climate scientists “make things up”. There is no other explanation for this. It is otherwise known as a fantasy world… We can’t get the weather right — but claim we can predict climate. We can’t track thermometers in all the world even — and those we track are not placed that well and yet we can track every bit of carbon????? We need another Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) to document the recent interest in Climate… The authors clearly are Hatters…

  29. Leon Brozyna says:

    What a load of … wait, who pays for such stupid junk … no, don’t tell me, let me guess … we did … our tax dollars hard at work … while the rest of us look for work …

  30. Mike M says:

    Fritz says: Places that grow beans are also exporting methane (another GHG) to the red zones…

    That’s a good one Fritz, maybe even good enough to fund a whole new study of its own to map methane emissions, (we wouldn’t want to step on the toes of our fellow distinguished CO2 mappers ya know..). And just to gain some notoriety in the House Ways and Means Committee, let’s figure out a way to work in a correlation between various farm subsidies and their individual methane impact around the country.

  31. Mike M says:

    Whoa! I just had another idea! After the people eat the food then … THEY move as well so we need to study where they go too. Just because they ate the food in Rio Linda doesn’t mean they stayed there to digest it. I think the American tax payer is getting short changed by this half-a**ed ‘study, who could disagree that they deserve the most expensive investigation money can buy?

  32. Hector Pascal says:

    Completely OT, but in the sprit of CRAP and the grammar police, whatever happened to uncountable nouns in US English? Fruits? Do you feed corns to your sheeps?

  33. Gary Mount says:

    I would like to thank the American taxpayer for funding this ‘science’ for it has provided me with several minutes of entertainment.
    Yours truly, your Canadian competition.

  34. bananabender says:

    “Food miles” are nonsense. It is often far more energy efficient to ship food across the globe to distribution centres and then on to supermarkets than it is to drive to the local farmers market to buy fresh produce.

  35. grzejnik says:

    Anyone who doesn’t like the carbon aspect of farming is free to not eat.

  36. Here in the UK Tesco are proudly promoting their “Zero Carbon Stores”. When I challenged them that all they could sell in a zero carbon store was water and salt, (which they could not wrap or place in any plastic container) and that they could not allow staff or customers in a zero carbon space the PR lady waffled on about the fact that it was timber construction. So I pointed out that they could not use timber in a zero carbon store either … Lost cause – she just did not get the irony.
    Coming to a Mall near you soon – your very own Tesco Zero Carbon Store.
    We’re proud to announce that we have just opened two more zero-carbon stores in Bourne, Lincolnshire and Welshpool, Powys – it’s all part of our long-term goal to be a zero-carbon business by 2050

    http://www.tesco.com/greenerliving/greener_tesco/what_tesco_is_doing/tesco_zero_carbon_stores.page

    “A zero carbon business!” Whatever next????

  37. polistra says:

    Alan the Brit: Nope, this won’t lead to protectionism. If it’s pursued as policy, it will lead to stopping all agriculture in the US and getting our food ONLY from foreign countries.

    Protectionism (favoring our own production) is ABSOLUTELY UNTHINKABLE AND UNIMAGINABLE to our elites. Their sole goal is to eliminate ALL economic activity here (except, of course, for credit default swaps and money-market manipulation) and put ALL real economic activity in China. They’ve been working toward this goal for 30 years, and this little study will help them to do for agriculture what they’ve already done for heavy industry.

  38. George E. Smith says:

    That’s why I don’t ever buy or eat Organic food; it’s way overpriced, and it’s loaded with that poisonous carbon (US Supremes said so). Looks like it is time for us to start making food out of rocks (and water) just like Mother Gaia does; that will please PETA and the Pacific National Laboratory Plant worshippers.

    Don’t those red cities have a lot of cars that make carbon; so most of that crap doesn’t even come from the agricultural products. Some midwest farmer gets about two cents (gross) for all of the carbon he puts into a five dollar box of Raisin Bran, those city slickers eat.

    By the way; for the edification of the Pacific National Laboratory geniuses; in the USA, cities are almost universally BLUE; it is those agricultural regions of the USA that are RED.

  39. Mr Lynn says:

    SimonJ says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:09 am
    Since “they” keep referring to Carbon Dioxide as Carbon, and bearing in mind the proportions (both numerical and mass) of the elements in said compound, I propose in future to refer to the said Carbon Dioxide as “Oxygen”. That should confuse things nicely!

    Thread winner!

    /Mr Lynn

  40. Steve from Rockwood says:

    The red and blue areas look a lot like a template for a carbon tax.

  41. James Sexton says:

    There is a rather easy solution to you city carbon emitters…….. quit eating. Then, you, too, can be a sink. In what manner does this study provide any utility to anything? So, urban areas tend to be emitters and rural areas tend to be sinks. I wish they would have just picked up the phone and asked someone instead of wasting all of this time, energy, and money.

  42. higley7 says:

    “After eating plants, animals and humans release the plants’ carbon as either carbon dioxide while breathing or as methane during digestion.”

    Of course, they ignore the fact that we cannot digest a lot of this carbon as we, and may other animals, cannot digest cellulose. It’s called roughage! And as feces, it does not necessarily all go to methane as it is used by many other organisms in their metabolism as it breaks down.

    Simple is as simple (Stupid) does.

    The bottom line to all this:
    Who the HECK cares? If they care, we should find out what’s wrong with them and get them treatment. OR we should be very careful as they have an evil political agenda or are the minions of same.

  43. Jason Calley says:

    I was looking at the higher resolution version of the map http://www.pnl.gov/news/images/photos/20110803115601149.jpg and find it rather poor in its support of the study’s conclusion that “the most agriculturally active regions, shown in blue, are carbon sinks while the regions with larger populations, shown in red, are carbon sources.”

    Seriously, the New York City area is supposed to be carbon neutral? The Phoenix area is neutral? St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas are net carbon sinks? Atlanta, Tampa, and Nashville are neutral? This does not even make sense to me. Am I missing something obvious here?

  44. Frank K. says:

    Murray Grainger says:
    August 4, 2011 at 5:11 am

    “A zero carbon business! Whatever next????”

    I predict they will soon become a “zero revenue” business… [LOL!]

  45. higley7 says:

    I do not see anybody tracking the movement of carbon in the rivers and streams or in the rain. Perhaps we need to track butterflies as they cross state boundaries and tax the people for allowing flowers to grow and attract them.

    Think of the amount of carbon the birds are moving around as they migrate! OMG!
    Has anybody tracked the tonnage of carbon that moves as mail?
    Is some part of the country being carbon enriched with too much junk mail?
    Is junk mail a carbon sink?
    I see huge funding possibilities as we worry about every little aspect of this paramount and mammoth NONISSUE.

  46. H.R. says:

    Mike M says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:37 am
    Fritz says: Places that grow beans are also exporting methane (another GHG) to the red zones…

    “That’s a good one Fritz, maybe even good enough to fund a whole new study of its own to map methane emissions, (we wouldn’t want to step on the toes of our fellow distinguished CO2 mappers ya know..). And just to gain some notoriety in the House Ways and Means Committee, let’s figure out a way to work in a correlation between various farm subsidies and their individual methane impact around the country.”
    ==============================================================

    And if you’re going to give congressional testimony regarding the serious nature of the global methane problem, be sure to pull a “Hansen;” make sure everyone at the hearing gets a high-fiber lunch (heavy on the salad and beans) and seal the room. It will be easy to convince the committee to take immediate action on the methane problem as it will be obviously “worse than we thought.” ;o)

  47. Elftone says:

    Mike M says:
    August 4, 2011 at 3:08 am

    I might be wrong, Mike, but I suspect Kasuha was being sarcastic.

    Hector Pascal says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Completely OT, but in the sprit of CRAP and the grammar police, whatever happened to uncountable nouns in US English? Fruits? Do you feed corns to your sheeps?

    Painful, isn’t it? You’ll find loaves of bread at the grocery here with 12 grains in them. Only 12! Cheapskates. The other grains have clearly been fed to the sheeps and cattles.

  48. Neil says:

    And we have the same problem in New Zealand. We produce the lowest cost, highest quality milk in the world……from grass!! We are the largest, if not one of the top three traders of milk and milk based produces in the world and because the cows (and sheep) burp we produce methane. So to show what a great country we are we put in place a carbon trading scheme (so far cows and sheep excluded). But if we were not producing food for the world I suspect we would be close to a net zero carbon country. Plus if we did not produce the food we do for export, it would cost other people in other countries more than it does now. So the citizens of New Zealand now pay more for any thing that has a carbon content, so that we can reduce our 0.11% contribution.

    I’m searching for a nice cave to live in as you read this……………………………

  49. RockyRoad says:

    Let’s look at the bright side: When the wind quits blowing and the air comes to a standstill, the CO2 level of the air in corn fields is reduced to the point that the corn quits growing (and this applies to any other crop). The best antidote would be a higher level of CO2 in the atmosphere–achieved as a consequence of an overal elevated concentration, say in response to burning fossil fuels (the major contributor to the overall amount). This argument could be used to justify or even encourage additional CO2 emissions worldwide. Plants would benefit greatly as would people indirectly.

    The alternative is to have most of the people in the red areas move to the blue areas so their CO2 effluent is more readily available to CO2-starved plants, but we all know that will never happen.

  50. John Marshall says:

    These people certainly need to get a life. Go on, go for a run, get breathing deeply, produce more CO2. It will help the plants grow.

  51. pofarmer says:

    I wonder if anyone has done a study on how much extra energy it takes to grow crops where they don’t want to grow, when they don’t want to grow there?

  52. Olen says:

    They are keeping carbon in the news and that may have been the objective.

  53. AnonyMoose says:

    They estimated how much is excreted and counted that as a carbon source, but I don’t see any indication that they tracked how much of the excretion was deposited as sediment and thus went into a carbon sink. Nor how much excretion was recycled to plants.

  54. JJ says:

    There is no aspect of your life, not one, that these !@##$s cannot use ‘global warming’ as an excuse to control.

    The color you paint your house, the light bulb in your table lamp, the food you eat … nothing is beyond the reach of the Carbon Cops.

  55. Bern Bray says:

    Really? A major population center in southern Alabama and it’s not Mobile? You had better check your math and data. There ain’t nuthin’ down there but catfish and watermelons.

  56. Bruce Cobb says:

    Gary Mount says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:55 am

    I would like to thank the American taxpayer for funding this ‘science’ for it has provided me with several minutes of entertainment.
    Yours truly, your Canadian competition.

    You’re welcome. You’ll be receiving a bill shortly. Hey, entertainment aint free.

  57. Peter Miller says:

    Perhaps on a sadder note, the amount of money spent on producing this garbage could have saved many tens of thousands from starving to death in Africa, or provided a decent education for thousands of Third World children.

    I hate this type of argument, but the DOE might just have easily burnt the money, which would have been just as useful as the information this study has provided.

  58. Henry chance says:

    bananabender says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:59 am
    “Food miles” are nonsense. It is often far more energy efficient to ship food across the globe to distribution centres and then on to supermarkets than it is to drive to the local farmers market to buy fresh produce.

    Using Israel as an example, it takes more energy to produce and irrigate bananas and some fresh veggies than the cost of freight for imports. Most decisions are based on fuel costs and not carbon units.

  59. GoatGuy says:

    Actually Anthony, although in a way it is crap science, at least the science part came to the right (and expected) realization: “net zero” carbon as a whole. If you want to think about it a bit less caustically, consider this: the fudge factors now are at least known, so that people who measure CO2 who might say, “goddamned Californians! Look at how much they’re emitting” should now be more tempered into saying, “California continues to show its population tracking carbon emissions, just as Iowa remains a growth-period sink”. Not quite “crap” science, unless you want to see it as such. Maybe that it went from obscure journal to hot-blogging, now that is probably more exposure than it deserved.

  60. Mike86 says:

    I heard this recently on NPR “Talk of the Nation”: http://www.npr.org/books/titles/138144042/just-food-where-locavores-get-it-wrong-and-how-we-can-truly-eat-responsibly

    The argument was that locally grown food wasn’t lower carbon, but often higher. Basically, transportation costs are such a small percentage of the total they weren’t worth discussing.

  61. Beth Cooper says:

    In the heart of a city, in the neon lit basement of a large building, a team of white coated scientists plot the destiny of the world. Adjusting complex climate models, turning in their hands a globe of the world, computing intricate import and export transport computations, they work long into the night. For they are visionaries, eco-fascists saving the earth.

  62. Douglas DC says:

    Leon Brozyna says:
    August 4, 2011 at 4:31 am

    What a load of … wait, who pays for such stupid junk … no, don’t tell me, let me guess … we did … our tax dollars hard at work … while the rest of us look for work
    Back in the 70’s and late 80’s what was then Battelle NW , was a good lab. I contracted pilot service for them out of the Hanford area. i wouldn’t be too hard on them, they have to come up with ways of spending our money to stay in business, This one is a bit creative, Bravo! (Sierra)
    though, it is…

  63. mkelly says:

    A study needs to be done on how much CO2 is released doing studies about CO2.

  64. Douglas DC says:

    Posting gnomes attack -the sunspots!-sorry..

  65. oeman50 says:

    I, for one, am glad I have this study to point out to me that food contains…..carbon! Who would have thought it was possible?

  66. Mike M says:

    Elftone says: I might be wrong, Mike, but I suspect Kasuha was being sarcastic.

    Ooops, my bad, so …

  67. juanita says:

    “probably the biggest load of crap I’ve seen in quite some time.”

    Anthony, you realize, we non-scientific types depend on you to put all this stuff in laymen’s terms, and this is about the purest statement I have ever read. Thank you for boiling it down to the nuts and bolts – I get it!

    Two apples are fruit. An apple and a banana are two fruits. Don’t mess with the Grammar police Buddy.

  68. CRAP (carbon residue and propagation) Like one comment suggests, there is twice as much oxygen in CO2, therefore we should refer to oxygen mapping. Additionally, there are 180,000 parts per million as apposed to 400 ppm in the atmosphere. Far more influencial than the CRAP. The whole thing stinks!

  69. Hoser says:

    Climate Research Anthropogenic Psychosis

  70. Jeff Alberts says:

    And if you’re going to give congressional testimony regarding the serious nature of the global methane problem, be sure to pull a “Hansen;” make sure everyone at the hearing gets a high-fiber lunch (heavy on the salad and beans) and seal the room. It will be easy to convince the committee to take immediate action on the methane problem as it will be obviously “worse than we thought.” ;o)

    For me it’s onion rings, beer batter for optimum results.

  71. Chris Riley says:

    The highest value use of this study is as an example of the kind of government waste of resources that could and should be cut. We simply can no longer afford this nonsense.

  72. Dave in Delware says:

    You guys are missing the key breakthrough here –
    This must be the secret source of Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. The fruits and vegetables ship into the city and cause higher temperatures. Those vegans are at the heart of this, I am sure of it. And Pachauri wants us all to become vegetarians .. oh the irony!
    – a bit of humor ;)

  73. Don K says:

    omnologos says:
    August 4, 2011 at 3:04 am

    I thought CO2 was well-mixed ?

    =====

    It probably is, but the CO2 folks do measurements beyond the “continuous” monitoring at the Mauna Loa Observatory. Those show maximum levels near the equator falling off a bit nearer the poles. Presumably there is/are circulations that move CO2 around and the decrease (after removing seasonal effects) poleward is due to sinking of CO2 by the ground/biosphere/ocean in the higher latitudes.

  74. Interstellar Bill says:

    The only ‘data’ here was a few CO2 measurements.
    The Dept. of Agriculture numbers they cite are not ‘data’ because they are about food production and consumption, with no knowledge of how much ‘carbon’ is ‘spewed’ by transportation. They must be itching to shut down all those eeevil trucks & trains & ships. Why the nerve of all those fat consumers wanting food from faraway. Every city block shall hereby be self-sufficient in food production!
    Too bad they crashed both CO2-measuring satellites, or they’d have actual, worldwide CO2 data, no handwaving needed..
    But then said data might show that the increasing CO2 concentrations are caused as much by the oceans as by people, and that would be politically incorrect. (Maybe that’s really why they both crashed, from the same fairing glitch too. Can some consipiracy theorists work on that one?)

  75. Dave Springer says:

    The blue and red coloration on the map doesn’t correlate well either agricultural use or population density. The first turd in this pile of crap is in the caption on the map which says agricultural regions are CO2 sinks.

    I mean c’mon. Those areas with the shortest growing seasons (northern continental interior) are largely blue (carbon sinks) while longer growing season areas to the south and along the coasts are mostly red. Population has nothing to do with it. The Sonoran and Mojave deserts in California are carbon sources while Miami is a carbon sink? Really?

  76. Mike M says:

    Jeff Alberts says: For me it’s onion rings, beer batter for optimum results.

    Let’s not get carried away here or Michelle might show up and spoil the party.

  77. dp says:

    If you think the fruits and nuts (not to mention our climate hostages wheat, barley, and hops) in Washington are bad, you should see what those sneaky Canadians are pumping into the lower 48 in those big pipes – yes! Natural Gas! And based on the yellow mess on my cook stove, they’re dumping their excess sulfur, too. Instant carbon credit on one side, carbon debt on the other.
    /sarc

  78. Mike M says:

    Chris Riley says:… We simply can no longer afford this nonsense.

    Though I don’t believe there was ever a time when we could truly afford such nonsense, the days of easily hiding it from public view appear to waning.

  79. TheOnlyPomi says:

    I hope the study was not found with public money! Also how much CO2 did they have to release in the environment in order to compress and transport the CO2 in the tank? Bottom line is let Mother Nature do its job. It has worked wonderfully for millions of years so chances are that is still able to do a better job than we do.

  80. SionedL says:

    How about a requirement that every publicly funded project/study/report includes the amount of funding that was received.

  81. Doug Jones says:

    I find it amusing that the carbon map is almost an inverse of the red state/blue state political map.

    …which is, of course, an inversion given to us by the major media that *really* didn’t want to associate the leftists with their true political color, red. Ah, the tangled webs [they] weave, when [they] practice to deceive…

  82. Dave Wendt says:

    On an OT, but thematically related point, Lisa Jackson and her industriously anti-industry green trolls at the EPA, continue with their headlong effort to turn the American economy into a suicide pact.

    http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=580419&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+EditorialRss+%28Editorial+RSS%29

    Rogue EPA Targets Ozone — And Jobs

    Posted 08/03/2011 06:37 PM ET
    Regulation: Unsupported by science, a beleaguered American economy may soon be subject to ozone standards so stringent that Yellowstone National Park could not meet them. Look forward to double-digit unemployment.

    Read it all and be afraid, be very afraid.

  83. Cam_S says:

    Food mile myths: Buy global

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2008/11/06/food-mile-myths-buy-global.aspx

    Yes We Have No Bananas: A Critique of the ‘Food Miles’ Perspective (Links to the PDF article.)

    http://www.mercatus.org/PublicationDetails.aspx?id=24612

  84. Gary Hladik says:

    OK, OK, enough with the guilt already! I give up. From now on, whenever I get hungry, I’ll hop in my private jet, fly from California to Iowa, and eat the local food there. And yes, I’ll also do as much of my “sanitary business” there as I can, to export as little carbon as possible back to California.

    HAPPY????

  85. _Jim says:

    AND – O/T and from Texas have:

    Aug 04 2011 15:43:32 CST

    At 15:42, ERCOT AT EEA 2B – HIGH PROBABILITY OF ROTATING OUTAGES AT THIS TIME. ERCOT IS ASKING CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES TO REDUCE ELECTRICITY USAGE. Emergency Notice Active

    .

  86. tty says:

    There is some fairly weird results here. Does Tulare County really have the biggest concentration of population in the US? If so it must have grown quite a bit since the last time I was there.
    And while I would tend to agree that Inyo county (largely Death Valley) isn’t much of an agricultural area, I would have expected Clark County (=Las Vegas) to emit rather more carbon dioxide, but apparently not.

  87. _Jim says:

    And, just to close the loop on this, an update:

    Aug 04 2011 17:51:26 CST ERCOT has cancelled the following notice: At 15:42, ERCOT AT EEA 2B – HIGH PROBABILITY OF ROTATING OUTAGES AT THIS TIME. ERCOT IS ASKING CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES TO REDUCE ELECTRICITY USAGE.
    Emergency Notice -Cancelled

    Aug 04 2011 17:35:52 CST At 17:30, ERCOT MOVING FROM EEA 2B TO EEA 2A. SYSTEM RECOVERING.
    Emergency Notice – Active

    .

  88. jtom says:

    Blue – carbon sinks, Democrats, good
    Red – carbon sources, Republicans, bad

    C’mon everyone, you’ve got to maintain the PC of color coding.

  89. tango says:

    in australia it is worse if we sell apples over seas the farmers will have to pay a carbon tax and when the importers import apples no carbon tax so thay are sold cheaper work that out

  90. ? If the atmospheric carbon level net gains and losses are virtually zero, when it comes to plant and animal activity on the land… and the oceans are huge, dynamic carbon sinks… and volcanic activity releases huge, uncontrollable volumes of carbon… and the carbon content of all petroleum/coal we consume, is known… Why is DOE spending time studying land-based carbon flow, instead of presenting viable energy generation (conversion) systems. They’ve had since 1965 and we still convert coal into about half of our electrical energy and run most of our vehicles on petroleum… when Obama promises he will pull all the “clean energy” we need, right out of his back pocket?

    Just seems like there is no solution to their imagined/fabricated problems, except to spend $bazillions spinning their wheels, because there is no solution and no problem, only a need to show us how impossible it would be for we peons to step in and solve the faux-problems. Or is it just the late hour that is making go in circles?

  91. Dave Wendt, Maybe we should prepare for triple-digit unemployment.

  92. Doug Proctor says:

    This is an example of what the warmists refuse to admit: once you start down the CO2-as-villain path, there is little to no place you don’t end up regulating and, finally, outlawing. Social restructuring would come down to the 100-mile diet: no inter-state transport of food allowed due to carbon emissions.

    Warmists say that global governance and personal freedoms are not where they are going. They don’t think things through. A crisis of war causes us to curb our freedoms and allow the government to dictate what we shall do, but we understand that this is all temporary. The CAGW is not temporary. It is permanent, a forever-crisis that demands we stop doing what it is we do to enrich our lives and those of others. The energy it takes is too much for “renewables” to supply now and in the forseeable future.

    Regulate and tax, regulate a bit more and tax: we’ll be like the frog in the pot of water that is slowly heating. We wouldn’t even know when we were cooked.

  93. _Jim says:

    tallbloke says on August 4, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Sorry it’s O/T, but more relevant right now:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/incoming-three-cme-coronal-mass-ejections-on-their-way-solar-magnetic-storm-imminent/

    Just over the transom from ERCOT (Texas Power Grid Operator/coordinator):

    Aug 05 2011 15:58:07 CST There has been a Geomagnetic Disturbance of K-7 magnitude alert issued until 08:30 on 8-6-11
    Operational Information/Active

    .

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