Save the planet from GHG’s – use astroturf?

Now according to this press release from UC Irvine, green spaces in cities are bad for the planet….but wait, what about the UHI offset? Can I buy grass credit certificates?

Urban ‘green’ spaces may contribute to global warming, UCI study finds

Turfgrass management creates more greenhouse gas than plants remove from atmosphere

So much for planting grass in Europe's electric tram lines - maintaining it is bad for global warming, so says UC Irvine - click for details

— Irvine, Calif., January 19, 2010 —

Dispelling the notion that urban “green” spaces help counteract greenhouse gas emissions, new research has found – in Southern California at least – that total emissions would be lower if lawns did not exist.

Turfgrass lawns help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as organic carbon in soil, making them important “carbon sinks.” However, greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production, mowing, leaf blowing and other lawn management practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by ornamental grass in parks, a UC Irvine study shows. These emissions include nitrous oxide released from soil after fertilization. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that’s 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, the Earth’s most problematic climate warmer.

“Lawns look great – they’re nice and green and healthy, and they’re photosynthesizing a lot of organic carbon. But the carbon-storing benefits of lawns are counteracted by fuel consumption,” said Amy Townsend-Small, Earth system science postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study, forthcoming in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The research results are important to greenhouse gas legislation being negotiated. “We need this kind of carbon accounting to help reduce global warming,” Townsend-Small said. “The current trend is to count the carbon sinks and forget about the greenhouse gas emissions, but it clearly isn’t enough.”

Turfgrass is increasingly widespread in urban areas and covers 1.9 percent of land in the continental U.S., making it the most common irrigated crop.

In the study, Townsend-Small and colleague Claudia Czimczik analyzed grass in four parks near Irvine, Calif. Each park contained two types of turf: ornamental lawns (picnic areas) that are largely undisturbed, and athletic fields (soccer and baseball) that are trampled and replanted and aerated frequently.

The researchers evaluated soil samples over time to ascertain carbon storage, or sequestration, and they determined nitrous oxide emissions by sampling air above the turf. Then they calculated carbon dioxide emissions resulting from fuel consumption, irrigation and fertilizer production using information about lawn upkeep from park officials and contractors.

The study showed that nitrous oxide emissions from lawns were comparable to those found in agricultural farms, which are among the largest emitters of nitrous oxide globally.

In ornamental lawns, nitrous oxide emissions from fertilization offset just 10 percent to 30 percent of carbon sequestration. But fossil fuel consumption for management, the researchers calculated, released about four times more carbon dioxide than the plots could take up. Athletic fields fared even worse, because – due to soil disruption by tilling and resodding – they didn’t trap nearly as much carbon as ornamental grass but required the same emissions-producing care.

“It’s impossible for these lawns to be net greenhouse gas sinks because too much fuel is used to maintain them,” Townsend-Small concluded.

Previous studies have documented lawns storing carbon, but this research was the first to compare carbon sequestration to nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions from lawn grooming practices.

The UCI study was supported by the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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149 thoughts on “Save the planet from GHG’s – use astroturf?

  1. Can we please get over this misconception that planting grass or trees is a good carbon sink that should be rewarded with credits?

    Credits, moral or monetary, should only be handed out when (a) the planting increases the net bound carbon per unit area over its previous level (b) such increased carbon sequestration is held that way forever – yes, forever, otherwise it’s just a blip in history and (c) the emissions of GHG involved in planting and maintenance are less than undisturbed levels, as the above study shows.

    There is a current myth about biochar. It is a myth because if it was a permenent sequestration device, the whole of the earth’s soils whould have become pure carbon over the last few millions of years. They are not because in the usual case (organic) carbon in soils reaches a few percent by weight and excesses are oxidized to CO2 which finds its way back into the air.

    Any arguments?

  2. Since the entire premise of this article is that CO2 and other gases, like NO2 act to warm the earth, shouldn’t there first be proof that these gases actually perform in that way?
    Global temperatures are decreasing, AGW theory falsified, this article is pointless.

  3. Geoff Sherrington: Trees as carbon sinks is not just a myth: Boreal Forests are very good carbon sinks, since they accumulate carbon in the soil.

  4. Don E (22:12:20) :

    Since the greens are now losing the CO2 battle they are now turning to laughing gas?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Proving once again that the Greens have no sense of humour.

    Interesting point as an aside… in The Netherlands the road verges and median strips are not mowed anymore but left to grow wild. One presumes the justification being that this is a more natural state.

    No doubt the horse & buggy will be re-introduced there soon.

  5. Well I love me a good lawn, but I use an old-fashioned (but new) hand-pushed drum-blade mower instead of power tools. It cuts better, is cheaper to buy, costs nothing to run, is easier to store and gives a good workout when mowing the lawn. It even makes very little noise and doesn’t annoy the neighbours.

    And I don’t even buy the AGW theory! Little did I know I was so ‘green’.

  6. OT but…. (please no one reply to this comment it’s here just for you information).

    I have seen this NASA and retreating glaciers mentioned a couple of times now. On their Google cached page snapshot of 13 Jan 2010 23:49:42 GMT they have said.
    —————–

    Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres, and may disappear altogether in certain regions of our planet, such as the Himalayas, by 2030″

    http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:0osmsixKS-sJ:climate.nasa.gov/evidence/+http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk
    http://tinyurl.com/yblpx6u
    —————–
    Now that same page reads:
    —————–

    Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.”

    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
    —————–
    Now Real Climate currently has a post defending the IPCC glacier dissapearance story by 2035 stating among other things:
    —————–

    “Like all human endeavours, the IPCC is not perfect. Despite the enormous efforts devoted to producing its reports with the multiple levels of peer review, some errors will sneak through.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/the-ipcc-is-not-infallible-shock/
    —————–
    Well it looks like another error sneaked through – instead of 2035 (IPCC) we recently got 2030. So two error sneaked through 1 at IPCC and the other at NASA.
    —————–
    Moderator please feel free to snip this comment.

  7. When I was in Beijing in ’91 I noticed their lawns were made from a short Rye grass that was around 6″ tall. They were very attractive.

    One day I observed a long row of people moving across the lawn on their knees – they were weeding the lawn!

  8. “Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that’s 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, the Earth’s most problematic climate warmer.” And I thought water vapour was important. Silly me.

  9. The Pink Floyd tune sprang straight into my head….”The Lunatics are on the grass”!

    Does Amy Townsend-Small, Earth system science postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study actually get grant money for this Loony Tunes Stuff!

  10. Greenways bad for the climate?

    Good!

    I vote we keep them – for two reasons. The first reason is that they’re NICE. The second reason is that it’ll wee off the Warmists and Greenies. And there can be nothing wrong with that!

  11. Of course, the real solution for global warming is to bulldoze Brazil.

    Remove all that dark green leafy stuff around the Amazon that is soaking up the solar radiation, yielding heat. It also gives off water vapor, a greenhouse gas. Convert the landscape to parched wasteland, which has a much higher albedo and will reflect the unnecessary sunlight into space. The removed organic matter shall be tossed into the Amazonian waters, where it will become a flow of added nutrients into the ocean, where assorted phytoplankton will flourish and pull large quantities of excess CO2 from the air.

    Problem solved.

  12. Well, I don’t like the effort of mowing lawn. Therefore I’ve replaced almost half of my 1 acre yard with wildflowers. No watering necessary, I just let Nature do it. Trimming the dead stuff after the first frost is done manually with the residue being composted. The yard is in bloom from mid-March to late October.

    Other parts of the yard are maples that I’ve grown from seed. Again, I just let Nature do its thing.

    I didn’t do it to be “green.” I did it because I don’t like mowing and I like trees and wildflowers.

    A side benefit has been the HUGE increase in finches of all types and other native birds that haven’t been in my neighborhood in years. My neighbor complains that his finch feeder is ignored by the goldfinches now. They are all in my front yard.

  13. Geoff Sherrington (22:15:54) :

    Credits, moral or monetary, should only be handed out when (a) the planting increases the net bound carbon per unit area over its previous level (b) such increased carbon sequestration is held that way forever – yes, forever, otherwise it’s just a blip in history and (c) the emissions of GHG involved in planting and maintenance are less than undisturbed levels, as the above study shows.

    You manage to colossally miss the real point. Carbon credits and carbon sequestration are both worthless boondoggles and the only sense that morality relates to either is the complete immorality of devoting finite financial resources to either when investing those resources in any number of other areas could be accomplishing improvements in the lives of millions of people worldwide.
    If we really feel the need to cutback on our CO2 emissions the first step should be to summarily shut down all the various governmental organizations worldwide currently engaged in shoveling money down the rathole of the nonexistent “carbon problem” and withdraw public funds from NGOs similarly occupied. That would seriously curtail the ongoing farce of almost daily conferences and gatherings in various garden spots across the planet which have over the last couple of decades probably had a larger carbon footprint than a number of not so small countries. Next we could quit devoting time on very energy intensive supercomputers to running worthless GCMs until someone develops one that has some expectation of generating useful output.
    Actually what is most important for humanity to realize is that what will be most valuable, no matter where the climate moves in the future, is maximum human adaptability and since nearly all the current plans out there involve investing more and more power in the kind of centralized bureaucracies which have proven themselves to be perhaps the least adaptable institutions humanity has ever created we need to stop right now.

  14. ““We need this kind of CARBON ACCOUNTING to help reduce global warming,”

    Oh spare me for heavens sake. Next thing you know when an 8yr old makes a fart joke he’ll be slapped with a CH4 penalty by his teacher Mrs Green.
    And what sort of administrative costs and nightmares will be involved in this? What tenth of a fifth of a quarter of next to nothing CO2 will be “scrubbed” from the air with this idiocy?

    Geoff Sherrington (22:15:54) :
    Yes I have an argument.
    “Credits, moral or monetary, should only be handed”……to the secure shredding company used by govts. Then maybe we can get on with our lives without the incessant catastrophy scenarios we’ve suffered in the last 50yrs.

  15. You could dissappear up your own arsehole several times a day trying to follow all the findings of these studies. Just look at the ones on eating eggs. First they kill you and then they help you live longer. Then theres the UK Govt saying the pension age is being extended saying people are living longer and at the same time saying there is a hugh increase in obesity and alcohol related deaths which is effecting life expectancy.

  16. What remains shocking is the way the AGW campaign ran itself straight into totalitarian socialism. They dropped any pretense of real science back with “The debate is over,” claim. By throwing the real science under the bus, the alarmists allowed the marxist faction access to their formidable PR machine.

    Apparently they forgot that western democracy does not subscribe to marxism. American democracy in particular despises central government, collectivism, and tax the air-type schemes. The unfortunate result is the greens had a winning hand given to them – along with bucks to support it – but they let radical leftists commandeer the agenda. And that p-o-ed the good ole regular folks.

    Now the science and lack of ethics and Climategate malfeasance have come back to haunt them. Ruining a brilliant opportunity and setting back good enviro policy some twenty years. Thank you algore and comrades too proud to admit your blunders. Pride is the destroyer of ambition. That’s your lesson. That’s why a conservative named Brown sits in Kennedy’s Senate seat tonight.

  17. Irony overdose!!!!!!

    Pave the green spaces!!!!! Plant plastic grass made of petrochems!!!!

    Unfortunately (or not) I think UC Irvine just washed out to sea in the record LA floods.

    Somebody please turn down the laughing gas before we all get hernias from the unstoppable chuckling!!!!!

  18. New research funded by Readycrete Paving Solutions (joking)

    I have several areas of lawn, some large, I use an electric mower to cut it, my power comes from a hydrolake so its “clean” in theory:. I dont fertilise it as I spread the cuttings over the lawn to keep nutrients in the soil. Oh yeah, and it provides food and habitat for wildlife, helps recharge ground water, helps maintain the hydrological cycle, reduces surface albedo, reduces stormwater run-off which inturn reduces flood risk and channel erosion etc… etc… etc….

    but hey, grass is bad! lol!

    Should I tarmac my lawn to save the planet? Maybe I could chop down a few trees as well whilst am at it to help??

  19. Paul Vaughan (22:06:06) :

    Trees are better.

    Not on tramlines they’re not!

    Anyway, if they’re worried about the fuel consumption and co2 emissions of mowers compared to the co2 absorption of the grass, the answer is obvious.

    Fit scythes to the tramcar wheels.

    This would have the added benefit of discouraging jaywalkers crossing between trams, or at least make sure they didn’t do it more than once.

  20. ‘leaf-blowing’ is a turfgrass management practice?

    I must have really lost the plot because I thought it had something to do with, well, leaves, and that leaves can settle on other parts of the landscape than turfgrass lawns.

    However as the authors point out, things might well be different in Southern California, never having been there I honestly wouldn’t know.

    As long as the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science and the U.S. Department of Agriculture think they got their moneys worth here I guess everyone can be happy.

  21. @ Espen (22:30:56) :

    Oh, THEY have done it some hundreds of million years ago. All the trees were buried and then – THEY vanished without a trace. It didn’t work for long. WE now dig out that coal and… ;-)

  22. There was a similar study here in NZ that presented the case that an SUV had a bigger carbon footprint than a dog.

    Being green has never been stranger…

  23. I thought that the benefit of urban planting (from a greenhouse perspective, to say nothing of quality of life issues) was to reduce the heat effect of all the concrete and therefore reduce the costs of having to air-condition a building.

    I read a few years back that having proper rooftop gardens could reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees F, which makes quite a difference to energy costs and efficiency.

    Presumably the same applies to green spaces, in which case a study which looks only at the prospect of storing carbon in grass and soil completely misses the point.

    (Of course, this assumes you believe in the whole concept of UHI, which is blindingly obvious to anyone who lives in a city, but not so obvious to someone who is trying to show that his temperature measurements are unaffected by UHI.)

  24. This article was posted in the humor section of UCI’s paper, right?

    stumpy (23:53:03) :
    “Should I tarmac my lawn to save the planet?”

    Spokane, WA has a program that pays you ($100 credit to your water bill, I think) to remove a largish section of your lawn, in order to save water. I expect tarmac would work just fine to get that credit.

  25. Luke (22:08:28) :
    Sheep you darn fool!

    No, you can win against these loons. They’ll just remind you that sheep fart and emit dreaded methane

  26. “Sheep you darn fool!”
    No sir, they are already onto that. In New Zealand, where sheep are plentiful, the plan was to tax the carbon emissions of sheep with what became known as a “fart tax”. Seriously. I believe they backed off under the resulting derision, but last I heard at Copenhagen the NZ Government proposed a multinational effort spending megabucks on research into ways to reduce the CO2/methane content of farm animal emissions. How over the top is that? No doubt these same people have in mind banning the world’s consumption of beans next.

  27. Just as I predicted a few days ago, the IPCC is eating crow…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7031403/UN-climate-panel-admits-mistake-over-Himalayan-glacier-melting.html

    UN climate panel admits ‘mistake’ over Himalayan glacier melting

    The United Nations’ climate science panel has admitted that it made a mistake by claiming that the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035.

    20 Jan 2010

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made the assertion two years ago, saying it was based on detailed research into the impact of global warming. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the IPCC’s vice chairman, conceded last night that it was an error and would be reviewed. However, he said that the mistake, included in its 2007 assessment global warming, did not alter the broad picture of man-made climate change. He told the BBC: “I don’t see how one mistake in a 3,000-page report can damage the credibility of the overall report. Some people will attempt to use it to damage the credibility of the IPCC; but if we can uncover it, and explain it and change it, it should strengthen the IPCC’s credibility, showing that we are ready to learn from our mistakes.”

    The IPCC admitted that the prediction was based on a report written in a science journal and even the scientist who was the subject of the original story admits it was not based on fact. The article, in the New Scientist, was not even based on a research paper – it evolved from a short telephone interview with the academic.

    Dr Syed Hasnain, an Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, said that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research. Professor Murari Lal, who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, recommend that the claim about glaciers be dropped.

    The IPCC’s reliance on Hasnain’s 1999 interview was highlighted by Fred Pearce, the journalist who carried out the original interview. Mr Pearce said he called Hasnain in India in 1999 after spotting his claims in an Indian magazine. He said that Dr Hasnain made the assertion about 2035 but admitted it was campaigning report rather than an academic paper that was reviewed by a panel of expert peers.

    Despite this it rapidly became a key source for the IPCC when Prof Lal and his colleagues came to write the section on the Himalayas. When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was “very high”. The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%. The report read: “Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.”

    However, glaciologists find such figures inherently ludicrous, pointing out that most Himalayan glaciers are hundreds of feet thick and could not melt fast enough to vanish by 2035 unless there was a huge global temperature rise. The maximum rate of decline in thickness seen in glaciers at the moment is two to three feet a year and most are far lower.

  28. Climate Resistance pulls together the IPCC glacier story and similar scaremongering based on flimsy/no evidence by Oxfam, as part of looking at the incestuous merry-go-round of disinformation amongst the media, NGOs, political bodies etc.

    Well worth a read.

    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2010/01/the-ipcc-and-the-melting-glaciers-story.html

    “The popular view of the climate debate and politics is that the IPCC and scientists produce the science, which politicians and policymakers respond to, encouraged by NGOs, all reported on by journalists. But as the case of the glacier and North African water studies show, this is a misconception. Science, the media, government, and supra-national political organisations do not exist as sharply distinct institutions. They are nebulous and porous. They merge, and each influence the interpretation and substance of the next iteration of their own product. The distinction between science and politics breaks down in the miasma.”

  29. Just confirms my thoughts that ‘greens’ are really bad for the environment and should be eradicated ASAP :-))

  30. Indiana Bones (23:49:01) :

    What remains shocking is the way the AGW campaign ran itself straight into totalitarian socialism. They dropped any pretense of real science back with “The debate is over,” claim. By throwing the real science under the bus, the alarmists allowed the marxist faction access to their formidable PR machine.

    I couldn’t agree more….

    As a young kid growing up, I remember seeing this sort of thing go on in communist block countries and thinking to myself, wow I’m really lucky to have been born in the free world….I wonder what it must feel like to have to live under those circumstances day after day?… Well, I think I’m finding out!!

    Lunacy absolute Lunacy……the people coming up with this crap are like elitist party members, paid well by the gov to toe the party line ALL AROUND THE WORLD!….oh my g-d how could it get so far?

    How can people be so gullible?

    I REALLY don’t want to believe what I just wrote….but man, I’m running out of scenarios!

  31. “Rod (00:37:24) :

    No sir, they are already onto that. In New Zealand, where sheep are plentiful, the plan was to tax the carbon emissions of sheep with what became known as a “fart tax”. Seriously. I believe they backed off under the resulting derision, but last I heard at Copenhagen the NZ Government proposed a multinational effort spending megabucks on research into ways to reduce the CO2/methane content of farm animal emissions. How over the top is that? No doubt these same people have in mind banning the world’s consumption of beans next.”

    In the land of the long white cloud, sheep out number people by about 15 – 1. It was labelled a far tax, aimed at cattle too, but it was to do with the ordinary burps, not bottom burps/farts, that was the concern. I understand there is still work going on studying the effects of reduced emissions from alternate feed. In both cases completely stupid ideas.

    “Andy in Christchurch NZ (00:05:46) :

    There was a similar study here in NZ that presented the case that an SUV had a bigger carbon footprint than a dog.”

    No, it was the other way. Your lowly family dog produced more emissions that a SUV driven for 10,000kms. The story had a heading something like, eat your family dog to save the planet. Another silly article about saving the planet by reducing CO2 emissions.

    Still no-one hass yet shown how a tax will save the planet from significantly more dangerous threats than CO2 “pollution”.

  32. Rapidly losing the will to live here in the UK, I am rather alarmed at the 10%-30% range quoted for carbon absorbtion. That’s a pretty big error margin in anybody’s book. If I quoted fees with that sort of range I wouldn’t get very far!

  33. Apologise for repeating this extract from an 1865 account of the land clearance for cotton and rice production in Brazil. The extract is from a book on slavery but this extract happens to be very relevant in this case:

    “…These mounds of branches are again burned, and the result is a sad and devastating scene! Centuries-old tree trunks which two months before had produced a cool, crisp atmosphere over a broad stretch of land, lie on the surface of a field ravaged by fire and covered with ashes, where the slaves are compelled to spend twelve hours under the hot sun of the equator, without a single tree to give them shelter.
    This destruction of the forests has exhausted the soil, which in many places now produces nothing but grasses suitable for grazing cattle. The temperature has intensified, and the seasons have become irregular. The rains at times damage the crops, and at other times there is not rain at all. The streams and certain shallow rivers, such as the Itapucuru, have dried up or have become almost unnavigable, and lumber for building has become very rare, or is only found at a great distance from the settlements.”

    The continued fixation with CO2 means that the clearing of forests or land drainage or any kind of vegetation, will be measured by it’s CO2 output. This is madness.

    The aviation industry, which is much maligned by certain individuals that consider themselves ‘green’ has spent considerable effort training pilots to avoid the pitfalls of fixation, conformity, and authority. There are other pitfalls but these can be the most deadly.

  34. crosspatch (00:18:08) :

    Get a goat. End of problem.

    But the goat has an end, and that creates another problem — “stepping in it.” (As Mencken pointed out a century ago in a critique of Veblen’s sheep-for-lawns suggestion.)

  35. will this be the start of the progessed-green movement , the real fellow yellows ?Co2-free urban dwellers ?Has this been a government study ? Should they be prepared to spend the taxpayers money on real good jokes?

  36. I was serious about the goat. My dad (RIP) had several acres of property and he hated mowing the lawn. It started with a goat. He went to the local livestock auction and bought one. It was awesome .. at first. First thing the goat ate every single dandelion in the yard. The lawn looked great. But then the goat started climbing on the cars and stuff. One day it climbed onto the car parked near but not in the garage and then onto the roof of the garage. Dad didn’t notice and went on an errand. He came back and parked in the garage and the goat was stranded on the roof for a while.

    Then the goat started getting more aggressive as it got older (it was a male). One day Pop was sitting in the hammock and the goat didn’t like it for some reason. He (the goat) took a running start and butted Pop right in the rear end where it was sagging down in the hammock.

    End of goat.

    After that, Pop had a better plan. Buy a lamb at the auction every spring, they graze the lawn all summer and are butchered and frozen in the fall. No sheep to feed over the winter, Grass stays cut. Not a bad way to keep the lawn in shape if you live in a rural area. You need to watch your step but it’s no worse than having a dog, really.

  37. The stupidity of the human animal knows no bounds.

    This is a science study? It sounds like a new specialty in the field of accounting. Before you know it, the Finance & Accounting departments of businesses will have positions for GHG Accountancy. Now I wonder why productive enterprises are moving to places like India and China…

  38. As long as this free government money is passed out to any idiot with an idiotic idea, we’ll continue to hear these idiotic assumptions.
    STOP the MADNESS…. it’s time to shut down 99% of the federal government.
    Time to put a fence around D. C. and take our country back.

  39. tallbloke (23:54:35) :

    Dear Mr. tallbloke,
    It has been brought to our attention that you are not fully convinced of the merits of our decision to plant trees on tramlines.
    We wish to point out to you that we have carried out an exhaustive review of the peer-reviewed literature but have found NO studies supporting your assertion.
    Our project is robust and as such we plan to continue and you may expect to see the startling results in the fullness of time.
    We are however most impressed with your idea to fit scythes to the trams. Such a move will definitely reduce the size of jay-walkers footprints…. ahh, sorry…. carbon footprints.
    Yours etc,

  40. 1) grass is good because it absorbs noise, making cities more pleasant.

    2) grass absorbs those particle emissions that are still one of the unsolved environmental problems. We do not want to make it worse.

    3) grass is, ehh, nice?

    4) What was the carbon footprint from making this study, assuming that the researchers live on an average American footprint. How does this compare to the south californian grass turfs? They must have missed this aspect in their study ;-)

  41. When your starting point is wrong your end point is wrong – so here we have yet another piece of expensive futile research…

    I wonder if she’s got shares in astro-turf? My astro-research tells me we’ll need a few astro-sheep and astro-cows to eat the astro-turf… Hey another benefit – no normal-earth farting and belching… Then we’ll need some astro-people to eat the astro-beef astro-burgers and the planet will last for ever!

    Meanwhile back on normal-earth, there’s plenty of useful work that needs doing – shovelling snow comes to mind. When they’ve finished doing that there are a few wells that need digging in Africa… Painting coal white is low-tech but I’m told it’s quite rewarding and it’s a job for life…

  42. The modern trams are kind of pretty. Google image search for Tramvaj Skoda – to see what’s produced here in Pilsen. ;-)

    I think that the grass is kind of pretty, and may be manageable when it comes to the price. Other people might disagree but these are the issues to consider. Global warming my aršé.

  43. Bulldust

    Sorry you can have the buggy if you can find one – but horses are banned as they fart too much. Oh and stop breathing will ya!

  44. Fit the last tram of the day with a mower head on the front guard, collector on the back. Anything the mower can’t cut – ignore and plant wild flower seeds.

    The myth that is AGW.

    The myth that is the EPA

    Already screwed by Brown and his tax thuggies and now we are about to get

    David “Green” Cameron, another Scot hell bent on stuffing the English. Doh!

  45. It’s all falling apart for the Green Nazis…

    Wind turbines on urban homes consume more energy than they generate

    Roof-mounted wind turbines “no help in reducing carbon”

    Roof-mounted wind turbines and solar panels are “eco-bling” that allow their owners to flaunt their green credentials but contribute very little towards meeting Britain’s carbon reduction targets, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering. Developers will waste millions of pounds installing such micro-generation devices unless the Government revises its building regulations on carbon-neutral homes and offices.

    Doug King, Professor of Building Engineering at the University of Bath and the author of a report on low carbon buildings published today, said that far greater savings could be made by installing better insulation and methods of trapping the Sun’s rays.

    He proposed that the government target for all new homes to be carbon-neutral by 2016 should be relaxed in return for developers making equivalent contributions to wind farms and other large-scale renewable energy projects. “Wind turbines and solar cells on the roof achieve little or nothing and are what I describe as eco-bling. It’s just about trying to say to the general public, “I’m being good, I’m helping the environment”.

    Dr King said that wind turbines on urban homes often consumed more energy than they generated.

    Field trials carried out last year by the government-funded Energy Saving Trust found that the most productive building-mounted wind turbines in urban or suburban areas generated only £26 of electricity a year. Many of these turbines, which cost about £1,500, were net consumers of electricity because their controls drew power from the grid when the wind was low.

    Professor King said that for wind turbines on urban homes to be effective, they would have to be so big that their vibration would damage the building. He said that installing micro-generation devices could cost £10,000 to £12,000 per home and reduce its emissions by only a few per cent. He proposed an alternative policy under which developers would offset the entire emissions of new homes by contributing £3,000 per dwelling towards a wind farm on a hilltop.

    Professor King said that offices would need to be redesigned to reduce energy use and cope with regular power cuts caused by the failure to replace ageing power stations. He accused the Government of failing to practice what it preached on emissions. A recent National Audit Office report found that 80% of government buildings opened since 2002 fell below minimum environmental performance standards.

    Running out of puff
    1.9% of homes (455,000) are suitable for building-mounted turbines
    5 meters per second minimum average wind speed to justify the cost of a small turbine
    80% by 2050: target for cut in 1990 level of greenhouse gas emissions
    2016 date for all new homes to be zero-carbon under target
    45% of current emissions come from buildings
    80% of the buildings in which we will live in 2050 have been built

    Sources: DECC, Energy Saving Trust, Royal Academy of Engineering
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6994439.ece

  46. ‘inversesquare (01:02:27) :

    How can people be so gullible?’

    Wandering off topic and no hard feelings on my part if this is snipped but the simple answer is because they want to be.

    You can ask this about AGW but there are plenty of other once believed scientific, pseudo-scientific and not so scientific (urban myths) beliefs that survive in the public consciousness long after their credibility was shredded and they should have been consigned to the same rubbish pile as say Aristotelian Physics. One could say the same of Newtonian Physics as well except it still has some convenience in ‘real terrestrial world’ ‘back-of-the-envelope’ calculations.

    So why would you want to persist in believing in something whose veracity is dated or never had any truth to it in the first place?
    Some poissibilities:
    1. Identity, how one defines oneself in their relationship with others (I present in this context as being environmentally aware/green).
    2. Intellectual laziness.

    As opposed to those who propagate an idea or ideology that they don’t actually believe in whose motives can be more readily understood in a self-interested/criminal context, that is a lot easier. It’s human, we would all do it if we thought we could get away with it and live with our conscience afterwards.

    In regards to the 2 possibilities I raised earlier (and I admit there could be many others, I am doing this on the fly), the 2nd is the most readily addressed by insisting that said individual get with the program and shoving their nose in the best current knowledge that dispels aforesaid individuals previously ‘cast in concrete’ perceptions of the universe, an insistent appeal to intellectual capability is in my opinion the best approach in this case.

    The 1st possibility is not a matter of trying to appeal to someones intelligence because intelligence rarely plays a part in determining someones core identity values and I readily include myself in such a sweeping assessment. For example, if you are not pursuing a damages/compensation claim or trying to avoid gaol time are you going to consistently claim that you are stupid, regardless of any IQ tests or equivalent you may have been subject to?

    So we all like to think that we are intelligent, reasonable, rational human beings even though an objective observer may conclude with absolute certainty that we are anything but.

    I think the money angle is the strongest, because everyone and I emphasise EVERYONE appreciates the significance of having money (il)legally taken out of their pocket and transferred to someone elses.

    The pro-AGWers will undoubtedly produce true-believing martyrs who will proclaim they will gladly pay everything they canand more if they could of their own money in ‘carbon taxes or ’emission trading’ in order to save the planet. No problem there, insist they put their money where their mouth is, insist that they back themselves up by producing financial records. Yes, it is already happening but only in individual isolated cases against the obvious criminal types, not the true-believing martyr types. By all means pursue the criminals via the courts, the martyrs should rather be shown up as the hard core fringe element they are, thus appealing to the true-believers sense of identity, i.e. ‘do I really want to be associated with someone like that?’

    This post has gone on too long, there will always be an element that will cling to the pro-AGW position no matter what, however like those who believe that the Apollo missions were faked, they can be marginalised into irrelevancy.

  47. Wait a minute!
    Wait a minute!
    There a new eco-crisis! Forget CO2! This one is even bigger! I mean whoa!
    N2O – global laughing gas!
    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/4956/Time-for-next-ecoscare-already-As-Global-Warming-Movement-Collapses-Activists-Already-TestMarketing-the-Next-EcoFear-Laughing-Gas-Crisis-Oxygen-Crisis-Plastics

    In a way it’s a damn shame.
    Someday some green group will really have a legitimate warning, but no one will be listening to them anymore. They’ve made too many bogus, nutty phoney claims. They will have no more credibility.

  48. Earth to crazy people, the earth is not warming now, the earth is cooling. No sunspots for crazy people.

  49. They had better put artificial grass; no waterring, no fuel to cut it, no GHG emission and a lot of carbon fossilized for ever

  50. The 1972 movie “Silent Running” has to be the ultimate “Greene” movie. Send the last of the Earth’s parks into space and blow them up. The earth needs more parking lots.

  51. Astroturf doesn’t breathe, and we don’t live in a chemical soup we live in a biosphere.
    Irregardless of whether the Earth warms or cools, Life will find a way (life always finds a way). Some species will make it, some won’t. That’s the story of life on Earth: get over it and start adapting.
    Mr. Antrhopessimistic Green Whiner needs to get a life or face extinction in the changing climate.

  52. “Ralph (03:29:02) :

    The 1972 movie “Silent Running” has to be the ultimate “Greene” movie. Send the last of the Earth’s parks into space and blow them up. The earth needs more parking lots.”

    There was still one shpere left, with the last remaining robot “Hughey” I think it was, tending to the plants, fleft to travel space or all eternity.

    I enjoyed that film (But there were many doom, end of the world, type movies back then. Soylent Green was another.

  53. @ Geoff Sherrington: Any arguments? YES! You can stick your “credits, moral or monetary” up your proverbial. Anyone with any sense will not waste a second’s thought on this kind of childish nonsense. I mean, do you seriously believe that planting a few lawns, or trees or ANYTHING will make any measurable difference?
    And I mean REGARDLESS of any maintenance emissions. For heaven’s sake, look at the vast oceans, the rain forests, then on the other side, volcanoes, oceans (again), living creatures, and way down on the list: fossil fuel – all affecting in one way or another the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. And you concern yourself with “credits” for planting a bloody tree? Or even a whole woodland? Read these words: No measurable difference.
    Boy, have you made me angry. Where’s my medication…

  54. “The researchers evaluated soil samples over time to ascertain carbon storage, or sequestration”

    Whaaa??? They looked at the soil for carbon storage?? Noooo – the *grass* is the carbon storage…right?

    Jeff

  55. Sorry UCIrvine environmentalist, WRONG!
    Astroturf the cities?
    Have you lost your frickin’ mind?
    You’re forcing flash-backs on me back to the 60’s again!
    Ban the plastic bags but Astroturf the cities?
    Yea, really great logic!
    And am I suppose to actually discuss this?

    Sorry, gotta put on some George Carlin so I can find my way back to reality.
    (Parents: R-language)

  56. “It’s impossible for these lawns to be net greenhouse gas sinks because too much fuel is used to maintain them,” Townsend-Small concluded
    ———————
    Yeah, industrious activity usually consumes resources.

    No regard or accounting has been given of redundant grounds keepers.

    Fail

  57. It is time for the greens to lead by example, no more grass cutting in Central Park, reduce the carbon foot print and increase the CO2 sink. Return the park land to its former glory, wild grasses, wild flowers, butterflies. Either that, or astra turf the whole lot.

  58. photon without a Higgs (22:19:24) :

    “a way to get grant money for UC Irvine”

    You can view ALL AGW press releases in this way – basically they are a cry for more NSF/DOE/NASA funding, which the American tax payer can no longer afford…

  59. Ref – Ralph (03:29:02) :
    “The 1972 movie “Silent Running” has to be the ultimate “Greene” movie. Send the last of the Earth’s parks into space and blow them up. The earth needs more parking lots.”
    ______________
    I was trying to remember when that was and what the title was:-)

    It’s obvious that the real problem in California is too much green grass, crop irrigation, firefighting, concrete, asphalt, people. Same applies to Nevada (esp Las Vegas). We need to pass a law that henseforth there will be no more “artificial” anything. If people want to live in Las Vegas, etc., then they’ll have to live in Nevada and not try to import anything like Mississippi. While the study didn’t specify Golf Courses, I beleive these folks don’t play golf.

  60. These sorts of reports only confirm the idea that AGW promoters are not really serious or thoughtful people at all.

  61. Folks, it’s not the grass that is bad, it’s the lawn maintenance practices that are bad. I have lived in a gated community where, by rule, everyone must have a green, nicely trimmed lawn. In this part of Florida that means most have a lawn of St Augustine grass. This grass, although very heat tolerant, is high maintenance. You need to constantly treat it for bugs & turf diseases, it needs lot’s of water and it grows like crazy requiring mowing, mowing and more mowing. Sarasota County now restricts fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus and such cannot be applied to turf or landscape plants between June 1-Sept. 30 of each year. This is mainly for water pollution control as most people over fertilize thinking more is better. Again, it’s not the grass, it’s the people managing the grass.

    Bulldust (22:35:51) : “Interesting point as an aside… in The Netherlands the road verges and median strips are not mowed anymore but left to grow wild. One presumes the justification being that this is a more natural state.”

    More likely it’s to save the expense of mowing and maintenance.
    Sarasota County has removed all the grass from road medians and replaced it with mulch for this very reason.

  62. I am far from a greenie but I do like a well planted space. I think planting something on the rail lines is a good idea. Grass is very nice but labor intense. I would consider something like clover or some other love growing herb or wild flower instead. It would require less maintenance and provide a nice aroma when the train passes over it. The draw back I see besides upkeep cost are the possible issuse of people mistaking the tracks for a dead line and setting up a picnic between the rails, though that would be Darwinism at it’s finest I suppose.

  63. Eco terrorists. They strive for certain ideals and then can turn on them This is their anxiety disorder showing up. They would hate goats eating the grass because they generate CO2 and CH4.
    When I was a kid, My brother and I raised sheep for our allowance. We worked for every dime. I put myself thru private H.School with my own earnings. We used sheep to mow the 5 acre farmstead around buildings and farm machinery. Less running mowers.

  64. A recent “discussion” with an AGW proponent has started me on the path to really know the facts. I thank all of you for posting to various links that have been a wealth of important resources. I am a neophyte and certainly no scientist, I am an accountant. All accountants know debits must equal credits, and when they don’t, adjusting entries are needed. These entries are often audited to see if they, a) were required and b) pass the smell test. Too often it seems that AGW proponents need to make “hindcast” adjusting entries to arrive at what they “want and expect”, rather than what is. That being said, today 1/20/2010 in New York’s Newsday – “The end: HOTTEST decade, the 2000-2009 decade was the warmest on record, easily surpassing the previous hottest decade, the 1990’s.” They quote the NCDC as saying 2000-2009 was 0.96 degrees over normal, which “shattered the 1990’s record value of .65 degrees over normal. My questions are: How was “normal” calculated, is the temperature data accurate, and isn’t this the typical sensationalistic approach used to scare rather than inform? I would appreciate thoughts on how best to rebutt these types of claims.

    EdP

  65. “Green Dragon (02:20:47) :

    ‘inversesquare (01:02:27) :

    How can people be so gullible?’”

    Did you know that the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary? Check it.

    cheers David

  66. Turf requires nitrogenous fertilisers? Lawn maintenance requires petroleum and water? I wish someone would pay me to do these “studies”.

    Instead, I have to work for a living. What am I doing wrong?

  67. We are all supposed to replace our lawns with vegetable gardens, anyway. This study just gives more support to that idea.

    Now if we can only get those pesky Home Owners Associations to go along…

  68. This seems like just more evidence that the only way to ‘save’ the earth’s climate is mass suicide of the human race.

  69. “Lawns look great – they’re nice and green and healthy, and they’re photosynthesizing a lot of organic carbon. But the carbon-storing benefits of lawns are counteracted by fuel consumption,” said Amy Townsend-Small, Earth system science postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study, forthcoming in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
    ———————–
    When those vainly foolish urban “green” spaces are bleached colorfully ‘blight’ in pursuit of reduced carbon emissions, employed people will en mass transit to urban sprawl and rural retreat, for their daily, weekly and yearly commute to be at one, alone with nature. No accounting that, huh.

    Peer reviewed research. … It works every time for those with good employment.

    If at first one doesn’t succeed, review, revise, re-target and resubmit until success is granted. Given that the time and money invested in research are considerable, it must be played out to a published conclusion, regardless.

    ‘Climategate’ is ordinary. The process of mutual and cross validation, ensures that it becomes so.

    Very easy to forget that climate is not weather. If you don’t like the trend, you must to wait a year before it changes. … or 3 years or 5 years turnaround depending upon your “grant/funding/election cycle”.

  70. Grumbler (06:01:06) :
    Did you know that the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary? Check it.
    cheers David

    I’m not gullible enough to believe that one.

    adj. easily deceived or cheated; naive; credulous.

  71. Interesting observation (if this isn’t the right place for it, perhaps it could be moved there).

    Tuesday, January 19th:
    Checked the temperature for zip code 36312 (Dothan, AL airport???) at 0600 on weather.com. It had 39 deg-F. This was posted the next day on weather.com as the low for the day.

    Here is what the temperature looked like at a nearby nuclear power plant at 0600 and at 0628 on two seperate channels of instrumentation (I hope the columns line up):

    Time Sec Pri
    0600 41.1 40.1
    0628 37.6 37.4
    diff: 3.5 2.7

    So, between 0600 and 0628, there was about a 3.0 degree temperature drop that doesn’t show up on the weather.com low for the day. I haven’t had a chance to check the NWS low for the day, yet. The temperature reading displayed on my Honda Accord was 39 deg-F when I got in it and showed 37 deg-F by the time I got to work, further confirming the above.

    I wonder if modern ‘climate change confirmation” algorithms reject this final stage of early morning cooling as “not meaningful”???

    Historical high-low thermometers probably wouldn’t have rejected this temperature drop.

  72. Newsflash… “LIFE CONTRIBUTES TO GLOBAL WARMING”

    This is truly the OCD underbelly of the green movement turning on itself. Much like nuclear is NEVER part of the CO2 conversation, now green really isn’t green. Note no mention of the “green spaces” in the study most likely being planted with non-native turf species that required excessive fertilization and maintenance. Wheras plantings of other types of groundcover (I think someone mentioned clover) would not require similar maintenance to a traditional lawn. In te plains states of the US they have developed strains of drought tolerant (no watering), native grasses (no fertilizing) that won’t gow over 6 inches tall (no mowing). Lawns aren’t necessarily not green, just the same as green spaces are not necessarily not green as well… although that seemed to be where the reporter was trying to take the readers.

    No, the only option is to beat people back into the stone age by making “life” so unaffordable that they choose not to breed.

  73. Grumbler (06:01:06) :

    “Green Dragon (02:20:47) :

    ‘inversesquare (01:02:27) :

    How can people be so gullible?’”

    Did you know that the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary? Check it.

    cheers David

    It is in my trusty 1925 Pocket Oxford English Dictionary!!!!!! It means to “dupe” or “fool” believe it or not.

    I wish these greenie half-wits would come & mow my ruddy garden, its takes an age & the stuff seems to grow even faster taking up more CO2 in the process!

  74. Kate (02:15:52) :

    Good info. I wonder if the professor mentioned solar vacuum heat-pipe collectors and their feasibility and efficiency. I understand they can exceed eighty to ninety percent efficiency in collection unlike electric panels at twenty percent or lower. Since my winter is more expensive than the summer, this seems the way to go, if any in my mid-latitude location. Three or four of these would carry most heat needed, except January and February when auxillary would be needed. But a roof full would not only totally heat but could cool if passive refrigeration, similar to propane refrigerators, was feasible and available. As a bonus would keep the attic cooler too. Could be a reality in the future since the output temp on hot summer days would be between 250-275C per specs which might be hot enough to drive the refrigeration unit. Use solar heat to cool too! Was any of this was also mentioned?

  75. “Grumbler (06:01:06) :

    How can people be so gullible?’”

    Did you know that the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary? Check it.”

    I just spat, sorry wasted, a mouthful of wine all over my lappy when I read this post.

  76. Concise Maquarie Gullible :easily deceived or cheated noun gullibility, adj gullibly.
    sorry:-)
    longbloke and others I have had the best laugh in ages from your witty comments.
    Our local schoolmarm has just organised a huge oval to be astroturfed. trees and established native low water gardens..gone.
    main water lines to town had to be moved they ran under said oval, cost? immense!
    astroturf life is app 15 years..
    tons and tons of sand to pack it onto ,and on top of it.
    cost of equipment labour etc to install it all probably 15 years of mower fuel:-) and wages
    injuries to kids from burns when playing,?
    well the school nurse will continue to be employed too…
    no shade, no new trees as they may produce leaf litter..
    increased heat due to lack of cooling airflow over the now HOT surface.
    fumes from degassing plastic turf
    enviro pullution from said turf as it breaks shreds and disintegrates..
    and we dont Have a tram to push the bloody idiot head mistress under, especially the one with the blade attachments.:-(

  77. A subtle turning of the argument. Copenhagen failed to grant the rabid environmentalists total control, so on to the next screaming emergency about which something must be done immediately or we’re all gonna die!

    Unfortunately, they made so much stink this time around, that even the people who believe everything they are told will remember that CO2 didn’t kill us.

    Even the most dense among us knows that we expel Co2 with every breath. I don’t think that screaming about something that makes them feel good at the dentist’s office is going to have quite the impact they are hoping for.

  78. While we are on the subject of California railways and their stupid grassed tracks (maybe that’s why California is nearly bankrupt!), a weather pattern has been happening to California in the form of strong rains. Can anyone explain this form of severe weather?

    Is this a highly probable part of El Nino?

    Having several explanations or figuring out what is going on would be very interesting.

  79. Classic case of torturing the numbers until they confess.

    Did they include a full “global warming” estimate of astroturf?

    Where you draw your lines is everything in this kind of comparison – how many times have we gone over ethanol from corn, gradually increasing the factors in the calculations to get the answer we are looking for? Replace this with disposable nappies (daipers), plastic bags or whatever else you care to mention.

    These studies are the best examples of the maxim that figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

    Oh, and about being gullible – all those who checked their dictionaries fell for it…..

  80. OMG we’re producing CO2 and its making the planet hot! What should we do? Plant grass it will soak up the CO2. Ok ok lets plant lots of grass!
    Newsflash- Lawnmowers produce more CO2 than the lawn absorbs. Oh no, what can we do now? Ahhhh!

    These environuts are really whacko. Hopefully they’ll worry themselves into the nut house and leave the rest of us alone.

  81. Los Angeles:

    The foothills have received almost 5 inches of rain since Sunday and Wednesday’s storm is predicted to drop 4 to 8 inches on the area, Department of Public Works Director Gail Farber said.

    The warmists say droughts.
    The ecoterrorists say no watering lawns.

    How do the CO2 frat rats explain all this moisture?

  82. I have a question that maybe someone can answer. When sunlight hits concrete, rocks, water etc some of it is reflected but some of it is absorbed and eventually converted to heat. But what happens when sunlight hits green plants? At least some of that energy is converted to chemical energy as CO2 is converted to O2 plus plant matter. But is the amount significant enough to affect the earth’s energy balance?

  83. OT

    Stimulus works!

    …….at least for one person. Who? Penn State University’s Michael Mann, a climate scientist whose credibility has come into question. He’s the guy behind Al Gore’s famous “hockey stick” graph, which has been discredited.

    Mann was also a central figure in the Climate-Gate email scandal, which showed prominent global warming alarmists to be fudging the data and squelching dissent.

    According to today’s Wall Street Journal, more than $2.4 million is “stimulating” the career of Michael Mann:

    Mr. Mann came by his grants via the National Science Foundation, which received $3 billion in stimulus money. Last June, the foundation approved a $541,184 grant to fund [Mann’s] work […] He received another grant worth nearly $1.9 million […] Both grants say they were “funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”

    Read more: http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/01/20/the-stimulus-works/#ixzz0dAbQTjNm

  84. I expect soon to see a study proving that wearing socks with sandals is healthier for the environment.

  85. John Wright (00:22:21) :
    Luke (22:08:28) :
    Sheep you darn fool!

    No, you can win against these loons. They’ll just remind you that sheep fart and emit dreaded methane

    Horses, they are caecalids and have a completely different digestive system compared to ruminants. Sort of a living Prius.

  86. Phillip Bratby said:
    ‘ “Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that’s 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, the Earth’s most problematic climate warmer.” And I thought water vapour was important. Silly me.’

    Has anybody here looked up N2O? It’s at 310 ppb. Who cares what kind of GHG it is compared to CO2 when it is less than 1/1000th as abundant, making it a microtrace gas in the atmosphere.

    As CO2 is irrelevant to climate, as shown by Miskolicz and Zagoni, then N2O is just another eco-scare tactic. We always have to have a crisis – crisis mode being a politically expedient way to get things done.

    The EPA claims a 120 year half-life for N2O in the atmosphere, which I seriously doubt, considering the 200 year half-life for CO2 the IPCC uses is really about 5.4 years. I bet there is already papers out there which cover the real half-life – I do not trust government agencies for obvious reasons.

  87. Along these lines, here would be an interesting calculation:

    If we replaced all global electricity generation with solar panels, what would this do to the global energy balance? The energy balance starts with the amount of Solar Blackbody emissions (calculated at 5778 K – 30% albedo) reaching the earths surface, to be re-emitted at T^4 (calculated to be at 255 K).

    With solar panels everywhere intercepting the incoming solar radiation (in effect, an addition to the albedo term), how much is the earths blackbody radiation lowered? Will we need a lot more GHG’s to make it up.

    Just thinking out loud.

  88. ” wayne (07:04:47) :
    Kate (02:15:52) :
    Good info. I wonder if the professor mentioned solar vacuum heat-pipe collectors and their feasibility and efficiency.”

    …No, he did not. I like the look of these pipes and they don’t shred any birds or drive people mad with vibrations. Unfortunately, they also don’t produce vast profits for the prophets of doom, either, so don’t expect much publicity for these energy collectors anytime soon.

  89. crosspatch (00:18:08) :

    Get a goat. End of problem.

    REPLY:
    I already have 20 goats and 20 sheep. they do a great job of mowing the lawn, eating the weeds in my pastures and the goats just love leaves that have just fallen to the ground… Actually the leaves never make it to the ground because the goats catch them on the way down. Just don’t let them in the garden, you use weeder geese for that area instead. Guineas of course are very useful for insect control.
    Weeder Geese: http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G8922

  90. David S (08:18:26) :

    I have a question that maybe someone can answer. When sunlight hits concrete, rocks, water etc some of it is reflected but some of it is absorbed and eventually converted to heat. But what happens when sunlight hits green plants? At least some of that energy is converted to chemical energy as CO2 is converted to O2 plus plant matter. But is the amount significant enough to affect the earth’s energy balance?

    First, it is green because all of the other visible light colors are absorbed.

    According to this paper http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?doi=10.1175%2F2008JHM1021.1&request=get-abstract&ct=1
    , “the global rmse for snow-free July land surface albedo [is] 0.024”

  91. And to think … all those years of procrastinating on mowing my lawn was really saving the planet. Where’s my check?

  92. I have a plea for the “Greens” please leave us alone. Find your own planet. We have spent tens of thousands of years developing technology and advances in farming, healthcare, energy, plastics and find your attacks on everything that makes life pleasant to live annoying. we like eating weel, we like to be comfortably warmi in the winter and cool in the summer. we like our cozy houses; we like it all and we especially like our nice green lawns. Go live in caves if you like. Stop trying to impose your hatred of everything to do with mankind on us. We like one another.

    Frankly I think you all must be victims of too early toilet training.

  93. Is this “study” from the same California that waters the medians of their freeways? Just how much energy/CO2/etc. does that take? Around here, in flyover country, we let God take care of it. If He wants green grass, He makes it rain. Costs less. Never argue with God.

    I thought I was the last person on Earth with a hand pushed reel mower. Neighbors assumed (correctly?) that I was nuts. But, with lots of shade, the grass doesn’t grow well and I don’t water it (see freeway median comment above) so there isn’t much to mow. Now moss has taken over most of the lawn, which doesn’t need anything. The rest of the property is xeriscaped and the patch of moss in front is green, so the homeowner’s association doesn’t object. And my water bill is tiny.

    The secret to easy life: Let nature do the work.

    You think the tree-huggers could figure this out?

  94. I think there is one sort of carbon storing that is not getting enough attention. Government paperwork. Think about it. All that carbon dioxide, turned into trees, turned into wood pulp then into paper. The paper is filled with useless information, submitted to the government then filed in some warehouse somewhere, never to see the light of day again.

    Not enough people realize the good side of government paperwork.

    (Not serious, in case anyone was wondering)

  95. A practical question following up on the beneficial impacts of turfgrass or lack thereof.

    I have 5 vacant lots, each 80 x 125. Is it better to leave them as they are i.e. a combination of grass, weeds, clover but no trees. I must mow the lots to comply with vegetation height restrictions but I do not and cannot afford to fertilize or treat weeds chemically and do not irrigate. OR Would it be better to plant trees throughout? I’d still have to mow so the question is pretty simple.

    Is it better for the environment (assuming there is so such a thing) to plant the area in trees or leave as open turf. To put it another way, which alternative stores more carbon? Maybe the question is too simplistic but at least it is practical one and is not hypothetical. I think many others with with relativey small but wide expanses of open ground on their property would be interested in the answer.

  96. Guy R Erwood (06:25:24) :

    This seems like just more evidence that the only way to ’save’ the earth’s climate is mass suicide of the human race.

    Remember the episode of “Star Trek” (TOS) where they went to a planet that was at war with another planet and casualties were selected by computers? That’s what’s happening next.

    Instead of using Super Computers to futily model the climate, they will using model who should survive and who should be sent to the suicide chambers.

  97. Aside from the fact that N2O only amounts to about 323 parts per billion by volume[1] (more than 1000 times lower than CO2 concentrations), it should be mentioned that N2O is also alleged to be a potent destroyer of stratospheric ozone[2]. As many people are aware, the anomalous Antarctic cooling trend has been hypothetically linked to stratospheric ozone depletion[3]. If stratospheric ozone depletion leads to cooling trends as claimed, then N2O should hypothetically cancel out some (or all) of its global warming potential as it destroys stratospheric ozone over Antarctica and elsewhere.

    These alarmists should seriously get a grip on what gases are responsible for what.

    1. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/hats/insitu/cats/conc/smo_n2o_all.png

    2. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/46776/title/Nitrous_oxide_fingered_as_monster_ozone_slayer

    3. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/03/us/ozone-hole-is-now-seen-as-a-cause-for-antarctic-cooling.html

  98. “Espen (22:30:56) :
    Geoff Sherrington: Trees as carbon sinks is not just a myth: Boreal Forests are very good carbon sinks, since they accumulate carbon in the soil.”

    Actually boreal forests are NOT good carbon sinks, Canadian studies have shown that they are net emitters. Only tropical forests are net sinks. I have references somewhere but if you do a quick search on “boreal forests net CO2 emitters” you will find plenty of articles eg> http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/11/are_boreal_forests.php

    “Using a one million sq. km stretch of forest in Manitoba, Gower and his colleagues coupled their measurements of how carbon moved between the atmosphere and the trees with past records and computer models to examine how the forest’s ability to store carbon dioxide has changed since mid-century. Their results showed that the forest’s ability to store more carbon dioxide than it emitted had weakened over the last few years – to the point where it has now become a net emitter of carbon.”

  99. Bernice (05:09:01) :

    It is time for the greens to lead by example, no more grass cutting in Central Park, reduce the carbon foot print and increase the CO2 sink. Return the park land to its former glory, wild grasses, wild flowers, butterflies. (…)

    And snakes, wolves, perhaps a few cougars. That should give the joggers some added incentives.

    People don’t like Nature, unless it is neutered and managed into an idealized version that isn’t natural at all.

  100. “Is it better for the environment (assuming there is so such a thing) to plant the area in trees or leave as open turf. To put it another way, which alternative stores more carbon? Maybe the question is too simplistic but at least it is practical one and is not hypothetical. I think many others with with relativey small but wide expanses of open ground on their property would be interested in the answer.” -Phaedruscj

    Trees devour carbon dioxide and spew out oxygen. The re-growth of forests in Eastern US is looked at as the reason North America is a carbon sink with less CO2 leaving the US than entering it.

    Virgin Atlantic had a million dollar contest for the best proposal to take CO2 out of the air. I entered and proposed they simply plant tress, once grown cut them down and sell the wood continuosly plant more. They stiffed me and I never got the million dollars, although there could not be a simpler, more cost effective solution.

  101. Studying turf grass is a waste of time and money. If you want to know what’s ruining the planet, look no farther than the Third World, all the people there and all their pollution. To focus any attention on turf grass is absurd.

  102. However, greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production, mowing, leaf blowing and other lawn management practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by ornamental grass in parks, a UC Irvine study shows.

    Same calculations apply to production agriculture, more or less. Quit eating.

    Phaedruscj (09:29:53) :
    Is it better for the environment (assuming there is so such a thing) to plant the area in trees or leave as open turf.

    According to the California Dept of energy leader, you should paint the ground white. :~P

  103. Jon (10:02:15) :
    “Is it better for the environment (assuming there is so such a thing) to plant the area in trees or leave as open turf. To put it another way, which alternative stores more carbon? Maybe the question is too simplistic but at least it is practical one and is not hypothetical. I think many others with with relativey small but wide expanses of open ground on their property would be interested in the answer.” -Phaedruscj

    Trees devour carbon dioxide and spew out oxygen. The re-growth of forests in Eastern US is looked at as the reason North America is a carbon sink with less CO2 leaving the US than entering it.

    Virgin Atlantic had a million dollar contest for the best proposal to take CO2 out of the air. I entered and proposed they simply plant tress, once grown cut them down and sell the wood continuosly plant more. They stiffed me and I never got the million dollars, although there could not be a simpler, more cost effective solution.

    According to the GCM’s, forests have a lower albedo than pastures/meadows/grass/farmland… so CO2 aside, clearcutting forests is allegedly helping cool our planet to the point that “land use” in the models is a net cooling forcing – despite UHI and all the concrete or asphalt roads and parking lots, etc

    You can be sure that using more wood (i.e. building more) is just an absolutely unacceptable carbon sink to these whack-jobs, just the same way that nuclear is an unacceptable CO2-free energy source (only wind and solar right?), and just the same way that biochar adoption for farming – which as a byproduct appears to significantly increase soil productivity, and could decrease reliance on petrochem-derived fertilizers – is also not an option.

  104. What we need are more lawns, and an environmentally friendly way of maintaining them.
    I suppose rows of Green Party members on their hands and knees cutting the grass with their teeth would be unacceptable?
    Sorry, sorry. Just an idea. Bad idea.
    Carry on.

  105. The referenced study claims: “The study showed that nitrous oxide emissions from lawns were comparable to those found in agricultural farms, which are among the largest emitters of nitrous oxide globally.”

    I noted today at CO2Science that ongoing research at Duke U’s experimental forest that studied the effects on loblolly pine from elevated CO2 levels over 12 years is contrary to some of the findings in the Cal Irvine study. See:

    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V13/N3/B2.php

    “What was learned
    Among many other things, Jackson et al. report that “on average, in elevated CO2, fine-root biomass in the top 15 cm of soil increased by 24%,” and that in recent years the fine-root biomass increase “grew stronger, averaging ~30% at high CO2,” while in terms of coarse roots having diameters greater than 2 mm and extending to a soil depth of 32 cm, they report that “biomass sampled in 2008 was “twice as great in elevated CO2.” In fact, we calculate from the graphical representation of their results that the coarse-root biomass was fully 130% greater, which is really astounding, particularly in light of the fact that the extra 200 ppm of CO2 supplied to the air surrounding the CO2-enriched trees represented an enhancement of only about 55% above ambient conditions. And in the concluding sentence of their paper’s abstract, they say that “overall, the effect of elevated CO2 belowground shows no sign of diminishing.”

    “What it means
    The four researchers state that “if progressive nitrogen limitation were occurring in this system, we would expect differences in productivity to diminish for trees in the elevated vs. ambient CO2 plots,” but they say that “in fact there is little evidence from estimates of aboveground or total net primary productivity in the replicated Duke experiment that progressive nitrogen limitation is occurring there or at other forest FACE experiments [italics added],” even “after more than a decade of manipulation” of the air’s CO2 content, citing in this regard — with respect to the latter portion of their statement — the report of Finzi et al. (2007). Consequently, there is good reason to believe that the “aerial fertilization effect” of atmospheric CO2 enrichment will continue to significantly benefit earth’s forests for as long as the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration continues to rise.”

    I hope the Cal Irvine researchers are advised about the contradictory research at Duke.

  106. Jon (10:02:15) :

    Trees devour carbon dioxide and spew out oxygen. The re-growth of forests in Eastern US is looked at as the reason North America is a carbon sink with less CO2 leaving the US than entering it.

    This obviously cannot be true, else how could the USA be labeled as the second-worst CO2 “polluter” in the world? If the Eastern US forests are absorbing CO2 being spewed elsewhere in the world, it is we who should be demanding money from other countries for taking care of their carbon emissions, not the other way around!

  107. Wayne Delbeke (09:44:30) :

    “Using a one million sq. km stretch of forest in Manitoba, Gower and his colleagues coupled their measurements of how carbon moved between the atmosphere and the trees with past records and computer models to examine how the forest’s ability to store carbon dioxide has changed since mid-century. Their results showed that the forest’s ability to store more carbon dioxide than it emitted had weakened over the last few years – to the point where it has now become a net emitter of carbon.”

    Unfortunately Wayne you argument falls because the issue isn’t tropical vs temperate, but young vs old. The reference you cite is referring to mature forests and calculating the methane emissions at 40x the “global warming effect” of CO2. The forest was a massive carbon sink while it was growing (replacing the trees that were heavily logged in the previous century). This is the exactly the same deal with tropical forests – mature forests are rarely a carbon sink as growth rates are slow and dead trees are great for biodiversity, but release a lot of carbon as methane.

    North America had gone through a massive re-forestation in the last 100 years or so that is coming to an end as logging is not the industry it once was. The best way to increase the role of forests as carbon sinks (always supposing that that is what you want to do, of course) is to cut the trees down and use the wood for something useful.

    A commenter earlier in the thread mentioned government paperwork as a carbon sink – not sure I would class this as useful, but go ahead and see if you can get a carbon credit for it somewhere…. ;-)

  108. PeteG

    brc
    Dont let them know that the way you mow your lawn constitutes a workout.
    They will want to tax the extra carbon dioxide that you breathe out.

  109. “The study showed that nitrous oxide emissions from lawns were comparable to those found in agricultural farms, which are among the largest emitters of nitrous oxide globally.”

    The “camel is sticking its nose into the tent.” He says he just wants the grass but he is looking at your wheat and your cattle.

  110. Mike R thanks for your reply but I don’t think that really answers my question. Let me try to rephrase it. We assume that for the earth’s temperature to be stable the incoming energy from the sun must must be equal to the sum of the reflected sunlight plus the emitted infra-red heat energy. Basically it means “energy in” must equal “energy out”. That’s a statement of the first law of thermodynamics in steady state conditions. In non-steady state conditions, if more energy is coming in than leaving the earth will gain energy and presumably warm up. If more energy is leaving than coming in then the earth will lose energy and cool. But that assumes that the energy can only be stored as heat. Through photosynthesis sunlight is converted to chemical energy rather than heat. In that case more energy can be coming in than leaving without producing warming. The earth would still be gaining energy but not heat energy. Given the amount of green growing plants on the planet I wonder whether that effect could produce a measurable difference in the earth’s energy balance.

  111. Let me get this straight… If we eliminate grass, do away with cows and other ruminants, stop eating meat (except for our pets), live off of intermittent power sources, eliminate air travel, get rid of our cars, abolish industry, and ration all life necessities, we’ll have a better world?

    My best analysis is the people who think in this utopia fictive reality need medication. This whole “save the planet from CO2” thing is getting a bit to bizarre to be remotely considered as rational thinking. It is becoming a form of socially accepted insanity.

  112. Has anyone been on one of the modern turf soccer and football fields on a sunny day? They get HOT. In fact, the one at the nearby high school loses snow cover before anything around it, including the black all-weather track.

  113. This must also be true for biodiesel from corn. The last I heard it takes 0.9 gallons of fossil fuel oil to produce one gallon of biodiesel. If one adds the CO2, methane and nitrous oxide produced as the plant residue is composted or decomposes then it is likely to be a net emitter of GHGs.

    Not sure about ethanol : there is an old paper which proved ethanol needed more energy in its’ creation than it could give in its’ use, in fact I believe it was 40% more. This gets some greens really hot and bothered and they strongly claim 35% more energy is produced from ethanol than is needed to create it, but I do not know how thorough they were in their calculations.

    In both cases the problem is that FOOD is being turned in to fuel! Either the world has no problem without that food, or the food will need to be produced by farming more acres, and most likely on less productive land, which may require more fertiliser, etc.

    [Another alternative is that people die. In fact it has been suggested that the real purpose of large scale biofuel production IS to control the world’s population by reducing food levels. At least that makes more sense than as a rather dubious AGW counter-measure]

    Slippery slope!

    It would be interesting if the same researchers did the same research for biofuel production.

  114. “kadaka (10:49:17) :

    Jon (10:02:15) :

    Trees devour carbon dioxide and spew out oxygen. The re-growth of forests in Eastern US is looked at as the reason North America is a carbon sink with less CO2 leaving the US than entering it.

    This obviously cannot be true, else how could the USA be labeled as the second-worst CO2 “polluter” in the world? If the Eastern US forests are absorbing CO2 being spewed elsewhere in the world, it is we who should be demanding money from other countries for taking care of their carbon emissions, not the other way around!”

    I assume sarcasm as my statement is exactly correct.

  115. They say that a cow expels more methane from its mouth than from its rear end.

    Much like the average Warmist.

  116. What the hell! Let’s have a World War! The nuclear winter should cool things down AND remove the ‘A’ from AGW! Problem solved!

  117. Does a cow release more GHG than the yearly die down and decay of the grass that is not eaten? What does that grass decay to?

    Since fertilizer releases nitrous oxides which is claimed to be 300 times worse than CO2, we need to find something else to increase plant growth. We need something that won’t run off and pollute the water. Something that is cheap and non toxic. A totally benign material. Something that can be added to the atmosphere so we don’t need to use fossil fuels to deliver it to the plants.

    I suggest we use carbon dioxide.

  118. What would happen if they used a no/low maintenance type grass like the Eco Lawn available from Wildflower Farms?

  119. Look out methane on the rise.
    NIWA has today released measurements from its globally significant Baring Head station showing that southern hemisphere atmospheric methane increased by 0.7% over the two-year period 2007–08. While this increase may not sound like much, it is about 35 times more than all the methane produced by New Zealand livestock each year.
    than the same mass of carbon dioxide (CO2 ).

    “The evidence we have shows that methane in the atmosphere is now more than double what it ever was during the 800,000 years before 1700AD” says NIWA Principal Scientist, Dr Keith Lassey. This is based on analyses of ancient air trapped in polar ice that has been extracted and dated.

    Other factors are at work in increasing atmospheric methane levels: global growth in commercial livestock farming, mining of fossil fuels, leaks from urban gas networks, and continued burn-offs of tropical rainforest
    http://www.niwa.co.nz/news-and-publications/news/all/niwa-sayes-greenhouse-gas-methane-is-on-the-rise-again

  120. In my local council area, if you don’t mow your grass the council (which promotes the usual green ideas), will send you a letter demanding it be cut, or they’ll cut it for you and send you the bill. I know; it happened to me. I was just being lazy, not “green”!

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