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back to article Biomass bummer: carbon mitigation could increase ozone

A team from Lancaster University has poured cold water on Europe’s increasing plan to increase the biomass it uses in electricity production, saying that that while non-fossil fuels can improve the carbon picture, it comes at the cost of air quality on the ground. The problem, according to research led by professor Nick Hewitt, …

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Meh

Sounds like...

...we need to downgrade these as choices, and pick something else that's is less of a problem.

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Boffin

Re: Sounds like...

You mean like Nuclear Energy?

Yes, safe plants can be built along with recycling the fuel and proper fuel disposal ...

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Re: Sounds like...

"You mean like Nuclear Energy?"

NO! Soylent Green!

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Unhappy

I was writing a snide post about how nuclear energy doesn't have this issue, but you know what, fuck it... If we as a civilization cannot take advantage of scientific advances of the past century purely due to political or ideological reasons, then we are doomed. And rightly so.

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The AGW thesis is that it is the scientific advances of the last century (or so) which created this situation.

As a generalisation, people try to push the costs of their gains onto others. Using the past couple of hundred years of massive advances in tech as evidence, I'd suggest that people don't change.

Contrary to the indoctrination of StarTrek and SG1, we are not evolving to a higher state of conciousness, we are merely more efficient at doing what we have always done.

In this case, "GM is our only hope" sounds like marketing. Nice try, but no cigar.

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Meh

And which

GM group is this douche working for? First Europeans cut down all their trees and now they are afraid of them, they should just stay away from trees. History has proven they aren't very good with them.

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Re: And which

I'm pretty sure Europe was never densely forested with eucalyptus...

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LDS
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What about the "other pollutants"?

It looks it isn'ìt the trees the problem, but the reaction with the others. And if they are pollutants, why not decrease them first?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about the "other pollutants"?

From http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/twelfth/roc12.pdf

Isoprene is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.

Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals

Exposure to isoprene by inhalation caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. In mice of both sexes, isoprene caused blood-vessel cancer (hemangiosarcoma) and benign or malignant tumors of the Harderian gland (adenoma or carcinoma) and the lung (alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma or carcinoma). In male mice, ...

It looks like isoprene is a problem all by itself.

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Re: What about the "other pollutants"?

Ozone is only produced when high levels of nitric oxides are present. Without the nitric oxides it will reduce ozone levels. The nitric oxides generally come from cars, power stations or other industrial sources (the source of the CO2 in the first place).

Now if we use genetically engineered trees (that just happen to be patented by some big multinational) then some company can make lots of money and we can keep driving SUVs.

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WTF?

So too much ozone is bad....

....and not enough ozone is also bad! Witness the ozone 'hole' above the southern polar region, which we are told was/is caused by polluting flourocarbons. This is reportedly responsible for thousands of deaths due to skin cancer, so why would we not want to convert some other pollutants to ozone, and maybe fill the hole?

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Re: So too much ozone is bad....

Ozone in the troposphere is a pollutant. It is extremely harmful to one's respiratory health. In the stratosphere, on the other hand, ozone absorbs UV rays, therefore decreasing how much we get exposed to. The half-life of ozone molecules is 30 minutes, so even if they were magically floating up (not the case), it still wouldn't make a difference for the ozone layer as a whole.

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30 minute half-life?

Although Wikipedia puts the half-life of ozone in air at 30 minutes, citing the Goddard Space Flight Center FAQ, these sources appear to have mistakenly provided the half-life in water rather than air. See, e.g.,

http://www.lenntech.com/library/ozone/decomposition/ozone-decomposition.htm

At 20 °C at ground level the half-life in air is about 3 days, and it increases with decreasing temperature.

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Facepalm

Re: So too much ozone is bad....

Next they'll tell us that too much salt is bad for you and too little salt is also bad for you. I mean, both can't be true. It's science.

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Joke

Re: So too much ozone is bad....

Solution - grow the eucalyptus trees in the stratosphere

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Re: So too much ozone is bad....

Alternate solution - genetically modify the eucalyptus trees so their leaves act as powerful fans, sending the ozone they produce up to the stratosphere.

What do they teach in schools these days?

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Joke

self solving problem...

the people who die as a result of ozone will be fellow asthma sufferers, shirly a shitload of eucalyptus trees will help keep all our tubes un-blocked

simples

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I thought the Amazonian rain forests were "the lungs of the world"

Perhaps we need to chop the rain forests down to save ourselves?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: I thought the Amazonian rain forests were "the lungs of the world"

Another one Douglas Adams got right - declare war and chop down all of the trees.

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Anonymous Coward

"mixes with other pollutants" What are these pollutants? Maybe they should deal with these while dealing with isoprene.

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Leukaemia?

AC 00:16 above points out that isoprene is very likely to be carcinogenic. Indeed it is quite similar to butadiene, which is a known cause of leukaemia.

Given the somewhat scant evidence that nuclear reactors are responsible for leukaemia clusters, a claim which is so often trumpeted by fearmongers, it will be interesting to see if there is any response from the rabid greenies.

Headlines such as "Biomass causes leukaemia" seem somewhat unlikely, even if the evidence is a good deal stronger than in the case of nuclear power.

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Use Australia as a test-bed

Australia is a continent of mostly eucalyptus, people and maize/corn. Most of 'em live in houses surrounded by gum trees.

So, maybe we should study how many Aussies are getting cancer from isoprene (and generally dying from assorted ozone-ness complications), compared with, say, peoples everywhere else where there are fewer gum trees?

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Boffin

Re: Use Australia as a test-bed

"So, maybe we should study how many Aussies are getting cancer from isoprene (and generally dying from assorted ozone-ness complications), compared with, say, peoples everywhere else where there are fewer gum trees?"

For such a trial you would need to eliminate anything else from the environment that is likely to kill the test subjects.

That groups appears to include all the Australian flora and fauna, apart from "some of the sheep".

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Happy

Re: Use Australia as a test-bed

"That groups appears to include all the Australian flora and fauna, apart from "some of the sheep"."

Not sure about the sheep but the Koalas are so cute.

Surely they're harmless.

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Alert

Re: "Surely they're harmless."

That's what the dropbears want you to think.....

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Re: Use Australia as a test-bed

"Australia is a continent of mostly eucalyptus, people and maize/corn."

Australia is a continent of mostly desert, devoid of eucalyptus, people and maize/corn.

OK so there are a very small number of people in some of the desert, presumably only living there to avoid drop-bears.

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Re: Use Australia as a test-bed

"Not sure about the sheep but the Koalas are so cute.

Surely they're harmless."

No way! They have enormous sharp claws and very bad tempers. If you try to cuddle one outside of a controlled zoo environment you will bleed.

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Unhappy

Re: Use Australia as a test-bed

"Not sure about the sheep but the Koalas are so cute.

Surely they're harmless."

Well it appears they are. Unfortunately petting also appears to be (mostly) illegal.

http://www.fodors.com/community/australia-the-pacific/petting-koalas.cfm

Although if highly stressed they will wee on you.

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FAIL

As far as I can tell...

DDT never caused the eggshell damage they said it did, and we have killed several millions of humans by stopping using it, while spending large amounts of money on alternative less effective pesticides who's major advantage is that they are still under patent...

Chlorofluorocarbons don't seem to have caused a hole in the ozone layer - that hole seems to be natural. That ban has cost us many billions in making alternative, less effective chemicals, and enabled DuPont to maintain a patent on refrigerant compound which they were about to lose. It has also deprived us of a major fire suppressant...

Acid rain turned out to be a non-problem. Interestingly, the biologists were brought on board by telling the 'leaf specialists' that acid rain damaged roots, while the root specialists were told that acid rain damaged leaves.... In all a few billion was passed to environmental activists, which could have been used in much better ways

Global Warming has been the grand-daddy of activist scams - with prospective costs in the trillions and major disruption to world energy infrastructure in order to stop a predicted minor warming of the planet which turns out to only exist in the fudged mathematics of incorrect computer models.

Can someone spot a trend here...?

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Anonymous Coward

trend

> Can someone spot a trend here...?

Each paragraph of your post is untrue.

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Facepalm

Re: Each paragraph of your post is untrue.

Glad you explained why each paragraph is wrong....

Wait, what?

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Re: Each paragraph of your post is untrue.

That which is asserted without evidence . . .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As far as I can tell...

"...Can someone spot a trend here...?"

That you think things which happen inside your head are all true?

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Alert

What about good old Hazel coppice

- which doesn't emit isoprene

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Conversion efficiency is lamentably low

There is a pertinent and presumably authoritative article here, 'The nonsense of biofuels'. The author, Prof. Dr. Hartmut Michel, was awarded a Nobel prize for his work in photosynthesis.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201200218/full

The efficiency of biofuel conversion is presently less than 0.1% for biodiesel, 0.2% for bioethanol. In terms of carbon capture it would be much better to reforest the land used for energy plants.

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Devil

Guns don't kill people, Trees do!

I will take Dodgy Geezers suppositions a step further and say that making completely unsupportable arguments for or against AGW, Climate Change, Biomass, Gene Modification. etc. just serves to dilute any chance that anyone will ever believe anything anyone will ever say on the subject.

With all the intelligence in this world, why can we not determine actual facts on these subjects instead of making wildass conjecture? Otherwise, my title above is as truthful a statement as anyones elses.

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Bloody NIMBYs

"He suggests that trees could be genetically engineered to reduce isoprene emissions, and states that plantations should be located away from urban pollution."

I was always lead to believe that one of the major factors in support of using biofuels was that they'd be grown locally, avoiding the costs and emissions associated with transporting the fuel around the country.

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WTF?

Wood pellets coming from PAC NW USA...

The producing wood forests of the PAC NW have, for the last few years, been partially converted to furnace pellet production, with a large amount going to power plants in Europe... just like coal exports....

No one lives in those areas, larger than some countries in Europe, the Ozones are re used by the growing trees...

It is said that trees use these secondary gasses to communicate with other trees in the forest...

IMHO= some folks really need to get a hobby... ( we just now realized trees pollute )...RS

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Come back Mr Reagan - all is forgiven!

Ronnie was telling us that "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do" back in the 80s!

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