Thursday, February 09, 2006

Deforestation Reduces Greenhouse Gasses

Okay, I'll admit it. This Reuters story doesn't claim that deforestation reduces greenhouse gasses. However, it does tend to undercut some Global Warming conventional wisdom (sic):
The journal Nature reports that a group of German scientists led by Dr Frank Keppler have discovered a new source of greenhouse gasses - plants . . . Keppler and his colleagues discovered that living plants emit 10 to 100 times more methane than dead plants. Scientists had previously thought that plants could only emit methane in the absence of oxygen.
So if the plants are dead there will be less greenhouse gasses produced. Maybe I should retract my previous mea culpa.
David Lowe, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, said the findings are startling and controversial. "Keppler and colleagues' finding helps to account for observations from space of incredibly large plumes of methane above tropical forests," he said in a commentary on the research . . . But the study also poses questions, such as how such a potentially large source of methane could have been overlooked and how plants produced it.
The answer to the first question is easy. It's called philosophical and political bias. As to how plants produce so much methane, that will need to be addressed by using the scientific method.