Friday, December 28, 2007

Quick Fact: Carbon Sequestering Deficit Looms Large

Why are greenhouse gases accumulating? On average, the growth of North American vegetation stores only 36% of the yearly emissions of CO2 from human activities, leaving a huge deficit that stays in the atmosphere and contributes to greenhouse gases. Specifically, that's 650 million metric tons of carbon sequestered (mostly in vegetation east of the Rockies) versus 1.8 billion tons emitted (from automobiles, power plants, plus the manufacturing of cement). (Reported in Science News 12/1/07, p. 341 in a summary of a publication by Andrew R. Jacobson in the Nov. 27 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.)

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