Friday, May 09, 2008

Burying Trees to Stop Global Warming

Well, let's certainly give kudos for imaginative thinking: Ning Zeng of the University of Maryland proposes to sequester all of the world's carbon emissions by burying dead and live trees.

The numbers required are fairly spectacular:
  • 2 million employees constantly employed in cutting and burying trees
  • cost ~ $250 billion/yr ~ 0.5% world GDP
If I figured this at all correctly, the area that needs to be buried is about 3 million square-miles/yr (?), an area the size of the continental United States and about 2% of the earth's surface area. That seems fairly improbable. Not to mention what it would do to the world's ecosystems.

So, again, nice creativity. But there has to be a better way to stop global warming than denuding the planet.

1 comment:

MT said...

Aren't forests our primary carbon sinks on land? Will we have a forest after the felling and burying? Where? On the "graves" of the buried? Do saplings and new growth sequester carbon as fast as the trees and forest we'd be burying? Seems like a non-starter to me. How about just leaving the coal buried??