"Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change." ...
"The team found that removing crop residue from cornfields generates an additional 50 to 70 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule of biofuel energy produced (a joule is a measure of energy and is roughly equivalent to 1 BTU). Total annual production emissions, averaged over five years, would equal about 100 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule—which is 7 percent greater than gasoline emissions and 62 grams above the 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act."
"Importantly, they found the rate of carbon emissions is constant whether a small amount of stover is removed or nearly all of it is stripped."
""If less residue is removed, there is less decrease in soil carbon, but it results in a smaller biofuel energy yield," Liska said."
"To mitigate increased carbon dioxide emissions and reduced soil carbon, the study suggests planting cover crops to fix more carbon in the soil."
Indeed. The need is to use methods such as cover crops to increase soil carbon, scavenge nutrients that might otherwise erode, leach away or into the ground water, or be emitted as GHGs such as when denitrification produces various oxides of nitrogen.
As usual, one dumb idea deserves another.
"Cellulosic ethanol producers also could turn to alternative feedstocks, such as perennial grasses or wood residue, or export electricity from biofuel production facilities to offset emissions from coal-fueled power plants. Another possible alternative is to develop more fuel-efficient automobiles and significantly reduce the nation's demand for fuel, as required by the 2012 CAFE standards."
There are no cellulosic wastes that can be used in some climate hack. The best that can be said is that there are cases where there are temporary, local surpluses due to poor system design, such as when feed is hauled far from its origin to poultry and hog factories, resulting in an excess of manure above what local fields can apply. But even then if there are to be investments in the system they should be directed to eliminating the local surplus.
"Because warm-season native grasses have a later growth season than cool-season grasses, fertilizer application also must be later. A good rule of thumb is to apply in the spring when stand heights have reached 12 – 16 inches (usually, late April). At this point, the natives will be rapidly growing and can take full advantage of the amendments. Applying fertilizers sooner will result in cool-season weeds receiving the benefit of the fertilizers rather than the native grass."
"This same problem can result from applying more fertilizer than the native grasses are able to use. These excess soil nutrients will be available for weeds and will increase competition. For instance, once warm-season natives go dormant in the fall, cool-season grasses will take advantage of excess nutrients, become well-established competitors, and eventually weaken your stand and reduce yield. During summer, excess nutrients encourage more nutrient-demanding competitors such as common bermudagrass with the same effect – weakened native grass stands."
It isn't about native vs improved grasses, it's about c4 vs c3 grasses. When they say "native grasses" they mean warm season c4 grasses, though there are native c3 grasses.
There's not as much mystery as they seem to think. C4 grasses are known to be more efficient. They photosynthesize more than c3 grasses on any given amount of N and moisture. The c4 photosynthetic pathway is shorter, quicker and so less costly to the plant.
The down side is that it must be warm for c4 plants to grow, and they are dormant when that is not the case, so their total productivity for the year can be less than improved c3 grasses. Also, the digestibility and palatability of c4 grasses is less, so animals don't thrive as well.
You get what you manage for no matter whether you know what you are doing or not. Everything that you do, or don't do, is a management decision. Also, as they correctly note, timing is critical.
If you are trying to grow tall grass prairie grasses then the above advice is sound, and that's not a bad objective for some land since those grasses can persist in hard times and slowly improve farmed out, grazed out, degraded land that has been mismanaged.
"About 40% of the total increase in Medicare spending since 2011 can be attributed to greater spending on Alzheimer's treatment."
There are studies that link the increase in dementia to the medications used to reduce CVD death. Your heart doesn't kill you but your mind dissolves.
Is the cure worse than the disease?
"Yet there's something unions did that occupational licensing doesn't, and that's reduce inequality, Kleiner and Krueger find. Whereas unions tend to push up wages at the bottom and restrain them at the top, compressing the wage distribution, there's no such effect for occupational licensing. Wage dispersion within a given trade is not effected by licensing."
To argue that unions reduced inequality by compressing the wage distribution within a given trade is false; it only compressed wages within the union, not within the trade. There were always more tradesmen outside unions than inside. In fact, some unions were closed to new members except for relatives of union members. You had to be born into the union.
A lot of the rosy stories of the past are like that. They depend on ignoring most of what went on to develop a narrative. Said another way, they repeat the propaganda and press releases of activists as if they were historical truths.
It is still so.
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