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Intensive land management leaves Europe without carbon sinks
Date:11/23/2009

y neglected emissions of greenhouse gases from land-use cancel out almost the entire carbon sink, leaving the landscape offsetting only some 2% of the carbon dioxide emissions from households, transport and industry.

Compared to Europe as a whole, the situation is even worse for the 25 states of the European Union. Here, although forests and grasslands can compensate for 13% of the carbon dioxide emitted by fossil fuel burning, emission of powerful greenhouse gases from agricultural emissions and peat mining reduces the effectiveness of the land surface sink to 111 Million tonnes of carbon per year, which is only 11% of the carbon dioxide emitted by fossil fuels. However, since the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide are relatively higher in the European Union the land surface emerges as a greenhouse gas source of 34 Million tonnes of carbon per year. This effectively increases the emissions from fossil fuel burning by another 3%.

Prof Schulze said "These findings show that if the European landscape is to contribute to mitigating global warming, we need a new, different emphasis on land management. Methane and nitrous oxide are such powerful greenhouse gases; we must manage the landscape to decrease their emissions."


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Contact: Detlef Schulze
dschulze@bgc-jena.mpg.de
49-364-157-6100
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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