[Cross-posted from Coyote Blog]
A few weeks ago I argued that if we really thought that CO2 was the biggest threat to the environment (a proposition with which I do not agree) we should not recycle paper or Christmas trees – we should wrap them in Saran Wrap and bury them. Earlier I wrote this:
Once trees hit their maturity, their growth slows and therefore the rate they sequester CO2 slows. At this point, we need to be cutting more down, not less, and burying them in the ground, either as logs or paper or whatever. Just growing forests is not enough, because old trees fall over and rot and give up their carbon as CO2. We have to bury them. Right?
I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek, trying to take CO2 abatement to its illogical extreme, but unfortunately the nuttiness of the environmental movement can outrun satire. These folks advocate going into the forests and cutting down trees and burying them:
Here a carbon sequestration strategy is proposed in which certain dead or live trees are harvested via collection or selective cutting, then buried in trenches or stowed away in above-ground shelters. The largely anaerobic condition under a sufficiently thick layer of soil will prevent the decomposition of the buried wood. Because a large flux of CO2 is constantly being assimilated into the world as forests via photosynthesis, cutting off its return pathway to the atmosphere forms an effective carbon sink….
Based on data from North American logging industry, the cost for wood burial is estimated to be $14/tCO2 ($50/tC), lower than the typical cost for power plant CO2 capture with geological storage. The cost for carbon sequestration with wood burial is low because CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by the natural process of photosynthesis at little cost. The technique is low tech, distributed, easy to monitor, safe, and reversible, thus an attractive option for large-scale implementation in a world-wide carbon market
Its a little scary to me that I can anticipate this stuff.