From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases(CASMGS)


Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director

(785) 532-7217

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214

Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105


July 12, 2006

No. 49



* New Research Suggests Rising CO2 Levels Would Not Fully Offset Crop Yield Losses From Global Warming

* National Academy Of Sciences Panel Confirms That Planet Is Warmest In 400 Years

* Global Warming, Not Poor Forest Management, Responsible For Accelerating Western Forest Fires



* Geological Carbon Sequestration Would Be Costly

* World CO2 Emissions To Rise 75 Percent By 2030






New Research Suggests Rising CO2 Levels Would Not

Fully Offset Crop Yield Losses From Global Warming



An article in the June 30 issue of Science presents recent research by Stephen Long and others at the University of Illinois on the effects of elevated levels of CO2 on crop yields. The following is the article’s abstract:


Model projections suggest that although increased temperature and decreased soil moisture will act to reduce global crop yields by 2050, the direct fertilization effect of rising carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) will offset these losses. The CO2 fertilization factors used in models to project future yields were derived from enclosure studies conducted approximately 20 years ago. Free-air concentration enrichment (FACE) technology has now facilitated large-scale trials of the major grain crops at elevated [CO2] under fully open-air field conditions. In those trials, elevated [CO2] enhanced yield by ~50% less than in enclosure studies. This casts serious doubt on projections that rising [CO2] will fully offset losses due to climate change.


For details, see:



-- Steve Watson







National Academies Panel Confirms

That Planet Is Warmest In 400 Years


An independent panel from the National Academies issued a statement on June 22, 2006 that largely ratified the findings of a recent climate study, concluding that the past few decades have been the hottest period in the last 400 years. Less confidence can be placed in the assertion that current temperatures are the hottest in 1,000 years.


Excerpts from the statement:


There is sufficient evidence from tree rings, boreholes, retreating glaciers, and other "proxies" of past surface temperatures to say with a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years, according to a new report from the National Research Council.  Less confidence can be placed in proxy-based reconstructions of surface temperatures for A.D. 900 to 1600, said the committee that wrote the report, although the available proxy evidence does indicate that many locations were warmer during the past 25 years than during any other 25-year period since 900.  Very little confidence can be placed in statements about average global surface temperatures prior to A.D. 900 because the proxy data for that time frame are sparse, the committee added.


The report was requested by Congress after a controversy arose last year over surface temperature reconstructions published by climatologist Michael Mann and his colleagues in the late 1990s.  The researchers concluded that the warming of the Northern Hemisphere in the last decades of the 20th century was unprecedented in the past thousand years.  In particular, they concluded that the 1990s were the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year.  Their graph depicting a rise in temperatures at the end of a long era became known as the "hockey stick."

The Research Council committee found the Mann team's conclusion that warming in the last few decades of the 20th century was unprecedented over the last thousand years to be plausible, but it had less confidence that the warming was unprecedented prior to 1600; fewer proxies -- in fewer locations -- provide temperatures for periods before then.  Because of larger uncertainties in temperature reconstructions for decades and individual years, and because not all proxies record temperatures for such short timescales, even less confidence can be placed in the Mann team's conclusions about the 1990s, and 1998 in particular.


For more details, see:


-- Steve Watson







Global Warming, Not Poor Forest Management,

Responsible For Accelerating Western Forest Fires


Global warming, not poor forest management, is responsible for accelerating catastrophic Western forest fires over the past 35 years, according to a report by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Arizona in the journal Sciencexpress. The U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and California Energy Commission funded the research.


The average number of wildfires increased by a factor of four in the mid-1980s, burning an area 6.5 times greater than in the 1970s, as the fire season expanded and fires became more frequent and burned longer than in previous years. Annual changes in wildfire frequency appears "to be strongly linked to annual spring and summer" temperatures with "many more wildfires burning in hotter years than in cooler years," the report states.


For example, earlier spring snowmelts can lead to a longer dry season and increased fire risk. Fifty-six percent of fires studied and 72 percent of the areas burned occurred in such years, the report found, while years with late snowmelts had 11 percent of all wildfires, and only 4 percent of the acres burned.


-- Greenwire, 6 July 2006


For more details, see:







Geological Carbon Sequestration

Would Be Costly


Agricultural soils and other terrestrial carbon sequestration can store carbon at a very low cost, less than $10 per ton. Current prices on the Chicago Climate Exchange are much less than that, at least for the U.S. market. In contrast, geological carbon sequestration is quite expensive with current technology. The following is an excerpt from a Reuters news story on the cost of geological carbon sequestration.


-- Steve Watson



“Energy firms are stepping up projects to bury greenhouse gases but storage will not be a silver bullet to stop global warming, an International Energy Agency (IEA) expert said recently. Capturing and pumping heat-trapping carbon dioxide underground costs too much to make sense for most industries at about $35-$55 (U.S.) a tonne, Kelly Thambimuthu, chairman of the IEA's greenhouse gas technologies research program, told Reuters.


“Still, a handful of companies are getting involved in burying carbon, mostly in cases where it makes economic sense to filter and clean natural gas before sale from wells that naturally include high levels of carbon dioxide.


“Three existing schemes -- by Statoil in Norway, EnCana in Canada and BP in Algeria -- currently bury three million tonnes a year, he said. High carbon taxes, for instance, make Statoil filter gas at its Sleipner field. Other planned energy schemes, by Chevron in Australia, Statoil and Royal Dutch Shell in Norway and by BP in Scotland and California would bury a further 12.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.


“The figures are a pinprick in world emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities -- mostly from power plants, factories and cars -- of above 25 billion tonnes. A 500 megawatt coal-fired power plant emits about three million tonnes a year.”

-- Reuters News Service, June 20, 2006


For the complete story, see:







World CO2 Emissions To Rise

75 Percent By 2030


Global emissions of the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide will rise 75 percent from 2003 to 2030, with much of the growth coming from coal burning in developing countries, according to a recent annual forecast from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistics arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Developing countries are growing more quickly than industrialized economies, whose growth "tends to be in less energy-intensive sectors," the report stated. While the United States is the world's leading emitter of CO2, its emissions growth rate will soon be surpassed by China and India.


Global emissions of CO2 will hit 43.7 billion tonnes in 2030, up from 25 billion tonnes in 2003, according to the EIA forecast. By 2025 global CO2 emissions could hit 40.05 billion tonnes annually, up 0.03 percent from the forecast issued last year. Last year's report did not look as far ahead as 2030. Most scientists believe a build-up in greenhouse gases, such as CO2, is raising average temperatures around the world.


The forecast did not include potential effects of CO2 reduction plans, including the international pact known as the Kyoto Protocol, saying the long-term impact of such plans are not yet known.


The report said that in four years, CO2 emissions in rapidly developing countries in Asia, such as China and India, will surpass those from North America. Total US emissions have risen by 15.8 percent from 1990 to 2004, the US Environmental Protection Agency has said. In Russia and eastern Europe, which experienced an economic downturn late last century, CO2 emissions won't return to 1990 levels until after 2025, according to the EIA.


-- Reuters News Service, June 21, 2006


For the complete article, see:


The full IEA report can be found at:


You’ll find the information on CO2 emissions in the last five paragraphs of this report.


-- Steve Watson






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