Hearty Congratulations are in order for our quiz winner. We actually received quite a few correct answers, so we had to pull out our favorite random number algorithm (ok, it’s a hat) to pick the winner.
Brian Holmes is the lucky TerraPass winner! For those curious, his answer is below. Also, there is some debate about the exact total arable land, so as long as you cited your source we put your name in the hat.
(To refresh your memory, the question asked how much land would have to be planted with forest to absorb the world’s annual CO2 output. Details here.)
In response to your sample problem,
658 Massachusetts’ / year
1.8 United States’ / year
.37 Agricultural Land’s / year (assuming 4.92 billion hectares)
Assuming the rates stated in the problem are the relevant rates, this simple analysis would suggest that forest sequestration is certainly not a reasonable policy option. A portfolio of technologies will be required to even dream about the cuts that Dr. Jacoby mentions at a cost that is palatable to decision makers.
A few other options:
underground sequestration (moderately difficult), less coal fired power (very difficult), more renewable power (moderately difficult), ocean based sequestration (questionable), increased fuel economy (moderately difficult), and yes, more nuclear power (very difficult).
I missed the last TerraBlog debate on nuclear power. Problems abound.
Still, it’s no accident that the heavy hitters who signed Kyoto are nations that derive significant portions of their electricity from nuclear technologies.