Sunday, April 19, 2009

Methane production in plants a defensive strategy

As we have discussed the methane production from plants with Keppler et al 2006,and further refinement from Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and who estimated the global production at 8%.

The possibility of plant methane production as a defense mechanism was in the 2008 UNEP report on ozone,UNEP. (2008). Environmental effects of ozone depletion and its interactions with climate change: Progress report, 2008. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences.

A further paper examines the causal mechanism.

Physical injury stimulates aerobic methane emissions from terrestrial plants

Z.-P. Wang1, J. Gulledge2,3, J.-Q. Zheng1, W. Liu1, L.-H. Li1, and X.-G. Han1

Abstract. Physical injury is common in terrestrial plants as a result of grazing, harvesting, trampling, and extreme weather events. Previous studies demonstrated enhanced emission of non-microbial CH4 under aerobic conditions from plant tissues when they were exposed to increasing UV radiation and temperature. Since physical injury is also a form of environmental stress, we sought to determine whether it would also affect CH4 emissions from plants. Physical injury (cutting) stimulated CH4 emission from fresh twigs of Artemisia species under aerobic conditions. More cutting resulted in more CH4 emissions. Hypoxia also enhanced CH4 emission from both uncut and cut Artemisia frigida twigs. Physical injury typically results in cell wall degradation, which may either stimulate formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or decrease scavenging of them. Increased ROS activity might explain increased CH4 emission in response to physical injury and other forms of stress. There were significant differences in CH4 emissions among 10 species of Artemisia, with some species emitting no detectable CH4 under any circumstances. Consequently, CH4 emissions may be species-dependent and therefore difficult to estimate in nature based on total plant biomass. Our results and those of previous studies suggest that a variety of environmental stresses stimulate CH4 emission from a wide variety of plant species. Global change processes, including climate change, depletion of stratospheric ozone, increasing ground-level ozone, spread of plant pests, and land-use changes, could cause more stress in plants on a global scale, potentially stimulating more CH4 emission globally.


We can also correlate this with intense solar activity such as flares in solar cycle 23 as the above CH4 "spikes show" and as a defensive response to increased uvb.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wall street fueled own demise with commodities trading

In an interesting article James Hamilton explains a paper he presented to the Brooking s institute.

Consequences of the Oil Shock of 2007-08

Eventually, the declines in income and house prices set mortgage delinquency rates beyond a threshold at which the overall solvency of the financial system itself came to be questioned, and the modest recession of 2007:Q4-2008:Q3 turned into a ferocious downturn in 2008:Q4. Whether we would have avoided those events had the economy not gone into recession, or instead would have merely postponed them, is a matter of conjecture. Regardless of how we answer that question, the evidence to me is persuasive that, had there been no oil shock, we would have described the U.S. economy in 2007:Q4-2008:Q3 as growing slowly, but not in a recession.

This is a clear example of how speculators try to "Double up there bets" as they entered the commodities area following substantive losses in the equity arena and how we discussed here.

How a Schoolboy Howler Fueled the Peak Oil Fallacy and Caused a Global Recession

The secretary general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), Rilwanu Lukman, says the world oil market is held captive by the derivatives markets. The old rules of supply and demand have been distorted, he says, by the creation of what he calls "paper barrels" of oil.

The physical ("wet barrel") market is awash in oil. Saudi Arabia, the world's top exporter, had to cut production from 9.5Mbpd level of the past 2 years down to 9.1Mbpd (-400,000 barrels per day) since April-06, because it can find no buyers for it, The Wall Street Journal quoted Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi as saying on 5-Jun-2006.

All "demand" keeping prices at these absurd levels of $70+/bar is happening in the futures derivatives markets, off which real physical oil is priced. Derivatives is what OPEC calls "paper barrels", with open contracts just in NY futures market being ~1.6 BILLION "paper barrels". Nearby month futures contracts in NYMEX and ICE trading about ~250 million "paper barrel

But the gamblers with MBA etc still failed to understand the ST Petersberg Paradox the law of diminishing returns

The IEA in the graph shown have set new forecast of oil being around 2.4 mb day off the 2008 mean and around 5mbbld off the heights of 2008,so stability of pricing will be seen to 2010.

This of course means emissions are also less across the OECD as similar trends are seen in combustion electricity production around 13% on December month on month figures as industry slows.This in turn should see carbon offsets trend lower.

This of course allows one to ask the important questions,

1)Do we require a cap and trade or emissions trading market.
2)To what extent will this defacto tax burden exasperate the economic contraction.
3)Do we want financial markets playing in a defacto tax market.

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