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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Houston Geological Society Bulletin


Houston Geological Society Bulletin, Volume 21, No. 1, September 1978. Pages 3-3.

Abstract: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Previous HitFuelNext Hit Options of the Future - Previous HitFossilNext Hit Previous HitFuelNext Hit Versus the Burning of Wood


John A. S. Adams

For the past 40 years it has been recognized that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is increasing and has increased at least 10% since 1900. The combustion of Previous HitfossilNext Hit fuels produced more than enough carbon dioxide to cause this observed increase. The Office of Carbon Dioxide Effects Research and Assessment of the Department of Energy estimates [sic] an annual budget of between 2 to 16 million dollars to gain some understanding of the problems involved. Proponents of nuclear energy have suggested that the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide build-up from increased coal combustion are less understood and potentially more dangerous to mankind than the waste product and by-product problems of nuclear energy. The carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is rapidly increasing (from a trace constituent) toward a point where major climatic changes may be postulated to occur. An overall increase in temperature at the surface of the earth will probably enlarge the arid regions of the earth and reduce, worldwide, the areas available for agriculture. The complexities and uncertainties in the carbon dioxide cycle allow a wide range of hypotheses; as well as hypothesis piled upon hypothesis to make a scenario.

Among many possible scenarios, it cannot be disproved that:

1) wood combustion has been more important than Previous HitfossilNext Hit Previous HitfuelTop combustion because most of the people in the world burn wood for cooking and process heat at the rate of over one metric ton per capita per year. Large scale forest clearing for agricultural purposes contributes even more to the depletion of the cellulose reservoir of the earth.

2) the atmospheric carbon dioxide content is primarily controlled by the total amount of photosynthesis, which has fallen behind in cellulose formation as compared to cellulose combustion

3) the most prudent and feasible public policy for environmental and aesthetical reasons is to initiate an orderly but massive reforestation program worldwide.

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