The Best Way To Lower Carbon Emissions Might Be To Stop Listening To Environmentalists
Carbon emissions in the United States are back down to 1990′s-era levels, and a big reason for that is hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique hated by environmentalists, which has opened up vast new reserves of natural gas that has resulted in coal plants being replaced with cleaner-burning gas plants.
The use of less fuel in farming genetically modified (GM) crops results in less carbon-dioxide emission. In addition, herbicide-tolerant GM crops can often be grown with little or no plowing in stubble fields that are sprayed with herbicides. The result is to allow more carbon to remain in the soil, since plowing releases carbon as microbial exhalation. Taken together, Messrs. Brookes and Barfoot estimate [in their 2012 comprehensive study on GM crops], this means that the GM crops grown in 2010 had an effect on carbon-dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 8.6 million cars off the road. …
There is a rich irony here. The rapidly growing use of shale gas in the U.S. has also driven down carbon-dioxide emissions by replacing coal in the generation of electricity. U.S. carbon emissions are falling so fast they are now back to levels last seen in the 1990s. So the two technologies most reliably and stridently opposed by the environmental movement-genetic modification and fracking-have been the two technologies that most reliably cut carbon emissions.
Maybe it’s time to stop listening to environmentalists.Tags: fracking, genetically modified crops