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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

20 Aug 2010 10:08:38

Ability of world's plants to absorb CO2 'has declined'

Ability of world's plants to absorb CO2 'has declined'
Droughts within the southern hemisphere have reduced the ability of the world's plants to absorb carbon dioxide, researchers have suggested.

Writing in the magazine Science, Maosheng Zhao and Steven W Running said that net primary production (NPP) - the measure used to establish the volume of carbon dioxide being processed into biomass by plants - has decreased in the past decade following a prolonged period of increases between 1982 and 1999.

This could lead to greater competition "between food demand and proposed biofuel production" in the future. 

According to the researchers, the upward trend in the 1980s and 1990s was in part due to rising temperatures and solar radiation.

They added: "The past decade (2000 to 2009) has been the warmest since instrumental measurements began, which could imply continued increases in NPP; however, our estimates suggest a reduction in the global NPP of 0.55 petagrams of carbon."

The reduction in NPP in the southern hemisphere due to droughts was said to counteract the increases seen in the northern hemisphere.

Ireland recently released a report calling on the European Union to allow forest carbon sinks to be used to offset carbon emissions.  ADNFCR-1235-ID-800033265-ADNFCR

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