Skip to comments.Do Trees Pollute? (Reagan vindicated 23 years later!)
Posted on 06/09/2004 11:33:55 AM PDT by Bommer
Do trees pollute the atmosphere?
Thursday May 13, 2004
Yes, just as president Ronald Reagan said in 1981. "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do," he opined. A little later, environmental scientists ruefully confirmed he was partially right.
In hot weather, trees release volatile organic hydrocarbons including terpenes and isoprenes - two molecules linked to photochemical smog. In very hot weather, the production of these begins to accelerate.
America's Great Smoky Mountains are supposed to take their name from the photochemical smog released by millions of hectares of hardwoods.
This week Natural Environment Research Council scientists warned that as summer temperatures rise in the UK, the isoprene output from trees could make a small but noticeable contribution to human discomfort. Isoprene serves as a catalyst, driving the rate at which sunlight breaks down oxides of nitrogen - mostly from agriculture and cars - to produce atmospheric ozone.
Ozone is a triple molecule of oxygen. High in the stratosphere it is a godsend, screening out cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. But in the lower atmosphere it is a toxin: it causes stinging eyes, prickling nostrils and aggravates severe respiratory problems. Statisticians calculate that in August 2003 - the long hot summer that caused an estimated 20,000 deaths in western Europe - more than 500 British deaths could be attributed to ozone pollution.
But the experts say the trees alone are not the problem. The real villain is the motor car. Trees soak up carbon dioxide, and respire oxygen, doing far more good than harm. And finally, as one forester observed: why worry about a few harmful natural chemicals? In a truly antiseptic world we would all be dead.
I'm so torn now. Should I be planting trees or cutting them down to save the world?
I remember when Reagan said this, and the ricidule that was heaped on him. I wonder if we'll ever hear an apoplgy or retraction!
I dont know...
I do know that every spring, when the trees bloom, my eyes water, no nose runs (come back here nose) and I must start taking pills to function...
Do trees pollute? they almost kill me every spring
Split the difference: cut down half of each tree. Obviously the left half.
What happens when you put farting trees and cows together? Ka-BOOM!!!!
Is that why cows are always sittin' around in meadows, away from trees? And, who's known about this, and why have they been hiding it from us?
I submit that this "stinks" of conspiracy! ;>
I don't care how many so called polutants come from where as long as they don't plant a meter on my bach side and charge me a tax/cu. ft.!
Uhh, no, Tim. Put down algore's fictional book, Earth in the Balance, and learn some real science facts.
Ozone is not a protective layer in the upper atmosphere, that screens out cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. It is the byproduct of the reaction of O2 with utraviolet radiation. O2 + UV = O + O which further reacts with O2 to make O3 - which is short lived and highly reactive breaking down to O, O2 and related compounds. After removal of the UV in the upper atmosphere, the O3 is gone in less than 8 minutes.
Likewise, O3 in the lower atmosphere isn't a pollutant, but a cleanser of pollutants - mainly non-antropogenic. It is the compounds that react with the O3 which cause the respitory problems and have since before the autos and industry.
Also, I think that should you research the 20,000 deaths last August that you will find a lack of air conditioning and the electricity to support it was the main factor in those deaths, not Ozone Pollution. And the underlying cause of that is that silly Koyoto agreement you morons signed.
I saw this effect in the Piney woods of East Texas, one hot August day about 10 years ago. Where the trees had been cut for the highway, there was much less "smog" than in and above the tree tops. A very visible demonstration of the correctness of Reagan's statement.
If nothing else, the C02 makes trees and other plants grow more vigorously. It's what they convert, along with water and sunlight, to carbohydrates, producing the nasty poisonous (for the plants) byproduct of oxygen.
Welcome to FR - troll.
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