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Plants: An ozone culprit?

Research suggests plants may emit methane, throwing off greenhouse gas accounting

Clementine Wallace
New findings suggest that plants might produce methane in situ by a hitherto unknown process, and emit quantities representing 10-30% of the earth's atmospheric methane levels. If confirmed, the results -- published in this week's issue of Nature -- will require a re-evaluation of the planet's global methane budget, and have a significant impact on many fields, from the study of past climate changes to greenhouse gas accounting."At first, most people we showed our results to said -it can't be, something must be wrong," co-author Thomas Röckmann, from the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research in Utrecht, The Netherlands, told The Scientist. "It's more than not knowing it exists, people think it can't happen." But when it comes to greenhouse gases, knowledge is power, he added. "If you want to do something about the emissions and control them, you have to understand where they come from and where they go,"...

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