Hemp and global warming are two of the most controversial topics today, just as they have been for many decades. From the general public to the highest levels of government, these topics have polarized us. Sadly, the truth about both of these topics has become so blurred by those seeking political gain that few know what to believe.
This is not the only thing both of these have in common. Science has now matched hemp to solutions for global warming.
- In 1938, Popular Mechanic stated that hemp would become the new “billion-dollar” crop.
- One acre of hemp produces as much pulp as is produced from 4.2 acres of trees.
- Hemp reaches full maturity in four months. It takes decades for a tree to reach maturity.
- There are 4.2 billion acres (1.7 billion hectares) of bare land on this planet, room for 1.2 trillion trees.
Fossil Fuels, Trees, Hemp, and Global Warming
Fifty years ago, these four items would most likely never be heard in the same conversation. But as the song goes, “the times they are a-changing.” Do you believe in global warming or to politicians who know a fraction of what they claim? No matter what your beliefs are, it’s not hard to see that each year, the world is recording higher temperatures. Natural disasters are on the rise. Wildfires like the ones that destroyed huge tracts of California and Australia are becoming more intense.
While it can’t all be blamed on fossil fuels, the gasses they emit upon combustion account for 57% of all greenhouse gasses produced by humans. The second most common cause of global warming is deforestation. According to the Environmental Defense Fund from 2000 to 2009, the world lost 32 million acres of tropical forest. Other causes include gas flaring (such as is seen in oil and natural gas refineries) and the production of cement.
According to research completed by the National Academy of Sciences in 2009, “climate change due to carbon emissions was “irreversible.” The report went on to say that even if we could find a way to stop CO2 production immediately, it would take the planet over 1,000 years to see a significant drop in temperature.
No “End of the World” Parties
So, does this mean we should all “party like it’s 1999” until the end of the world? Certainly not. But what it does mean is we as the species responsible for the majority of global warming need to start getting serious.
We see extreme weather conditions such as have never occurred during recorded history. In 2019, California saw record-breaking droughts thought by many to be the result of global warming. One of the simplest cures to our rapidly warming client is a plant that was outlawed in 1937 and finally legalized in 2018 by the 2018 Hemp Farming Act.
The plant we are talking about is the lowly hemp or cannabis Sativa L. plant. Keep in mind, this is not the same type of cannabis that produces marijuana. Hemp can grow in some of the most adverse conditions. Its growth can have a significant impact on the CO2 in our air. But more importantly, it produces a range of products that can also help to reduce the number of greenhouse gasses.
Putting the Nail in the Coffin of Fossil Fuels
If fossil fuels are the leading cause of global warming, they should be one of the first things the world eliminates. Currently, biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel are typically used as additives for petroleum-based fuels. But, the reality is that hemp fuels can completely replace gasoline and diesel.
Biodiesel takes far less energy to produce than petroleum-based diesel and emits two-thirds less pollution. Making the switch to biodiesel would help to reduce smog and acid rain. E85 gasoline that contains 85 ethanol made from hemp has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Studies show that hemp-based E85 that this reduction would be by a full one-third.
Hemp plants produce over four times the amount of cellulose than found in corn stalks or sugar cane. Hemp is so woody and contains so little water that far less energy is needed to dry it than sugarcane or corn.
Hemp fuel numbers:
- One ton of hemp cellulose can produce up to 100 gallons of fuel.
- One acre has the potential to produce up to 1,000 gallons of fuel.
- Henry Ford designed the original Model T to run on hemp fuel.
Bioremediation with Hemp
Let’s face it, we have spent the past several centuries polluting virtually every inch of our planet. We have allowed toxic chemicals and materials to make their way into our soil, our oceans, the air we breathe, and more. So, what can we do about this? The simple answer is to plant more hemp.
Hemp is known to be a phytoremediator, this essentially means that the hemp plant can remove many of these toxins from the soil. In fact, in some areas of the world, farmers plant hemp between crops to help restore their soil. In Russia, hemp was planted around the Chernobyl area to remove radioactive pollutants from the soil. It can help remove toxins such as crude oil, heavy metals like cadmium, pesticides, and many others from the soil. Keep in mind that the hemp that is used for this process is not safe for human consumption. But, future crops will flourish and be much safer for use in the food chain.
Hemp Grows Much Faster
It takes most species of trees decades to reach the point at which they are big enough to make a marked difference in world CO2 levels. It took millions of years for flora and fauna to decompose and become crude oil. It takes four months, yes, that’s right, four months for hemp to go from seed to mature plant.
Not only do hemp plants grow faster than trees, but it will also grow in places where trees cannot. It also requires less water and virtually no pesticides or fertilizers. No matter how you look at it, if we truly want to do our best to reverse global warming, we should be planting millions of acres of hemp.