Ban plants!

The surprising discovery that plants may be responsible for up to 30 per cent of the world’s methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is no reason to stop planting forests, a scientist has warned.

A team led by Frank Keppler, of Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany, found that living plants emit 10 to 1000 times more of the gas than decaying matter. And plants increase their methane emissions when warmed by the sun, it was found.

Plants have long been seen as weapons against global warming because they absorb another greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.

It’s a surprise, said David Etheridge of the CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research division. “You think you know everything.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Jan 2006