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Hemp, and Lots of It, Could Be One Climate Solution

Posted: 10/21/2009 8:43 am

In New Zealand, the tiny political party Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP) promotes a platform that it says can "reverse" damaging climate change by planting hundreds of thousands of hectares of cannabis hemp, ALCP says, at a density of around 300 plants per square meter, to replace NZ's energy and fuel needs.

Yes, it sounds far-fetched, especially since in the US farmers have labored long and hard to get lawmakers to stop confusing non-cannabis industrial hemp grown for its myriad uses in industrial fibers and foods with its cannabis cousin.

Longtime hemp activist Jack Herer is offering $100,00 to anyone who can disprove his hypothesis that hemp is a silver bullet for climate change. Here's Herer:

If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as trees for paper and construction, were banned in order to save the planet, reverse the Greenhouse Effect and stop deforestation, then there is only one known annually renewable natural resource that is capable of providing the overall majority of the world's paper and textiles; meet all of the world's transportation, industrial and home energy needs, while simultaneously reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil and cleaning the atmosphere all at the same time. That substance is the same one that has done it before: Cannabis Hemp.

Herer's mixing of cannabis hemp with industrial hemp is a little unfortunate, for according to Hemp Global Solutions, hemp could be a good short term climate tool, because the crop is rapid-growing for carbon dioxide uptake, less vulnerable to climate variations than agro-forestry, and might be a good cash crop for farmers. HGS calculates each ton of hemp grown represents 1.63 tons of CO2 absorption.

Whether in the U.S. the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 can come to a vote during this session is uncertain. But Jack Herer isn't the only person to espouse hemp. Dr. Bronner's president, David Bronner, is among a small group of hemp farmers hoping to get more coverage for the bill.

Eight states (including Oregon as the most recent) have allowed industrial (non cannabis) hemp research or production, but thus far implementation has been hampered by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Bronner, whose company has used hemp oil in its products for over a decade, was arrested in Washington, DC last week for planting hemp on the DEA front lawn. He said he'd rather buy his hemp from U.S. farmers instead of importing it, and "save on both import and freight charges."

For more articles by Graham Hill click here.

Read more at TreeHugger about industrial hemp and climate change:
Victory for Hemp! Oregon Legalizes Industrial Production
Green Fashion: 10 Chic Ways for Women to Wear Hemp
Hemp for Hanes? Crunchy Fiber Set For World Domination
Can Hemp Solve the Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation?

 

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