Glasgow’s favorite son, Billy Connolly, once noted that the average Scotsman’s natural color is light blue. It takes him a week of sunbathing just to turn white.
That said, if we send the Prime Minister to Glasgow for an international climate conference, we can be pretty sure that he will focus on work and not go to the beach early, decide to have a BBQ with friends, or find a Hawaiian luau himself involved.
Do not get me wrong. There are many beautiful beaches on the west coast of Scotland. But even without the climate change exams, you’ll need to pack your rain gear if you plan to visit in November.
Fortunately, the cold greeting he received from the majority of delegates allowed Mr Morrison to focus on his plan to save the world, which we now know is that he rejects anything that smells like centralized taxation. based approach to climate protection that relies on new carbon capture and storage technologies, particularly the type of project they are working on in Queensland with the Western Downs Initiative.
But here’s the thing.
We would have to have rocks in our heads to look for new, untested, and potentially expensive technologies with the goal of storing millions of tons of carbon dioxide in deep rock formations.
When we have one of nature’s oldest crops on hand that has been shown to break into carbon capture at a fraction of the cost, why should we?
I’m talking about hemp and how it can literally save the planet.
Hemp is practically unmatched when it comes to carbon sequestration.
It has been scientifically proven that industrial hemp absorbs more CO2 per hectare than any forest or crop and is the ideal carbon sink.
Scientists proved more than a decade ago that industrial hemp plants can bind up to 22 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare. And not annually. Far from it. This is based on an average growth cycle of 3 to 4 months, which means that in a good year, a single hectare of hemp can be expected to bind and store up to 60 tons of CO2.
The average Australian farm is nearly 4,500 acres. If you switched just one of these farms to hemp production, you’d get nearly 300,000 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere without spending a lot on new technology or futuristic research.
By comparison, coal giant Glencore has just spent $ 210 million testing an untested technology that would suck up only 110,000 tons of CO2 per year from its Millmerran coal-fired power plant.
The math just doesn’t stack up.
The technology we need has existed for centuries and is freely available to us.
But what would we do with all that hemp, I hear you ask? Isn’t it a wasted harvest when it has sequestered our carbon with little or no purpose?
Far from it again.
Hemp concrete (or hemp lime) is a biocomposite material made from the stem of the hemp plant, resulting in a lightweight insulation and building material.
Hempcrete buildings are ideal for our Australian climate and combine high insulation with fire retardancy, which has wonderful potential in our bush fire areas.
Henry Ford made one of his first car bodies from hemp, and almost every day someone finds new uses for this wonderful material – including clothing, paper, bioplastics and biofuels.
The very things that we plow in landfills today can almost all be made inexpensively and easily from industrially grown hemp.
The good news is that we are already looking at the state level, at least here in Western Australia, for ways to monetize hemp on an industrial scale.
Here, the government is working closely with farmers in the southwest of the state and elsewhere to create sustainable and innovative businesses, while Parliament is considering ways we can change our current laws to include not only profitable crops, but new uses for those crops as well to enable the bargain.
Carbon capture is clearly one of those new areas that we urgently need to study if we are to meet the new commitments that Mr Morrison has now made.
Instead of digging valuable minerals out of the ground, let’s turn our attention to a plant that can help reclaim land.
Instead of propping up big coals in the eastern states, let us strengthen agriculture and its sustainable ancillary industries across the country.
Instead of taxing companies, we should encourage the government to avoid innovators and focus on easing regulations so this re-emerging industry can thrive.
Because if we want a green solution to the world’s climate problems, we have one within reach.
Hemp offers solutions to a wide variety of problems, both economically and socially.
Simply put, Smoko can’t afford not to put that into his pipe, wondering what near-limitless benefits hemp can bring to a forward-thinking nation like ours.
It is that, or come back with a Glaswegian tan and expect a Glaswegian kiss from the voters when they go to the polls.
Dr. Brian Walker, Legalize Cannabis WA Legislative Council, and a practicing physician with a deep interest in the general wellbeing of society.