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I look at the current trends and fear that we need to do much more to save anything like the current ecosphere. We need to be at net zero carbon globally by 2050 and continue the trend that will have developed if we seriously try to do this. That trend will then be the rate of net carbon sequestration, because we need as quickly as possible to get back to levels of atmospheric carbon equivalent that were present in 1900. It may be that that is the scale of effort required to prevent ongoing damage that could take millennia to repair.

If we lose even half of the continental ice in Greenland and West Antarctica it will likely take several thousand years to return the earth to a 1900 level of atmospheric carbon. And it might be that we will be unable to stop the ongoing melting in Greenland and West Antarctica short of total collapse. That would mean the loss of all coastal cities in the world. In the latest papers I have seen in Science News and elsewhere many of the leading climate scientists acknowledge that there are uncertainties in the validity of existing worst case estimates. Some have expressed concerns that the ongoing melting in West Antarctica may be impossible to stop. I expect similar conclusions about much of the Greenland ice sheet soon.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 09:23:03 PM EST
Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
Thomas J. Goreau, Ronal W. Larson, Joanna Campe
ISBN 9781466595392

https://www.crcpress.com/Geotherapy-Innovative-Methods-of-Soil-Fertility-Restoration-Carbon-Sequestr ation/Goreau-Larson-Campe/p/book/9781466595392

This book describes a variety of soil treatments which can accelerate the removal of carbon from the atmosphere so that atmospheric carbon levels can reach 270 ppm in a few decades rather than centuries.  This is a scientific text with real data from real scientists.

In my years of following the discussions of climate change at Harvard, MIT, and other places around Cambridge, MA, I very, very rarely hear anyone mention this side of the equation.  It is almost always about emissions and energy sources.  The natural carbon sinks which we can amplify and enlarge almost never come up in those venues.  These days, I bring it up myself and, sometimes, get dirty looks because of it.

Here are my notes from a talk by the former CEO of BP at Harvard in March:
http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/03/former-ceo-of-bp-at-harvard.html

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 03:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I made a back of the envelope calculation a few months ago when I had some basic figures on the number of tons of carbon in typical rangeland vs. what was there before settlement by white men. I also had the values for the amount of additional carbon in the atmosphere since 1900, possibly from the article you reference. Using rough estimates of the number of square miles of marginal range land available in the western edge of the great plains, in Arizona and Nevada and Montana, plus the square miles available in Central Asian grassland and the area south of the Maghreb, if these areas were returned to something close to what they were 175 years ago they would sequester perhaps 20% of the carbon we need to remove from the atmosphere, IIRCC. If we could get another 20% from improved farming practices and 10% from reforestation that would have dealt with about half of the problem and could be accomplished within the remainder of this century.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 17th, 2016 at 09:00:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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