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Zero Emissions Economy to Reversing Global Warming

by gmoke Thu Oct 1st, 2015 at 03:32:17 PM EST

Meteor Blades recently (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/28/1425368/-Open-thread-for-night-owls-Mobilizing-for-the-clim ate-crisis) wrote about The Climate Mobilization (http://www.theclimatemobilization.org) which is asking people to sign a pledge to

Reduce our country's [USA's] net greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2025 and implement far-reaching measures to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere...

Establish the following imperatives as our nation's top foreign policy priorities: A 100 percent reduction of global net greenhouse gas emissions at wartime speed, and the deployment of comprehensive measures that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere until a safe climate is restored.

Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is a necessary mental step to take and it is good to see that people are beginning to organize around it.  I've been writing about a zero emissions economy for at least 20 years and that means EVERYTHING not just greenhouse gases.  Zero emissions as an approachable goal as zero defects on a production line in Total Quality Management is an approachable goal.  Zero emissions for all materials and resources within an ecological design framework like Bill McDonough's simple ecological design principles:
waste equals food
use only available solar income
respect diversity
love all the children

We should be doing this as at least a thought experiment now and, I believe, that thought experiment would have enormous benefits as we transition to a new ecological economy where the throw away society begins to realize there is no such place as away.

Recently, I had the opportunity to raise these ideas with the Dr Lynn Orr, DOE Undersecretary for Science and Technology, at MIT as both a public question and in private conversation.  Perhaps I planted a seed.

I'm also glad to see that The Climate Mobilization is taking on another part of the climate question which is not often addressed.  Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is good but it addresses only the source side of the issue.  There are sinks as well.  As systems dynamics teaches, a working system contains both sources and sinks.  John Wick is a CA rancher who has measured for the last 5 years a ton of carbon per hectare per year sequestered on his grazing land and computer models estimate that he can do this for 30-100 years.  See http://www.marincarbonproject.org He says there are 35 soil carbon sequestration methods now recognized by USDA.  Soil scientist Rattan Lal believes that increasing soil carbon on agricultural lands globally could reverse climate change within a decade or two.

I also mentioned this to Undersecretary Orr.

On October 16-18, 2015 there will be a conference at Tufts University on Restoring Water Cycles to Reverse Global Warming (http://bio4climate.org/conferences/conferences-2015/tufts-2015-restoring-water-cycles/).  Last year, the same group held a conference on soil carbon cycles (http://bio4climate.org/conferences/conference-2014/).  You can watch the proceedings on their webpages.  You can also participate in Soil Saturday on October 10 (https:/www.facebook.com/events/559598744189515) to help raise awareness about these issues and practical solutions to reverse climate change now while improving the soil and rebuilding our agricultural systems.

Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is a radical idea in the present context.  A zero emissions economy and reversing climate change through natural soil and water carbon cycles are even more radical and far-reaching.  They are also very much within our grasp if we want to reach for them.


Poll
Reversing climate change?
. yes 100%
. no 0%
. not yes 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and no 0%
. don't understand the question? 0%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 3
Results | Other Polls
Display:
first comment! Yay!

So, anyway, agree with the big mental step being taken of having zero carbon as goal (as opposed to just reducing carbon) is good.

I am pretty firm on the energy production side of things, however, the methane and general impact of animal agriculture I only have a wee bit of knowledge of, but that seems to be pointing in the direction that we all need to become almost vegetarians.

Hence my skepticiscm regarding anything the USDA says and also what a cattle rancher tells me. Wouldn't a plush forest contain a lot more carbon in the form of wood of bushes and trees and roots than some grass? that is then eaten by cows and turned to methane farts?

Anyway, just my 2 cents.

by crankykarsten (cranky (where?) gmx dot organisation) on Thu Oct 8th, 2015 at 10:29:00 AM EST
It may be that perennial grasslands can sequester more carbon than trees and forests.  The idea is to take carbon out of the atmosphere and put it deep into the soil.  Also turns out that cows burp methane and, when they are grazing close to the ground and the grasses, the vegetation just below their mouths do a good job of absorbing that methane and using it for their own growth.

I suspect it is not so much meat as it is the industrial agricultural practices producing that meat that damages the environment.  Free range, grass-fed cattle is a different proposition than feedlot, corn-fed cattle.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Thu Oct 8th, 2015 at 06:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, I guess I'll have to do some research regarding this topic when I have some time. Though I am still a bit skeptical that grasslands can sequester more carbon than a forest. Of course rotting falling trees also create methans, not just cows digesting... I think it is a very complex system to fully understand, I hope some really smart people are looking at those issues!
by crankykarsten (cranky (where?) gmx dot organisation) on Fri Oct 9th, 2015 at 03:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Video from last year's conference on soil carbon is available online as referenced in my diary.  Take a look at that and you'll have a good idea of what's possible.

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Fri Oct 9th, 2015 at 04:10:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
have been looking at some of videos and this is really good stuff, thanks for sharing gmoke!
by crankykarsten (cranky (where?) gmx dot organisation) on Mon Oct 19th, 2015 at 02:21:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Went to an event with some of the speakers on water from this year's conference.  Again, a lot of good and sensible information with clear ways forward within reach.  The videos from this year's conference should be up at the bio4climate site soon.  

Always more to learn.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Tue Oct 20th, 2015 at 05:24:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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