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Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming

by gmoke Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 12:00:11 AM EST

Just wanted to make sure people know about this upcoming conference which may be the start of something really exciting.  I know from my monitoring of Harvard, MIT, and other universities that ecosystem solutions to climate change are not only not on their radar but met with antagonism when brought up.  The conference organizers can use your help (and mine) in getting the word out.

Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming

We have solutions!
More of our man-made carbon emissions to date have come from land mismanagement and the resulting loss of soil carbon than from burning fossil fuels. The good news is that we know how to remove that atmospheric carbon and store it back into the soils where it belongs, by harnessing the power of nature.

The Conference
Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming is a 3-day conference with the goal to bring the power of biology front and center in the climate conversation. We are bringing together a stellar roster of speakers--scientists, land managers and activists--and participants from around the world to learn from one another and to devise strategies to expand vast natural soil carbon sinks around the world. To learn more about the speakers: http://bio4climate.org/conference-2014/speakers/

Register here:
http://bit.ly/1qOBfAo

Help us support the conference!
http://www.razoo.com/story/Conference-2014-1
Donations will keep tickets affordable, provide scholarships, pay for materials, assist with major outreach efforts before and after the conference, and help support our hard-working and dedicated staff. Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming is hosted by the Tufts Institute of the Environment and the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.


The climate scientists may not be considering these possibilities but the organic farming movement is jumping into it with both feet.  They see a possibility to increase soil fertility at the same time they can help filter the atmosphere of fossil fuel pollutants and maybe even collect carbon credits, if that system ever becomes viable.

Previously:
Carbon Farming:  Organic Agriculture Saves the World
http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2014/10/7/225842/481

Christine Jones on Soil Carbon
http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2014/10/christine-jones-on-soil-carbon.html

Holistic Management
http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2014/03/holistic-management-new-framework-for.html

Cows Save the Planet
http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2014/02/cows-save-planet.html

Disclaimer:  I have been tangentially involved in planning the conference.

Poll
More ecosystem solutions for 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: 4
Results | Other Polls
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More of our man-made carbon emissions to date have come from land mismanagement and the resulting loss of soil carbon than from burning fossil fuels.

I'd be interested in some numbers to back up this assertion. The usual numbers have the biosphere as a net carbon sink, e.g. these IPCC numbers:

This obviously doesn't cover major land-use change events of the past, nor does it invalidate the concept of managing land and agriculture for carbon absorption...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 11:34:35 AM EST
Not my words but those of the organizers.  Here's some context that may help from Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth:  Unmaking the Deserts, Rethinking Climate Change, Bringing Back biodivesity, and Restoring Nutrients to Our Food by Judith D. Schwartz (White River Junction, VT:  Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2013)

Since about 1850, twice as much atmospheric carbon dioxide has derived from farming practices as from the burning of fossil fuels (the roles crossed around 1970).  In the past 150 years, between 50 and 80 percent of organic carbon in the topsoil has gone airborne.  The antidote to this rapid oxidation is regenerative agriculture:  working the land with the goal of building topsoil, encouraging the growth of deep-rooted plants, and increasing biodiversity....

According to Christine Jones [Australian soil scientist], soils hold more carbon than the atmosphere and all the world's plant life combined - and can hold it longer, in a more stable form than, say, trees.  She says that a soil carbon improvement of just 0.5 percent in the top twelve inches of 2 percent of Australia's agricultural land would effectively store that country's annual carbon dioxide emissions over the long term.



Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 07:34:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do they present a calculation procedure to justify this claim. And are they referring only to carbon lost from the earth's soil?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Oct 28th, 2014 at 10:30:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Page 27 of this document from one of the organizers will give you some of the background for their contention of carbon from soil:

http://planet-tech.com/sites/default/files/Upside%20%28Drawdown%29%20-%20A%20New%20Narrative%20on%20 Grassland%20Carbon%20Capture%20-%20Itzkan%202014%20-%20V0.9.6.pdf

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 03:48:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This gives an idea of how a statement that loss of soil carbon could have contributed half or more of the carbon added to the atmosphere over the last 150 years. Any idea of the extent to which SOC losses over the last century and a half have been included in climate modeling to date?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 05:41:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damned firewalls!

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 06:17:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just remembered this diary I posted three years ago, based on Ruddiman's work on man's climate impact over the last 10 000 years or so (the Anthropocene). Looking for recent work on historical land-use changes and carbon budgets, I found Past and future carbon fluxes from land use change, shifting cultivation and wood harvest | Stocker | Tellus B
Past and future carbon fluxes from land use change, shifting cultivation and wood harvest Benjamin D. Stocker, Fabian Feissli, Kuno M. Strassmann, Renato Spahni, Fortunat Joos

... which looks promising, I haven't read it yet.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 29th, 2014 at 07:51:07 PM EST
Regreening program to restore one-sixth of Ethiopia's land | Environment | theguardian.com

Ethiopia's pledge to restore a further 15m hectares of degraded land was the largest of many made at the end of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon's New York climate summit last month, where governments, companies and civil society groups together agreed to try to restore 350m hectares of deforested landscapes - an area the size of India - by 2030.

Commitments have now come from Uganda (2.5m hectares), Democratic Republic of the Congo (8m hectares), Colombia (1m hectares), Guatemala (1.2m hectares), and Chile (100,000 hectares). Many others are expected to follow in the run-up to the Paris climate talks in December 2015 because the restoration of degraded land is expected to qualify for carbon credits.

The UN is listening. A lot hinges on the Paris conference.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Oct 31st, 2014 at 08:08:09 AM EST
The USA should commit to restoring an area of grassland east of the front range from Tucumcari, NM to Minot SD in length and from Wichita,KS to Colorado Springs, CO wide. It appears that so doing could sequester 30 to 60 tons of carbon/hectare. There is at least that much again in semi-arid deserts that could be restored.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 31st, 2014 at 09:36:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well. I have no idea whether the degradation of arid lands in the USA is similar to that in Africa, or amenable to the sort of (labour-intensive) solutions which are being rolled out on a vast scale there... but it would be ironic if the US were to abstain from such a program while Africa makes the effort.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Oct 31st, 2014 at 02:16:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Restoring soil carbon is likely the most effective means available for reducing existing atmospheric carbon.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 31st, 2014 at 09:48:28 AM EST
More importantly, it may be net profitable in and off itself - biochar boosts agricultural output. Which means it can get done just by spreading the technique, no moral suasion required. Moral suasion is difficult. Getting people to increase their crop yields via superior technique is dead easy if you have a technique that works.
by Thomas on Sun Nov 16th, 2014 at 10:46:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Then There's The Things You Couldn't Even Make Up - The Automatic Earth

Rich Countries Subsidising Oil, Gas And Coal Companies By $88 Billion A Year

Rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn (£55.4bn) a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields.


If we can't start even here...

Looks like the governments are desperate to keep cheap energy flowing, to keep up the living standards for the worthy and the middle class - damn the consequences 5 years down the road. Is There No Alternative Indeed?

by das monde on Tue Nov 11th, 2014 at 09:51:54 PM EST
das monde:
Is There No Alternative Indeed?

Of course there is, and it's up to little us to make it known.

The governments want to keep cheap energy flowing so they don't have riots.

While ignoring that paying for infrastructure now will lead to huge savings later.

And happier, healthier voters.

These governments all need to be uncaptured and reconfigured to serve their counties' best longterm interests.

Getting pigs to pull their grunting heads out of a food trough ain't easy or comfortable.

The main mission is to stop new generations of alpha-pigs taking their place after this crew gorge themselves to death, by telling the truth about the health costs of fossil fuels and their relationship to climactic catastrophe... in no uncertain terms!

We don't have much time.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2014 at 05:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My latest diary deals with some of the surprising economics of energy that are not yet well understood, at least as they relate to the poorest among us:

Thrive Energy
http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2014/11/19/13272/597

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Nov 19th, 2014 at 01:35:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
House Republicans just passed a bill forbidding

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

The bill is being framed as a play for transparency: Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, argued that the board's current structure is problematic because it  "excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups." The inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice.

But the White House, which threatened to veto the bill, said it would "negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB."

In what might be the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing, the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in "advisory activities" that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn't clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research -- the bizarre assumption, apparently, being that having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute a conflict of interest.

by das monde on Mon Nov 24th, 2014 at 08:41:18 AM EST
I don't believe the bill will pass through the Senate and, even if it does, I don't believe that Obama will sign it.

However, it is a fine example of willful ignorance.  Canada under Harper has gone much farther down this road than the USA has, so far, but I'm sure that some Repugs are looking to them for tips.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of them were looking at Hungary and Orban for anti-democratic pointers too.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Sat Nov 29th, 2014 at 04:37:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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