How fast/slow to reverse CO2 rise?

Reply Sun 26 May, 2019 12:37 pm
This article explains how plankton levels are rising in the oceans due to climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/climate-change-is-driving-plankton-towards-the-poles-study-says

It is logical that all life-forms and ecosystems will respond to rising temperatures by growing faster and absorbing/processing more carbon faster, to the extent that they don't die off and allow other species to take their place.

Regardless of which species grow to absorb the increased heat and carbon, however, more living organisms results in more droppings, which means more sediment-buildup in the oceans, which could mean a growing supply of sludge and thus crude oil.

This is similar the principle of a farmer who uses his septic tank to fertilize his garden. The more food he grows for his family, the more waste they generate for the septic tank, and the more fertilizer there is to grow more food. A seemingly positive feedback loop, but how positive really?

The drawback to intensifying such a positive-feedback loop is that those inputs and outputs whose flow-rate is limited in some way or other will grow increasingly problematic with the growth of the positive feedback.

So, for example, if more crude oil is extracted and burned, generating more CO2, which causes more ocean-warming and thus plankton-growth, and that in turn results in faster replenishment of sediments that form new crude oil; then other inputs/outputs/byproducts of that CO2-oil feedback loop will also intensify and reach their limits.

The replacement of living ecology on land by pavement and development is a byproduct of fossil-fuel harvesting. As the land generates more heat, the oceans compensate by absorbing more heat and making more sludge; eventually resulting in desertification and heating of the land, at a rate that outpaces the warming of oceans.

Food-chains, also, will privilege certain species while stressing others to the point of extinction. Bacteria that break down the waste products will cause some species to get sick and die off faster than others. As competition and diversity within food-webs shift, toxicity-processing will be altered for the worse, like when your gut biome biota change in a way that makes you sick.

Like a gut biome, the oceans and climate overall may be resilient and eventually restore themselves to a new equilibrium state, but what will cause that state to stabilize? In fact, have we already reached such an altered state that must be more-or-less maintained to avert radical equilibrium changes that could exacerbate problems?

Certainly it makes sense that we should be reversing climate warming by reducing CO2 levels. After all, if the oceans were absorbing and processing CO2 at a rate proportional to the rate of industrial emissions, then no CO2 level increases would be measured. The fact that CO2 levels are rising globally means that even with all the ecological shifts that are taking place to compensate and absorb the CO2 at a faster rate, nature is still lagging behind human industrial output.

So we should definitely be reducing CO2 output to levels that nature can re-absorb; AND we should be restoring land so that more living soil can host more living trees and other organisms that absorb and process the carbon from the atmosphere.

But is it a good idea to employ more radical CO2 sequestering technologies that would artificially deplete CO2 out of the atmosphere and thus allow trapped heat to escape into space without first performing the work of stimulating living organisms to grow faster and thus absorb and compact CO2 into dense energy forms that can re-fossilize and restore the natural carbon/energy-cycle of the deep Earth?

The answer is 'no,' it would not be wise to hijack nature's re-absorption of elevated CO2 levels by artificially removing CO2 from the atmosphere and allowing the trapped heat to escape faster. We need nature to adapt to current CO2 levels in order to heal properly. Artificially cooling the planet by artificially removing CO2 would be like artificially cooling a fever instead of allowing the fever to do its job and then cool down naturally. Just as the body needs to go through the full fever-cycle to restore health, the planet needs to go through elevated CO2 levels and warming to restore the natural carbon/energy-cycles and the balance those bring when they are not altered by human industrial excess.


In conclusion, it is important and good to reduce industrialism, CO2 output, and other artificial greenhouse gas production and energy generation (including nuclear); but to re-absorb elevated CO2 levels and otherwise restore a more natural climate, nature has to be allowed to heal. We can and must continue to utilize agriculture, industry, etc. to fulfill human needs, but we should be looking for ways to do that that are more harmonious and complementary to natural ecological processes that should be restored.

In short, letting of the gas and coasting through a series of slower speeds is better than slamming on the brakes and gunning it in reverse. We need subtle agricultural reforms, for example, that wean us off the most wasteful/harmful practices and integrate more sustainability by tweaking what is grown with what and how, with what inputs and outputs, etc.

We need to shift toward more renewable energies, but also reduce energy use overall gradually. That doesn't mean maintaining fossil-fuel use necessarily, since ocean sediments causing sludge build-up should be beneficial to tectonic plate activity, but it does mean that every form of industrial energy use doesn't necessarily need to be eliminated immediately. We could work without restraint to innovate and conserve as fast as possible without worrying about it causing problems to do so. We don't have to assume it's futile to pursue reforms just because the reforms won't immediately eliminate all greenhouse-gas output.

In short, we can and should work diligently toward reform and without hesitation that reforming too fast could cause more problems than solutions - i.e. because while conservation and innovation are increasing, the new technologies and lifestyles will not shock the human-altered carbon cycle fast enough to cause problems (though it theoretically could given the nature of the Earth as a dynamic system that has been changing in tandem with rising industrialism for the past couple of centuries).
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mark noble
Reply Mon 27 May, 2019 10:49 am
CO2 does Nada - GSM does - Bye bye 99% of bio-life on Terra Nova.
2026 -ALL is gone.
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