More ‘settled science’: Role of terrestrial biosphere in counteracting climate change may have been underestimated

“Our work shows that the terrestrial biosphere might have greater potential than previously thought to mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon emissions from fossil fuels.”

The media release and abstract are below.


Role of terrestrial biosphere in counteracting climate change may have been underestimated

New research suggests that the capacity of the terrestrial biosphere to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) may have been underestimated in past calculations due to certain land-use changes not being fully taken into account.

It is widely known that the terrestrial biosphere (the collective term for all the world’s land vegetation, soil, etc.) is an important factor in mitigating climate change, as it absorbs around 20% of all fossil fuel CO2 emissions.

However, its role as a net carbon sink is affected by land-use changes such as deforestation and expanded agricultural practice.

A new study, conducted by an international collaboration of scientists and published in the journal Nature Geoscience, has analysed the extent to which these changing land-use practices affect carbon emissions – allowing the levels of CO2 uptake by the terrestrial biosphere to be more accurately predicted.

The results not only show that CO2 emissions from changing land-use practices are likely to be significantly higher than previously thought, but also imply that these emissions are compensated for by a higher rate of carbon uptake among terrestrial ecosystems.

Co-author of the study, Dr Tom Pugh from the University of Birmingham, says:

‘Our work shows that the terrestrial biosphere might have greater potential than previously thought to mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon emissions from fossil fuels. However, to fully realise this potential we will have to ensure that the significant emissions resulting from land-use changes are reduced as much as possible.’

Co-author Professor Stephen Sitch from the University of Exeter adds:

‘The results imply that reforestation projects and efforts to avoid further deforestation are of the utmost importance in our pursuit to limit global warming to below 2oC, as stated in the Paris climate agreement.’


7 thoughts on “More ‘settled science’: Role of terrestrial biosphere in counteracting climate change may have been underestimated”

  1. Environmentalists would have us believe that cutting down any tree is bad. Look at the number of them who tag their emails with “be kind to the environment, save trees, don’t print this email”. They are completely ignorant of how carbon up-take mostly only happens in young, growing trees (or any growing vegetation for that matter). Carbon up-take in older, mature trees is limited. If they were true environmentalists they’d be promoting planting new trees instead of saving old trees. They don’t like the appearance of harvested forests.

  2. And, ironically, it was Hillary Clinton who scoffed at Trump for being anti-science, when she knows next to nothing about the limited role of carbon dioxide in a climate driven largely by natural factors, and Trump knew this instinctively.

  3. The notion that carbon dioxide, a beneficial trace gas, is a major driver of global warming is a totally unproven and, in fact, fraudulent hypothesis. With globally averaged temperatures rising barely a quarter of a degree from 1978-1998 (according to satellite data), and virtually not at all (.e. less than the margin or error) for 19 years, the role of carbon dioxide is much ado about nothing. What the EPA needs to do under new leadership is categorically repudiate this unfounded role of CO2 as a climate driver that so many have bought into mindlessly. It is, in fact, the greatest scientific fraud in history, and easily the most costly. Everyone from high school graduate Leonardo di Caprio to Pope Francis, and every coercive utopian Democrat politician in between, have been suckered by the fraud. An analysis of the Cook et al survey reveals that only 1.6% of scientists believe CO2 is responsible for more than 50% of warming. Even if we are charitable and assign CO2 a 20% role in the 1978-1998 warming, that would amount to less than .05 degrees C warming (less than the margin or error). The new EPA needs to drive this point home and totally demolish the case for anthropogenic global warming. In reality, the only thing the scientists in the Cook survey agree upon is that temperatures warmed some during the late 20th century and that man had something to do with it. But to Obama, Whitehouse and other buffoons in the Democrat Party it means that the earth is going to fry. There is a reason why the old adage “liberalism is a mental disorder” rings so true is that it IS true.

  4. Water vapour is the most significant greenhouse gas, but that’s not the whole story. For one thing, the amount evaporated up or rained out depends on how warm the air is – it’s a follower, not a leader. Above 35 thousand feet or so – the tropopause – is usually dry, as the water vapour is frozen out. But methane, CH4, easily floats up into the stratosphere, where it has a direct warming effect, and is eventually oxidised to make one molecule of carbon dioxide and two of water vapour. That’s how about half the water vapour in the stratosphere gets there, and once there, it stays longer and has a more powerful warming effect than water down at cloud level. We know from the Antarctic ice cores that methane levels now are two and a half times higher than they were at any time in the last four interglacial warm periods, and much of it’s from our cattle herds, rice fields, mines and oil wells. On top of that, a long haul jet aircraft puts as much water into the stratosphere, by mass, as its own takeoff weight ( C10H22 > 10 CO2 + 11 H2O ), and there’ s thousands of them flying all the time.

  5. Well, don’t forget that the terrestrial environment sequesters and removes from circulation massive amounts of what is by far most voluminous and by far the most important of all green-house gasses: water — H2O molecules.

    And then the H2O molecules are heated by the solar energy that reaches the surface causing the most energetic to evaporate and enter the atmosphere where they add their latent heat energy to the existing atmospheric heat. Ain’t it funny how nature works and how all parts of nature work together to complement and supplement each other? Sonuvagun!

  6. The number of trees and other vegetation destroyed for green energy like windmills and solar (both of which use infinitely more land than a decent gas or oil fired utility plant) would have mitigated much more CO2 than windmills and solar ever will.

  7. But but…. we’ve got to chop down all the trees and burn them in old coal power stations to power the millions of green clean electric cars that don’t produce CO2 so there’s nothing to worry about !
    The science is settled.
    Oh… wait a minute….

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