It cracks me up when cities say they’re taking the lead on climate mitigation. But the real action is out on the farm. People in cities imagine they can grow vegetables in skyscrapers, but they can’t grow grains there. Humans are made of soil. Soil is where we come from, and soil is where we go back to, sooner or later, even if you burn your corpse. Without soil and trees, earth will die. The oceans are now dying and losing oxygen faster than ever. When atmospheric carbon hits 1,500 ppm, oxygen and oceans will start to drift off into space and earth will eventually lose its atmosphere and oceans. Life on the surface of earth will disappear without us.
The vacuum of space will once again kiss the surface of this planet and a weakening magnetic field facilitates this end. Mars lost its atmosphere when its magnetic pole flipped a couple billion years ago, but it only has a quarter of earth’s size, so its atmosphere was easily blown away by solar winds.
Before magnetic pole flip occurs, the planet’s magnetic field weakens first. This magnetic field protects us from the sun. It will be interesting to see the combined effect of a runaway greenhouse effect, weakening magnetic field and magnetic pole flip has on earth. Magnetic pole flip can happen as quickly as several years or it can drag on for a thousand or more. During this time the earth can have several poles instead of just two. These poles can slowly swirl around the earth to allow solar radiation to burn anything in their path. They can hang around for up to a decade in any one place. But, never mind. These are just the ramblings of an old man who daydreams too much. Anyhow…
The way we grow our grains is literally strip mining the soil while killing the soil microbes in what gets left behind. The birds and insects are poisoned and the herbicides kill anything else that wants to grow there. The fertilizers, antibiotics and drugs wash into the oceans to choke off life there. Soil puts life on earth and we are destroying soil faster than ever before.
To feed humanity we need to grow more food over the next 50 years than we grew in all of the last 500 years, combined. To do this we need 12 million acres of new soil every year for 30 years, but we are actually losing 24 million acres per year. We are losing good soil twice as fast as we need to accumulate it. When the cheap fertilizers are gone, so will be the soil. The weather is getting crazier faster and we lose more soil in 15 minutes of hard rain, than we do for the rest of the year and when it’s not washing away, it’s drying up.
Not only are we losing soil, we are losing water as well. Demand will exceed water by 40% in 10 years or so. The droughts, floods and storms will hit food in something like 5 years give or take. All this is happening while the wizards at the IPCC say we need 1 billion acres of additional new farmland to get carbon-negative energy from plants. The trees in the rainforests are being replaced by grasslands upsetting ancient sky rivers and carbon cycles. The climate is now reeling beyond our control.
We’re heading into overdrive. We hope that ol’ El Nino is to blame for the heat jump, and we maybe catch a breather for a year or two, but there is a constellation of accelerating feedbacks tipping over right now. That’s why even though human emissions have been flat for a couple of years, carbon in the atmosphere keeps going up. We are losing 3 oxygen molecules in our atmosphere for each carbon dioxide molecule that is produced when we burn fossil fuels. The ball’s in nature’s court now, and we’re gonna git slammed.
Carbon dioxide released by soil could undermine climate efforts Christian Science Monitor
Power Politics and the Environment: Destruction of the South China … The McGill International Review
The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda New Yorker
The New Red Scare Andrew Cockburn