Discover more from A Natural Language
The Science is Wrong: It’s Soil, Not Oil
This is part 4 of A Climate Counternarrative.
Isotopic analyses have traditionally led scientists to blame fossil fuels for the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. The canopy explanation laid out above is not incompatible with those results. Plant canopy is soaking up nearby fossil fuel emissions per above. Tilling and harvesting operations then release it into the atmosphere. NASA visualizations show that it then migrates to the Arctic. And the Arctic ocean then absorbs most of it. Topsoil carbon is fueling the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and this pathway is moving topsoil carbon into the ocean. That slowly cycles old carbon out of the atmosphere. Hence the isotope analyses that find that the carbon in the atmosphere is tied to fossil fuels. It’s because it is.
With this being said, fossil fuels do contribute atmospheric carbon dioxide directly. 12% of the total, according to a paper that got criticized over unfortunate remarks in it. 2020 inadvertently revealed that this number is in the right ballpark. Atmospheric carbon dioxide increased like clockwork despite the drop in fossil fuel use tied to economic lockdowns.
12% is high. It is much higher than what industrial activities contribute to the carbon cycle. But then, the latter is misleading too. Consider how fast plants soak up the spring plume of carbon dioxide in NASA visualizations. Contrast that with how the autumn plume persists. A farm field has little carbon dioxide around it in the summer. The carbon cycle’s stock and flow modeling silences these dynamics. NASA’s OCO-3 mission ends up looking for mystery sinks instead of relevant sources. The 12% number likely comes from sources with no nearby plants, like industrial chimneys.
Curbing that waste is straightforward. Capture the smokestack output using a setup like a rocket mass heater. Put the heat to good use, like drying wood pellets made from short-cycle coppice harvests. Pipe the output towards hemp fields. Use a drip irrigation like system reminiscent of those used in open field experiments. Use alley cropping on contour to help break the wind and keep the water from running off. The plants will know what to do with carbon dioxide and water. Hemp soaks up toxins, so there is little need for filtering. It has many industrial uses, like paper.
Bubbling this output in pools to grow duckweed is another good option. Startups are already looking into using captured carbon dioxide to grow algae. Duckweed grows fast and has a great nutrient uptake. Growing it is a good way to process sewage while producing protein-rich chicken feed and potentially biofuel. The former would likely require filtering out toxins first. A hydraulic trompe might be enough to do that. It would separate toxin-laced water from pressurized gas that would be needed anyway. Irrigate nearby hemp fields using the toxin-laced waste water.
With this being said, addressing topsoil loss would quickly reintroduce the problem that plants were struggling with before the industrial era. Namely, too little carbon dioxide. Stalactites, stalagmites, shell producing animals, and other processes have been mineralizing carbon dioxide for millions of years, with occasional spikes that break this downward trend. Plants have had to adapt to having ever less carbon dioxide to work with. The recent uptick made our planet greener. Therefore, leaving the carbon dioxide up in the atmosphere makes sense too.
About the Author
Denis de Bernardy is the author of A Natural Language. His work exposes environmental big lies and puts solutions in front of the actual problems.
Support this work: This work is free. Giving back is at your discretion.
Re-Use: You may re-distribute this work at no charge to you or others on a non-exclusive, non-rescindable basis, provided you do so as is, in full, and under the same terms. This work includes its title and content, these re-use terms, and other meta-informations until these terms. Amend the navigation links as appropriate.