Tag Archives: Fossil fuels

Four ways to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously

A landmark report by the world’s most senior climate and biodiversity scientists argues that the world will have to tackle the climate crisis and the species extinction crisis simultaneously, or not at all.

That’s because Earth’s land and ocean already absorbs about half of the greenhouse gases that people emit. Wild animals, plants, fungi and microbes help maintain this carbon sink by keeping soils, forests and other ecosystems healthy.

Failing to tackle climate change meanwhile will accelerate biodiversity loss, as higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns make survival for many species more difficult. Both problems are intertwined, and so solutions to one which exacerbate the other are doomed to fail.

Luckily, there are options for addressing climate change and biodiversity loss together, called nature-based solutions. If implemented properly, these measures can enhance the richness and diversity of life on Earth, help habitats store more carbon and even reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, making ecosystems more resilient while slowing the rate at which the planet warms.

1. Protect and restore ecosystems

Everyone is familiar with the need to preserve tropical rainforests, but there are other pristine habitats, on land and in the ocean, which are in dire need of protection.

Mangrove swamps occupy less than 1% of Earth’s surface, but store the equivalent of 22 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s around two-thirds of total emissions from burning fossil fuels each year. These coastal habitats act as a home, nursery, and feeding ground for numerous species. More than 40 bird, ten reptile and six mammal species are only found in mangroves.

Under the canopy in a tropical mangrove forest.
Mangroves are particularly good at storing carbon. Velavan K/Shutterstock

Peatlands – those soggy ecosystems which include bogs, marshes and fens – store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. The top 15cm stores more carbon below ground than tropical rainforests do above ground. In the UK, peatlands store the equivalent of ten billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and host precious plant and animals such as red grouse, mountain hares and marsh earwort.

Unfortunately, more than 80% of the UK’s peatlands are degraded in some way. A single hectare of damaged peatland can emit more than 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – equivalent to the yearly emissions of seven family cars.

Protecting these ecosystems can prevent carbon being released into the atmosphere. Restoring them where they’ve been damaged can suck carbon dioxide from the air and guarantee shelter for rare wildlife. Diverse natural systems also bounce back better from climate extremes than do species-poor, highly degraded systems, and will keep helping biodiversity and people even as Earth continues to warm.

2. Manage farmland and fisheries sustainably

Not all of the world’s land and ocean can be left to nature, but the land and ocean people use to produce food and other resources can be managed better.

People currently use about 25% of the planet’s land surface for growing food, extracting resources and living. The global food system contributes one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Methods of farming – such as agroecology, which involves incorporating trees and habitats within farm fields – and sustainable fishing practices can protect and regenerate topsoil and seabed habitats, boosting biodiversity and improving how resilient these ecosystems are to climate change.

Rows of vegetable beds with lines of young trees.
Reforestation in tandem with food growing: lettuce, cauliflowers and tomatoes grow among saplings in Brazil. Luisaazara/Shutterstock

3. Create new forests – with care

People have already cut down three trillion trees – half of all the trees which once grew on Earth.

Creating new woodlands and forests can draw down atmospheric carbon and provide diverse habitats for a range of species, but great care must be taken to plant the right mix of trees in the right place. Vast plantations of non-native trees, particularly when they’re a single species, offer less useful habitat for wildlife, but a mix of native trees can benefit biodiversity and store more carbon in the long run.

A study in south-east China showed that forests containing several tree species stored twice as much carbon as the average single-species plantation.

We can do the same thing in the ocean by restoring seagrass meadows.

4. Shift to more plant-based diets

Globally, animal agriculture is a major contributor to biodiversity loss. Millions of hectares of Amazon rainforest, African Savanna and Central Asian grassland have been ploughed up to create pasture and plant feed crops for the cows, pigs and chickens that we eat. Nearly 60% of all planet-warming emissions from food production originate in livestock rearing.

Reducing demand for meat and dairy, through diet changes and cutting waste, would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which itself benefits biodiversity by limiting climate change – it would also lower pressure for farmland and so reduce deforestation and habitat destruction, freeing more land for the wider use of nature-based solutions.

A vegan burger with a side of sweet potato fries.
A vegan diet is better for wildlife and the climate than a high-meat one. Rolande PG/Unsplash, CC BY-SA

Meat, especially highly processed meat, has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and bowel and stomach cancer. Plant-based diets are healthier, reduce healthcare costs and reduce carbon emissions.

A note of caution

It’s important to remember that nature-based solutions aren’t a substitute for the rapid phase out of fossil fuels. They should involve a wide range of ecosystems on land and in the sea, not just forests. Wherever they’re implemented, nature-based solutions must proceed with the full engagement and consent of Indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultural and ecological rights. And nature-based solutions should be explicitly designed to provide measurable benefits for biodiversity – not just carbon sequestration.

With all this in mind, the world can design robust and resilient solutions for the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, sustaining nature and people together, now and into the future.

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About the authors:

Pete Smith currently receives research funding from UKRI, EU, Wellcome Trust and Scottish Government. He is on the science advisory team for Carbon Direct (https://carbon-direct.com/).

Mark Maslin is a Founding Director of Rezatec Ltd, Co-Director of The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, a member of Cheltenham Science Festival Advisory Committee and a member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. He is an unpaid member of the Sopra-Steria CSR Board and Sheep Included Ltd Advisory Board. He has received grant funding in the past from the NERC, EPSRC, ESRC, DFG, Royal Society, DIFD, BEIS, DECC, FCO, Innovate UK, Carbon Trust, UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, Research England, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation Sprint2020, and British Council. He has received research funding in the past from The Lancet, Laithwaites, Seventh Generation, Channel 4, JLT Re, WWF, Hermes, CAFOD, HP, and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Camille Parmesan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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A dangerous turning point – Earth facing the collapse of everything

Despite so much evidence to the contrary, “experts” deny there is any threat to the world’s ecology.
Study Disputes That Earth is in a ‘Climate Emergency’

Brietbart 07-Feb-21 by Delingpole

“There is no “climate emergency”, according to a study for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by independent scientist Dr Indur Goklany.
Dr Goklany concludes:

“While climate may have changed for the warmer:  Most extreme weather phenomena have not become extreme, more deadly, or more destructive.  Empirical evidence directly contradicts claims that increased carbon dioxide has reduced human wellbeing. In fact, human wellbeing has never been higher.

Whatever detrimental effects warming and higher carbon dioxide may have had on terrestrial species and ecosystems, they have been swamped by the contribution of fossil fuels to increased biological activity. This has halted, and turned around, reductions in habitat loss”.

The report would make hugely depressing reading for all environmental activists — even the Pope – if it was
infallibly accurate – which it is not!
Dr Goklany says there is little to scare us:

Yes, there will be more hot days, but fewer cold days. Oh? Where?

In the Arctic and the Antarctic of course – silly!

*There will be less tornados – #in Great Britain?
* There will be less floods, less frequent and smaller!
# Perhaps Goklany slept through last year, but there were half a dozen cyclones causing death by floods, drowning, landslides and inundation from January to December 2020 throughout the Southern Hemisphere!
*There will be less droughts and less wildfires.

# When does this begin? So far so bad in California and many parts of Australia. In October 1917 intense, deadly fires killed 41 people in Spain and Portugal, and in 2020 fires affected Sweden and Northern France as well as Italy and Spain where wildfires are not indigenous!

In 2020 for months, Siberia has been experiencing extreme heat due to a combination of persistent sunny weather and human-caused climate change. In addition to producing Arctic temperatures that cracked 100 degrees in June, the heat has fueled an enormous outbreak of wildfires, including fires on Siberia’s tundra……

Breitbart News Desk February 16, 2021:

The deep freeze that knocked out power in Texas spread across the country this week. The agency that manages power in fourteen states from Texas through Oklahoma and all the way up to North Dakota declared a state of emergency and ordered utilities to initiate rolling blackouts to cut electrical demand and stabilize the grid.
Meanwhile, a lot of fracking for oil has been brought to a halt by the freeze. Twenty percent of the U.S. oil production has gone offline, and some of the biggest refineries have been shuttered. The big problem is that the Texas oil kits are not set up for arctic weather. Up in North Dakota the extraction process is winterized, but that’s not the case farther south. Even something as simple as picking up oil in a truck to move to a refinery can become impossible when your roads are iced over, there are no snow ploughs or road salt, and no one has snow tires.
Crude oil production is down by more than four million barrels a day, twice what was reported a day earlier. Prior to the cold crisis, the U.S. was producing around 11 million barrels a day.
The Permian Basin, America’s largest oil field, has been hard hit. Production in the area that straddles western Texas and
New Mexico is down between 65 percent and 80 percent.

The melting Arctic has been watched closely by countries like China and Russia who are looking to take advantage of the increasingly available shipping lanes. But scientists have lamented the latest milestone, and are sounding the alarm about further environmental degradation due to increased shipping activity.

It is a very dangerous turning point

says Associate Professor Nengye Liu, an expert in international polar law at Macquarie University.

In Revelation 6:8-9 we can see that “Global Warming” is the result of the 4th Vial of God’s Wrath

   8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

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‘Too late’:

David Attenborough warns Earth faces ‘total collapse’

Nick Whigham ·Assistant News Editor | Yahoo News| 24.2.20-21

The world’s most famous naturalist has issued a dire proclamation about the state of the planet, warning Earth is facing “the collapse of everything” if we continue on our current path.

94-year-old Sir David Attenborough warned overnight that climate change is the biggest security threat modern humans have ever faced while addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on climate, saying it was “already too late” to stem the diabolical impacts of global warming.

   “There is no going back, no matter what we do now, it’s too late to avoid climate change and the poorest, the most vulnerable, those with the least security, are now certain to suffer,”

he said.

“And if the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then much of the rest of civilisation will quickly break down.”

Arthur Wright, Kallangur, Brisbane

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  9. New Permian Methane Leakage Study Confirms What We Already Knew
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  11. Rare Lizard’s Habitat May Open Up
  12. “Arctic air freezes Permian shale fields”… Fake news?
  13. Texas Oil Giant ExxonMobil Sells Some North Sea Drilling, Exploration Sites Amid Muted Oil Prices
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