Daisyworld is a model Earth covered in black and white daisies, that either absorb or reflect light. In the model, black daisies need less light because they absorb more, increasing the Earth's heat absorption. White daisies absorb less so need more light, but also reflect more light back, increasing the surface albedo of the planet and lowering its ambient temperature.
Because of this, there's a feedback loop were even if the sun gets a little hotter or colder, the successful daisy would spread and either warm or cool the Earth in response, effectively acting as a stabilizer. Gaia theory suggests that the world is full of these stabilizing systems.
Anyone who ever played SimEarth in the 90s, it was based on this theory and even had a Daisyworld simulation built in.
In this case, the paper is suggesting that seaweed grows much faster in response to raised CO2, and then sequesters some of that carbon underwater.
One question I have is how sequestered the undersea carbon really is and whether it will have other, unknown effects on the deep see ecosystem.
Take for example the great oxidation event happening 2.5 billion years ago. As oxygen excreting algae began to take over methane producing organisms, oxygen started to build up in the atmosphere - first slowly, as there were lots of stuff to oxidize, like methane and iron. Eventually, these naturals sinks were saturated and oxygen levels reached the critical toxic point for the other species, leading to a runaway die-off where more and more oxygen was released and methane - a strong green house gas - rapidly disappeared from the atmosphere. This shock was so massive it produced the 400 million year Huronian glaciation - a whole planet freeze unlike any since.
So I have full faith life on Earth will eventually restore the feedback loops and get the temperatures back in the sweet spot. I have less faith that this will happen soon, or that most species, humans included, can survive such a massive transition event.
Or just broadly adapt to the new state of things, historical data suggests that atmospheric CO2 levels did reach ~1000PPM up to the Cretaceous, with complete lack of continental ice sheets and temperate forests at the poles.
The current sweet spot is a sweet spot for us and the ecosystems we grew up in as a species, it's not a life-wide sweet spot.
A recent comment of a recent article about who's the most responsible:
edited to say:
It's interesting that on a long enough time-line, all life on earth is destined for extinction, e.g. the sun expands and vaporizes the earth. So, in the long run, our technological prowess is likely the only hope for our furry (and not so furry) friends.
It's mind-boggling to consider that we increased the CO2 levels from 280 to 410 ppm during the industrial age. We went a quarter of the way to the Cretaceous super-greenhouse of 1000 ppm, with most of the change accumulating in recent decades. And we are accelerating.
It's hard to see how most complex ecosystems would survive that kind of change in just a century or so, evolution is simply not that rapid. Forget moving house, imagine a world where the only functional natural ecosystems are bacterial.
Many breadbasket lands are also fairly low-lying. The northern china plain is mostly under 50m. Even if it doesn't get covered in water, saline intrusion will seriously hurt it, as it's already starting to hurt countries with extensive coastlines and river deltas like Vietnam or Bangladesh.
This stuff doesn't happen in a year. And we have a bunch of ways of ego-engineering, what's missing is an acute need and the economics/political incentives, which again, an acute need would provide.
Venusians thought that and look at where they are now.
So yes, that is a pretty massive thing, especially happening over a lifetime.
Eventually as the Sun gets brighter, the equilibrium amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is expected to drop below the requirements for plant life, and the Earth will die. By heating the atmosphere, we hasten the arrival of the next glacial cycle, but we are (thankfully) at low risk of starving the biosphere.
It's saying that a natural carbon-sequestration process we already knew about is more effective than we thought. It says nothing about the way seaweed growth changes with increased carbon levels.
Or stable feedback loops exist longer (because they are stable) and that's all there is to it. Life managed to almost kill itself a couple of times during Huronian glaciation.
Earth may have tricks to save its ecosystem, one of them could be temporarily increase temperatures and sea levels, just enough to end humanity.
The issue is all the parts of the ecosystem we have come to rely on. Animals, plants, insects... the entire global economy and our ways of live are tightly intertwined with everything else and even small disruptions can have enormous repercussions, especially on more vulnerable populations in the world.
I think the biggest problem that I have about everything climate change / global warming is that we are making laws to force (don't forget that force means pointing guns at people regardless of the warm and fuzzy intentions used to sell it) entire populations and their economies in the absence of so much specific knowledge. That doesn't make me a denier because accept / deny is not really the issue. Just because I accept the general premise doesn't mean that I trust the depth of the understanding to the point that I am willing to turn a gun on my neighbor to either reduce their liberty and / or confiscate their personal property in the name of said premise.
I'd love to know where this comes from, because it's clearly fucking bollocks but is trotted out in many threads.
If an entity continues to defy the laws and softer enforcement doesn't work (fines levied, assets frozen, etc.), eventually the state must use physical force to maintain the rule of law.
There are no nuances of living in a civil society when solutions are implemented by law. If it's by law, then it's by gun. I don't know of any law that works otherwise.
I think the nuance you're referring to is when people's minds are (actually) changed such that they work together on a common goal. There becomes a natural supply and demand of a certain behavior. But most of the effort that I see is not convincing people to support a certain shared goal per se, but rather to join a tribe to crowd source the passage of laws.
The more important thing to me - and the point I meant to make, though I didn't fully articulate it - is that pointing a gun at someone (or indeed entire sectors of an economy) should be reserved for situations in which there is a very high bar of confidence in the detailed facts and predictions of the outcomes. While we may all agree that global warming causes climate change and even that it is anthropomorphic, it doesn't appear to me that we have a level of specific knowledge to say that "a reduction of carbon emission by x will result in a climate of y in the year z". If we don't have that, then I question both the morality and practicality of what appears to be a witch hunt in the form of policy making.
But regarding the need for knowing exactly how things works and who should have rights to do what. I could equally argue that your contribution to raising the CO2 concentration of our shared resource, the atmosphere, is not sanctioned by me. So why is it not you that should prove it is safe before asking me to just accept your doing so?
Then I suppose you should do us all a favor and stop breathing because your breathing is not sanctioned by me. (Just kidding, it is :))
Seriously though, that's just the way it's always been. We're born into the world and we act w/out permission to survive. I don't have to prove to anyone that the next step I take is safe. But if it harms you in some way, then yes, I'm liable.
But I think the breathing thing is actually a good retort. Where do the principles meet...
I guess in the case the differenence is between drinking from the well and pissing in it. It might very well be safe, but certainly not nice
I think I'm with you there. I don't have a problem paying property tax because as a person born on this earth, you're also entitled to my land. I'm paying a tax for the privilege of it being mine.
If it could be reasonably expected the dumper knew Parathion were toxic at certain levels in the groundwater and they continued to increase those amounts, it would be reasonable to sanction them before the levels become unsafe. If you only apply sanctions after the damage is done, the sanctions don't really do anything. The best thing to do is to try to mitigate the risk rather than waiting for more information.
I imagine if I told my neighbor that I felt it was cost prohibitive to pay for trash pickup service, so I was just going to dump my trash in their yard, they'd have a problem with that. Why do we allow companies to pollute water, land and air that doesn't belong to them?
'all life on earth' as in down to microorganisms, amoeba etc? No, I would hope not. Short of wiping out the atmosphere in it's entirety, PLUS destroying the surface of the entire earth do an as-yet-unknown depth sufficient to reach every existing colony of microorganisms etc, humanity's destructive abilities don't extend that far, yet.
But do humans have the ability to wipe out all sophisticated life on earth i.e. all plants, mammals, fish, and so on such to turn the clock back on a few billion years of evolution? Yeah I certainly believe that's within our abilities, and indeed likely if current activities continue uninterrupted.
Granted your options dwindle as the disparity grows, but so long as a component is accessible to an actor, the system can be impacted.
Are there any theories supporting the end of all life on Earth?
Side note: something I've never seen before on that Youtube video: it links the Wikipedia page for climate change right under the video. An attempt to battle misleading videos perhaps?
There are several mechanisms in place on earth to stabilize changes in atmospheric composition and temperature (otherwise an sporadic eruption of a volcano or glacial eras would have thrown things out of whack long time ago). I don't think this is an hypothesis. We have seen some of them in action in recent years, like the advanced rate of reforestation due to larger levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The problem is we don't know what would happen if we push these to the limit or what their limit really is. And they are very complex in the way the interact. For example. Warmer oceans and larger levels of CO2 will make phytoplankton grow faster, absorbing more CO2 in return, but it will also accelerate the growth of zooplankton, that feeds on it. This creates a bottleneck.
So TL;DR: yeah, it's cool we have these mechanisms around but the goal should still be to keep things as close to the baseline as possible (and we have been really bad about it in the last century)
More like don't do one of these on accident... :-)
"One of the major questions is whether the Siberian Traps eruptions were directly responsible for the Permian–Triassic mass extinction 250 million years ago.
A recent hypothesis put forward is that the volcanism triggered the growth of Methanosarcina, a microbe that spewed enormous amounts of methane... altering the Earth's carbon cycle.
This extinction event, also called the Great Dying, affected all life on Earth, and is estimated to have killed about 95% of all species living at the time"
Depends on how you interpret "sequestered". In the sense that it's locked away somewhere for a long time, like organic matter frozen into tundra, it's not very sequestered. But as long as there's lots of seaweed there'll be a lot of carbon taken up. Even though individual plants may die and release their carbon on a relatively short timeline, new growth will take up carbon.
Makes you wonder about news like this seaweed deluge in the Caribbean and how it's related to an increase in CO2
"In 2011 it was the first time we'd seen it...says Professor Hazel Oxenford, an expert in fisheries biology and management at the University of the West Indies...It came as a complete shock and no-one had a clue what to do with it."
"For us, the worst year we had for sargassum still remains 2015'..says Carla Daniel of Barbados Sea Turtle Project"
"Now it is happening again and everything suggests 2018 could be the worst year yet."
Lindzen and his theories are controversial, but I do think there may not have been enough focus on possible negative feedback mechanisms like this.
Doesn’t it go considerably further, into almost suggesting the Earth is a spiritual or conscious entity?
If it did, then it wouldn't be a theory, it would just be a religious belief.
Although, I would agree that many of the people working on the theory, would privately believe something like that.
Fires eliminate the shrubs leading to more pastures. After a cycle of repeating the process, all the fertile soil ends in the sea... And then your grandsons have a big problem.
> The lifetime in the air of CO2, the most significant man-made greenhouse gas, is probably the most difficult to determine, because there are several processes that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Between 65% and 80% of CO2 released into the air dissolves into the ocean over a period of 20–200 years. The rest is removed by slower processes that take up to several hundreds of thousands of years, including chemical weathering and rock formation. This means that once in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide can continue to affect climate for thousands of years.
> Methane, by contrast, is mostly removed from the atmosphere by chemical reaction, persisting for about 12 years. Thus although methane is a potent greenhouse gas, its effect is relatively short-lived.
So the underlying CO2 ~100 Yr+ effect is still there, but you also get a 500x benefit from Methane while it is persistent in the environment.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_potential: "In the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane has a lifetime of 12.4 years and with climate-carbon feedbacks a global warming potential of 86 over 20 years and 34 over 100 years in response to emissions."
(CO2, being the baseline, has a GWP of 1.)
The deterrent of trying to give people a guilt trip for driving in a hurry or for eating beef is not sufficient to counteract the tremendous tragedy of the commons that makes those behaviors happen. Regulations that associate financial costs with the ecological costs that people and businesses are currently free to ignore are the answer, along with technologies that use those funds to reverse the needs that remain.
Get your priorities straight: When the half gallon used while people brush their teeth is the most important waste of water, then address it! But when the farm down the road pays next to nothing to pour out three feet of water on its entire land area, any expenditure on toothbrushing habits is wasteful.
I live in a conservative area, and I've been trying to be more proactive about trying to understand the viewpoints that cause people to be skeptical of things like climate change.
I recently had a conversation with someone who was skeptical of climate change - but had an education with a scientific background and the tools that should help him land on the side of clear science.
What it came down to is that he feels personally attacked by many of the personal recommendations for reducing CO2 emissions.
For example, when someone says that we need stricter emissions regulations for vehicles, what he hears is "you're a bad person for driving your old truck." In reality, if we could get people like him to emissions regulations for new vehicles and stop guilting them about driving classic cars, we'd be doing great things for the planet.
My impression is that there's a significant number of people who aren't opposed to the actual large scale changes that would make the biggest positive difference in the fight against climate change, but are put off by the "only you can stop climate change by switching your gas lawnmower to electric" style rhetoric that does more damage than good.
Not eating meat is however seen as too 'inconvenient' a solution, so instead someone is trying to sell seaweed fed cows as a "partial solution" where it is really more of a gimmick.
However, to be fair, if you remove all pastures all together, there are probably other bad consequences on ecosystems (including people!).
(Disclaimer: I am still eating beef, but less that I used to, which in the grand scheme of things is probably useless)
These solutions are simple, but not easy. Therefore people are looking for a complex solution that's also easy and I think we'll be looking for it as the water rises above our necks.
Also, it doesn't promise to solve climate change, only to limit the output of methane pursuant to California regulation.
A less dramatic thing to try would be a carbon tax of say $50/ton combined with a similar credit for sequestration efforts like seaweed farming.
We haven't tried the political solution yet. Since limiting carbon emissions is the cheapest and easiest solution to climate change, it would be a good start to have politicans serve the people's interest instead of the fossil fuel ones, don't you think?
Regulations solved the ozone issue, leaded gasoline, etc. It has also failed many times. It's tricky, I get it. But it can be possible to create effective regulations. Sometimes situations demand we try -- this looks like one to me.
Its not a joke - these were the circumstances of early Earth, before microbes evolved to digest lignin and cellulose. Trees would fall and not decompose, eventually being compressed into coal.
And kill a ton of sea life?
Immortal plastic organism will eventually evolve to a lot more that 'trap carbon' work. Human's barely live for 60 years, and yet we can transfer all our knowledge generations one after the other. Imagine what an organism that can never die could do.
Farmed seaweed and algae > biochar is a very promising sequestration approach, I think.
What I'm saying, is that if it's cheaper than regular coal people will buy this to burn. So you still need an incentive to not burn fossil fuels.
"The law implies that mass can neither be created nor destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space, or the entities associated with it may be changed in form"
Right now though, we are storing our CO2 in the atmosphere. This causes problems. To solve those problems, we need to store the CO2 somewhere else.
It can be released again, but lets hope that the massive effort required to yank the CO2 out of our atmosphere causes the sunk cost fallacy to kick in until we've completely moved past fossile fuels.
There is simply no other source of energy with as much density and as convenient as oil. The only think we know that can rival oil is nuclear energy but it has problems of its own.
All wind is caused directly by unequal warming of our planet through sunlight. The average hurricane individually releases more energy than entire world population has exhausted, since the dawn of time. 
Sunlight is plenty enough. The problem is cheap, clean storage.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis
 - https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/energ...
Also managing the lifecycle and production of these panels is another issue. And don't forget that you still need to grow crops somewhere.
Currently only less than 2 % of the energy we use comes from solar energy and 87 % comes from fossil fuels. The cost of replacing the infrastructure is enormous and there is not much incentive to do it as long as we have plenty of cheap oil (which is going to stay with us for at least another century according to estimates).
Why is it so unimaginable that we will still be using oil in 100 years? It might not be 87 % as it is today, it might be 30 % but I am very sceptical that we will be able to completely replace the infrastructure we have build in the last 200 years.
What are you talking about? From Elon Musk's TED talk, this is the area of solar panels required to power all of the US.
That doesn't include solar panels that could actually be installed on the homes. A single roof entirely covered by solar panels can power a LEED-certified home when used in conjunction with battery storage. (Most solar panel setups do not cover the entire rough but still provide sufficient power for all but the most intensive uses, like refrigerators and A/C.)
Farmland, by and large, isn't the best land for solar panels anyway, so the two would generally not come into conflict.
But...you do have a point even though the first part was wrong. Honestly, anything above 50% solar and wind is useless. Need to make up that cost via hydro, nuclear, or storage.
I really suggest watching this talk by Smil https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5guXaWwQpe4 and if you are interested reading some books from him about energy and oil. Really insightful.
Also, why do you mention only vehicles? 87 % of ALL the energy we use comes from fossil fuels (coal + gas + oil).
Pointing this can seem pedantic, but the detail is important. Brown macroalgae evolved to live in cold waters. In the limit of their distribution you raise the minimum water temperature two degrees and the plant is unable to reproduce anymore. As they have short lives, at 25 celsius degrees they went locally extinct very fast. Is their kryptonite.
Moreover, they are adapted to live in a permanent state of guerrilla quiting warm areas on years with "The Niño" event, and massively recolonizing the area in the next year. This is the reason for their famous superfast growth.
In extensive areas of the south of Europe, entire submarine forests of the "european Kelp" Laminaria and Saccorhiza (comprising a huge biomass) went in an accelerate decay and are totally gone in the last few decades. They can't return because the local average temperature raised a few degrees in the coastal areas. We need to keep this in mind if we count in this creatures to store our excess of carbon.
Maybe we should look into farming seaweed (and other algae)
> All in all, super-powered seaweeds could sequester around 173 million metric tons (190 million tons) of carbon each year, about as much as the annual emissions of the state of New York.
It's not that much in comparison to the emissions of the entire industrialized world.
Every bit helps of course, but it's not a magical solution to our problems.
Extensive farming would likely have the natural rate of sequestration.
Looking at opening more in Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-30/not-just-for-sushi-the...
There's some really cool stuff happening in this field. IIRC some farming designs have been open sourced, too.
All you really need is a few hundred metres of rope and some seed spools.