Soil and Stubble Fighting Climate Change


While some say that cities are ground zero in fighting climate change, they are talking about adaptation–sea barriers, lifting buildings, easing the flow of water through urban watercourses. Cities already are better at using energy efficiently than non-urban environments, although there is considerable room for improvement.

In terms of mitigating the impacts of climate change–stopping those impacts before they start, look to the land. Farmland to be specific.

The linked article from Scientific American says, “The earth’s soil stores a lot of carbon from the atmosphere, and managing it with the climate in mind may be an important part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to curb global warming, according to a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature.”

This is pretty much what Freeman Dyson has argued for the past two decades, and it has earned him plenty in the way of insults from people who are not as civil and not as smart as he is.

“About three times the carbon currently in the atmosphere is stored in the Earth’s soil—up to 2.4 trillion metric tons, or roughly 240 times the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuels annually. …The study says that if all the Earth’s farmers were to manage their fields so the soil stored more carbon, the impacts of the greenhouse gases emitted from burning fossil fuels annually could be cut by between half and 80 percent.”

It’s another arrow in the quiver for those hoping to stop climate change before it becomes dangerous–and another argument against those who think the only permissible strategy is revolutionizing the world’s infrastructure to stop emissions in manufacturing, transportation and the generation of electricity.

You’ll see in the Scientific American article that some are negative about the potential of soil management. There are those who are negative about the Hartwell Paper, Eco-Modernism, Fast Mitigation and other common-sense plans to actually start doing things that we can do. It’s emissions, always emissions, only emissions, 24 hours a day. They’re the same 2-digit IQs that have harassed Freeman Dyson.

Such negativity deserves a response. Here’s mine (and yes, it also serves as a comment on my emotional maturity–I have little time and less energy any more for those fools):



4 responses to “Soil and Stubble Fighting Climate Change

  1. Dr Pielke, Sr. was excoriated and driven out of the public square for pointing this out, among other things. This is yet another example of how irrational the climate imperialists are: unless you are one of “them” your ideas are not only wrong and worthless. You should be silenced as well. By the way, this article is also another example of skeptics being correct and skepticism towards the consensus being justified. You are on a great roll, by the way.

  2. Tom,

    “Cities already are better at using energy efficiently than non-urban environments”
    What evidence is there for that? I don’t doubt that the average city dweller uses less energy for space heating, and perhaps cooling, but that may be just a function of smaller housing units. And it is certainly not obvious for other aspects of energy use.

  3. Here is one possible path to what you suggest: MIT: Perennial Agriculture

  4. Your posts are hitting on all cylinders, Tom. Also that is a really cool pic of the kid…goes into my image file.

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