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Best Ally Against Climate Crisis? Mother Nature

By Robert Clampett 

As reservoirs around the globe evaporate and turn to dust at the same time record rainstorms inundate one-third of Pakistan, Nations around the globe are starting to take the looming threat of our over-heated planet to heart.

In the United States, among the worst carbon polluters, a massive bill has passed aimed at ramping up carbon-capture efforts: from tax breaks for electric vehicles to boosting solar panel production—as well as a less-heralded but critical ally: Mother Nature.

Targeting $25 billion specifically for agricultural and re-forestation projects, the U.S. is betting on long-term climate relief goals through the natural ability of Nature to capture it’s share of carbon emissions. “We can actually get a bigger bang for our buck by addressing climate solutions that also address the nature crisis,” said Tom Cors, director of North America policy and government relations at the Nature Conservancy.

He said in order to slow down Earth’s heating, humans will have to rely on a major assist from trees, wetlands, peat-lands and other landscapes that soak up massive amounts of carbon dioxide annually. Healthy forests, restored wetlands and prairies can pull billions of tons of carbon out of the atmosphere each year.

“Climate change is harming our forests at the very time we need them to fight climate heating,” said Jack Daley, president of the conservation non-profit American Forests, adding, “If we lose what forests are currently doing for us, we have no chance.”

Noting that the world has been swept by a series of deadly floods destroying homes, inundating crops and wreaking economic devastation, Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist ay the Woodland Climate Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts, said “Heavier downpours and more frequent flooding are fingerprints of the climate crisis,” adding that in Pakistan, the extra moisture in the atmosphere gave the annual monsoon more power, coupled with rapid melt from regional glaciers, “mad a bad flood even worse.”

University of California, Los Angeles climate scientist Daniel Swain added, “Earth’s rising temperatures mean that the warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor, noting that in Pakistan, extra moisture in the atmosphere gave the annual monsoon season more power and coupled with rapid melt-off from glaciers, “made a bad flood even worse.”      

It now is clear that our climate crimes are catching up to us. If we don’t do something dramatic soon, the world will be plunged into a self-made apocalypse, complete with famine, plagues, disease, and ecological collapse. We not only have to halt our planet-killing ways but also repair the damage.

In order to capture carbon efficiently, scientists have recently found a simple way to store over a trillion tons of carbon dioxide.

These scientists are touting blue carbon; the carbon that is stored away in water-based environments typically found in wetlands including swamps, peat bogs, and marshes. These landscapes are incredibly good at removing carbon from the atmosphere and stashing it away safely. For example, peat bogs only take up about 3% of the world’s land area, yet they store twice as much carbon as the world’s forests.

Results have shown that this would reduce the carbon dioxide emitted by these environments by 2100 by at least 100 billion tons and at most 400 billion tonsup to 650 billion tons of carbon dioxide could be removed from the atmosphere and stored away in these healthy wetlands by 2100.

By both restoring and conserving wetland areas, we could remove up to 1.05 trillion tons of carbon dioxide by 2100 (or at the very least 250 billion). Surely this massive amount of carbon storage is enough to reverse climate change? We can see how clearly Mother Nature, when properly respected, can become our biggest ally in defeating the effects of climate change without the need for complex carbon capture technology.