David Biello: Moving The Dial On Climate Change

Environment: NPR


Climate. Change is a problem so vast affecting so many people in so many different ways that it's hard to know what we should do which solutions we should focus on which efforts can truly dial back global warming because the fact is we are running out of time to make the changes. We need to stop a reputable damage to our planet but there is good news. We have the technology and science to do it. And so on the show today how we can build a zero emissions future this global effort underway to accomplish exactly the skull having this ability in our toolkit central can't dot false and it can't be done on a very large scale guiding us through some promising and fascinating solutions is ted science curator. David yellow. david. Thank you so much for being here again. Thank you for having me back and today. You're bringing us ted speakers who are trying to save the planet from the state that we're in right. Yeah except it's More more important than that. I would say because it's not just saving the planet in fact it's not really saving the planet it saving ourselves in the planet has dealt with climate change many times before And honestly the planet will be fine our civilization if we don't act now and act quickly will not be fine and so let's start with the key number which is ten ten years. That is the amount of time that climate researchers say. We have to really turn things around. David wyatt decade. So in the next ten years we will have sort of made the decisions that will determine the climate for centuries if not millennia to come so if we really do want to keep global warming where it's already at around one degrees celsius or most one point five degrees celsius warming than we really have to act now and we have to act fast and that's where the ten years comes. Okay so let's get into some of the big ideas and solutions that can help us fight. Climate change and let's start with something that captures carbon dioxide and literally right beneath our feet swell soils just thin veil that covers the surface of land but it has the power to shape our planet's destiny the a six footer soul soil material that covers the surface represents the difference between life and likeness in the air system. And he can also help us. Combat climate change. If we can only stop treating it like david. I i gotta love these. Climate researchers who love puns soil researcher as morad asif wa bad. Hey tell us about her and why she likes to talk to her. Well you know. This is one of the reasons that people find. Climate change so daunting Soil sexy well. As marines is the answer because she has a certain passion for dirt as a soil bio geochemists and she has been studying it as a dirt. Detective the age of eighteen and soil is actually this really complex skin on the face of the earth that is responsible for life on land everything we do revolves through the soil and that's true for carbon as well you might recognize it from compost compost. You'll know that it creates kind of dark rich material and then spread it in your garden and suddenly you're tomatoes. Are that much better. That darkness that Is the carbon itself. And what the carbon does is allow the soil to retain moisture to retain minerals and other nutrients that the plants need to grow and as we all know when clan are growing their photo synthesizing and that means they're pulling co two out of the air and turning it into more plant and in some cases even bearing some of that co two for us back into the soil there is about three thousand billion metric tons of carbon in soil. That's roughly about three hundred and fifteen times. The amount of carbon that we'd released into the atmosphere currently and this twice more carbon in soil and the reason vegetation and think about that for a second. There's more carbon in soil than there is in all of the world's vegetation including the lush tropical rainforests and the giant sequoia if the expansive grasslands all of the cultivated systems and every kind of flora you can imagine on the face of the earth plus all the carbon that's currently up in the atmosphere combined and then twice over hence a very small change in the amount of carbon stored in soil can make a big difference in maintenance of the earth's atmosphere. Okay first of all had no idea that there was that much carbon under there that we're basically sitting on top of a carbon piggy-bank Correct me if. I'm wrong david but this is called carbon sequestration right and that is a good thing for soil. In addition to being good for the atmosphere it is a good thing. The problem is most of our. Agriculture is is designed in a way to extract that carbon. and what we've essentially done is overburdened. The earth's kind of natural carbon cycle it used to be that a certain amount of co two kind of moved between plants and the air and the land but then we came along and start digging up. All this varied carbon carbon that have been laid down by plants even millions of years ago in the form of coal and oil and when we burn that it releases this fossils co two. And that's extra to that had been locked away from the atmosphere for a very long time. And that's why we're kind of out of

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