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Soil carbon -- Putting carbon back where it belongs -- In the Earth | Tony Lovell | TEDxDubbo

Jun 11, 2021
an interesting point is that people confuse complexity with complication ok complicated problems need complicated solutions complex problems need simple solutions i think it's an interesting mix it's called five billion acres of hope ok so the idea is five billion hectares of degraded, desertified and grazing lands. on the planet before we get into that, we'll just address a couple of questions. The first is: can the human brain really cope with climate change genetically and in our evolutionary times can we really cope with what it is about? The second thing is a big big The question is whether one is a big number, but just our desperate desire for technology.
soil carbon    putting carbon back where it belongs    in the earth tony lovell tedxdubbo
We are desperate. We are desperately looking for a technical technological solution to the problems. And finally, apologies to Bill Clinton. ishani mentioned it earlier will build on it we are afraid of the unknown and unusual ok so as soon as something doesn't know proper or unusual to us we are afraid of it there are very good reasons for that evolutionary because if not If we knew what it is, it's probably trying to kill or eat us, so there's a reason we're a little worried because then we have, as mentioned, simplistic linear thinking, we're desperate to link the effects we see to a cause ok so as soon as we can link effect to cause to single cause what we have is no longer unknown or unusual so we try to make the connection real quick we have a hard time dealing with really big numbers ok , millions, billions, billions, okay, what's wrong with Karen, look what happens with a global financial crisis, you have 22 year olds playing with really, really big numbers and there are all zeros and all salts gone wrong we're absolutely useless with compound growth okay so if something goes up one or two percent a year we have this desperate need for GDP to go up three or four percent you're going to get a whole t of projections and all of a sudden you know the amount of money we're spending on house prices going up 10% a year forever okay suddenly your house is going to cost you all the production in the world it can't happen it has to stop some

where

this is really scary in terms of dealing with climate change because the whole

carbon

tax a big tax on everything and the economic part human beings are loss averse what that means is we're very much more worried about hanging up. in what we have then with getting something much more valuable along the way okay what that means is therefore we typically act irrationally when we make economic decisions okay so a starting point is we act irrationally and climate change is talking about cost benefits in that Let's start with some factors.
soil carbon    putting carbon back where it belongs    in the earth tony lovell tedxdubbo

More Interesting Facts About,

soil carbon putting carbon back where it belongs in the earth tony lovell tedxdubbo...

This is Adam Neiman doing it in the UK, he made this awesome little chart about the world to give us an idea of ​​what we're really up against. It's okay, when you look outside, it seems big and limitless. then on the left side is all the land water in the world put at the same pressure and temperature at sea level and on the right is all the air at sea level pressure and temperature ok now the thing is if air actually had the same concentration as down as a liquid you'd have to condense it 800 times it would be a five hundredth the size of what you're looking at so that's what we're really dealing with there's a description of the

earth

given as a big ball of iron a rock surrounded by a very very thin layer of water air and dangerous animals thats probably exactly whats right why our brains dont help we have simplistic linear thinking its ok, abc, that's what you get, greenhouse gases are harmful. to life on

earth

, so if greenhouse gases harm life on earth, we need to get rid of greenhouse gases sooner in order to get rid of guinea gases, we have

carbon

pollution reduction schemes, we call it carbon pollution, that means the sources are bad and the sinks are good.
soil carbon    putting carbon back where it belongs    in the earth tony lovell tedxdubbo
That's really simplistic thinking. What follows from that is that all greenhouse gases are bad, so if all greenhouse gases are bad and methane is a greenhouse gas, then if cows emit methane, cows are bad, ok and at that point. you ask someone anything further and you will find that it is the full depth of their knowledge of the subject ok they are opposed to cattle they are opposed to habitation and animals are opposed to agriculture and that is the level of depth that get. to what is reality what we really need is complex cyclical thinking as ishani said we are dealing with a cycle if we are dealing with complex cyclical thinking greenhouse gases are essential for life on earth without greenhouse gases we would be a cold lifeless rock greenhouse gas is the only thing keeping the average temperature those plus 15 degrees without them would be minus 19 ok that doesn't happen too much at minus 19 what we have done is overload the coal sets system and cycle needs to be rebalanced now if you start thinking about cycles cows or a room and add animal all those ruminant animals ruminant animals evolved in the Miocene period, which is between ten and twenty-six million years ago they have been on the planet for millions of years, it's been billions of them, all the methane is going some

where

, what's happening to it?
soil carbon    putting carbon back where it belongs    in the earth tony lovell tedxdubbo
Okay, just think about it some more. The headline thought that these things are actually recycling carbon. Okay, what do we have? parts per million co2 in the atmosphere right now, but we had 280, sorry, before the Industrial Revolution, how about 393 on today's date? millions of what those have a look at what one part per million is their one part per million atmospheric volume of carbon dioxide okay that's what is the main thing that concerns about carbon dioxide is one part carbon and two parts oxygen are pretty straightforward. I'm a fan of both as ishani said he has about 13 kilos of carbon in it.
I have made a substantially greater contribution of carbon storage than that and oxygen. I am also pretty. happy with oxygen ok carbon dioxide is what in the molecule weighs 44 molecular weight so there are some facts and numbers here that I think are important to get a

back

ground because the carbon molecule weighs 12 in the oxygen molecule weighs 16 ok so carbons 1244 so when you look at the equivalence of carbon or carbon dioxide you see that carbon is carbon dioxide equivalent to three point six seven times the number of carbon because of that ratio if we have 550 parts per million towards 550 parts per million is good and we were 280 we have to start getting something out of this so if we just stop if we go we will stop burning fossil fuels today we have wind power solar power , it's all peace and love and mung beans etc what we end up with us sti we'll go off the cliff we'll just go off the cliff slower we actually need to do something in reverse which is why they're talking about e remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere now with geological carbon capture and storage, stores the entire carbon dioxide molecule, biological carbon capture and storage, which is green, growing plants separate oxygen and only block carbon ok now there are a few reasons why that's important let's look at some interesting ones so at room temperature and pressure which is where we are today a gas carbon dioxide is ok and one kilogram has a volume of 505 liters ok so a couple of 44 gallon drums or a couple of wheelie bins a kilogram of carbon dioxide takes up a lot of space at room temperature and a pressurized carbon atmosphere, however think about the Graphite in your pencil is a solid and a kilogram of it is only point four four of a liter which means it's a stool at room temperature and pressure one atmosphere of carbon goes to and our di carbon dioxide is going to take up eleven hundred times more space than a kilogram of carbon okay where does it start to get into some things that matter in terms of the way we structure things so with carbon capture and storage geological carbon is fine to store at room temperature it requires massive amounts of energy twenty to thirty percent of all the power plant energy it produces it gets chewed up, crushing things and pushing them underground okay that's why the Chinese were not particularly interested. in it because they say we're going to try to have efficient coal power plants if we put one of these things in we basically have to build four power plants to get three power plants power to store carbon as a solid at room temperature however it requires sunlight and green leaves so it's a much more efficient process here's one a large number one part per million the volume of the atmosphere is seven point eight trillion ions tons of carbon dioxide seven point eight billion tons of carbon dioxide remember that small calculation the conversion we do is 2.1 billion tons of carbon which means that every time the concentration of co2 increases by one part per million that is another 2,000 tons of carbon have gone up into the air 2,100 million tons of carbon is a solid block of graphite a kilometer long, a kilometer high and a kilometer thick, ok, how big is it that, it turns out, it's about touching that thing, it's about a cubic kilometer, now what that means is that every time the CO2 concentration increased by one part per million instead of increasing as a colorless, odorless gas, one of those who appeared over a city will pay a little more attention to it, okay, so if there were 270 more of those who float over New York, London and Sydney, just floating there, people will take it a little more seriously, in agreement?
Do we have a material and handling problem? Are we looking at this in physical terms? moving things around so if the pre-industrial level of CO2 was 280 parts per million and 393 and we're heading towards 550 we have to go

back

down which means we have to get something out so 270 parts per million has to go back to coming out of the atmosphere okay so remember one part per million by volume is seven point eight billion tons of carbon dioxide 270 of that is two point one trillion tons this is where our trillion trillion trillion is like this that gets 2 point 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide has to get back to the point 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide is 575 billion tons of carbon which is a solid we have to remove how much is 575 billion tons okay Australia's coal exports in 2010 at 298 billion tons so all those ships lined up and all those trains and all those miners getting paid all that money kick out 298 million tons of the total world coal trade all coal is shipped around 938 million tons of the world and the total world consumption of coal was 6.2 billion tons which means the amount of carbon we have to remove from the atmosphere if things continue it's about 1900 years of coal exports from Australia 613 years of total world coal trade or 93 years of total world coal consumption now the interesting thing with that is how long, how many years of people saying we have to do we have before we can address we need to address this before irreversible climate change is ok so the amount of stuff we have to retire is 93 years worth of total carbon consumption in the world which is worth a very very pretty serious number , this is where hope comes in, okay, this is atmospheric carbon dioxide, this is the Keeling curve, these are the measurements that we first But they highlighted the issues that we have and as you can see it goes from bottom left to top right and it's going up pretty steadily and the CO2 concentrations are going up okay so it's going up constantly and it's not a particularly story happy, let's take a look at the little red line, what is it? the little red line the red line is the year-on-year the yearly cycle is ok so it goes up and down every gaza unfortunately it goes up a bit more then it goes down so it doesn't go back to the same base but it has look at it every year it has a cycle out of about seven parts of a million ok whats so happy in the book in the bottom corner you will see there is a cycle II that cycle is annual growth fall and deciduous fall in boreal forest. in the upper part of the northern hemisphere, all those plants that really grow in the spring and the leaves drop in the summer, grow in the spring, drop in the summer, okay, seven parts per million, those plants are changing every year, seven parts per million is 15 billion tons of carbon is ok 50 years of coal exports from Australia16 years of total carbon trade and 2.4 years of total world carbon consumption, so all those little plants that grow their leaves every year and drop their leaves are going backwards and moving 15 billion tons of carbon, it's ok so there is a natural process that we are not involved in other than negatively that is moving that volume of material and this is where ishani said earlier that if the cycle didn't happen and if there were those processes weren't okay to release carbon , like the plant system?
The plant community extracts 8% of carbon dioxide each year from land plants, which means that if we didn't have ruminant animals or decomposition or oxidation or whatever is happening to cycle the material, it would reappear in 12 years there will be no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere so the area that is actually doing that is the part of the boreal forest is that point no that is at the top okay so if you look think about the globe, you have the white a little bit on the top and a little bit white on the bottom you have a big green stripe in the middle you think about - you know some brown stripes from the grouse grasslands and the temperate forest that is the forest and the deciduous forests where the trees are growing and dropping their leaves is that little strip at the top so there's not much of the land is actually involved in moving 15 billion ton das of carbon here what does carbon look like in nature ok i am part carbon what else is carbon most people think about this it's a couple hundred feet tall it's the size of the room at the base it's big it's heavier you can hit it with a bulldozer and it's made of stuff and it started as a little seed that big where is all the stuff? in the tree it comes from a lot of people not too long ago wood so it came out of the ground as Shoney mentioned most of it is atmospheric carbon dioxide so the tree is basically solidified carbon dioxide the interesting thing is which is how these grass plants are now with a tree what you see above ground is pretty much killed by what you see below ground ok so the mass of the entire plant is about half above and half below interesting with grass plants the balance is actually 1 to 4 so it's about four times as m as much organic material below ground as there is above ground that's why a healthy acre of perennial grass that works can healthily hold more carbon than an acre of tropical rainforest the reason is the spaces between the trees versus the

soil

that the plant is also producing as a Charlie mentioned something like 200 organic compounds different ics that are released from the root system into the

soil

so they all contain carbon that's why we have 5 billion acres of hope because we have 5 billion acres of seasonally dry grassland. on the planet, if we change the management of dry grasslands seasonally, which could happen, unfortunately, by the time you look like this, any of the farmers in the room or anyone who has traveled, where is that? where could it be?
Yes, not far from here. ok there is another place which again could be anywhere on the planet. There is another place. Poor management is a myriad of reasons ok the interesting thing is that that's next door on the same day and that's further down the same creek on the same day and that's the river on the adjoining property on the same day the best that hoarse is in Mexico those at noon Creek Arizona those below are río mordido Zimbabwe they are the same areas they are the same rainfall they are the same sources the same species of plants they are the same season the photographs were taken the same day there is no irrigation no there are chemicals like fertilizer there is nothing artificial the area on the right has more cattle running per hectare in total than the area on the left also has a lot more wildlife ok the only difference is the way the place is a cattle managed in those areas is managed to increase the ability of the borrows to absorb and hold water is ok to build new soil to help new plants start to increase production tion of forage biodiversity stores carbon these are not good so in these when the management is reversed what happens is that the water does not stay there the whole process begins to reverse and in fact we release covered grass the plants are in proportion to its top and in proportion this is a bit scary for my kids because daddy gets excited talking about how grass grows but a grass plant is fine in proportion so a tiny little root system complicates big leaves that become very large a system of small and small leaves cannot have large and large roots. this is an experiment that was done where the plants were kept trimmed the same size, so the ones on the left will stay trimmed constantly as if there were sheep or cattle in the paddock constantly grazing. to the right was allowed to express all that extra material you will get a carbon in nature what nature wants in these ecosystems think about the Serengeti is probably one of the last helpless functions left healthy tion of ecosystems what you will see in the Serengeti is a small number of large wounds ok so there are a large number there are many animals in a hood that herds are constantly moving that's a migration of the wildebeest in the Serengeti moving across two countries moving hundreds of kilometers each year but they kept clumped together while they would like to take their time and spread out that they kept clumped together the reason is the edge of the hoods are dangerous marine animals all keep a bunch so what that means is you get that kind of effect now in a situation like that, that amount of animals couldn't be kept in that landscape if they were stuck there, you They have to keep going, okay, they're in an area for a short period of time, hours or days at the most when the manure arrives, they'll stomp on the heavy impact and move on and not come back for months or years at a time, what that does to the grass plant in balance is I'll go in and chew the pl ant on the right once they cut the plant on the right what it does to get back to balance is it cuts through the material ok and that material is carbon going back into the soil then they move away and give the plants time to recover and when the plants have time to recover they grow back and they don't grow back uprooting them uprooting material from the soil they pull the carbon out of the atmosphere so what you have is a carbon pump pumping the carbon into the ground is also below said: I don't see why people don't understand this. soil profile in a Serengeti the wildebeest do that without wildebeest and we can't control wildebeest which are some friends on the western plains so if you look at the behavior the animal is almost exactly the same. hectare of soil increases all the organic matter and you come back with a hundred tons of carbon per adversary co2 sequester for every one percent increase in organic matter that's the area in australia the numbers australia can sequester 900 million tons a total of emissions of 600 million tons the IPCC has identified that these wonderful trillions of tons per year can be sequestered the UNF triple C has said something like 80 70 or 80 percent of all sequestration capacity rests in soil carbon from the grazing areas so the psychology is stupid now what really happens is humans reduce biodiversity in this reduces biomass how we reduce biodiversity in a grazing situation in a tribal situation what we do is get rid of predators because we don't we want to be killed or our animals killed I only mentioned how many microbes bacteria are in a healthy handful of healthy soil ok tell the people and the city i will try to spray the soil think about the amount of ads you see where you spray this s spray they clean this wipe we take out the biodiversity you look at all the crops around here they only plant a thousand acres of a crop or this crop or that crop so there's no biodiversity reducing biodiversity reduces my oh that's and that offers several crucial processes in a logical progression it's actually a hierarchy of ecosystem functionality that goes a bit like this so we'll discuss it on the way down, okay, we reduce biodiversity, biodiversity reduction reduces biomass, mainly vegetation cover, plan cover reduction, oozes photosynthesis, photosynthesis reduction reduces carbon uptake and oxygen production which reduces the buildup of added organic matter less organic matter means a disruption in the inter nutrient cycle disruption of the nutrient cycle means a reduction in fertility reduces infiltration or retention of rain which changes soil moisture which changes relative humidity which changes the climate which results in changes in climate weather is what we're getting current climates what we have in the next 50 to 100 years okay the interesting thing is that on the way back all that stuff gets screwed into all that stuff and locks together but on the way back it would look like this What if we, what would we need? what to do to reverse that what happens if we increase biodiversity? restores nutrient cycling which increases fertility increases infiltration attention from rainfall results in positive changes in soil moisture positive changes in relative humidity resulting in positive changes in climate resulting in positive changes in the climate so what happens on the way down can happen on the way back and we can influence both if we change management we change the land globally we're going t five billion acres of grass we can do something with thank you

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