Meteor Blades recently (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/28/1425368/-Open-thread-for-night-owls-Mobilizing-for-the-climate-crisis) wrote about The Climate Mobilization (http://www.theclimatemobilization.org) which is asking people to sign a pledge to
Reduce our country’s net greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2025 and implement far-reaching measures to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere…
Establish the following imperatives as our nation’s top foreign policy priorities: A 100 percent reduction of global net greenhouse gas emissions at wartime speed, and the deployment of comprehensive measures that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere until a safe climate is restored.
Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is a necessary mental step to take and it is good to see that people are beginning to organize around it. I’ve been writing about a zero emissions economy for at least 20 years and that means EVERYTHING not just greenhouse gases. Zero emissions as an approachable goal as zero defects on a production line in Total Quality Management is an approachable goal. Zero emissions for all materials and resources within an ecological design framework like Bill McDonough’s simple ecological design principles:
waste equals food
use only available solar income
love all the children
We should be doing this as at least a thought experiment now and, I believe, that thought experiment would have enormous benefits as we transition to a new ecological economy where the throw away society begins to realize there is no such place as away.
Recently, I had the opportunity to raise these ideas with the Dr Lynn Orr, DOE Undersecretary for Science and Technology, at MIT as both a public question and in private conversation. Perhaps I planted a seed.
I’m also glad to see that The Climate Mobilization is taking on another part of the climate question which is not often addressed. Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is good but it addresses only the source side of the issue. There are sinks as well. As systems dynamics teaches, a working system contains both sources and sinks. John Wick is a CA rancher who has measured for the last 5 years a ton of carbon per hectare per year sequestered on his grazing land and computer models estimate that he can do this for 30-100 years. See http://www.marincarbonproject.org He says there are 35 soil carbon sequestration methods now recognized by USDA. Soil scientist Rattan Lal believes that increasing soil carbon on agricultural lands globally could reverse climate change within a decade or two.
I also mentioned this to Undersecretary Orr.
On October 16-18, 2015 there will be a conference at Tufts University on Restoring Water Cycles to Reverse Global Warming (http://bio4climate.org/conferences/conferences-2015/tufts-2015-restoring-water-cycles/). Last year, the same group held a conference on soil carbon cycles (http://bio4climate.org/conferences/conference-2014/). You can watch the proceedings on their webpages. You can also participate in Soil Saturday on October 10 (https://www.facebook.com/events/559598744189515/) to help raise awareness about these issues and practical solutions to reverse climate change now while improving the soil and rebuilding our agricultural systems.
Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is a radical idea in the present context. A zero emissions economy and reversing climate change through natural soil and water carbon cycles are even more radical and far-reaching. They are also very much within our grasp if we want to reach for them.