We NEED Climate Operation Warp Speed: We’re close to a Terrestrial Biosphere Tipping Po int: 1 & 2


Paul Beckwith

Mar 18, 2021
Humanity desperately needs a Climate Operation Warp Speed (COWS). Earthlings must pull out all stops, and work relentlessly until COWS comes home to Earth.

We did it for the coronavirus. The average time to develop a new vaccine is ten years. Since big governments around the planet pushed hard to develop vaccines, it took less than a year, and we know have multiple working vaccines (20? 30?)

Governments around the world put in multi-billion dollar preorders for vaccines, and ongoing deployment logistics to a large fraction of countries population is still ongoing. Science was prepared, with DNA based development, and perhaps lucky. Global cooperation resulted in the fasted vaccine mobilization in history, by an order of magnitude (10x).

This should be a lesson. When facing a world-threatening crisis, there are no substitutes for government leadership. It makes me feel better about our chances in diverting a comet or asteroid if we find one will hit us in a decade or two. Why can’t government do this for our climate crises.

We need COWS. We need COWS.

We will not rest until COWS come home!

There is no time to waste. We are extremely close to a temperature tipping point for the terrestrial biosphere. Our land sink presently captures about 30% (2.6 PgC per year) of our yearly anthropogenic carbon emissions. With Business-as-Usual (BAU) keeping us on the highest emission scenario (RCP8.5) the land temperatures will cause our land carbon sink to become a net carbon source by about 2040, and then atmospheric and ocean carbon will skyrocket.

I discuss the latest science on C3 (most plants) having a photosynthesis maximum at 18C, and C4 plants (grasses, corn) having the maximum at 28C. The mean temperature of the warmest quarter of the year (3 months) passed the thermal maximum for photosynthesis within the last decade. With BAU the land sink capture will halve to only 15% of anthropogenic emissions and the overall land surface will tip to a source.

In Part 1 of my two part video series, I chat about the key highlights of the terrestrial tipping point science.

In Part 2 I delve into the graphs and nitty gritty of the science and why we can expect the land to tip over from a net carbon sink to a carbon source within two decades or so.

Paul Beckwith

Mar 18, 2021

Humanity desperately needs a Climate Operation Warp Speed (COWS). Earthlings must pull out all stops, and work relentlessly until COWS comes home to Earth.

We did it for the coronavirus. The average time to develop a new vaccine is ten years. Since big governments around the planet pushed hard to develop vaccines, it took less than a year, and we know have multiple working vaccines (20? 30?)

Governments around the world put in multi-billion dollar preorders for vaccines, and ongoing deployment logistics to a large fraction of countries population is still ongoing. Science was prepared, with DNA based development, and perhaps lucky. Global cooperation resulted in the fasted vaccine mobilization in history, by an order of magnitude (10x).

This should be a lesson. When facing a world-threatening crisis, there are no substitutes for government leadership. It makes me feel better about our chances in diverting a comet or asteroid if we find one will hit us in a decade or two. Why can’t government do this for our climate crises.

We need COWS. We need COWS.

We will not rest until COWS come home!

There is no time to waste. We are extremely close to a temperature tipping point for the terrestrial biosphere. Our land sink presently captures about 30% (2.6 PgC per year) of our yearly anthropogenic carbon emissions. With Business-as-Usual (BAU) keeping us on the highest emission scenario (RCP8.5) the land temperatures will cause our land carbon sink to become a net carbon source by about 2040, and then atmospheric and ocean carbon will skyrocket.

I discuss the latest science on C3 (most plants) having a photosynthesis maximum at 18C, and C4 plants (grasses, corn) having the maximum at 28C. The mean temperature of the warmest quarter of the year (3 months) passed the thermal maximum for photosynthesis within the last decade. With BAU the land sink capture will halve to only 15% of anthropogenic emissions and the overall land surface will tip to a source.

In Part 1 of my two part video series, I chat about the key highlights of the terrestrial tipping point science.

In Part 2 I delve into the graphs and nitty gritty of the science and why we can expect the land to tip over from a net carbon sink to a carbon source within two decades or so.

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