Wait, What? I thought it was CO2 that was going to 'destroy civilization', not lack of plant life

From the the “Children won’t know what weeds are (h/t to Dr. David Viner) and the we must make more CO2 to save the plants” department, comes this out of left field.

dead-plantsFrom the University of Georgia: Continued destruction of Earth’s plant life places humans in jeopardy, says UGA research

Athens, Ga. – Unless humans slow the destruction of Earth’s declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable, according to a paper published recently by University of Georgia researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years,” said the study’s lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA’s College of Engineering. “The sun’s energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished.”

Earth was once a barren landscape devoid of life, he explained, and it was only after billions of years that simple organisms evolved the ability to transform the sun’s light into energy. This eventually led to an explosion of plant and animal life that bathed the planet with lush forests and extraordinarily diverse ecosystems.

The study’s calculations are grounded in the fundamental principles of thermodynamics, a branch of physics concerned with the relationship between heat and mechanical energy. Chemical energy is stored in plants, or biomass, which is used for food and fuel, but which is also destroyed to make room for agriculture and expanding cities.

Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half. It is estimated that just over 10 percent of that biomass was destroyed in just the last century.

“If we don’t reverse this trend, we’ll eventually reach a point where the biomass battery discharges to a level at which Earth can no longer sustain us,” Schramski said.

Working with James H. Brown from the University of New Mexico, Schramski and UGA’s David Gattie, an associate professor in the College of Engineering, show that the vast majority of losses come from deforestation, hastened by the advent of large-scale mechanized farming and the need to feed a rapidly growing population. As more biomass is destroyed, the planet has less stored energy, which it needs to maintain Earth’s complex food webs and biogeochemical balances.

“As the planet becomes less hospitable and more people depend on fewer available energy options, their standard of living and very survival will become increasingly vulnerable to fluctuations, such as droughts, disease epidemics and social unrest,” Schramski said.

If human beings do not go extinct, and biomass drops below sustainable thresholds, the population will decline drastically, and people will be forced to return to life as hunter-gatherers or simple horticulturalists, according to the paper.

“I’m not an ardent environmentalist; my training and my scientific work are rooted in thermodynamics,” Schramski said. “These laws are absolute and incontrovertible; we have a limited amount of biomass energy available on the planet, and once it’s exhausted, there is absolutely nothing to replace it.”

Schramski and his collaborators are hopeful that recognition of the importance of biomass, elimination of its destruction and increased reliance on renewable energy will slow the steady march toward an uncertain future, but the measures required to stop that progression may have to be drastic.

“I call myself a realistic optimist,” Schramski said. “I’ve gone through these numbers countless times looking for some kind of mitigating factor that suggests we’re wrong, but I haven’t found it.”

###

The study, on “Human Domination of the Biosphere: Rapid Discharge of the Earth-Space Battery Foretells the Future of Humankind,” will be available online at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/recent the week of July 13.


Meanwhile, apparently unnoticed by these researchers, Earth’s Biosphere is booming (thanks to all that added CO2 from the industrial revolution).

Science at work.

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253 thoughts on “Wait, What? I thought it was CO2 that was going to 'destroy civilization', not lack of plant life

  1. The problem is all those solar panels which are reducing the amount of photosynthesis. Scrap the solar panels and grow grass and trees instead. And use lots of nuclear power – fission and then fusion. Simple.

      • All life is dependant of the amount of usable carbon in the carbon cycle.
        Over the millennia, a large amount of carbon has been sequestered as coal and limestone.
        Mining coal and fossil fuels replenishes carbon into the shorter term carbon cycle, making it usable for all life on Earth.
        The planet’s biosphere thanks us. !

      • I remember one young scamp a few years ago postulating that the reason why Gaia invented man was so that he could retrieve all that trapped carbon that the biosphere so desperately needed.

      • Moderators: Don’t tell me that “scamp” put me in the moderation queue. Is your naughty word software really that pathetic?

    • The sun’s energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels
      =================
      nonsense. there is a much, much bigger store of the sun’s energy along with most of the earth’s surface carbon stored in limestone and other rocks. Limestone is fossilized CO2 combined with the calcium dissolved in the ocean.
      the only problem with limestone is that it takes even more energy to get the carbon and energy out. luckily plate tectonics carries the limestone into the earth, where it breaks down under heat and pressure, and reduces in the presence of water (steam) and iron to produce hydrocarbons.
      these hydrocarbons then float up through the crust, where they get trapped on occasion under rock formations, where they build up ready for humans or micro-organisms to make use of. so yes, fossil fuels are made from fossils, they are made from fossilized CO2.

      • Joel D. Jackson : “If what you say is true, how do you explain the bio-markers in every source of crude oil ever produced?”
        The hot deep biosphere. If Gold is correct, life started deep underground with thermophile bacteria feeding off the hydrocarbons

      • Ron House.
        ..
        The problem with Gold’s “theory” of thermophile bacteria is that it can’t explain the existence of porphyrins which are derived from chlorophyll in crude oil.
        ..
        https://books.google.com/books?id=DXEhAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA68&lpg=PA68&dq=chlorophyll+biomarker+crude+oil&source=bl&ots=D6QY8PLFJc&sig=RfAs8gY78-326fPCzfg0MTwvPgY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBmoVChMIq66qxoLcxgIVzrIeCh1t8ALK#v=onepage&q=chlorophyll%20biomarker%20crude%20oil&f=false

      • Ron House

        The problem with Gold’s “theory” is it cannot explain the compounds derived from chlorophyll in crude oil. Remember, thermophilic bacteria don’t have chlorophyll

      • Where is this chlorophyll nonsense you are spouting Joel?
        The paper you linked to does not mention it? Instead that paper lists many different sources of carbon and how the age and maturity of the source rock can be determined from the biomarkers. Nice paper, but it certainly isn’t what you are claiming.
        Either you did not read the paper or you fail to comprehend the paper.
        bio is bio, period.

      • #Joel D J.
        The Russian discovery of abiotic petrolium in the Arctic held zero biomarkers. Look at the date of your reference it is probably pre the new discovery.

      • johnmarshall (July 15, 2015 at 3:38 am)
        They’ve found abiotic oil? They’ve found oil with no biomarkers? Where?
        I know the Russians are claiming the Kara Sea has more oil than the Gulf of Mexico. But I didn’t know it was abiotic oil. Frankly, I would have expected someone to mention it.
        Do you have a reference for this extraordinary claim, please?

      • If what you say is true, then why do all coal deposits contain fossil plant-life? And coal deposits are closely linked with oil deposits, in similar formations and beds.
        So coal is all firmly biotic, while oil is abiotic. Hmm, yes weee beliieeeve. We have the faaithhh.
        Ralph

      • ralfellis, I’m not persuaded that Intelligent Design is necessary but there isn’t any evidence against it.
        This Abiotic Oil idea is far less credible.

      • Data indicates more liquid hydrocarbons on Saturn’s moon, Titan, than all of Earth. Hydrocarbons are abundant in space. Why would anyone think it surprising if abiotic oil was found on Earth?

      • It’s true that hydrocarbons have been found on Titan and elsewhere. However, there is nothing profound about this, since in their simplest form, it’s just one carbon atom. That’s why it’s called “Natural” gas. Ethane with 2 carbon atoms is also on Titan. To get longer chains implies a chemical process. It is theoretically possible for it to occur naturally, but as the chains get longer, it’s becomes more likely that life was involved. Life creates much more complicated molecules that are broken down to result in long hydrocarbon chains.

      • Petroleum is a mixture of different hydrocarbons, with the most common being alkanes. Alkanes generally have from 5 to 40 carbon atoms per molecule. The alkanes from pentane (C5H12) to octane (C8H18) are refined into gasoline, the ones from nonane (C9H20) to hexadecane (C16H34) into diesel fuel, kerosene and jet fuel. Alkanes with more than 16 carbon atoms can be refined into fuel oil and lubricating oil. At the heavier end of the range, paraffin wax is an alkane with approximately 25 carbon atoms, while asphalt has 35 and up.
        Anyone claiming abiotic oil can’t point to Titan as an argument. You will have to come up with a natural chemical process that results in 40 carbon atoms.
        I’m not sure what the point is? Is the agenda that oil is renewable? If so, it is anyways. We can make oil in real time from agricultural waste. No need to wait millions of years. We’ll never run out.

      • “The most complex molecules yet found in space have shown astronomers how such organic matter is created. The evidence points to a rare type of star as the origin for life’s building blocks. Two hydrocarbon molecules called anthracene and pyrene occur in a nebula called the Red Rectangle, 1000 light years from Earth, according to results presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The two molecules contain 24 and 26 atoms respectively, making them about twice the size of the previous record holder, a molecular chain of 13 atoms. They are made of linked rings of carbon atoms, and belong to a class of molecules called polycyclic aromat
        Reference https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/hydrocarbon-molecules-in-space.12375/
        Anyone believe we have found the longest natual hydrocarbon abiotic carbon chain? There are more things in heaven and earth tha Man has ever dreamed of.

    • “The earth was a barren place devoid of life”. After billions of years, simple organisms evolved. I just don’t get the bootstrap for life/evolution.
      Darwin’s theory is the survival of the fittest, postulating the selection of the most adapted from a population of any given species. So, is it not a per-requisite for evolution that life already exists?
      Egg, chicken, egg, omlette

      • Paul Mackey:
        You ask:

        Darwin’s theory is the survival of the fittest, postulating the selection of the most adapted from a population of any given species. So, is it not a per-requisite for evolution that life already exists?

        No. Your question assumes there is only one mechanism of evolution (i.e. natural selection) but there are several. Importantly in the context of your question, there was random combination of chemicals until eventually – by chance – a self-replicating chemical compound existed and, as a result, species came into being.
        Depending on your faith, either
        (a) the entire process is not created
        or
        (b) a Creator established a universe with laws of chance that would eventually result in sentient creatures.
        Science cannot determine which – if either – of these possibilities (a) or (b) is correct.
        Richard

      • Nobody has a clear picture yet how the transition occurred from abiotic organic chemistry to life as we know it. The minimal requirement for selection to set in is some sort of self-replicating unit; that wouldn’t have to be life in the conventional sense but could just be a puddle containing some soup with organic molecules that catalyze their own or each others’ formation. However, again, there is no clear picture or working model of this process.
        I agree with Richard that science can’t determine the role of a creator in this process. Personally, I don’t think the assumption of a supernatural creator is more compelling than that of a natural process that we don’t yet understand.

      • Richard
        C. The process was not created. But a force of intelligent design created sentient creatures. Call it GMO (God Modified Organism) Man. Afterall, are GMO crops the result of evolution or a manmade creation? Actually, that explanation would solve a lot of priblems in the creation concept. I doubt, though, that it’s any closer to the truth than any other ideas (can’t call some ‘theories’) we have on the subject. Anyone claiming to know the truth is worth avoiding discussing this with.

      • Good point Paul. The odds of chemical evolution resulting in the first minimal viable life form has been calculated as 1 in 10 ^ 41,000. The probabilistic resources of the universe has been calculated as 10 ^ 139 events. That’s why the believers in chance have shifted to an infinite number of universes.
        There is no natural explanation for life. Let’s just leave it at that.

      • Anyone who thinks that science has demonstrated how life was created from inanimate soup does not under the level of complexity in the biochemistry of cells, IMO.
        Some think because simple sugars, and amino acids, and micelles, and some other more complex molecular species can form spontaneously by abiotic processes, that this somehow demonstrates that life began by spontaneous generation.
        There is no credible evidence that this can or did occur.
        One clue will be if/when we find other life in the solar system, and how it does or does not relate to earthly life.
        The discovery of life from beyond the solar system, and a similar analysis and comparison with the biochemistry of earthly life, stands a chance to be even more telling.
        Some seem to think God is disproved by the unlikelihood of an old guy with a long beard living up in the clouds and keeping a close eye on people’s lives.
        The truth is no one knows where the Universe came from, or where life came from, or where consciousness came from.
        These are the fundamental mysteries, in my view, and science has shed zero light on any ultimate answers.
        It has provided fodder for more and better questions.

      • Well said Menicholas.
        I will say that science has shed some light on these mysteries, by clarifying the sheer scope. The cell was thought to be nothing 100 years ago, but has been slowly revealed by science to be an engineering marvel beyond human capability and understanding. A software – hardware system that automatically creates itself.

      • Yes, Darwin did not try to solve how life got started, but, assuming it did, how variation and adaptation happened. But things have moved on since 1859: in fact there’s a lot of interesting work being done on how life got started. The approach that I think is most fruitful, because they take seriously all of the kinetic and thermodynamic problems, as well as the question of containment, and make detailed, testable proposals, is that from the University of Glasgow team: http://www.gla.ac.uk/projects/originoflife/ . Mike Russell, one of the team’s members, is now at JPL, and you can find more recent stuff here: http://science.jpl.nasa.gov . Both sites include a large number of original articles published in scientific journals.

  2. So… how in the world does tapping oil reservoirs – buried safely under teratons of rock, for the most part – affect the “Earth-space battery?” Does it periodically tap energy from those deep pools of oil and gas to keep the biosphere going?
    Or are the authors completely, hilariously insane?

      • If you’ll check out your local power pole, there are three wires up there, and one connects to a wire that runs down the pole to a metal stake in the ground.
        Coincidence? I think not.

      • Actually there are poles connected at each end of the Dynamo we call earth. Pretty sure there is a recharge station nearby, likely near the centre of the orbit.

      • Of course it is coincidence. The wires evolved over time as nature selected out the non grounded ones.

    • Well where I live it is all over the news that we are going to have anew ice age by 2030 because the sun has “nodded off.”
      One written source even said we were going to have a Maunder minimum.
      I guess they just never heard that we already had that around 400 years ago.
      So the MSM already as their new buzz word to replace MMCAGWCC.
      Maunder minimums are the new thing that is caused by CO2. The sun gets bored to tears and “nods off.”
      I believe Huffpoop and CNN both have the story; I even heard RL announcing it on the radio.
      But so far it is being kept a secret from WUWT, because they don’t want to overload us with things to worry about.
      So this is it folks; the sky is falling for real this time.
      G << g

      • The Torygraph had that too. 15 years to the next Little Ice Age.
        It was not to be taken uncritically.

    • “”””””….. “I’ve gone through these numbers countless times looking for some kind of mitigating factor that suggests we’re wrong, but I haven’t found it.”……””””””
      Ah not to worry; there’s the out.
      He just hasn’t found it yet.
      For a while I was thinking he had proved it wasn’t there.
      So move along; nothing to see here.

      • Apparently, he did not notice that 70% or so of Earth is covered with water and under the water there are algae, plankton and fish.
        And, of course, humans are also biomass, and we also decay, we do not like to, but we also decay.
        BTW, accordint to wikipedia. (I know, I know) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomass_%28ecology%29

        Bacterial biomass
        There are typically 50 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water. In all, it has been estimated that there are about five million trillion trillion, or 5 × 1030 (5 nonillion) bacteria on Earth with a total biomass equaling that of plants.[12] Some researchers believe that the total biomass of bacteria exceeds that of all plants and animals.

        Malthus did not like fish either. So it seems.

    • The authors are from UGA. Other than an occasional football star, what of note comes from UGA?

      • Athens Greece has a lot of fools some pretending to be politicians of the socialist (or should that be communist) sort plus a lot of sheep that like the idea of handouts. Seems that applies in Athens Georgia.

  3. Man! …what a whopper!
    Filled with gruesome horror and it’s not even that time of year.
    Should make great fodder for Hollywood SciFi. If they start filming now, it might be ready by Halloween.

    • See “Day After Tomorrow”. Been there done that. I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know if they blamed it on global warming or not. My son told me about it.

  4. This is wrong on one count, possibly right on another.
    Photosynthesis evolved billions of years ago (evidences by fossilized stromal mats and the geology of iron ore (rust) formation in aperiod that began about 2.4 billion years ago. Multicellular evoved in the preCambrian, after all the iron was oxidized and oxygen levels could begin to build in the atmosphere.
    OTH, there are limits to natural (and to genetically engineered) photosynthetic efficiency, to arable land, and to many (but not all, from what is presently known) potential food crop yields including using GMO. More CO2 and longer temperate growing seasons both help, especialy with C3 photosynthesis pathway plants. The facts of the world given the nature of its landmasses, temperate zones, and rainfall patterns does place a vague upper ‘soft’ limit on ‘Gaia’s’ biomass carrying capacity for humans, no matter whether that biomass is fossilized, living, or GMO engineered. These issues are explored (and figurated) factually and visually in Gaia’s Limits. No Ehrlich catastrophies, but some glide paths to ‘sustainability’ are a lot less bumpy than others..

    • “””””…..but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished.”…..””””
      This statement is in direct conflict with the claim that we can supply all of man’s energy needs with just solar energy.
      Either the total solar input is way more than our entire usage or way less, but it cannot be both.

      • GS, it it depends on what ‘solar input’ is converted to. If the planet were completely covered by solar panels, then yes we would theoretically (ignoring transmission) have enough electricity–but no food. Or cover only deserts like the Sahara with solar. Then, ignoring transmission, we might have enough of both (a seriously bruted scenario). Ah, ignoring both cost and transmission.
        Esay to invent fantasy worlds. Very hard to engineer them.

      • Joel, only during the day. The other hemisphere is going to be awful dark when the Sahara is in dark.

      • So just using the Sahara
        ====================
        “just”? how long would it take a team of 1000 workers to install 9,400,000 km² of panels?

      • MarkW….please read the link and follow the mathematical calculations in it before you make such a foolish statement

        ..
        ferdberple….. Solves the unemployment problem now doesn’t it?

      • COmpared to the claim that we can power the world with solar panels, any statement looks sane and rational.

      • MarkW…I never said “we can power the world with solar panels”

        My point was to refute the statement made by ristvan.
        Ristvan said ” If the planet were completely covered by solar panels, then yes we would theoretically (ignoring transmission) have enough electricity–but no food.”

        All I did was to show how foolish his statement was. Theoretically if we had 500,000 km² panes, we’d have not only enough power for everything, there would be plenty of land left over for growing food.

      • Joel,
        I looked at the calcs.
        I didn’t see any discussion about peak requirements.
        I don’t design electrical systems, but when I design water systems the peak demand (per plumbing code requirements) is huge. When I can avoid the regulatory crap and I just design for efficiency I use a peaking factor of about 12 for a small system.
        What peaking factor do you suggest for a large electrical system as associated with solar panels only? What level of redundancy should be used? Do you live in Colorado? Are you taking advantage of the recent regulatory changes there?

      • DonM….

        Yes, there was no discussion of ” peak requirements”

        I guess you missed the forest while examining the trees.

        The calculations are for the total global </b BTU consumption of all forms of energy. Not only electricity, but also for transportation and heat.

        The whole point being is that the entire
        global consumption of energy is equivalent to the amount of solar energy falling on half a million square kilometers. That area is about 5% of the area of the Sahara desert.

      • I think Joel said just the Sahara, would supply 18 times the world’s total energy.
        Last time I checked, the world spends on average about half the time in the dark, and half in the light. So Joel’s number says just in daylight the Sahara provides nine times the entire world’s 24 hour energy needs.
        I wasn’t going to do the areal calculation myself but I figured somebody would.
        And I would trust Joel’s calculation.
        Now my seat of the pants hip shoot would have said; yes there’s plenty of energy in daytime sunlight; not so much at night.
        Now I think a solar powered aeroplane just flew from Japan to Hawaii, of maybe halfway to Hawaii in five days or so.
        Lindbergh flew to Paris in about 30-33 hours or so, maybe 80 years ago.
        So we don’t need fossil fuels to fly anymore.
        But you will need five spare days to fly from coast to coast on that business trip; (maybe to line up a new Federal grant.)
        g

      • Also with transmission lines over the north pole a la R Buckminster Fuller, you don’t really have a peaking problem any more. We use theirs while they are sleeping, and verse vicea.
        g

      • Just think, all the UN folk of whatever stripe will no longer be able to fly to exotic places for confabs. In other words, it will never come to pass.

      • What does the ability of what 1000 workers can achieve have to do with anything?
        How long would it take 1000 people to grow all the food the world uses?
        Talk about a straw man!

    • I read somewhere, that using hydroponics and grow lights, all of the world’s food supply could be grown in a cube 1 mile square.
      The world could easily support 2 to 3 times it’s current population. Which really doesn’t matter because the world’s population is going to peak in the next 15 to 30 years, and then start falling.

      • This seems rather dubious. Think of how many square miles of farmland there are in the US alone.
        Even stacked up, if the levels were only 5 feet high, then that would be about 1000 square miles.
        Equivalent to an area about 33 miles on a side. Or one or two counties in Iowa. And 1000 plots in a cube only one mile high seems pretty darn unlikely, and the corn would be real short!

    • Stromatolite mats at least 3.2 and likely 3.5 bya. Therefore “one”, not “several” billion years to photosynthesis. Niggling in this context but very interesting in that they represent fairly evolved colonial bacteria that beg a much earlier date for life…somewhere.

  5. ok, I got it…
    Humans destroyed “biomass”…..which released “carbon”…..
    500 billion tons of “carbon”….50 billion tons of “carbon” in the last century
    Well thank God they invented the ball point…cause that’s one hell of a lot of carbon
    At least Athens gave us the B52’s………

  6. John Schramski appears to be an Environmental Engineer. Having worked with some Environmental Engineers, they all appear to suffer from a certain amount of reality dissonance.

    • Hey Janice,
      “…worked with SOME …, they ALL appear to suffer….”
      The logic doesn’t make sense to me, although the conclusion certainly appears reasonable (from my experience). Being one of them, I can’t argue that I don’t suffer from a CERTAIN AMOUNT of reality dissonance.

      • Hey Don,
        Sorry that I confused you so much, but I’m used to that happening while talking with Environmental Engineers. “I worked with some Environmental Engineers. All of those I have worked with appeared to suffer from a certain amount of reality dissonance.” You are right, Don, that does read better. I will mark you down as being an Environmental Engineer with a certain amount of reality resonance.

    • Well that’s where the 65% of US Physics PhDs who never ever get a real permanent job in their specialty, end up, on staff or as post doc fellows and fellowesses, of course plus the other 57 recognized genera. Hermaphrodites don’t fit into any of those catalogs, but then they are totally self contained.

    • I just had a brilliant idea. Why not convert Drax to burning coal?
      That would immediately save an awful lot of trees. And, as a bonus, it would help to make the planet greener.
      Seriously, Drax is a perfect example of how green fantasies end up destroying the environment.
      Chris

  7. We will end up with a monospecies of plant….
    I for one welcome my new plant overlords..
    .

      • The Triffids are bummed out ’cause they can’t join the groovy dance party, plus they are high on too much CO2.

      • Ken,
        There actually is a CO2 connection. The initial 15 secs shows bubbling that its clearly due to dry ice under some liquid.

    • TYoke,
      Oh hell and I thought that was our new plant overlords just photosynthesising and producing oxygen for us so they can continue their parasitic feeding.
      P.S. I wish to repeat that I welcome our new plant overlords. I might have a place in the new order.

    • and I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills….

  8. …because there is no biomass in agricultural and urban environments, I’m left to assume…

  9. Stupidier and stupidier and stupidier. Is there no end to stupid? I wish someone who come up with a cure for stupid – they would make a fortune.

    • Stupid folks don’t know they are stupid, by definition, since they are stupid, so no one would take the cure.

      • There was a recent comment somewhere about taxing “stupid”. That would be a better money maker than a cure.

    • “Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”
      ― Robert A. Heinlein

  10. Wait! Wait!
    How come we Yanks are cutting down trees and using some for lumber and the rest for “pellets” we ship to Great Britain to burn in stoves?
    I am missing something on this cycle.
    Down here in the southeast U.S. we grow trees for wood. Yeah, they capture and sequester the evil carbon gas and provide lottsa oxygen, but in 15 years or so can provide 2 x 4 lumber, plywood veneer, charcoal briquettes, paper, pellets to ship to the Motherland, and so forth. Guess we just don’t get it.
    Gums opines….

    • NASA research is showing an increase of NPP and an expansion of rain forest area – in those places where humans aren’t chopping it down to grow bio fuel crops that is…

    • Those pellets don’t all go to GB. I incinerate around 5 ton or so to heat my house here in the US and happen to know of many others who do likewise..

  11. Isn’t agriculture creating biomass? What, it doesn’t count if we eat it? Did they count all of the biomass in the oceans? These people need glass bellybuttons to see where they are going. Photosynthesis goes on, assuming we don’t run out of CO2.

  12. I am gobsmacked at the utter stupidity of this one. Earth as a battery, oh my God.
    We need to have a monthly contest, with real voting and so on, to elect the stupidest paper, statement, or whatever from the alarmist side. Then once each year pick one of the 12 to be the yearly winner. I suggest the yearly winner should somehow be timed to coincide with April Fool’s Day.

  13. I read it twice, mainly to try and understand what the hell they’re talking about: they use a strange language indeed. To me, they sound like ice-holes : the “Schramski ice-hole”, the “Gattie ice-hole” and the “Brown ice-hole”.
    Ah well, I can only suppose that their language is the kind that will suck in large GRAVY TRAIN PAYMENTS from the tax-payers: why else would these people write such drivel ? Seems like the lunatics are in charge of the EPA asylum AND they get paid too !

  14. Burning the deuterium in the oceans would give us 10 trillion more years at current world energy consumption rates.

  15. Doesn’t all such nonsense remind you of how a religion spreads itself into many various sects, all based on some fixed assumption? These particular ravings aren’t even the logical, intelligent consequences following the underlying assumption (i.e. CO2 caused run-away global warming) – so I suspect Schramski’s IQ isn’t on the Einstein level. It is really only worth a laugh – thanks, Anthony).

  16. Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half.

    Soooo….instead of burning wood we should be burning coal and oil? We should clear land to grow edible plants?
    Is this a “We’re all gonna die and it’s our fault!” fallback position?

    • I was going to ask the same thing. I find his claims and reasonings bizarrely ignorant of basic botany, biology, and chemistry.

      • I agree. I am not even going to begin to criticize this paper, because it is not even stupid.

      • I question the source and accuracy ot their data. It seems to me that carbon is a constant which moves from organic to inorganic and back with ease and that the Earth on balance receives more energy and mass than it loses. Every where on Earth evidence of early life is buried below later life. Egypt contains pyramids below the sand. This planet has to be growing as we have more incoming than outgoing mass and energy.
        Max

  17. But, but… if we burn down all the trees and plants then we’ll release enormous amounts of CO2 which will feed all those starving plants, right?!?? We can save the world!
    P.S. I’m working on getting that published in the pal-reviewed literature. I’ll need some coauthors; any volunteers? It will help if you’re fond of hallucinogens, have shared the Nobel Peace prize with Al Gore, and enjoy hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because it feels good when you stop. Oh, and you must be depressed; really, really depressed.

  18. Battery, schmattery! I say we drill a hole to the center of the earth and pump in a buncha heavy water to act as a neutron moderator for the radioactive elements down there. Then we will have a built-in nuclear reactor!

  19. They forget that this planet was made as a paradise for blue green algae. They had the place to themselves for billions of years, they thought there was a never ending supply of iron in the oceans to absorb their waste products, how wrong can you be. We are the blue greens nightmare scenario, an intelligent, industrialised culture that thrives on their excrement but treats them as toxic and worthy of annihilation. We are the monsters.

  20. To John Schramski:
    You can think of the federal budget like a battery that is constantly being charged with billions of dollars from taxpayers each year. The money is stored in the treasury but greedy universities keep coming up with nefarious ways to drain it much faster than it can be replenished – as you did.

  21. If this Prof. considers the Earth a battery, then it’s constantly being recharge by radioactive elements below and the sun above. The “electrolytes” stay in the system.
    Most deforestation results in a different plant being grown. Oil palms in Asia and sugar cane in Brazil to give 2 examples. While that’s not wonderful, where’s the discharge? Burning fossil fuels perhaps but the released CO2 increases plant growth. We’re @400 ppm now while the ideal amount for plants is 1200ppm based on what greenhouses use to encourage production.
    I would also think, based on oxygen production alone that the oceans account for almost all living plant biomass on the planet. Of course we are doing our best to strip fish life to nothing. Gotta fix that issue real soon.
    I have the deepest respect for thermodynamics. It’s the hardest subject in Engineering studies, but this report as seen here is just lame.

    • That’s “Electoralites” that remain in the system. No real effective way (legally) to rid of those bums.

  22. “Unless humans slow the destruction of Earth’s declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable”
    “Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half. It is estimated that just over 10 percent of that biomass was destroyed in just the last century.”
    Declining supply of plant life? Reduced living biomass? Where do these scientists live? Modern agriculture practices probably produce more living biomass than that estimated to exist 2,000 years ago.

    • jayhd, these guys have never ever heard of GMOs or genetically modified foods.
      When push comes to shove we can just make all of our food out of the rocks, just like Mother Gaia does. No real need to have biomass to make food; they just make it out of the rocks so we can do that too.
      g

    • The US has more forestland today than in 1900. That’s what happens when you produce energy from fossil fuels instead of using the forests for firewood. Apply this solution to third-world countries, and the total biomass of the world will increase.

  23. Biomass Battery… ain’t that a cropper-top! Makes you think of all those times your old batteries let you down. Great sales pitch though.
    Great subliminal overpop scare too. This one is a pessimist’s feast of negativity.

  24. The alarmists sit around thinking of new and different ways CO2 could possibly harm the planet, concoct a theory/story, then get it published by the ever ready MSM. All it has to do is include one of the words “carbon dioxide, sustainability, global warming, or climate change” and it’s home free. Some nut case in the UK is comparing climate change to nuclear war….and the MSM was glad to spread the news. The recent study that says there’s a possibility of an ice age like period from 2030 t0 2050 barely received lip service.

  25. Somebody can correct me if I’m wrong but I understood that the biomass of the “kingdom” of animals that depend solely on the energy of deep sea vents is greater than the other two kingdoms combined. Photosynthesis not necessary there and lots of carbon based life. So how does that fit in to the thermodynamic model?

  26. When they talk about biomass, do they mean forests? Forests had to be cleared to make way for land usable for agriculture. Without reducing the biomass you could not increase food production nor population.
    Are we to return to foraging?

  27. After I die, I want to be reborn as an eschatologist. Again and again. Ok, my first 10,000 reincarnations will end in disappointment as the end of times didn’t happen but, eventually, either by fire or ice or impacting lump of dead rock or, horror of horrors, a weed-free lawn, the end of the world will prove that my predictions and predilections of imminent demise were spot on.
    Of course, I could take the easy route to fame and fortune, despite the consequent depressive angst, overt media exposure and tear-stained cheeks, and become a climate scientist or, indeed, anyone with academic credentials in those modern branches of fundatropic ‘sciences’ whose parasitic indulgences at the public teat has increased monotonically but, and this may sound paradoxical, at an hyperbolic rate.
    Or, I may just come back as Billy-Boy or Micky-Man!

    • Monsanto can put in your weed free lawn tomorrow. I have several neighbors in my area that already have Astroturf lawns.

  28. ““If we don’t reverse this trend,”
    Umm we have already started to reverse the trend. There is an increase of some 15-20% (can’t remember the actual number) in the worlds biosphere because we have increased the atmospheric CO2 level from the just survival level of 300ppm.
    If we want the planet to flourish, and we want to feed the world’s increasing population, we MUST continue to increase the aCO2 percentage..
    Towards 700ppm + !!!

    • “Towards 700ppm + !!!”
      Love that thought, Andy, but that’s one h*ck of a task.
      If we were the big players in CO2 production we could do it, albeit, at enormous cost!
      When it comes to combining elemental Carbon with Oxygen we’re just junior partners, according to the IPPC, and outvoted by Moma Gaia shareholders by 20 to 30 times.
      Fortunately, despite our ultra expensive ‘sustainable green-solutions’ efforts to contribute even less than our current measly 3-5% CO2 contribution to the biosphere than natural sources, the ‘simple’ physics (once the sums are done) of manufacture and distribution do help boost the figures despite being the antithesis of what they were designed to do.
      The third-world with its demands of energy parity with ourselves and its selfish insistence on eradicating indigenous poverty, infant mortality and economic misery is taking a route towards your 700ppm and onwards by factoring pragmatic economic and engineering issues above first-world emotional touchy-feely stuff.
      I, like you, Andy look forward to a world where, again, the important things in life are those that actually matter, not just flatter!

  29. The recently accelerated ‘End-is-Nigh’ stuff has brought me to an axiom that I have enlarged on in other threads. Human caused mega disaster has been forecast over the last few centuries or so [Malthus 1798: “An Essay on the Principle of Population” had us buried in horse manure because of expanding cities, Jevons – 1865- “The Coal Question” – the end of the industrial revolution because of running out of coal, “Limits to Growth” – 1950s and 70s and up to today, and all this pre Paris last shot production, which is a crescendo of insanity.
    The Axiom: This and countless other doom scenarios NEVER came to pass. I don’t think it bold to say it is AXIOMATIC THAT EXTREME PREDICTIONS OF HUMAN CAUSED DOOM CANNOT COME TRUE because they leave out the overpowering dynamic ingenuity of humankind in their thinking. Unconstrained by this first order principal component, their thoughts (and heartfelt concerns) soar through the roof of reality. Nature only has a lock on the possibility of World ending disaster. A planet in which life has been an unbroken constant for over 2 billion years has seen far worse than anything we could concoct (bombing Hiroshima: radiation there returned to background levels in one year). Stupidity is our most dangerous weapon as far as human economies and civilization are concerned – we can’t surrender to it. But even if we did, we would eventually come back again.

  30. Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half. It is estimated that just over 10 percent of that biomass was destroyed in just the last century.

    Eh, do the math, for God’s sake.
    See Global Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions:

    Since 1751 approximately 337 billion metric tonnes of carbon have been released to the atmosphere from the consumption of fossil fuels and cement production.

    Now, 90% of “almost half” of “1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago” is certainly more than that.
    That is, preindustrial carbon emissions were larger than industrial ones. Weird &. likely untrue.

  31. The laws of thermodynamics have nothing whatsoever to do with how plants grow. They simply say cold things can’t heat hot things (like the cold atmosphere can’t heat the warm surface of the Earth). This charlatanism is beyond a joke

    • Well you know what they say; Military planning works really well up to the time that you first engage the enemy !!

  32. Sustainable energy to save biosphere
    Solution: Use geologically stored solar energy (aka coal) to reduce pressure on biosphere while increasing plant food (aka CO2) to relieve pressure on biosphere. Then develop cost effective sustainable fuels and power from non-bio resources. e.g., dedicated large scale solar and nuclear power to fuel and electricity.

  33. ““The sun’s energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished.””
    If we are draining it faster than it is coming in, the Earth must be cooling. 🙂

  34. Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half.

    The Sahara used to be lush. It isn’t now. It has nothing to do with humans.

  35. So ‘Silent Running’ was actually prescient rather than being the most irrational dumb SF movie of all time? 🙂

  36. I can’t do better than to quote what I read…..
    Get more CO2 into the atmosphere.
    For one, the plants are starving for it: “The fundamental reason why carbon dioxide abundance in the atmosphere is critically important to biology is that there is so little of it. A field of corn growing in full sunlight in the middle of the day uses up all the carbon dioxide within a meter of the ground in about five minutes. If the air were not constantly stirred by convection currents and winds, the corn would not be able to grow.”
    Vaclav Smil: ENERGY AT THE CROSSROADS: GLOBAL PERSPECITVES AND UNCERTAINTIES, MIT Press, 2003
    Secondly, the whole fable of man-made global warming (AGW) is in any case a political and intellectual fraud, as in http://tinyurl.com/q4rtmvf
    Thirdly, AGW is, further, not allowed by THE FOUR LAWS WITHOUT WHICH NOTHING WHATSOEVER THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE THAT HAPPENS, HAPPENS as in http://tinyurl.com/pvzva68 and their corollary as in http://tinyurl.com/ot2hlp4
    …..and to draw attention to this video:

    • I am amazed that plant life survives let alone flourishes on a trace gas. The biomass of plants far exceeds animals yet we work with about 20% O2 whereas plants get just 4% CO2. From where I’m sitting I see one 45# border collie, a massive maple, 0aks and a pine forest. Gaia must be unhappy with the inbalance.
      Max

  37. “the vast majority of losses come from deforestation, hastened by the advent of large-scale mechanized farming”
    But if only 10 percent of the biomass loss occurred in the past 100 years, how did the other 90 percent get destroyed? Did they have large-scaled mechanized farming before the 20th Century? Besides, don’t farms produce biomass? And won’t an increase in CO2 help increase biomass? It appears to be a self-correcting problem. If there was more biomass during the Roman Warm Period, perhaps it was because of the warmer climate and the release of CO2 by warming oceans. Just a thought.

  38. I just looked for the original – not there yet.
    Wasn’t expecting to learn anything, but curious about the very first “sciency” “research” paper I’ve ever seen written in the first person???!!!

  39. When these “scientists” do “science”, it is laughable. But they also teach. Wait for their students to become professors. The future is bright indeed.

  40. Perhaps I don’t understand what “biomass” is, but this sounds like “natural” plant growth is good, “cultivated” plant growth is bad.
    I are cornfused…

    • If you understood and bieved the rationale behind this paper, it would mean you are deluded and/or a nitwit.
      Being cornfused by warmista jackassery is a badge of honor and a hallmark of intelligence.

      • Thanks, I’ll wear it proudly!
        I think I like the word “jackassery” even better than “cornfused”!!

  41. Coming from the same folks who encourage the destruction of the rain forest for ethanol and wood fires for third world poor instead of fossil fuels……..

  42. “You can think of the Earth like (sic) a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years,”
    Or you can think of the Earth as a nuttery that has been filled with wackazoids.
    Or you can think of the Earth as a gigantic 2-ball, circling the huge, hot 1-ball in the sky…
    Or you can think of the Earth as a Rubik’s Cube, only spherical.
    Or you can think of the Earth as a place where academics are allowed to act out their belief in magical thinking.
    Or you can think of the Earth as a planet. Well, maybe not.

  43. Declining biomass? These UGA guys are welcome to come mow my lawn. There’s some real world biomass for you.

  44. “These laws [of thermodynamics] are absolute and incontrovertible; we have a limited amount of biomass energy available on the planet, and once it’s exhausted, there is absolutely nothing to replace it.”

    There are laws stating the conservation of mass and energy alright, but there is no such law for the conservation of “biomass.” Indeed, photosynthesis is a very powerful mechanism for creating biomass entirely from abiotic precursors. The biomass of the plants found on earth at any given time dates back decades or centuries at the most, not “millions of years.”
    Breathtaking balderdash.

    • Michael Palmer says: >”The biomass of the plants found on earth at any given time dates back decades or centuries at the most, not “millions of years.”
      ..
      Except for the fact that Michael doesn’t think that the biomass that created all of the coal is a lot older than decades or centuries.
      Most of the earth’s coal is in fact millions of years old.

      • Of course coal was created from biomass, but coal itself is not biomass. The currently extant plant biomass was not created from other biomass (with the exception of carnivorous plants, that is), but from abiotic substrates. Biomass can be converted to abiotic mass and back pretty freely. The whole idea of biomass conservation or limitation is silly.

      • Just about all of the coal formed during the carboniferous period, after plants developed the ability to synthesize lignin, and before any organisms developed the ability to digest it.
        Plants during this age had multiple times more lignin, and every single bit of it stayed right where it fell for millions of years. And it’s presence inhibits decomposition of other organic material. Back then, plants had as much as a 20 to 1 ratio of bark to wood. Nowadays, it is rarely even as high as 1 to 4.
        Once lignin digesting organisms evolved, coal formation became much more unlikely and was rare.
        Lignin, with it multiple cross-linked polymer chains, which cannot be broken down by any single enzyme, even today:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lignin_structure.svg
        I encourage anyone interested to read up on lignin, it’s significance in soil formation and health, in the difficulty of creating biofuels from raw plant materials, and many other aspects of biochemistry and industry.
        And the Carboniferous period is a fascinating time, and makes for some great reading as well.

      • Menicholas – interesting, didn’t know that. How about lignite? If I understand it correctly, it is a lot more recent than black coal, so presumably it would have formed in spite of microbial lignite breakdown activity.

      • Approaching half a billion years according to the meme. Coal, maybe. Methane, not so much. The isotopes tell the story. Coal is cruising with the vegetation in the negative mid twenties PDB. Ok. Natural gas (methane, etc.) averages negative sixty and up. Serious disconnect.
        The one aspect of Thomas Gold’s hypothesis (oh, the irony) that has not been answered is mass balance. How do you account for more methane than could conceivably been produced from all the biomass that ever existed?
        A weird and possibly interesting corollary: how you explain that current volcanic Carbon production estimated at the low tenths of a GtC per year (and seemingly low by paleo standards) when multiplied by, say, 4 billion years; yields more Carbon than we can imagine?

    • Balderdash is right. The idea that “the laws of thermodynamics” of physical systems can be extended, metaphorically, to the biomass of the Earth is fanciful: living things take in energy and utilize it to create increasingly complex phenomena, and new life; they are in a sense anti-entropic.
      Remember, too, that a very large part of the Earth’s biomass is microscopic. From Wikipedia, article on ‘Biomass'”

      Apart from bacteria, the total live biomass on Earth is about 560 billion tonnes C, and the total annual primary production of biomass is just over 100 billion tonnes C/yr. However, the total live biomass of bacteria may exceed that of plants and animals. . .

      I don’t think we’re in any danger of running out of it, unless we foolishly find a way to get rid of all the life-giving CO2.
      /Mr Lynn

      • Even if we managed to deplete the biomass carbon as well as all fossil fuels and sequester it all as minerals (carbonates), we could still reclaim it, given an ample source of energy such as thorium fission or nuclear fusion. We could use that energy to convert abundant calcium carbonate to calcium silicate, releasing CO2 in the process, and leave it to the plants to convert that back into biomass.
        I truly wonder what these people have been thinking. (Maybe I should go to the extreme of reading the actual paper, but I’m afraid it will be bad for my blood pressure.)

  45. Wow! Just wow! This paper is either satire or the authors are stupid beyond the ability of human imagination. Someone please archive this in case it disappears down the rabbit hole.

  46. we have a limited amount of biomass energy available on the planet, and once it’s exhausted, there is absolutely nothing to replace it” I’m replace it with my garden.

  47. Perhaps they missed this?
    Recent reversal in loss of global terrestrial biomass. Yi Y. Liu et al. Nature Climate Change 5,
    470–474, (2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2581
    “From 2003 onwards, forest in Russia and China expanded and tropical deforestation declined. Increased ABC associated with wetter conditions in the savannahs of northern Australia and southern Africa reversed global ‘aboveground biomass carbon’ (ABC) loss, leading to an overall gain, consistent with trends in the global carbon sink reported in recent studies’
    In ‘Environment’: Despite Decades Of Deforestation, The Earth Is Getting Greener. March 31, 2015
    at: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/despite-decades-deforestation-earth-getting-greener

  48. I don’t see cause to be alarmed based on the vegetation index. The following paper described the reliability and validity of the various indices and helpfully indicates where changes up or down are not significant.
    http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rasmus_Fensholt/publication/223824867_Evaluation_of_earth_observation_based_long_term_vegetation_trends__Intercomparing_NDVI_time_series_trend_analysis_consistency_of_Sahel_from_AVHRR_GIMMS_Terra_MODIS_and_SPOT_VGT_data/links/0c9605375f15693d01000000.pdf

  49. Fifty years ago this claim would have been dismissed out of hand with a gentle “poor old Dave, there he goes again”

  50. Most of the deforestation is the result of bio-fuel sc@ms.
    Regardless, pretty much every study done that examines the real world, has found that bio-mass has been increasing tremendously in recent decades.

  51. Is it April the first?
    I cant believe this is for real. The story as I understood it – the primative atmosphere was a huge reserve of Carbon stored as CO2. This atmospheric CO2 was not a polutant but a precondition for the evolution of a Carbon-based life forms. Those Carbon-based lifeforms (the biosphere) have over geological time been shifting the Carbon from the atmosphere into the ground – natural sequestration – every Carbon atom in coal oil gas limestone in the ground has come from the atmosphere by the power of photosynthesis as a result of natural processes. Pretty well every atom of Oxygen in the atmosphere is a waste product of that process. The real threat to the biosphere is not a surplus of CO2 but the declining amount of CO2 available to photosynthesisers.
    At just 400 ppm we are sitting on the bottom edge of efficiency. If we really care about the biosphere the best thing we could do is put all that sequestered CO2 back in the atmosphere and make it available to photosynthesisers all over again.

    • This message is gradually getting out there. Keep the truth about CO2 foremost, front and centre.
      The atmosphere and the biosphere need MORE of it not less!
      I first used the phrase “Towards 700ppm” on the 350.org forum, stating that 350ppm was actually very close to “just survival” level for the biosphere !….. and promptly got banned. 🙂
      (obviously, 700ppm is chosen as a counterpoint to 350ppm, we could actually do with an even higher level)
      Now I use it wherever appropriate.
      TOWARD 700ppm 🙂
      CO2 – Greening the Planet.

  52. Based on the trend since 2007, US energy consumption should be negative by 2045. Our growing population will be like an ever larger “battery”. Problem solved. Extrapolation is fun!

  53. The technology fixes for this problem are already known. Ocean Iron Fertilization has been demonstrated to dramatically increase ocean biome productivity. Using algae in place of nitrogen fertilizer works for terrestrial applications. These are effective ways to accelerate biological productivity while returning some carbon back to the soil and oceans – to recharge the biomass battery – while also benefitting humanity.
    Assuming their findings are accurate, the worst thing we could possibly do would be to take CO2 out of the cycle and sequester it underground.

    • Nice link, AndyH, but they don’t seem to mention raised CO2 levels,
      but they must be pumping the toxic pollutant in , in huge amounts

  54. Actually fossil fuel usage — by adding CO2 to the atmosphere, enhancing the productivity of the planet and allowing us to meet human needs while reducing our dependence on living nature — has allowed the planet’s productivity to increase beyond what it was in pre-industrial times (according to the IPCC). In other words, the planet’s biomass today exceeds what it was in pre-industrial times. See the post, Have Fossil Fuels Diminished the World’s Sustainability and Resilience?, on WUWT.
    So these folks should be cheering fossil fuels.

  55. The extra CO2 is just going to make all vegetation more productive and more productive and so on.
    It is already having an impact on vegetation everywhere.

  56. “You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years,” said the study’s lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA’s College of Engineering. “The sun’s energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished.”
    I think somebody just discovered Peak Oil. I don’t think this is a novel new theory.

  57. “…people will be forced to return to life as hunter-gatherers.”
    If all, or nearly all, of the biomass disappears what are hunter-gatherers going to hunt and gather?

  58. What an idiocratic bogus metaphor.
    Burning fossil fuels is not draining the battery.
    More of the world is green today than it was 100’s of years ago.
    The world is greening more- in the oceans and on land than it was 50 years ago.

  59. “Working with James H. Brown from the University of New Mexico, Schramski and UGA’s David Gattie, an associate professor in the College of Engineering, show that the vast majority of losses come from deforestation….”
    Gee wiz, haven’t they noticed that since the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere that the trees and plants are flourishing? Just look at your back yard in the last 10 to 20 years – it’s become overgrown. Trees are flourishing, and bushes, weeds, grass, you name it – they can’t see the “forest for the trees”. My old neighborhood is overgrown with plants…and so are all the other old neighborhoods of my youth…

  60. United Nations Geography Institute Make a Startling Revelation!
    C + O2 = CO2
    This newly discovered Super Reaction depletes the Atmosphere of Oxygen at twice the mole of diatomic oxygen!
    Director Niles Nilepute explains, ” We are Doomed …. DOOMED!” Director Nilepute shit in his trousers at the News Conference so he had to be relieved of duty, or dodo as we say, by his do do Officer, sub-Director Heils..
    Ha ha

  61. Dear John Schramski
    If we don’t reverse this trend
    Uhm… the trend was reversed a long time ago. We no longer cut down forests for fuel, what forests we do cut down we replant, and as for land cleared for agriculture, the very point of clearing it was to grow more effing biomass on it than it ever could otherwise which is why we don’t have to be hunter-gatherers anymore, we’ve wiped out starvation in all but the most mismanaged despotic regimes, and our biggest health problem is obesity.
    we’ll eventually reach a point where the biomass battery discharges to a level at which Earth can no longer sustain us,” Schramski said.
    Seriously? You think our population will grow so fast that one day we’ll just consume all the biomass out there?
    show that the vast majority of losses come from deforestation,
    Yeah, like when we “deforest” an area we don’t put something else in its place like a new forest or a farm? You really think we live in a world where we just deforest areas and walk away? What century was this study focused on?
    hastened by the advent of large-scale mechanized farming and the need to feed a rapidly growing population.
    Dopey, it was the large scale mechanized faring that resulted in a rapidly growing population. You didn’t notice that BEFORE large scale mechanized farming that human population growth was minimal and periodic famines were common? Again, what century was your study focused on?
    As more biomass is destroyed, the planet has less stored energy, which it needs to maintain Earth’s complex food webs and biogeochemical balances.
    D*amned fine reason to use fossil fuels instead of bio fuels then? Oh and better not extract too much energy from solar and wind, those are a big part of the biogeochemical balance you know. Don’t want to mess that up.
    survival will become increasingly vulnerable to fluctuations, such as droughts, disease epidemics and social unrest
    And what has history taught us about being resilient to those things? Well number one you need mechanized farming. Number two, you need reliable energy grid. We have the population we have BECAUSE we have those things, not DESPITE them!
    we have a limited amount of biomass energy available on the planet, and once it’s exhausted, there is absolutely nothing to replace it.”
    I guess there is no sunshine in your dark and dismal world?
    increased reliance on renewable energy will slow the steady march toward an uncertain future
    All renewables are derived from the sunshine you just said doesn’t exist in your version of reality.
    “I’ve gone through these numbers countless times looking for some kind of mitigating factor that suggests we’re wrong, but I haven’t found it.”
    Well gosh, you’ve made up a problem that doesn’t exist, and wring your hands in despair because you can find no solution to it. I know not what motivated you to write such a complete piece of drivel. Perhaps it is a hoax of some sort? A cruel joke? An ill timed April Fools prank? For if you are serious, I must recommend seeking out with haste, a large bucket of water with which to drench yourself as the flames are erupting from your pants in an explosive fashion.
    Hopefully there aren’t too many more like you out there as my understanding is that water is a finite resource and there may not be enough of it out there to save you and your brethren.

  62. Oh, my… Where to begin…
    First of all, most carbon has been fixed as calcium carbonate in rocks… not by the existing bio-mass..
    Worldwide, crop yields have increased roughly 80% since the 1980’s, with a large percentage of that increase attributable to increased CO2 levels since the 1950’s (perhaps 25%)… How is that a bad thing? We need LESS farmland to feed a growing population.
    Moreover, the remaining balance of increased crop yields can be attributed to increased use of cheap fossil-fuel based fertilizers and rapid advancements in fossil-fuel run farm equipment…
    A HUGE amount of deforestation occurs where humans are still using trees for fuel OR land reclamation by burning forests to grow bio-fuel crops…
    The Earth is suffering from a LACK of atmospheric CO2. At the end of last glaciation period, CO2 levels fell to 170ppm, which is just 20ppm away from photosynthesis shutting down and all life on Earth going extinct. We should be ecstatic that man’s fossil fuel consumption has helped increased CO2 levels and led to the fastest: economic, medical, scientific and technological growth in human history… but, alas…
    The only countries that have rapidly growing populations are those that have not embraced capitalism and individual freedom. Show me a country with exploding population and/or abject poverty and I’ll show you a country with very low economic freedom and individual rights:
    Here is a list of lowest annual per capita incomes vs. economic freedom ranking (out of 178 countries ranked)
    Somalia: $133/yr— #177
    Malawi: $242/yr— #126
    Burundi: $336/yr— #132
    Central Africa Republic: $378/yr— #166
    Gambia: $422/yr — #113
    Niger: $440/yr—#128
    Congo: $475/yr– #168
    The faster economically depressed countries embrace free-market capitalism and less government control, the faster foreign investment will flow into these countries and allow economic development and the importation and/or development of cheap fossil fuels, leading to rapid economic expansion. These poor countries will NOT be saved by foreign countries shipping them free food. Lack of food is merely the result of other fundamental socio-economic causes.
    Additionally, in advanced countries, the more free-capitalism is replaced by government controlled economies, the deeper in debt the world will become and the slower the growth of: technological, economic and standards of living will be…
    We need not fear fossil fuels or CO2, we need to fear government excess and control.
    Fossil fuels will gradually be replaced by new energy technologies that are better, cheaper, cleaner and virtually unlimited when it makes economic sense to do so. Governments are absolutely AWFUL at picking winners and losers.

  63. The “battery” metaphor is a throwback to the old “end oil” idea that got started in the 1970s. it is an anachronism. Today we live in a world flush with fossil fuels and in an era of falling oil prices.

  64. While it is true that deforestation has probably decreased the total biomass on Earth, this depletion is much less than what happens naturally during ice ages when forests are reduced to a remnant of what is present during interglacials. And of course they regrow as soon as conditions improve.
    This is yet another innocent who does not understand that the Second law of thermodynamics only applies to isolated systems. And the Earths biosphere isn’t isolated as long as we have that big yellow thing in the sky.

    • I was wondering when someone would mention how the growth of continental ice sheets wipes every last ounce of biomass off of the surface, and the drier air decreases biomass a bunch more in other places.
      And then it all grows back very quickly when the ice melts.
      This clown knows less Earth history than my cat.

    • The question is, what is the annual biomass gain of; a) an acre of trees, and b) an acre of crops.

  65. The OCO2 satellite also gives an indication of vegetation coverage via solar induced chlorophyll fluorescence .
    The latest installment of data is expected soon I believe , so the results may confirm or refute the warnings about biomass loss.
    Incidentally , what happened to IBUKI , the previous CO2 measuring satellite launched by Japan . I have not seen any mention of results from that here (but have not checked WUWT archives yet) and only became aware of it from NASA’s OCO2 website.

  66. This is pure unmitigated tosh
    It is quite true that estimates of total living biomass have been reduced down from 1000 billion tonnes to 700 billon tonnes however that is because the original estimates were wrong NOT because the quantity has declined.
    See http://phys.org/news/2012-08-biomass-life-planet-earth.html
    Not content with displaying reading skills that would shame a 10 year old the author clearly does not even understand the basic terminology. Biomass consists of LIVING organisms NOT the dead fossil forms such as coal, oil or dead carbonate deposits like the white cliffs of Dover.
    Biomass is NOT always destroyed when land is used for agriculture. The use of intensive cultivation methods actually increases the quantities of biomass available. The main loss of biomass in recent years has in fact due to the barmy green policy of felling forests to act as fuel rather than burning coal.

  67. “You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years,” said the study’s lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA’s College of Engineering. “The sun’s energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished.”
    Membership of the Association of Consensus Climate Scientist requires the following initiation ritual to all applicants. A small hole is drilled in the top of the applicant’s skull, into which a large knitting needle is inserted most of its length. The needle is then rotated and stirred vigorously for about one minute.
    Umm – professor – exactly what good does it do the human race, or biosphere, for fossil fuel to be LEFT IN THE GROUND?? Especially when CO2 starvation is the likely mode of extinction of life on earth?
    https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00297542/document
    If more plant life is needed – up on the surface that is where it makes a difference – then why not fertilize the growth of said plants by remobilizing the otherwise wasted fossil carbon?

  68. Schramski is channeling Paul Ehrlich.
    Is Paul Ehrlich dead yet?
    According to his own predictions he should have died 4 or 5 times already.

    • phlogiston:
      His books proclaim that Paul Ehrlich believes in extrapolation as an indicator of the future. All his predictions have proven to be wrong, but he continues to adhere to his belief that extrapolation is an indicator of the future.
      Extrapolating his predictive success indicates that Ehrlich would not die if were to predict his demise. You say

      According to his own predictions he should have died 4 or 5 times already.

      Clearly, his predictions of his demise are a strategy he has devised for him to live for ever.
      Richard

  69. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the elixir of life. It is the primary raw material out of which plants construct their tissues, which in turn are the materials out of which animals construct theirs. This knowledge is so well established, in fact, that we humans – and all the rest of the biosphere – are described in the most basic of terms as carbon-based life forms.
    (Extract from “The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment” – The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change)

  70. Eh? I thought that mankind had planted more plant-life than any other species since the dawn of animal life. Why blame the agrarians? Surely the culprit is not enough CO2 – a problem which we are slowly rectifying.

    • Just one problem. Corn is a C4 plant. If we are cornfused, it is with good reason. We have surpassed the Anasazi as the corn people.The isotopes can be measured in our bodies. C4 plants need far less CO2 and fractionate 12C far less than the less ice age adapted tropical forest.

  71. “You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years,” said the study’s lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA’s College of Engineering. “The sun’s energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished.”
    This simile reminds me of another: “Analogies are like ropes. They tie things together very well, but you can’t make much progress if you push them.”
    Thermodynamically, this argument has more flaws than a freshman engineering project.

  72. Sorry but deforestation is a distraction for the UN in the CO2 political campaign and vote rigging. It would amount to a two-front war and fracturing of the wealth redistribution push. Get real.

  73. With garbage can science like this, he’d better get accustomed to the “associate” professor title.

  74. “I’ve gone through these numbers countless times looking for some kind of mitigating factor that suggests we’re wrong, but I haven’t found it.”

    That’s must be tough, Schramski, but perhaps this will cheer you up.

  75. –Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half. It is estimated that just over 10 percent of that biomass was destroyed in just the last century.–
    I assume the “biomass” is things like coal and oil, otherwise it’s simply wrong.
    Of course if it’s meant to include oil and coal, part of biomass include hydrogen- as in hydrocarbons.
    Now if you want to just focus of carbon in terms of “biomass”, then limestone would also be biomass- and if include limestone and sedimentary rock there a lot more than 1000 billion tons of that:
    “Together all sedimentary rocks on Earth store 100,000,000 PgC.”
    http://globecarboncycle.unh.edu/CarbonPoolsFluxes.shtml
    So that is 100,000 times more than 1000 billion tons
    And also if counting coal/oil as biomass, why count methane Hydrates in the Ocean- there is CO2
    connected to such deposits but people generally interested in the Methane involved, so just count the C in the CH4 of methane, wiki say estimate is about 500 to 1000 billion tons of carbon.

  76. Please come and destroy some of my plant life. I work too many hours and can no longer keep up with it. The inevitable reforestation is nearly to a certain pain point, guaranteeing hump busting heck when I finally do get around to it.

  77. During the last ice age and mini ice age, even in Australia the amount of tree coverage was lessened. It was worse in the Northern Hemisphere. Quite honestly Anthony and fellow skeptics, I think it is matter with academics, ‘publish’ or go. Doesn’t matter what they publish, so long as it gets published. They are becoming a big yawn.

  78. If we had no plants, grasses being the biggest group, we’d have no oxygen. Unless it came in a tank, like in hospital wards.

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