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Allan Savory TED talk - desertification

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Ljiljan, Apr 18, 2013.

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  1. Coincidentally I happened to watch that exact talk last night. They sounded like interesting theories - can it really be that simple? Just add livestock?

    I'm sure he's put a lot of effort into the analysis, and I'm not smart enough to provide any useful input, but it seems amazing that the net impact on the climate from all the extra methane and co2 and warm bodies would be a net positive..
  2. Is this a climate change thread? Did anybody notice the US (with no carbon pricing) is down to 1990's levels of emissions (or at least heading that way) whilst the EU has 6euro / tonne pricing and is burning more wood than ever (including shipping it in from the US)?
  3. Interesting and I'm sure there's a lot of truth in it. Would love to read some of the papers behind it. Have to say returning co2 to pre industrial levels seems like terrible exaggeration. I can't really see how it's possible to remove trillions of tons of carbon that have entered the atmosphere by extraction from the crust by returning it to the biosphere.
  4. #5 smileedude, Apr 19, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013

    Wood is a carbon neutral fuel, so if they are burning it instead of heating homes with electricity and gas there are a lot less CO2 emissions.

    As far as I was aware the EU was down to something like 10% less than 1990 levels of CO2 emissions and their emissions per capita were a lot lower per person to begin with so it was a greater challenge to reduce than the US.
  5. Give us a summary. Don't have time to watch the whole thing.
  6. Add cattle to desert land and because of the way they herd in large groups, they keep the ground at a more constant temperature, provide fertiliser, prevent plants from getting old and rotten and a bunch of other things that apparently aid plant growth. Supposedly conventional wisdom was to remove cattle from land to allow it to recover, but this guy was saying that this is not the best approach.
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  7. I guess that depends on how many of the "carbon credit" offset schemes actually work. But yes, the low price of permits to emit carbon indicates that they are emitting less (or at least they say they are). The US reduction is without any "offsets" and is simply caused by burning gas instead of coal.
  8. Traditional theory was that desertification was occurring through overuse of land by people and animals and to stop it required reducing numbers to maintain a symbiotic ecosystem. However they found desertification was still increasing - the cause of it being patches of uncovered ground which would be much hotter in daytime and evaporate all the water from rain. These patches spread to form larger areas, then plains.
    Hypothesis moved to populating the ground to mimic natural herd movements. Herds would trample grass areas covering the ground completely, eating from some and providing their own fertiliser to the ground. Allows the grasses to decay naturally, creating soil and increases growth in following year. Areas retain water from yearly rains through dry season, and it's a happy place.
    The single most important process on earth is photosynthesis. The feedback from that would be monumental. It may have that total effect, it may not.
    My understanding was that they are not increasing the number of animals (or only slightly if so) but are changing their grazing habits.
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  9. Note this is for grazing land only. For arable land you've got the whole "zero till" thing. It is about increasing soil carbon via more cover. Although some cropping regions can support summer pastures too which then follows the "intense grazing" stuff from the video.