Sumps

Now, let’s return to our February chapter, Here’s Why I’m so at Odds with Many of my Green Friends https://convivialeconomy.com/2020/02/26/heres-why-im-so-at-odds-with-many-of-my-green-friends/ … And let’s consider carbon sumps.
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These are some sumps – true sumps, which it would be dangerous to unlock – coal, oil, gas, heartwood of trees, strata of layered peat (sequestered beneath the living bog), frost from the permafrost…
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Of course, all have been unlocked – mostly by combustion – some by the resultant green house and some by farmers and gardeners. In consequence we are all in extreme danger.
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It is a moral tale – sumps should not leak. There we have it, that must be a simple and primal law of the commons. Commons define good and bad behaviour.
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Now IPCC consider sumps to be but one part of sequestration, whereas I do not. For me, sumps and true sequestration are synonyms. IPCC consider soil life and plant and animal life to be a sequestered mass of carbon. I do not. I consider it to have mass, plus energy and velocity. It is by no means sequestered. It creates and maintains the atmosphere. It cannot be thought of as sequestered and apart from that atmosphere.
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Along with coal and etc, these things are also truly sequestered – bones, limestones, phosphate rock…
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Bio mass – living mass – must be considered quite differently. In the first place, it is not “carbon” – that is a static mass. In addition to mass, life has acceleration (vitality) and velocity (time, seasons, fast-growing, slow growing). Carbon cycles cannot exist without vitality – life cycles can.
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Remove energy and velocity and yes, we’d have a carbon sump, but we’d also (after a mass explosion of fermentation gases, created by the last throws of fungi and bacteria) have a dead planet.
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Let’s return to where I think the error might have first germinated – to James Lovelock. He is rightly revered, but his blinkered physicist’s view of “carbon” was catastrophically wrong.
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He saw that the sumps, which I have described, must be urgently locked-up again. But then he took another step – why not do some geo-engineering and harvest vast amounts of biomass (which he thought of as carbon) and bury it deep beneath the continuing cycles of life – removing “carbon” from the Gaia system by increasing the size of the sump. I haven’t a clue why he thought that would diminish the green-house effect. I suppose he thought, undisturbed-sump – good, increased-sump – better.
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Meanwhile, removing life, removes the mass, acceleration and velocity of life. It moves us closer to a lifeless planet and further from a living one. As we know, the complexity of inter-connections can lead to species cascade and still further loss of mass, energy and velocity. Remove life into a sump, or by burning it, and we diminish the power of photosynthesis to “draw down” atmospheric carbon dioxide and so we also cause the green-house to expand, as life-cycles weaken…
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Ah well, whoever thought the Phoenix (living mass) could emerge from her own flames? All I can see are gas, ashes and energetic heat.
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