Planting forests and other activities that harness the power of nature could play a major role in limiting global warming under the 2015 Paris agreement, an international study showed Monday.
Natural climate solutions, also including protection of carbon-storing peat lands and better management of soils and grasslands, could account for 37 percent of all actions needed by 2030 under the 195-nation Paris plan, it said.
Combined, the suggested “regreening of the planet” would be equivalent to halting all burning of oil worldwide, it said.
“Better stewardship of the land could have a bigger role in fighting climate change than previously thought,” the international team of scientists said of findings published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The estimates for nature’s potential, led by planting forests, were up to 30 percent higher than those envisaged by a U.N. panel of climate scientists in a 2014 report, it said.
Trees soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow and release it when they burn or rot. That makes forests, from the Amazon to Siberia, vast natural stores of greenhouse gases.
Overall, better management of nature could avert 11.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year by 2030, the study said, equivalent to China’s current carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use.
The Paris climate agreement, weakened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision in June to pull out, seeks to limit a rise in global temperature to “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
Current government pledges to cut emissions are too weak to achieve the 2C goal, meant to avert more droughts, more powerful storms, downpours and heat waves.
“Fortunately, this research shows we have a huge opportunity to reshape our food and land use systems,” Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, said in a statement of Monday’s findings.
Climate change could jeopardize production of crops such as corn, wheat, rice and soy even as a rising global population will raise demand, he said.
The study said that some of the measures would cost $10 a ton or less to avert a ton of carbon dioxide, with others up to $100 a ton to qualify as “cost-effective” by 2030.
“If we are serious about climate change, then we are going to have to get serious about investing in nature,” said Mark Tercek, chief executive officer of The Nature Conservancy, which led the study.
News Couartesy: VOA NEWS
A fossil found in northeastern Nevada shows a newly discovered fish species that scientists believe looked, and ate, like a shark.
The fossil is what remains of a bony, sharp-toothed fish that would have been about six-feet-long (1.83 meters) with long jaws and layers of sharp teeth.
The type of jaw and teeth on the fish suggest it would have chomped down on its prey before swallowing it whole, like a shark, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
“The surprising find from Elko County in northeastern Nevada is one of the most completely preserved vertebrate remains from this time-period ever discovered in the United States,” said Carlo Romano of the University of Zurich, lead author of a Journal of Paleontology article about the find.
The fish, which researchers called Birgeria americana, predates Nevada’s most famous fossil, the Ichthyosaur, by more than 30 million years. The Ichthyosaur was a 55-foot-long (16.76 meters) reptile. One of the largest concentrations of Ichthyosaur fossils was found near Berlin, Nevada. The find led to the Ichthyosaur becoming Nevada’s state fossil.
Possible look of the newly discovered predatory fish species Birgeria americana with the fossil oft he skull shown at bottom right.
The Birgeria americana fossil finding is important because it sheds light on how quickly large, predator species evolved following the Earth’s third mass extinction that preceded the Triassic period about 250 million years ago.
The evidence shows the fish was alive and well about 1 million years after mass extinction 66 million years ago wiped out an estimated 90 percent of marine species.
It also shows a large fish was surviving in water previously thought to be too warm to support such life.
At the time, water near the equator, which is where land that became Nevada was positioned about 250 million years ago, could have been warmer than 96 degrees. “The eggs of today’s bony fish can no longer develop normally” at such a high temperature, researcher said.
Researchers learned of the fossil about five years ago after fossil collector Jim Jenks of West Jordan, Utah, stumbled upon it near Winecup Ranch north of Wells.
“It was just a very lucky find,” said Jenks, who was credited among the paper’s authors. “I happen to notice the teeth glinting in the sun. That is what caught my attention.”
Jenks turned the fish over to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, which has a large collection of fossils and connections with leading researchers.