The good news? Rocks can restore our climate faster than we thought…The bad news is it still takes 300,000 years

A study of a global warming event that happened 93 million years ago suggests that the Earth can recover from high carbon dioxide emissions faster than previously thought, but that this process takes around 300,000 years after emissions decline…

The team tested the idea that, as CO2 warms the planet, the reactions involved in chemical weathering speed up, causing more CO2 to be ‘locked away’, until, if CO2 emissions decline, the climate begins to cool again. The Oxford team looked at evidence from the ‘Ocean Anoxic Event 2’ in the Late Cretaceous when volcanic activity spewed around 10 gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year for over 10,000 years. The researchers found that during this period chemical weathering increased, locking away more CO2 as the world warmed and enabling the Earth to stabilise to a cooler climate within 300,000 years, up to four times faster than previously thought…

‘Our research is good news, showing that the Earth can recover up to four times faster than we thought from CO2 emissions, but even if we stopped all emissions today this recovery would still take hundreds of thousands of years. We have to start doing something soon to remove CO2 from the atmosphere if we don’t want to see a repeat of the kind of mass extinctions that global warming has triggered in the past.’

300,000 years? That’s still too much time pressure for the average Congressional Republican or the Koch brothers to relent and pay more attention to science than their bank accounts.

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