Boden schützen – Klima retten


Prof. Karl Steininger vom Wegener Center für Klima und Globalen Wandel erklärt, warum ein gesunder Boden im Klimaschutz ausschlaggebend ist.

Kommentare (2)

Die Grünen Steiermark

Dear Richard! Thanks a lot for listening to our podcast und for making a comment on the latest episode. We keep titles short in order to get attention. The title "Boden schützen - Klima retten" may be misleading, you are right, because soil can only be one part of the big puzzle climate protection. Protecting our soils is essential for saving our environment and our planet. Avoiding fossil fuels is even more important, no doubt. We are convinced that we need every single aspect of climate protection to achieve our goals. Clean energies and energy transition will be the topic of the next episode of "hintergründig" - which will be released this Friday. For more details about the latest cientific research, we can recommend the scientists at Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change, Prof. Steininger is one of them:

Richard Parncutt

Great discussion thanks! I just wanted to add that although topsoil and ecosystem protection/development is essential for surviving climate change (both mitigation and adaptation) it is no substitute for keeping fossil fuels in the ground, which is always the first priority. We have to keep repeating that lest the message be forgotten. In this regard the title “Boden schützen — Klima retten” could be misleading. We cannot save the climate by protecting soils alone. That is good but not nearly enough. But it’s absolutely right that “gesunder Boden ausschlaggebend ist”. I think the following numbers are roughly correct. There are 3 billion tonnes of carbon in ecosystems on land, of which 80% is in soil. In the ocean, there is much more, 40 billion tonnes of carbon. But all of that is tiny compared to 5 trillion tonnes of practically available fossil fuels in the earth’s crust of which 1 trillion corresponds to 2C of global warming. In very round figures, there is roughly 1000 times more fossil carbon than there is ecosystem carbon, and there is 100 times more fossil carbon than there is carbon in oceans. Seen another way, soils are currently storing about 3 million tonnes of carbon per year globally, and oceans are storing almost the same amount, about 2 million tonnes of carbon per year. But humans are burning fossil fuels at a rate corresponding to twice the sum of those numbers, 10 million tonnes of carbon per year. Depending on how you count, 65-80% of anthropogenic CO2 or GHG is from burning fossil fuels and the rest is mainly from changing ecosystems (clearing forests, agriculture). My numbers are from an old paper and i hope they are still about right. Corrections are welcome! Ontl, T. A. & Schulte, L. A. (2012) Soil Carbon Storage. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):35

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