Oh No...Is Nature Going to Make Climate Change WORSE?! | SciShow News | Summary and Q&A

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January 22, 2021
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Oh No...Is Nature Going to Make Climate Change WORSE?! | SciShow News

TL;DR

Ecosystems on land that currently absorb carbon dioxide could end up accelerating climate change as global temperatures increase.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do ecosystems on land play a role in combating climate change?

Ecosystems on land absorb about a third of human-made carbon emissions by converting carbon dioxide into sugar molecules and oxygen through photosynthesis.

Q: What happens when respiration rates exceed photosynthesis rates in ecosystems?

When respiration rates exceed photosynthesis rates, more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere than absorbed, thus increasing carbon emissions and accelerating climate change.

Q: What are the implications of the tipping point in ecosystems?

If global temperatures continue to rise as expected and no changes are made to carbon emissions, by 2100, over half of all land ecosystems could exceed the tipping point and release more carbon into the atmosphere than they absorb.

Q: Are there any positive findings in regards to carbon absorption?

Ocean ecosystems may be improving at absorbing carbon dioxide, but it is not a fail-safe solution. It is crucial to reduce carbon emissions and limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Ecosystems on land currently absorb about a third of human-made carbon emissions.

  • Photosynthesis in plants helps to convert carbon dioxide into sugar molecules and oxygen, while respiration releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

  • As global temperatures rise, respiration rates increase, tipping the balance towards more carbon being released into the atmosphere than absorbed by ecosystems.

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