How much carbon is stored in natural systems of the continental western US? Over coming decades, how much of the fossil fuel carbon dioxide we are pumping into the atmosphere will western ecosystems absorb? A new US Geological Service survey provides some sobering answers. The two crucial takeways: First, the capacity of western ecosystems to absorb carbon between now and 2050 depends on how rapidly we move now to reduce fossil emissions. To put it simply, the hotter and drier we let the world become, the less will climate-stressed forests, grasslands and other systems be able to capture and store …
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Patrick Mazza is research director at Climate Solutions, a Northwest research and advocacy group dedicated to advancing practical global warming solutions.