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Nitrogen, an unknown factor in global warming?

This very interesting article from the Discovery Channel, hosted on MSNBC, asks what could be an important question:

What happens when nitrogen is factored into global warming models?

According to the article, this is not happening at the moment in the best known climate models. And as a result, warming could be a more serious problem than some think.

“Of all the 11 models the IPCC will be using in its next report, not a single one has yet to consider nitrogen limitation”, says one academic.

“The researcher’s results indicate that global warming has been underestimated. In the worst-case scenario, they found that nearly 300 billion tons of carbon could stay aloft in our atmosphere between 1900 and 2100 because of plants’ lack of access to nitrogen — enough to warm the planet an additional 1.19 degrees centigrade (2.14 degrees Fahrenheit)”

Worrying findings, if credible. For the full story, go here.

Ethical Corporation will be covering the fall out for business from the Copenhagen climate talks in our February edition. For more information on our next issue and what’s in store, take a look here.

UPDATE: 7/1/09 – This Scientific American article suggests that the volcanic rock basalt could be a partial solution for the concerns of those worried about carbon capture and storage. The idea is that: “…the rock both stores CO2 and, over a relatively short period of years, forms carbonate minerals with it—in other words, limestone.”

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