One factor that’s not often discussed in the fight against the greed-funded climate denial campaign is photosynthesis. Well, I should qualify. Some deniers never shut up about photosynthesis, but they don’t really address the ways in which photosynthesis really matters to us with regard to climate change. Among its other roles, it can also be a tool for managing our impact on the planet’s climate system. Given enough water, plants are really good at pulling in CO2 and binding it in cellulose. If we were to really set ourselves to it, the machinery of industrialized agriculture could be put to work harvesting and sequestering CO2.
Even so, the much larger amount of photosynthesis in the natural world is more important, both as a CO2 sink, and as a potential source. This is just one reason why being able to accurately estimate the total photosynthetic activity of the planet helps us keep an eye on how the foundation for our existence is doing. I knew that scientists were using satellites to estimate photosynthetic activity, but what I didn’t know is that they’ve been doing it by measuring the glow given off by the process of photosynthesis: [Read more…]