eli5: what would happen if we cleaned up all the carbon on earth would it become global cooling?

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eli5: what would happen if we cleaned up all the carbon on earth would it become global cooling?

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5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you are asking what would happen if we stopped emitting greenhouse gasses entirely, the answer is that the planet’s climate would no longer be changing due to human causes.

If we just cut emissions by 50%, the planet would continue to warm although more slowly, giving us more time to cease emissions and reducing damages from changing the climate.

If we could somehow remove more greenhouse gasses than we emit from the atmosphere, the planet would cool. We are pretty far from this.

Anonymous 0 Comments

All carbon removed from Earth? Considering that life on Earth is carbon-based, you’re basically erasing all life.

But since you’re referring to global cooling I figure you mean removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

If all CO2 were removed from the atmosphere, it would be a major problem. Earth’s climate would cool, for one thing. But there would be other problems. The worst and most immediate problem is that plant life would die.

Currently, Earth’s atmosphere is about 420 parts per million (PPM) CO2. Preindustrial CO2 levels were about 280 ppm. Plants need at least 150 ppm for photosynthesis to work.

CO2 naturally reacts with water to form carbonic acid. Without CO2, bodies of water would become more basic, which would be problematic for some sensitive organisms.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There is a lot of CO2 in atmosphere naturally, unrelated to human activity. If you remove all of it, then yes, most likely the Earth starts cooling and because the other important greenhouse gas – water vapor – has positive feedback, the cooling will go on till the Earth freezes.
That actually happened at least twice in the history of the planet – lookup « Snowball Earth ».
(No, it is not about ice ages, it was much more profound but much further back; before the time the live started supplying steady stream of CO2 into the atmosphere.)

Anonymous 0 Comments

If we could just take a magic eraser and delete all the carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases that do the same thing) from the atmosphere that *we put there*, then yeah. The globe would probably cool back down to where it “should” be, pre-industrial era. Doing this is called “carbon capture”, and while it’s a thing that you *can* do in the real world, it’s probably our [least viable option right now](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dRgCsZ1q7g) for counteracting our current trajectory of climate change.

If you removed *all carbon dioxide* from the atmosphere, *period*, all plants would die immediately. They need a nonzero amount of it to breathe. And since plants are the foundation of most of the global food chain, that would lead to a collapse of basically every ecosystem on the planet, including us. Oh, and it would also cool the Earth a fair bit, I guess.

If you removed all *carbon* from Earth (not just carbon *dioxide*), *period*, well, essentially every single living thing would cease to exist instantly. Carbon is *the* building block that allows for every form of life we currently know of. It’s so integral to life that the term “organic” in the context of chemicals is essentially shorthand for “has carbon in it”. As for what would happen to Earth, I guess I don’t really know. Carbon is only about 0.02% of Earth by elemental quantity. Not a huge amount on the grand scale of things, but it would still probably still cause untold amounts of ruin to Earth’s surface.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If we snapped our fingers and removed even the extra amount of carbon from the atmosphere that humans put in there would be major weather events until the planet normalized.

If we did it slowly the planet would cool for the most part, If we took to much out some places would get very cold.

Think of it this way you are in bed and have 20 sheets on you and you are hot you want to remove some sheets but if you remove to many you get cold.