Scientists just discovered a massive, heretofore unknown, source of nitrogen. Why does this matter? Because it could dramatically change those dire global warming forecasts that everybody claims are based on “settled science.”
The researchers, whose findings were published in the prestigious journal Science, say they’ve determined that the idea that the only source of nitrogen for plant life came from the air is wrong. There are vast storehouses in the planet’s bedrock that plants also feed on.
This is potentially huge news, since what it means is that there is a vastly larger supply of nitrogen than previously believed.
University of California at Davis environmental scientist and co-author of the study, Ben Houlton, says that “This runs counter the centuries-long paradigm that has laid the foundation for the environmental sciences.”
Pay close attention to the word “paradigm.”
If Houlton’s finding about these vast, previously unknown nitrogen stores holds true, then it would have an enormous impact on global warming predictions.
Climate scientists have long known that plants offset some of the effects of climate change by absorbing and storing CO2. But climate scientists assumed that the ability to plants to perform this function was limited because the availability of nitrogen in the atmosphere was limited.
As a 2003 study published in the same Science journal put it, “there will not be enough nitrogen available to sustain the high carbon uptake scenarios.”
In the wake of the latest findings, Ronald Amundson, a soil biogeochemist at the University of California at Berkeley, told Chemical and Engineering News that “If there is more nitrogen there than expected, then the constraints on plant growth in a high-CO2 world may not be as great as we think.”
In other words, with more nitrogen available, plant life might be able to absorb more CO2 than climate scientists have been estimating, which means the planet won’t warm as much, despite mankind’s pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.
A Stunning Finding
Houlton has been exploring this possibility for years. Back in 2011, he reported that forest trees can tap into nitrogen found in rock.
At the time, he said “the stunning finding that forests can also feed on nitrogen in rocks has the potential to change all projections related to climate change,” because it meant there could be more carbon storage on land and less in the atmosphere than climate models say.
The question is whether any climate scientists or environmentalists — who are entirely wedded to the idea that industrialization is destroying the planet — would ever admit this.
That’s why that word “paradigm” is important.
As we’ve noted in this space, the idea of “settled science” peddled by environmentalists and politicians defies the history of science, which has seen repeated upheavals of previous forms of “settled science.”
Thomas Kuhn studied this phenomenon in his 1962 book “The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions.” He explained how scientists develop a theory — or paradigm — based on available evidence — to explain what they’re seeing.
Once that paradigm takes hold, scientists are often loath to give up on it even if evidence piles up that it might be wrong. Eventually, however, faulty paradigms do give way, ushering in a new scientific paradigm. Examples of such paradigm shifts in the past: heliocentric solar system, continental drift, Einstein’s theories.
A Coming Paradigm Shift?
That same thing might be happening right now with climate science.
As we’ve said many times, evidence continues to show weaknesses in climate models used to predict future warming. They failed to predict a decade-long pause in global temperatures. Nor have various calamities that were supposed to have occurred by now materialized. And a recent paper published in Nature concluded that the planet is less sensitive to increases in CO2 than the computer models say.
Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been conducting highly suspicious temperature data manipulation. The changes in the temperature data consistently make the past seem cooler, which in turn makes the present seem warmer.
This creates a data illusion of ever-rising temperatures to match the increase in CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Marc Morano, editor of the popular ClimateDepot blog and author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change,” notes that “science is not supposed to have a politically predetermined outcome pushed by ideology and politics. This new nitrogen study is but one example of consensus science being overturned. The global warming science establishment should now be open to similar studies and dissenting voices on CO2 to overturn the alleged climate change consensus.”
But will they?
With their reputations and huge amounts government grant money at stake, it’s unlikely that many climate scientists would ever admit to being wrong. No matter how obvious it became that they were.