New Nitrogen Discovery "requires re-writing the textbooks," but what does this mean?
Our paper on global rock nitrogen, published in Science, has received a lot of media attention, for example here. This work was funded by the NSF (National Science Foundation), and we are so grateful for their support and the support of all US tax payers. This discovery could not have happened without public funds. Thank you! We have much more to learn, and are eager to continue our efforts on global nitrogen, which tie together food, ecosystems, healthy soils, and climate change.
Our work reveals a new understanding of how nitrogen enters terrestrial environments, especially those living on sedimentary bedrock, consistent with the scientific process. This work helps to explain where the nitrogen in plants and soils comes from. This nitrogen is helping to store carbon on land. It is part of the terrestrial carbon sink, which is responsible for absorbing ~30% of carbon pollution.
Our work does not imply that climate change science is flawed. It does not suggest that global climate models are inaccurate. Nor should it be taken as a way to avoid the responsibility of solving climate change. Reducing carbon emissions and creating carbon removal technologies are essential to avoiding the dangerous risks of a rapidly changing climate on human health, the economy, food production and natural biodiversity.