When new reports about global warming come out, they typically include a picture of the land and sky, with arrows marking the movement of carbon dioxide around the planet. Some arrows rise up from cities and farmland, while other arrows plunge down to forests and oceans. This sort of diagram does a great job of illustrating the big picture. Thanks to human activity, carbon dioxide is rising into the atmosphere faster than the planet can draw it down. But the giant scale of this picture hides some of the most important players in the global warming story, which are as crucial to the future of the planet as factories and forests: the planet’s vast swarms of microbes.
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