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28 Jan 2009 05:01:26

Geoengineering is no climate change silver bullet



Geoengineering is no climate change silver bullet
Climate engineering methods designed to provide solutions to the issue of global warming have been evaluated by a scientist who notes researchers increasingly talking about the need for a technical fix for climate change.

Tim Lenton of the University of East Anglia carried out the evaluation of possible geoengineering methods because, he told New Scientist, scientists had reached a "social tipping point" and were considering which techniques could help avoid climate change.

In his study he defined geoengineering as "large-scale engineering of our environment in order to combat or counteract the effects of changes in atmospheric chemistry".

He noted that existing geoengineering solutions to rising temperatures are based on stopping solar radiation from being absorbed by the earth or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to allow heat to leave the earth.

None of the methods he studied provided a silver bullet to climate change, he said.

The most effective, but also most dangerous methods, involved stopping the suns radiation from reaching earth. In this category he studied proposals such as stratospheric mists of sulphur, and orbiting space mirrors.

Following blocking the sun, the report concluded "scrubbing" carbon dioxide - removing it from the air – would be the next most effective mechanism.

He also calculated that fertilising the seas with iron to boost development of carbon absorbing plankton had attracted more attention than it deserved.

The report considered a simple solution - burying and burning vegetable waste to turn it into charcoal - thereby keeping the carbon out of the atmosphere.

This solution requires little technology and can also fertilise the soil, though its potential impact is minimal.

Last week, the German research vessel Ploarstern was called back from a mission to fertilise a patch of the Southern Ocean to allow an independent environmental impact assessment to be carried out.

http://researchpages.net/media/resources/2009/01/27/acpd-...


ADNFCR-1235-ID-18997056-ADNFCR


Discussion Thread  

29 Jan 2009

While geo-engineering is not a "silver bullet," it will have to be deployed as a short-term fix to prevent the failure of non-irrigated crops and the collapse of natural ecosystems due to record heat-waves:

"Few seem to realise that the present IPCC models predict almost unanimously that by 2040 the average summer in Europe will be as hot as the summer of 2003 when over 30,000 died from heat. By then we may cool ourselves with air conditioning and learn to live in a climate no worse than that of Baghdad now. But without extensive irrigation the plants will die and both farming and natural ecosystems will be replaced by scrub and desert. What will there be to eat? The same dire changes will affect the rest of the world and I can envisage Americans migrating into Canada and the Chinese into Siberia but there may be little food for any of them." --Dr James Lovelock's lecture to the Royal Society, 29 Oct. '07

"The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state." --Dr James Lovelock, August 2008


Duncan wrote:

29 Jan 2009

Hi @dobermantmacleod,

Thought I'd put a quick link in here to a discussion I started a few days ago on .




Discussion Thread  

 


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