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Talking about geo-engineering may prevent us needing it

A lack of global action to combat climate change is forcing scientists to explore measures that might have been considered unethical a decade ago. With carbon dioxide emissions tracking at the high end…

Geo-engineering should be a last resort; there are better steps we can take first. Truthout.org

A lack of global action to combat climate change is forcing scientists to explore measures that might have been considered unethical a decade ago.

With carbon dioxide emissions tracking at the high end of predictions (and beyond) and the impacts of climate change becoming clearer by the day, scientists are moving beyond mitigation and adaption approaches. For the first time, they are seriously discussing geo-engineering - altering the planet physically or chemically to reduce the effects of climate change - as a potential emergency measure.

Over two days in late September, more than 60 scientists, engineers, social scientists and interested people gathered in Canberra for a symposium: Geoengineering the Climate? A Southern Hemisphere Perspective.

If all else fails …

Geo-engineering is in sharp contrast to mitigation – which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and adaption – which develops local and regional responses to climatic changes.

For both mitigation and adaption strategies, the ethical and governance challenges are considerable, but predictable. For example, some countries that are the highest emitters of greenhouse gases per person, such as Australia and the United States, were the slowest to sign on to global mitigation agreements, like the Kyoto Protocol.

With geo-engineering, the consequences are untested and dangerously unpredictable.

For this reason, it was made quite clear at the symposium that geo-engineering (or “climate remediation” as the attendees called it) could not replace the urgent need for substantial national and international efforts to mitigate climate change.

In exploring the consequences of geo-engineering, the symposium divided the potential strategies into two groups – those that remove carbon from the atmosphere and those that reflect sunlight back into space.

Removing carbon from the atmosphere

The first group of technologies discussed were those that could conceivably remove carbon from the atmosphere and lock it in vegetation, soils or oceans or inject it underground.

Truthout.org

These technologies included:

  • changes to land cover management - this includes looking at trees, crops and other sources of sequestration
  • changing agricultural practices to increase carbon uptake in soils
  • fertilising the ocean using iron or nitrogen
  • direct capture of carbon through carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

Some of the least risky of these options are already being used to mitigate against climate change. These include reforestation and increasing soil carbon.

The symposium found there was a sizeable difference between the perceived potential of these approaches and what is realistically achievable in the next 40 years.

For example, there are considerable difficulties in increasing the carbon content in Australian soils due to the low nitrogen content. In addition, it is difficult to measure and validate the amount of carbon actually sequestered.

Similarly, the future of CCS is far from clear. CCS technologies remain underfunded by industry and research and development is slow. At best, CCS can only be regarded as a part of the solution and has yet to demonstrate it is safe, effective, permanent and economically viable.

Increasing reflection of sunlight

The second group of technologies is focused on reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches Earth and warms the planet. This could be achieved by increasing the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface or the reflectivity of clouds and particles in the atmosphere.

Some of the technologies examined increase reflection at the surface by growing highly reflective vegetation for crops, and by using reflective paints on buildings.

Atmospheric technologies included attempts to increase cloud brightness and by injecting aerosols into the stratosphere.

As a group these solar radiation management technologies were considered to be the most risky.

Storing carbon in soil is one option. Blaz Vizjak

The symposium found reducing sunlight has a significantly different effect than reducing greenhouse gas emissions in terms of resultant spatial effects, changes to temperature patterns over time, and effects on rainfall. Reducing sunlight leads to more cooling in the day time and in summer, whereas reducing greenhouse gases leads to more cooling at night and in winter. Hence, reducing sunlight cannot exactly offset the warming patterns due to increasing greenhouse gases.

The immediate climate responses may be local but would almost certainly have unpredictable knock-on effects for the climates of distant areas. Reflecting more sunlight in one region would cool the climate locally but, since the variations in climate are globally connected, such changes would likely affect weather and rainfall patterns all around the globe.

There may also be uncertain impacts on the ozone layer and other important areas in the stratosphere.

The ethical consequences

Many symposium attendees were concerned about the ethical issues associated with geo-engineering. This is due to the widespread and unpredictable results of some of the remediation technologies.

An early view expressed at the symposium was that any research on solar radiation (sunlight) management was simply a way of ignoring and diverting funds from the process of mitigating climate change.

Of course, climate remediation might just be necessary, if the persistent lack of global action continues and we pass the point of no return.

If the climate gets beyond that tipping point, geo-engineering might be able to minimise the effects of global climate change while the reduction of greenhouse gases takes effect.

Of course, there are many ethical concerns about this approach, including:

  • the unforseen impacts of climate remediation
  • the effect these untested approaches may have beyond the borders of the countries that institute geo-engineering solutions
  • the burdens geo-engineering could place on future generations.

The governance consequences

The world is currently struggling with governance issues around reducing carbon emissions and has been since the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. In that time, no policy or action has made a meaningful impact on the increasing rate of global carbon emissions.

Solar radiation management systems, in particular, would be very difficult to govern. While one of these technologies could be deployed unilaterally (by a nation or private entity, at a potential cost of more than $1 billion a year), the impacts will be global and could have unanticipated consequences.

Where to from here?

We’ve taken steps to reduce our environmental impact, but we need true global action. AAP/Alan Porritt

At the end of the two-day symposium it was clear that ethical and governance considerations are of prime importance. It was also clear that urgent, well-informed, high-level international discussions are also needed. Such discussions could help to prevent unilateral geo-engineering before the consequences are properly understood.

The research plan, Live Within Earth’s Limits: An Australian Plan to Develop a Science of the Whole Earth System, was proposed as a foundation for all future explorations of the climate remediation issue.

While the prospect of geo-engineering is a frightening one for many people – and rightly so – it’s far better that we have these discussions now before it’s too late.

And speaking of “before it’s too late”, let’s not forget that geo-engineering is only being discussed because of inaction on other fronts. Meaningful global efforts to combat climate change are more than overdue – perhaps the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Durban will make some progress.

Let’s just hope we can get our act together before geo-engineering becomes a necessity, not just something we’re talking about.

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  1. rob alan

    IT Tech

    Two things only worry me for future inhabitants of this tiny world.

    Nuclear waste infecting the product market as has been the case in India.

    And chem.corp profit lobby pushing GeoEngineering as some kind of solution whilst other global corporates are still in denial that toxicity in general or our growing population is even a problem.

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  2. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    Rather than correct the cause, as we do in car repair, software troubleshooting (well, sometimes), or even engineering of Toyota floor mats, "geo-engineering" posits that we're smarter than Ma Nature. We've long demonstrated we aren't.

    Given that Nobellist S. Arrhenius warned of CO2 effects over 100 years ago, and scientists in the US reported several times & decades ago to our government that we needed to stop burning stuff for power, we're now scrambling -- the typical human response to effects…

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    1. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I don't think Arrenius' the chemist in which field he received his Nobel Prize, should be expected to have been able to ensure that the hypothesis he put forward on global warming was correcct, clever person though he undoubtedly was. The level of spectroscopy and the theoretical basis for what he was proposing was not available for another thirty years or more (theory) and 70 years for the spectral measurements. His were very primitive ideas from a physics point of view, and the spectroscopy lacked…

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Actually, Tyndall, well before Arrhenius, measured the effect of CO2 in warming air in the lab.

      And, Arrhenius, who did get the Chemistry Nobel, wrote his papers on the effect of CO2 (Carbonic acidification) in the atmosphere, before we even burned much fossil oil.

      Scientists in the 1950s & '60s knew well the bad effect of CO2 emissions and one solution advocated was the planting of a trillion trees per year -- 200/year per capita. Obviously, finding alternatives to coal/oil/gas was a more realistic…

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  3. Tanya MacDonald

    logged in via Facebook

    Hmm, I tried to comment a few hours ago, and my comment only appears when I'm logged onto my account on this site. I would think maybe my comment was awaiting moderation except that I see a comment here that is more recent than my original post.

    Regardless, here is the comment which I suspect was censored. Not much of a "conversation" if you ban the discussion of alternative and controversial ideas. :

    Please see the film "What In The World Are They Spraying?" Please LOOK UP! This is not the dawn…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tanya MacDonald

      Agree, Tanya, except "aluminum, barium, strontium" aren't "heavy metals". And, if you check their abundances in natural rock/soils, it'll reduce the scare you sense.

      What is problematic is our addiction to fads & disregard for facts. This will be biting many millions around the world very soon, and by more than most deserve.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tanya MacDonald

      We should add that the other things we axxept out of our laziness of thought is the death total from all the various energy sources we now, finally, realize are foolish -- >10,000/year from coal emissions in the US alone and many, many times more in China, where they at least realize the problem and are taking steps. We in the US have an interesting propensity for distortion of reality -- coal.gas/oil power generation is exempt from emissions under the NORM & other criteria. NORM means Normally…

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    3. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Thanks Alex, and yes I acknowledge your email and appreciate your sending it to me. I will be further in touch on the links you gave me, but in the meantime I'll make a comment or two on your's above.

      Firstly the work of both Tyndall, Fourier and Arrhenius, as well as by more recent people such as Callendar and Hansen, considered only the green hoiuse effect which relates to the absorption of radiation by green house gases, the energy being redistributed to the surrounding air through collisions…

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      This is indeed a novel argument, John! So, if we have some warm water in a cup, and we pour in warmer water from another, the 1st cup's contents don't get warmer?

      Or, if we put a piece of dryish bread and a piece of moist bread into a microwave oven, they both warm up equally fast? Really?

      I think this is indeed a straw-grasping exercise. If one understand electromagnetics and absorptive surfaces/materials, this argument would lead to laughter and many drinks!
      ;]
      Not surprised I'd never heard it before. It's almost as bad as one of Monckton's, that even draws laughs from grade-school kids.

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Having some more time, let's examine: "absorption of radiation by green house gases, the energy being redistributed to the surrounding air through collisions which occur at a rate of about 10^9 per second, of which about 10^7 result in excitation energy being converted to kinetic - i.e. heat" -- so, what do the remaining 10^2 collisions do, if not generate vibrations & heat?

      "These people just assumed that more CO2 would mean more heat, but this is definitely an assumption that can be made without…

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    6. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex,
      I'll start at the bottom where you mention Mars. It has been reported by NASA that the temperature on Mars has increased in recent years as well - but I don't think there has been any Anthropoenic carbon dioxide on that planet. The increase in summer temperatures on Mars may increase CO2 - and for very low levels of gas, the temperature will increase. The situation on earth is very diiferent.

      To be honest, I take their claims with a pinch of salt as the acuracy of remote sensing of the…

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    7. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Remarkable as usual, John -- you must be a great dancer the way you dance around scientific points!

      "Adding CO2 of course increased that absorption and would,have been easily measured in a very simple experiment." -- indeed, and so what you said about Tyndall/Arrhenius originally is incorrect.

      "However, in the atmosphere, the situation is entirely different, over the distances of 10, 100, 1,000 .... metres, the energy is, for most of the main CO2 band profile, absorbed by 99.99999% and the addition…

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    8. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "..so what you said about Tyndall/Arrhenius originally is incorrect"

      - No Alex, In the atmosphere, in the middle of the main absorption bands, the IR energy at the corresponding frequencies is absorbed in the first 100 metres. Adding more CO2 absorbs it all in say the first ninety metres. Tyndall and Arrhebius experiments used distances much less than 100 metres so there was still radiation passing right through their samples

      "So the photons of CO2 resonant frequencies..."

      - Essentially…

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    9. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, as I sent you via email, water vapor has been increasing along with warming, CO2, etc., so you'll need to give up the fiction that it's not, or just have nor credibility.

      Now back to what you said about Tyndall, etc. You originally suggested he & Arrhenius somehow didn't do different experiments at different CO2 concentrations. I said that was a stretch and now you admit it was indeed false. The column depth (your crutch) wasn't what you mentioned originally and was not what I was talking…

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  4. Gideon Polya

    Sessional Lecturer in Biochemistry for Agricultural Science at La Trobe University

    Excellent article by Professor David Karoly. However one key omission was any explicit mention of biochar (charcoal) generated by anaerobic pyrolysis (heating to 400-700C in the absence of oxygen) of cellulosic materials (agricultural straw waste and forestry waste):
    (CH20)n (cellulose) -> nC (carbon) + nH2O.

    The cellulosic material is generated by photosynthesis, this drawing down atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2):
    nCO2 + nH20 (water) -> (CH2O)n + nO2 (oxygen).

    Biochar production from waste…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gideon Polya

      This upper temperature (700+C) is precisely that of safe molten-salt reactors, such as those operated in the 1960s at ORNL and now being reborn around the world. www.thoriumaustralia.com.au/symposium.html
      http://tinyurl.com/78aj7rz
      www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/01/china_thorium_bet/

      As with carbon for biochar, carbon-neutral fuel is directly producible via such advanced, unpressurized reactor systems. For example...see Hargraves at: www.itheo.org/articles/thec11-%E2%80%93-presentations and
      www.thoriumaustralia.com.au/symposium.html

      Of course the thermal efficiency of fuelled engines is poor, so should be avoided long term, due to waste heating of the atmosphere. But, for near term, such fuels give us CO2 neutrality and no need for risky sequestration.strategies which lose O2 as well.

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  5. Tanya MacDonald

    logged in via Facebook

    @ Alex "Metals, heavy metals", whatever name you give them, breathing in nano-sized particulates of these poisons are bad for our bodies and alter the ph levels of soil (is it any wonder Monsanto has recently developed aluminum-resistant seeds?).
    These metals are being found in alarming levels (no, not natural, if it were natural, we'd have being seeing these levels all along) in the environment, and in our bodies. What's even more problematic than our "addiction to fads and disregard for facts…

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    1. Stephen Prowse

      Research Advisor

      In reply to Tanya MacDonald

      We need to be looking at all options including geo-engineering and nuclear power to try to reach a sustainable future for this planet. These need to be examined on a risk based approach using data and evidence, not personal bias and ideology.

      We are living longer and are healthier than we have ever been and it is people who make people sick through self imposed lifestyle diseases such as smoking, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Cancer is common because we are living longer, smoke and drink etc, and mutations, some of which cause cancer accumulate with age. Aluminium is a very common element in normal soil that is mobilised at low pH and otherwise is not an issue.

      So lets keep a level head and take an evidenced based approach to the many significant problems to be addressed as we move to a more sustainable lifestyle.

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  6. Tanya MacDonald

    logged in via Facebook

    This isn't about "bias and ideology". Geoengineering is happening now and it is damaging the health of the planet and it's inhabitants! Something that might interest you is a video entitled "Geoengineering: Destroying the Atmosphere - Rosalind Peterson" which discusses and presents some of the evidence of the impact these chemicals are having on us and the earth right now.

    Sometimes the most level headed thing to do in a crisis is to tell it like it is so hopefully other people will look into it…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tanya MacDonald

      Having lived through the age before our EPA & breathed rust-belt soot & emissions for years, which we largely corrected (except for NORM, etc.) and then moved to Calif. where we do pretty well in controlling pollution, I can say I understand your point, but simply want to get your key references.

      There's no argument that chemical pollution remains a huge issue -- they're long lasting, like the PCBs GE left decades ago in the bottom of the Hudson River, from which many communities draw their water.. I'll look for the video you mention, but would have appreciate more direct refs.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tanya MacDonald

      Tanya -- Watched Rosalind's video. She does environmentalism more damage than good, and the web interface is apparently designed to prevent serious commentary of any useful length. So, I'll just mention here her surprising naivete & willingness to mislead her listeners, while dis-serving the urgent environmental obligations we now have, such as.this reality... http://tinyurl.com/bueq2ev

      She makes it easy for non-environmental actors to point to what she says as crackpot ideas, thus staining those…

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  7. John Nicol

    logged in via Facebook

    Let's not get too carried away just yet. In the last week we have had further damning emails released from CRU, a peer reviewed paper indicating that the case for global warming has probably been exagerated at least by a factor of 2 and the IPCC admitting that there is little to no evidence that severe weather conditions are going to change under a warming regime (in very stark contrast to the "findings" by so many dedicated climatologist in the recent past). While we have heard how "three" committees…

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    1. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I rest my case Alex in regard to comments which do not represent a rational debate. The discussion is not about betting. I can go to a casino or the races for that. What I am interested in here is intelligent discussion on the science related to the atmosphere which is warmed because of many things - conduction across the air/earth interface (20%), condensaion of evaporated water (60%) and collection by absoirption by green house gases. (20%) . The discussion relates to whether or not additional…

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Ok John, no stomach for a bet, but plenty of words -- got it.

      Let's start there: "When the earth is cooling inspite of large increases in the last ten years of CO2 in the atmosphere and the models have predicted warming instead."

      So, you disagree with world measures that show 2008 the hottest on record and 2010 tied with it, eh? So, why ask questions? You already say you have the answers? Argue with your doctor about a serious diagnosis & see what happens.

      But, if you decide to read honestly,as…

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nicol may be referring to the recent paper by Schmittner and colleagues. Readers may wish to look at the press release for this paper at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/osu-cst111811.php

      The results of this paper have yet to be reproduced by other research groups. While their estimate of climate sensitivity to CO2 is on the low side, they explicitly rule out very low sensitivity to CO2 and their estimate lies within the range used by the IPCC. They also reiterate the need to control CO2 emissions.

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    4. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,

      That is one of the papers which needs to be considered but personally I do not place too much faith in its findings, although they may well be correct, since they are closer to the results of accurate spectroscopic analysis than many other examples of climatic interpretation from proxies.

      Even further research using the same techniques will need to be closely looked at. It is much better, I believe, in this type of analysis to make use of a wide range of different techniques which…

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    5. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      No, Alex, I do not disagree that recent years are the hottest for some time. It would be extraordinary if that were not the case when there are the very normal fluctuations about some mean present value of the temperature and the earth is sitting at a peak after a period of fairly continuous warming since the little ice age. Being at the peak,even though static or cooling, any upwards fluctuations will ALWAYS and incotrovertably lead to the "hottest" year yet! John Nicol

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    6. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Hiding in natural variations of measured parameters is no theory, John. While 2008 & 2020 were hottest, as you admit, the solar cycle was just leaving its minimum, which should have meant our temps would have stayed flat, as folks like Monckton were claiming had occurred for several years and was evidence of perhaps even some cooling.

      The document I sent you demonstrates the fallacy, as does the latest set of data from ice cores & sediments, showing that our current warming trend is higher by a…

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  8. Tanya MacDonald

    logged in via Facebook

    @ Alex Climate change is natural. It's been occurring since long before the advent of cars and industry, and many scientists believe it's main driver is solar activity. Also, global warming seems to actually CAUSE an increase in atmospheric carbon, not the other way around. Just because a few hand-picked establishment scientists (whom, lets not forget, have been caught lying about the facts to further their agenda) say something, doesn't mean their aren't many, many other scientists and informed…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tanya MacDonald

      Ok Tanya, now I get it -- a fact-free zone is where you live. Problem is, though your statements are wrong and mislead other good folk, when the time comes, adults around you will be there to rescue you from you self-delusion.

      Sure, thousands of modestly-paid scientists around the world meet every night via Skype to concoct new lies for some odd purpose. Right.

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  9. Bryan Leyland

    logged in via Facebook

    Karoly has ignored the fact that the world has not warmed for the last 10-15 years, that due to the La Nina effect it won't warm for another 9 months or so and that sunspots tell us that the world is heading for a cooling phase.

    His emperor has no clothes.

    Two IPCC lead authors who, a few years ago assured me that global warming would re-start in a few years, now say it might take decades.

    The latest reports from the IPCC say that cooling may well continue and then speculate that CO2 might cause more bad weather. And it might not.

    Climategate 2 tells us that the scientists are not certain and that much of their data is bad. So the past warming may be less than they have claimed.

    Dangerous man-made global warming will soon to be seen as the biggest fraud in the history of the world.

    Meanwhile Karoly and his friends persist in persuading the country to squander billions of dollars in a futile attempt to solve a no-existent problem. Disgraceful!

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  10. Graham R.L. Cowan

    Researcher

    Carbon capture and sequestration from 390-ppm diluteness in air, or even 300-ppm diluteness, is thermodynamically favoured when the capturing mechanism is a 50-micron grain of, e.g., peridotite. And there is plenty of peridotite, and the energy cost of grinding it and dispersing it is small compared to the energy that was yielded when the fossil fuels were burned.

    So while there are end-of-pipe CCS proposals that involve condensation and burial of CO2, these have always seemed to me to be strawman proposals. In refuting them, one refutes a weak variant of CCS. Could someone who has taken the time to post such refutations please acknowledge this.

    More at <a href="http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c31/page_246.shtml">Enhanced weathering of rocks</a>.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Graham R.L. Cowan

      50u particles of anything inhalable and not 'digestible' by our lungs cause serious medical problems. And why do we want bandaids when there are plenty of things we can do, but must do quickly, to stop burning so much Carbon?

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    2. Graham R.L. Cowan

      Researcher

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      You say bandaids, but that has nothing to do with my comment. There are plenty of things we can do to stop -- to go with your metaphor -- cutting ourselves, but there are also ways of transfusing large amounts of blood back into ourselves.

      There's another pleasant metaphor: we're in a submarine that we are running on hydroelectricity. We're letting the water in to turn our generators. Bizarrely, perplexingly, our feet are getting a little ... *wet*. Enhanced weathering, like the biochar Gideon…

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Graham R.L. Cowan

      Ok, Graham, if we make airlines carry the mail, make them carry & dispense some peridotite too. But the energy budget & health effects do need nailing down, especially given public perception of dumping more dust into the air.

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  11. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    Many sceptic myths have been repeated in the discussion thread with the usual claims out outrage (e.g., "disgraceful"). Many of these myths have been debunked time and time again. Most are discussed at www.skepticalscience.com which provides references to original sources.

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    1. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,
      Does this comment mean that you are happy with scientists who are prepared to exchange this type of material, revealing a very cynical attitude to the public's need to know accurately what they really measure and believe is going on, not what they believe a gullible public ought to be told? I do not believe you do, and of course yiu would be aware that Skeptical Science is NOT going to show condemnation - all of the contributors to that blog are part of the process and the problem, of disseminating the dishonest material provided from CRU. John Nicol jonicol18@bigpond.com

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nicol is chair of the Australian Climate Science Coalition, a group of prominent climate "sceptics", so his attitude to mainstream climate science and Skeptical Science is not unexpected.

      If all of mainstream climate science were grossly flawed (dishonest in John Nicol's words), it would be trivial to identify various errors and missteps in the majority of climate science papers. This has not happened.

      Instead, one is more likely to find gross errors and missteps is "sceptic" climate research, as I discussed in my recent Conversation article (http://theconversation.edu.au/critically-important-the-need-for-self-criticism-in-science-4160).

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    3. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,

      So what if I am in the ACSC?. Am I making comments about your interests and associations? I couldn't care less who or what you are.

      I am only concerned that when when people make arguments supporting the case for carbon dioxide's role in causing the Enhanced Green House Effect, not to be confused with the green house effect, that the points which you make are based on YOUR scientific assessment of the matter. Not simply quoting what SOMEONE ELSE has said, but without understanding…

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  12. Bryan Leyland

    logged in via Facebook

    The fact that the world has not warmed is not a myth. ALL the temperature records show it clearly.

    The fact that the temperature follows the SOI with a ~7 month lag is not a myth.

    The fact that the sunspots are declining and the last time this happened we got the little ice age is not a myth.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Bryan Leyland

      Ok Bryan, show you actually believe that swill by putting $ where your mouth is --$5000 says each of of the 5 years from now on will be as warm as, or warmer than, any of the preceding 8 -- $1k/year is the payout. Monckton already lost that bet two years ago (2010 was tied with 2008 as the warmest on record. The sunspot cycle is increasing, so it's a really bad bet for you anyway, but come on down!

      I wonder what folks who ignore reality, and try to get others to do the same, feel they accomplish?

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    2. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael, Looking again at the picture from your link, which of course has been around for awhile, I am wondering what else we could expect following the Little Ice age unless the globe became even colder or alternatively remained froze as it was? There really are only the three options. Also, it simply a physical phenomenon based on quantities of energy required to heat the many parts of any body, that as sections become warmer, the overall rate of warming will increase, since the warm parts approach…

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      It would be helpful if John Nicol provided links to original source material with his comments.

      I am no expert, but surely one reason temperature rise is different over the north and south polar regions is one is covered with ice and sea water while the other is a snow and ice covered continent. I'm sure there are other reasons that one can find by having a thorough look at the literature.

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    4. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Yes, I agree, Michael,I should havew been able to direct you to it, but I will try to find the IPCC map again and let you know where it is on the net if still available.

      However, the magnetic poles to which it referred are not coincident with the axial poles and move about independently of them and over history have reversed, as do the sun's magnetic fields.

      The poles represent the broad convergence point of the earth's field just as the field of a bar magnet has such points. This convergence…

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    5. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, this discussion involving dollars does not seem to me to contribute much to the climate change debate! Would it not be much better to try to provide some insight towards the understanding of the science? John Nicol

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    6. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, already did that in comment to Polya above, and to you via email.

      Anyone who wants more info, fell free to write, as you did earlier.
      cannara@sbcglobal.net

      Again, the point of view I suggest is to imagine our descendents looking back at us from the future and imagine what they're saying about us.

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  13. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    MIchaelB makes the honest-broker's case well. Which shall we weigh more heavily -- a belief that thousands of ordinary, modestly-paid scientists around the world have formed a remarkably effective conspiracy, complete with terabytes of supporting scientific data, or that detractors, who ignore the data that doesn't fit their counter arguments, are right?

    In other words, exploit ignorance of fact to assuage our weakness for comfortable inaction, or be alert to problems and invest in corrective…

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