Geoengineering seminar


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Blake Lapthorn solicitors held a breakfast seminar on 31 March 2010 with speaker Tim Kruger, Director of Oxford Geoengineering Institute

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  • Change in sea surface pH caused by anthropogenic CO2 between the 1700s and the 1990s
  • Geoengineering seminar

    1. 1. Geoengineering: an insurance policy for Earth? Tim Kruger 31 March 2010
    2. 2. The Problem Greenhouse gas concentration stabilisation level (ppm CO 2 -eq) 4
    3. 3. The Problem 5
    4. 4. What can we do? <ul><li>Reduce emissions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use less energy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use less carbon-intense energy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture emissions before they get into the atmosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reducing emissions is necessary – indeed essential – but it may not be sufficient </li></ul><ul><li>We may need to turn the clock back on climate change </li></ul>
    5. 5. What is geoengineering? <ul><li>The deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to address climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Geoengineering as airbag: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You never want to use it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It will be pretty unpleasant if you do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But, if you have to, you are grateful you have it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The time to design it is before you are skidding on the ice </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Geoengineering comes in two flavours <ul><li>Solar Radiation Management (SRM) – reflecting a small fraction of the Sun’s heat back into space </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) – reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere </li></ul>
    7. 7. Solar Radiation Management <ul><li>Mirrors in space </li></ul><ul><li>Stratospheric aerosols </li></ul><ul><li>Cloud whitening </li></ul><ul><li>Surface albedo </li></ul>
    8. 8. Carbon Dioxide Removal <ul><li>Air capture (artificial trees) </li></ul><ul><li>Ocean fertilisation </li></ul><ul><li>Biochar </li></ul><ul><li>Afforestation </li></ul><ul><li>Enhanced weathering </li></ul>
    9. 9. SRM vs CDR <ul><li>SRM – quick, cheap, incomplete, riskier </li></ul><ul><li>CDR – slow, expensive, complete, safer </li></ul>
    10. 10. An assessment of geoengineering options Source: “Geoengineering the climate. Science, governance and uncertainty” (Royal Society, 2009)
    11. 11. CaCO 3  CaO + CO 2 CaO + H 2 O  Ca(OH) 2 Options Sequestration Enhanced Oil Recovery Growing Algae Ca(OH) 2 + 1.7CO 2  Ca 2+ + 1.4HCO 3 - + 0.3CO 3 2- + 0.3H 2 O CO 2 + H 2 O H 2 CO 3 H + + HCO 3 - 2H + + CO 3 2- The Lime Industry CO 2 Options Sequestration in the Ocean 6
    12. 12. Ca(OH) 2 + 1.7CO 2  Ca 2+ + 1.4HCO 3 - + 0.3CO 3 2- + 0.3H 2 O
    13. 13. Moral hazard <ul><li>There is a concern that if people believe that there is a solution to climate change that they will not reduce emissions </li></ul><ul><li>In fact, if there is a safe and robust way to remove carbon dioxide then there is a moral obligation to do so </li></ul>
    14. 17. The Oxford Principles: House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee <ul><li>Geoengineering to be regulated as a public good </li></ul><ul><li>Public participation in decision making </li></ul><ul><li>Disclosure of geoengineering research & open publication of results </li></ul><ul><li>Independent assessment of impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Governance arrangements to be clear before deployment </li></ul>
    15. 18. A racket is a business that makes money by selling a solution to a problem that the business itself created
    16. 19. Conclusion <ul><li>Research into geoengineering is essential as an insurance policy, lest we fail to reduce emissions sufficiently </li></ul><ul><li>Geoengineering is very likely technically feasible, but we do not know what the side-effects will be </li></ul><ul><li>The social aspects – ethical, political, economic, legal and governance – are far more complicated than the technical ones </li></ul>
    17. 20. Thank you