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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

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

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  • http://www.shell.com/home/content/responsible_energy/environment/climate_change/global/global_threat.html
  • http://www.pacificscience.org/tfoceanacidification.html Change in sea surface pH caused by anthropogenic CO2 between the 1700s and the 1990s

Geoengineering seminar Geoengineering seminar Presentation Transcript

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