Harrison Wyld's geoengineering dossier


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This is a summary of some of the key types of geoengineering, including both SRM (Solar Radiation Managment) and CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removal).

*Note - while all of the information featured in this presentation is entirely factual, Harrison Wyld, Lulu Richmond and Bluebird are fictional entities and are part of an alternate reality initiative by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More information at http://abc.net.au/bluebird

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Harrison Wyld's geoengineering dossier

  1. 1. Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS delicious.com/hwyld/ged1
  2. 2. Introduction " If we froze greenhouse gas concentrations at “… you may have the idea this problem is current levels the Earth would continue to warm relatively recent… The fact is: uh-uh. We’ve for many decades if not centuries… Emissions know about this problem for 50 years, depending would need to be eliminated entirely… on how you count it. We have talked about it endlessly over the last decade or so. And we’ve Given all of the inertia in the physical climate accomplished close to zip…” system, in our energy infrastructure, and our political system, there's really no practical way David Keith on climate change, TED 2007 that emission reductions can reduce the pace of climate change or greatly reduce the amount of climate risk. Emission reductions cannot start “Environmental consequences are among the cooling the Earth this century… least of our worries…. Imagine a scenario where the world has gotten much hotter and China goes …it's only responsible to think about what we into a period of deep drought. The Chinese would do in the face of a climate emergency…" leaderships says, 'Our people are suffering. We're having a famine. Let's put aerosols in the stratosphere to restore our climate.' It's hard to - Ken Caldeira, New Scientist, Apr 2010 imagine they would resist deploying that system…” - Ken Caldeira, New Scientist, Apr 2010 Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 2
  3. 3. Methods SRM (Solar Radiation Management) CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removal) Techniques to reflect a small percentage of the Techniques to remove C02 from the atmosphere sun's light and heat back into space 1. Sulphates in the Stratosphere 1. Synthetic Trees 2. Mirrors in Space 2. Pipes in the Ocean 3. Cloud Seeding Yachts 3. Ocean fertilisation 4. Increasing land albedo 4. Biochar Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 3
  4. 4. SRM (1) Sulphate aerosols in the stratosphere Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 4
  5. 5. SRM (1) Sulphate aerosols in the stratosphere Solution most favoured – most affordable, quickest effect • In 1996 Paul Crutzen published a controversial proposal to cool the planet by releasing sulphate particles in the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight and heat back into space. This sparked a renewed debate amongst scientists around geoengineering. “…injecting 10 megatons of sulfur—roughly the amount of sulfur belched forth by Mount Pinatubo in 1991—would counteract less than half of the “forcing” energy thought to be responsible for global warming…” (Science Now, Feb 2010) “Though they carry the greatest risk of unintended consequences, stratospheric injections of aero- sols have the greatest potential to cool the climate by 2050. One potential risk is that these sort of injections would have to be continually replenished, and if stopped suddenly, rapid warming would ensue.” (Treehugger, Jan 2009) SELECTED REFERENCES: WATCH READ BBC Science - Five Ways To Save The World: Sulphur filled rockets, Dec WIRED, Jun 2008: Can a Million Tons of Sulfur Dioxide Combat Climate 2008 Change? David Keith at TED 2007 Science Now, Feb 2010: The Latest on Hacking the Planet Crutzen, P., 2006: Albedo Enhancement by Stratospheric Sulfur Injections: A Contribution To Resolve A Policy Dilemma (PDF) Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 5
  6. 6. SRM (2) Mirrors in Space Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 6
  7. 7. SRM (2) Mirrors in Space Dr Roger Angel’s proposal to fight global warming - fire trillions of mirrors into space to deflect the sun's rays to form a 100,000 square mile "sun shade" • Trillions of mirrors would be fired one million miles above the earth using a huge cannon with a barrel 0.6 miles across and firing power 100 times that of conventional weapons • Cost would be approximately $350 trillion • Could be ready to launch within 20-30 years SELECTED REFERENCES: WATCH delicious.com/hwyld/space READ Telegraph UK - Scientists to stop global warming with 100,000 square Popular Mechanics - How Geoengineering Works: 5 Big Plans to Stop mile sun shade, Feb 2009 Global Warming -- #2 Shoot mirrors into space, Nov 2008 Discovery, Ways To Save The Planet - 16 Trillion Space Lenses, March Feasibility of cooling the Earth with a cloud of small spacecraft near the 2009 inner Lagrange point (L1) – Roger Angel, Sept 2006 BBC Science - Five Ways To Save The World: A Huge Sun Shade In Space?, Dec 2008 Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 7
  8. 8. SRM (3) Cloud Seeding Yachts Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 8
  9. 9. SRM (3) Cloud Seeding Yachts Professors John Latham and Stephen Salter’s design for a fleet of yachts that would pump fine particles of sea-water into clouds, thickening them to reflect the Sun's rays • Aim is to make clouds reflect 10% more than they are now • Ideally, Latham and Salter want to launch 3.8m tonnes of salt water particles each day into oceanic clouds using remote controlled fleet of up to1500 ships SELECTED REFERENCES: WATCH http://delicious.com/hwyld/cloudseeding READ Discovery, Ways To Save The Planet – Customising Clouds, Mar 2009 BBC News – VIEWPOINT: Futuristic Fleet Of ‘Cloudseeders’, John Latham, Feb 2007 Discovery, Ways To Save The Planet – Marine Stratocumulus Clouds, Mar 2009 Planetwork – Global Cooling: Cloud Seeding to Avert Catastrophic Global Warming, John Latham BBC Science – Five Ways To Save The World: Anti-global warming clouds, Dec 2008 Royal Society Publishing (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 2008 366, 3969-3987) - Global temperature stabilisation via controlled albedo enhancement of low-level maritime clouds: John Latham et al, 2008 IPO Publishing - Geoengineering by cloud seeding: influence on sea ice and climate system, Philip J Rasch, John Latham and Chih-Chieh (Jack) Chen, Dec 2009 Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 9
  10. 10. SRM (4) Increasing land albedo Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 10
  11. 11. SRM (4) Increasing land albedo Should we paint the world white to tackle the impact of global warming? "Experts have talked of shinier fields of crops, such as barley, soy and wheat, while oth- ers have suggested we could cover the deserts in plastic sheets, scrubbed clean by robots. Space scientists have even considered painting the moon to make it less reflective, so more of the sun's energy seeps into the lunar soil where it could be tapped by astronauts..." "Dark roofs reflect about 10-20% of sunlight, while white surfaces tend to send back at least half. In technical terms, the percentage of light reflected by a surface is called its al- bedo - so a perfectly reflective surface has an albedo of 1. Coloured paints have an albedo of 0.1-0.3, and white paints an albedo of 0.5-0.9. Asphalt road surfaces have albedos as low as 0.05, so they absorb up to 95% of the sun's energy. Concrete has an albedo of up to 0.3, tar and gravel just 0.1." SELECTED REFERENCES: WATCH READ Discovery, Ways To Save The Planet – Wrapping Greenland, Guardian UK - Paint it White, Jan 2009 Mar 2009 Guardian UK - Paint for victory: new weapon in climate war is brilliant white roofs, Jan 2009 America.gov - Science Planet: Paint your roof white and reduce global warming, June 2009 Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 11
  12. 12. CDR (1) Synthetic Trees Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 12
  13. 13. CDR (1) Synthetic Trees “…one of the most promising technologies to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, according to a report published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the UK…” • 100,000 artificial trees requires 600 hectares of land • Each tree can remove 1 tonne of CO2 per day (amount of CO2 produced by 20 average US automobiles every day) • Could be deployed within 10 to 20 years to help soak up the world's carbon emissions • Collect carbon 1000 times faster than real tree • Cost: $20-$30k ea Klaus Lackner: "10 million trees could capture 3.6 gigatons of C02 a year. The world right now produces 30 gigatons of C02 a year..." SELECTED REFERENCES: WATCH http://delicious.com/hwyld/artificialtrees READ Hot Planet, BBC – Artificial Trees that absorb CO2, Dec 2009 BBC News – Artificial trees to cut carbon, Aug 2009 BBC Science – Five Ways To Save The World: Artifical Trees, 2007 New York Times - Scrubbing CO2 with synthetic trees, Jul 2009 CNN – Synthetic tree claims to catch carbon in the air, Jun 2009 Guardian UK - Fake trees, algae tubes and white roofs among UK engineers' climate solutions, Aug 2009 Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 13
  14. 14. CDR (2) Pipes in the Ocean Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 14
  15. 15. CDR (2) Pipes in the Ocean James Lovelock and Chris Rapley • An array of between 10,000 and 100,000 pipes required • Each pipe approx 33 feet (10m) wide and 330 feet (100m) long • Wave energy makes pipes bog up and down – one-way valves inside the pipes force the water to circulate, bringing nutrient-rich water to the surface • Stimulates algal growth to reduce CO2 • Algal blooms would also produce a chemical that helps sunlight-reflecting clouds to form “… tether millions of vertical pipes across the oceans to pump nutrient-rich deep water to the surface… These waters would fertilise the growth of algae, which in turn fix carbon dioxide. The pipes, reaching to depths of 200 metres, would have flap valves at the bottom operated by the energy of waves, which would push deep water up the pipe.” “…based on a proposal by Philip Kithil of the Santa Fe-based corporation Atmocean. Kithil suggested at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union last year that 100 million 10-metre diameter pumps across the oceans could capture one-quarter of human-made CO2 emissions…” BUT “… as well as being rich in nutrients, water rising up the pipes will be rich in carbon - this could mean CO2 is released into the atmosphere….” Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 15
  16. 16. CDR (2) Pipes in the Ocean SELECTED REFERENCES: READ RECENT CRITICISM New Scientist – Ocean pumps could counter global warming, Sept 2007 National Oceanography Centre, Southampton - Ocean geo-engineering with ocean pipes no easy fix for global warming, Feb 2010 National Geographic – Giant ocean tubes proposed as global warming fix, Sept 2007 Science Daily – Ocean geoengineering scheme no easy fix for global warming, Feb 2010 BILL GATES has a slightly different focus: “Gates is among a group of weather experts who have applied for patents on a system for lowering ocean temperatures. Using a fleet of barges equipped with pumps, Gates and his team believe a hurricane can be slowed by cooling the tropical waters that fuel its progress…” WATCH READ Huffington Post – Bill Gates’ hurricane fighting invention, July 2009 Times Online - Bill Gates in bid to tame hurricanes, Jul 2009 US Patent Application 20090173386 Inventors: Bowers; Jeffrey A.; (Kirkland, WA) ; Caldeira; Kenneth G.; (Campbell, CA) ; Chan; Alistair K.; (Stillwater, MN) ; Gates, III; William H.; (Redmond, WA) ; Hyde; Roderick A.; (Redmond, WA) ; Ishikawa; Muriel Y.; (Livermore, CA) ; Kare; Jordin T.; (Seattle, WA) ; Latham; John; (Boulder, CO) ; Myhrvold; Nathan P.; (Medina, WA) ; Salter; Stephen H.; (Edinburgh, GB) ; Tegreene; Clarence T.; (Bellevue, WA) ; Wattenburg; Williard H.; (Walnut Creek, CA) ; Wood, JR.; Lowell L.; (Bellevue, WA) Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 16
  17. 17. CDR (3) Ocean fertilisation Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 17
  18. 18. CDR (3) Ocean fertilisation A number of real experiments for this have been underway for some time (e.g. LOHAFEX), and a number of ocean fertilisation companies have been founded – e.g. Climos, Planktos (now folded) Wired, Jan 2009 U.N. Says ‘No,’ Climate Hackers Say, ‘Yes We Can’ “The LOHAFEX experiment will spread 20-tons of iron sulphate particles over a 115-square-mile section of open ocean north of Antarctica — that’s about 1.7 times the size of Washington, D.C.” SELECTED REFERENCES: http://delicious.com/hwyld/oceanfertilisation BBC Science - Five Ways To Save The World: Urine - an ocean nourish- ment project?, 2008 Guardian UK: Just add lime (to the sea) - the latest plan to cut C02 emis- sions, Jul 2009 UPDATE: Nature: Carbon capture scheme could cause toxic blooms, Mar 2010 Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 18
  19. 19. CDR (4) Biochar Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 19
  20. 20. CDR (4) Biochar “…created by pyrolysis of biomass for biosequestration or atmospheric carbon capture and storage” (Wikipedia.org) James Lovelock “What we have to do is turn a portion of all the waste of agriculture into charcoal and bury it…” "take the plant products that the biosphere makes from the CO2, and instead of letting animals and us and bacteria eat them, (which would put the CO2 back into the atmosphere within the year), let’s take the plant products and turn them into charcoal. If we do this, charcoal is like gold, it’s almost indestruc- tible… Once we’ve turned it into charcoal that CO2 is taken out of the air for good…” James Hansen “Biochar could cut CO2 levels by 8 parts per million within 50 years…” SELECTED REFERENCES: WATCH http://delicious.com/hwyld/biochar READ Guardian UK – The Manchester Report: Biochar, July 2009 Guardian UK - James Lovelock on biochar: Let the Earth remove CO2 for us, March 2009 CNN - Can biochar save the planet?, March 2009 BusinessGreen.com - Biochar goes industrial with giant microwaves to lock carbon in charcoal, Mar 2009 Environmentalresearchweb – The biochar debate, Oct 2009 Dossier #1: SOLUTIONS 20
  21. 21. delicious.com/hwyld/ged1