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(Leaked Documents) IPCC asks scientists to assess geo-engineering climate solutions

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 04:01 PM
Original message
(Leaked Documents) IPCC asks scientists to assess geo-engineering climate solutions
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/15/ipcc-...

IPCC asks scientists to assess geo-engineering climate solutions

Leaked documents ahead of key Lima meeting suggest UN body is looking to slow emissions with technological fixes rather than talks

Read the documents here

John Vidal, environment editor
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 15 June 2011 15.59 BST



The papers, leaked from inside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ahead of a geo-engineering expert group meeting in Lima in Peru next week, show that around 60 scientists will propose or try to assess a range of radical measures, including:

blasting sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight into space;

depositing massive quantities of iron filings into the oceans;

bio-engineering crops to be a lighter colour to reflect sunlight; and

suppressing cirrus clouds.

Other proposals likely to be suggested include spraying sea water into clouds to reflect sunlight away from the Earth, burying charcoal, painting streets and roofs white on a vast scale, adding lime to oceans and finding different ways to suck greenhouse gases out of the air and deposit heat deep into oceans.

The meeting is expected to provide governments with a scientific assessment of geo-engineering technologies, but is widely expected to be in favour of more research and possibly large-scale experimentation despite an international moratorium adopted by the UN last year in Japan.

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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Skin Republicans for white roofing material
I like the idea of sulphate aerosols. The downside is that it would limit output from photovoltaics. It's a cop out, though.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. The thing about injecting things into the stratosphere...
I always wonder: if we discovered we miscalculated, and decided we wanted to make it stop, there's no real good way to do the "make it stop" bit.

Same thing for proposals to inject reflective shit into orbit, but more so.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Well, weve injected sulphates into the atmosphere before, and it was pretty effective
Remember the whole In the 70s they were predicting, global cooling. canard? (Sulphates in the atmosphere.)

The effect is reasonably short-lived.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Do you mean coal emissions from those way-tall smokestacks?
The smokestacks that launched particles and smog emissions for hundreds of miles?
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. That was/is the primary source, yes
http://www.epa.gov/air/sulfurdioxide /

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is one of a group of highly reactive gasses known as oxides of sulfur. The largest sources of SO2 emissions are from fossil fuel combustion at power plants (73%) and other industrial facilities (20%). Smaller sources of SO2 emissions include industrial processes such as extracting metal from ore, and the burning of high sulfur containing fuels by locomotives, large ships, and non-road equipment. SO2 is linked with a number of adverse effects on the respiratory system.

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I don't like much the idea of sulphate aerosols
Edited on Thu Jun-16-11 04:33 PM by OKIsItJustMe
They would only address warming, which is just one part of the problem. However, they would give a false sense of security. There! We fixed that!

Long-term, we need to do something about greenhouse gasses, and that means some type of carbon capture and sequestration, whether its biochar, or carbon eating trees or something even less natural.



Edit: Oh, and then theres the little matter of acid rain
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Sulphate aerosols for the atmosphere, and baking soda for the oceans?
It would be much easier and safer to just stop burning fossil fuels, except for the fact that we won't.
Humans seem to be so much better at doing than at not doing....
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Stopping burning fossil fuels tonight wouldnt be sufficient
(and as you point out, we won't do that)

In any case, we already have too much CO2 in the atmosphere, and nature wont remove it quickly enough without assistance.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. "nature wont remove it quickly enough"
Quickly enough for what? Is there an end state we're trying to achieve? An "optimum" rate of change? Do we wish for stasis? What is our goal?

This is a serious question. All existence is change. We may regret the changes we've put in motion, but many of them are bells that can't be un-rung. Is it wise to spend our economic, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual energies trying to undo that which can't be undone? What risks are we willing to run in order to attempt that? What if in our sincere efforts to "fix" things we set in motion even greater calamities?

Or might it be better to take a page from the ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation, forgiveness, acceptance and responsibility called Hoʻoponopono, and say to Mother Nature, each other and ourselves, I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.

Sometimes the old ways are better.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Quickly enough for what?
http://www.350.org/en/about/science
350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere.

Accelerating arctic warming and other early climate impacts have led scientists to conclude that we are already above the safe zone at our current 388ppm, and that unless we are able to rapidly return to below 350 ppm this century, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt.



Propelled by the news of these accelerating impacts, some of the world's leading climate scientists have now revised the highest safe level of CO2 to 350 parts per million. That's the last number you need to know, and the most important. It's the safety zone for planet earth. As James Hansen of America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the first scientist to warn about global warming more than two decades ago, wrote recently:
"If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm."

That will be a hard task, but not impossible. We need to stop taking carbon out of the ground and putting it into the air. Above all, that means we need to stop burning so much coaland start using solar and wind energy and other such sources of renewable energy while ensuring the Global South a fair chance to develop. If we do, then the earths soils and forests will slowly cycle some of that extra carbon out of the atmosphere, and eventually CO2 concentrations will return to a safe level. By decreasing use of other fossil fuels, and improving agricultural and forestry practices around the world, scientists believe we could get back below 350 by mid-century. But the longer we remain in the danger zoneabove 350the more likely that we will see disastrous and irreversible climate impacts.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 05:27 PM
Response to Original message
9. Well, that's got flop-sweat dripping from it . . .
Not surprising, but the text between the lines is telling.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Yeah
Desperate times desperate measures (and all that jazz.)
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
12. "soft" geoengineering vs "hard" geoengineering
White paint, reforestation, biochar, etc are considered "soft" geoengineering and should have little downside risk.
Injecting sulpher into the upper atmosphere, etc, are considered "hard" geoengineering and are acts of desperation.

BioSphere 2 was an attempt to create a prototype Mars colony using "soft" geoengineering technology.
They had a lot of unexpected problems.





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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 04:01 AM
Response to Original message
13. Oh is it that time of year again already?
> geo-engineering expert group meeting in Lima in Peru next week, show
> that around 60 scientists industry representatives after more
> profits will propose or try to assess a range of radical measures, ...

Fixed it.


> blasting sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight into space;

Woohoo! Acid rain all round!


> depositing massive quantities of iron filings into the oceans;

Proven failure already (unless you like dead zones & algal blooms).


> bio-engineering crops to be a lighter colour to reflect sunlight; and

There's a reason why plants (and most other things) are the colour they are.
Piss-balling around with genetic engineering for the sake of a potential
colour change is even more stupid than for most of their other excuses for
releasing untested, dangerous and unnecessary "modifications" into the wild
for profit.


> suppressing cirrus clouds.

There is more than enough devastating variation in weather as it is.
Deliberately tampering with moisture content of the atmospheric flows
is beyond "stupid".


As bananas said above, the use of "soft geo-engineering" (e.g., burying
charcoal, painting streets & roofs white on a vast scale) is wise and
should be done anyway (even though it isn't going to make a huge impact).

The "hard geo-engineering" (e.g., the stuff listed above plus "adding lime
to oceans" and "deposit heat deep into oceans") is just a set of proposals
to extract those last few dollars of short-term profit whilst accelerating
the race over the cliff.

:grr:
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