DailyDirt: Geoengineering Could Have Its Own Unintended Consequences
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
If you haven’t noticed, there’s a climate change conference going on that could have an impact on global commerce and… possibly the global climate, if you believe we puny humans can actually change the climate. Even if you don’t think climate change is a real problem, it shouldn’t hurt to explore more energy technologies or environmental remediation techniques, right? (Well, unless we get ourselves into a Snowpiercer situation.)
- Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg (and others who aren’t famous billionaires) are trying to get “large funding commitments for basic and applied research” for energy technology. Maybe $20 billion invested in research over the next few years will help get everyone away from burning fossil fuels — or at least make fossil fuels less polluting? [url]
- A geoengineering solution that comes up every so often is to create a “fake volcano” and spray sulfuric acid into the upper atmosphere. When Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it caused a global temperature dip by ejecting aerosol droplets that reflected sunlight — so an artificial aerosol spray could perform the same trick for a relatively low cost (assuming we actually wanted to do it). [url]
- Russ George dumped about 100 tons of iron sulfate into the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Canada in 2012 — seeding the ocean with this fertilizer that spawned a huge artificial plankton bloom. George wasn’t commended for his experiment, but did it work? Mostly likely it did, though it might also depend on how you define success. But should anyone do it again? [url]
- Phytoplankton could evolve to sequester carbon dioxide, absorbing as much CO2 as tropical rainforests do. Or someone could artificially engineer these microscopic organisms to convert CO2 into biomass, but it’s still unclear what effect it might have on the carbon cycle. [url]
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