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Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Sat 29 Nov 2014, 18:10:26
by dohboi
" in case we still pursue BAU"

Which we seem to be pretty much doing.

That seemingly intelligent, moral people ever even considered these schemes has always struck me as one of the surest signs of how utterly desperate we really are.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Sat 29 Nov 2014, 20:52:18
by Subjectivist
dohboi wrote:" in case we still pursue BAU"

Which we seem to be pretty much doing.

That seemingly intelligent, moral people ever even considered these schemes has always struck me as one of the surest signs of how utterly desperate we really are.

If my life has taught me anything it is this, humans will refuse to change anything they are comfortable with until circumstances force them too, 99 percent of the time. People will fight for BAU until they can't, and then most of them will wish to go back too it at the first opertunity even if their changed life is improved from an objective observers POV.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Sat 29 Nov 2014, 21:56:47
by dohboi
That's pretty much what this guy says in this interview:

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Thu 04 Dec 2014, 16:10:09
by Graeme
Buckyballs enhance carbon capture

Rice University scientists have discovered an environmentally friendly carbon-capture method that could be equally adept at drawing carbon dioxide emissions from industrial flue gases and natural gas wells.

The Rice lab of chemist Andrew Barron revealed in a proof-of-concept study that amine-rich compounds are highly effective at capturing the greenhouse gas when combined with carbon-60 molecules.

The research is the subject of an open-access paper today in Nature's online journal Scientific Reports.

"We had two goals," Barron said. "One was to make the compound 100 percent selective between carbon dioxide and methane at any pressure and temperature. The other was to reduce the high temperature needed by other amine solutions to get the carbon dioxide back out again. We've been successful on both counts."

Tests from one to 50 atmospheric pressures showed the Rice compound captured a fifth of its weight in carbon dioxide but no measurable amount of methane, Barron said, and the material did not degrade over many absorption/desorption cycles.

Carbon-60, the soccer ball-shaped molecule also known as buckminsterfullerene (or the "buckyball") was discovered at Rice by Nobel Prize laureates Richard Smalley, Robert Curl and Harold Kroto in 1985. The ultimate curvature of buckyballs may make them the best possible way to bind amine molecules that capture carbon dioxide but allow desirable methane to pass through.

The Rice lab used buckyballs as crosslinkers between amines, nitrogen-based molecules drawn from polyethyleneimine. The lab produced a brown, spongy material in which hydrophobic (water-avoiding) buckyballs forced the hydrophilic (water-seeking) amines to the outside, where passing carbon dioxide could bind to the exposed nitrogen.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Thu 04 Dec 2014, 16:24:25
by dohboi
Not sure that we can say for sure that this kind of nano-technology is exactly "environmentally friendly" for certain.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Thu 04 Dec 2014, 16:36:43
by Graeme
At this early stage, we're not sure how they will be fixed in flues, and how CO2 will be disposed of later presumably underground but let's look out for this. I know somebody will think of some ingenious way of utilizing this confined CO2. Image Just saw this:

We Now Know How to Save the Planet. For $17.6 Trillion

The Saskatchewan project, for instance, came with a price tag of C$1.4 billion ($1.23 billion) despite favorable geological conditions. At that rate, fitting all the world’s power stations with carbon-capture technology would cost about $17.6 trillion.


I wonder if costs would come down even further if they used BBs?

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Thu 04 Dec 2014, 17:50:13
by dohboi
Did you mean if they use BS?? :lol: They're already doing that, it looks like.

But really, now I'm all in favor of requiring every new and existing coal plant to outfit itself with one of these things. Seems to me that such a regulation would work even faster than carbon taxes to reduce coal use.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Sat 06 Dec 2014, 23:26:21
by dohboi
Geo-engineering is getting some particularly stupid coverage from Newsweek, featuring turning humans into Hobbits!: ... k-hobbits/

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Thu 11 Dec 2014, 20:30:43
by Graeme
This is better coverage:

Fears of a bright planet

SHINY things absorb less heat when left in the sun. This means that if the Earth could be made a little shinier it would be less susceptible to global warming. Ways to brighten it, such as adding nanoscale specks of salt to low clouds, making them whiter, or putting a thin haze of particles into the stratosphere, are the province of “geoengineering”. The small band of scientists which has been studying this subject over the past decade or so has mostly been using computer models. Some of them are now proposing outdoor experiments—using seawater-fed sprayers to churn out particles of the exact size needed to brighten clouds, or spewing sulphur particles from underneath a large balloon 20km up in the sky (see article).

The aims are modest. The scientists hope to understand some of the processes on which these technologies depend, as a way of both gauging their feasibility (can you reliably make tiny puffs of sea salt brighten clouds?) and assessing their risks (how much damage to the ozone layer might a stratospheric haze do, and how might such damage be minimised?). The experiments would be far too small to have any climatic effects. The amount of sulphur put into the stratosphere by the experimental balloon would be 2% of what a passenger jet crossing the Atlantic emits in an hour.

There are all sorts of reasons why geoengineering may prove impossible, either politically or scientifically. It may be too dangerous to countenance, and the circumstances which might make it an appealing complement to cutting emissions may never arise. But to treat research into the subject as taboo on the basis that ignorance is a viable defence against folly would be a dangerous mistake.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Fri 12 Dec 2014, 17:12:59
by Graeme
And this:

Fact or Fiction?: Geoengineering Can Solve Global Warming

A global deal to combat climate change lurches toward reality in Lima, Peru, this week—and yet any politically feasible agreement will be insufficient to restrain continued warming of global average temperatures, perhaps uncomfortably high. Although recent pledges by China, the 28 countries of the European Union and the U.S. are the first signs of the possibility of restraining the endless growth of greenhouse gas pollution on a long-term basis, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have crossed the threshold of 400 parts per million—and will reach 450 ppm in less than two decades at present growth rates. The estimated one trillion metric tons of carbon the atmosphere can absorb could be burned through in even less time, particularly if India, as it develops, picks up where China leaves off by burning coal without any attempt to capture the CO2 before the greenhouse gas spews from smokestacks.

Geoengineering could play a role in coping with some of the impacts of climate change, perhaps used to cool off the rapidly warming Arctic and save summertime sea ice. Or "these strategies might be used throughout the period required to replace fossil fuel burning with globally distributed clean energy and even be continued while CO2 concentrations remain too high," as atmospheric scientists put it in an overview of the Philosophical Transactions issue. Small-scale tests of such techniques are therefore warranted to assess the real risks, such as unexpected chemical reactions with the existing mix of atmospheric gases, for example. Of course, it took massive emissions of CO2 to detect human-caused global warming, suggesting small-scale tests may not reveal much. And even at a miniscule scale engineering the climate remains a radical step with consequences for both the climate and civilization that cannot be predicted in advance.

There is no technological fix for global warming other than the hard work of transforming a global energy system that relies on burning fossil fuels into one that relies on energy sources—the sun, Earth's heat, fission or, maybe some decade, fusion—that do not use the atmosphere as a dump. The fact that geoengineering cannot suffice is good news because it means that a viable form of climate engineering cannot undercut the urgency of making that switch. No form of climate engineering can solve global warming at present. To think so is science fiction.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Mon 15 Dec 2014, 15:02:51
by Graeme
Let's get back to carbon capture which is part of geoengineering. I talked about bucky balls above. Here is another technique, which can be used at coal plants and oil wells!

Capturing Carbon as a Byproduct of Running a Fuel Cell

The more that engineers look, the more they find unexpected ways to capture carbon dioxide, a gas that scientists say threatens global climate stability.

Until now, most efforts to capture carbon have been expensive, in dollars and in energy. A coal-fired power plant that grabbed carbon before it escaped into the atmosphere would lose an enormous portion of its energy output in the process.

But as the strict new federal rules on carbon emissions take shape, technology is racing to find new ways. One novel approach is being demonstrated at a laboratory here, where engineers say carbon capture could be a cheap byproduct of running a fuel cell.

Deep inside a tangle of pipes, tanks, heat exchangers and miniature electrochemical reaction chambers, a fuel cell has been silently turning out electricity around the clock for about five months using a process in which one stage gives off carbon dioxide and another stage absorbs it.

A fuel cell is a chemical reactor that combines natural gas and air, and makes electricity, without combustion. In some fuel cells, carbon dioxide is routinely produced in one stage and recaptured in another.

As it is piped between the stages, the gas is at 70 percent purity, and most of the other 30 percent is innocuous steam. So the engineers at the company that built the installation, FuelCell Energy, are pulling off a chemical bait-and-switch.

They chill the carbon and steam mixture to about 40 degrees below zero, which is considered easy in the chemical world, well within the range of commercial cooling systems. At that temperature, carbon dioxide gas turns into a liquid, which is easily drained off.

But the second stage in the fuel cell is still hungry for the carbon dioxide that has now been stolen. Where to get it? From the exhaust of a coal plant. Instead of feeding the fuel cell ordinary air, the engineers supply a flow of air laced with 13 percent carbon dioxide, about the level that would come from a typical coal-burning power plant.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Tue 16 Dec 2014, 16:04:40
by Graeme
Geo-engineering: Energy efficient method using salt water to cool planet identified

A study into reversible geo-engineering method to offset rising global temperatures has narrowed in on an energy efficient method of cloud brightening.

The "Rayleigh Jet" technique could help offset the effects of carbon emissions at the expense of 30 megawatts of energy.

It relies on spraying a fine jet of salt water that breaks down into small droplets into the sky. The liquid droplets evaporate quickly, leaving behind just the salt particles.

These particles could be generated from specially built ships that could travel the world's oceans spraying salt particles into the air, says Manchester University press release.

The fine mist of salt particles is propelled high into the atmosphere to settle on clouds and help reflect back more sunlight into space.

Increasing the amount of salt particles in the atmosphere allows more of these water droplets to form, making the clouds denser and therefore more reflective.

Previous studies have optimised the size of the salt particles needed to produce the best increase in cloud reflectance but did not look into the energy costs involved.

This new paper, by teams at the universities of Manchester, Washington and Edinburgh, saw researchers test energy efficiency levels of four techniques that provided for an increase in reflection of 5%.

This figure has been calculated as the optimum reflectance desired to combat the predicted effects of increased carbon dioxide levels over the rest of this century.

The Rayleigh jet method could produce the desired effect using 30 megawatts of energy, about the same energy that two large ships produce.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Thu 18 Dec 2014, 16:16:04
by Graeme

Farmers can layer biochar into their fields where it becomes part of the soil matrix and helps retain water and essential agricultural nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. “You can basically think of it as a soil reef upon which abiotic and biotic phenomena happen,” says David Shearer, CEO of Full Circle Biochar, one of a handful of U.S. based biochar start-ups working to commercialize the age-old “technology.” Farmers like the fact that using biochar can lower their water and fertilizer bills as well as yield more and better quality agricultural products—leading to better market performance overall. “This is really a hedge for farmers,” reports Shearer. “It really helps them manage their financial risk and it helps them manage risk into the future around production.”

As far as environmentalists are concerned, the greater the demand for biochar the better, given the fact that it is a potent storage mechanism for carbon dioxide that would otherwise head into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. “The carbon in biochar resists degradation and can hold carbon in soils for hundreds to thousands of years,” reports IBI. “We can use this simple, yet powerful, technology to store 2.2 gigatons of carbon annually by 2050. It’s one of the few technologies that is relatively inexpensive, widely applicable and quickly scalable. We really can’t afford not to pursue it.”


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Thu 18 Dec 2014, 21:24:18
by Graeme
Shrinking ship bubbles ‘could counteract climate change’

Getting ships to generate smaller bubbles as they sail across the oceans could counteract the impact of climate change, a study suggests.

Scientists from University of Leeds, UK, say this would create a brighter wake behind a vessel and reflect more sunlight back into space.

However, it could also increase rainfall in some areas.

The findings were presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

This is the latest idea from the hotly debated field of geoengineering - manmade global fixes to climate change.

Suggestions for reducing the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the Earth range from installing giant mirrors in space to injecting salt into clouds to make them more reflective.

But Leeds' Prof Piers Forster said the bubbles idea was a more plausible scheme.

He told BBC News: "A lot of these technologies are completely hypothetical.

"The one advantage about this technology - of trying to generate these tiny 'micro-bubbles' - is that the technology does already exist."

Double benefit
As ships sail across the waves, the white froth they create in their wake stands out from the dark ocean waters.

But the team behind this study said that if the bubbles in the froth were smaller in size, the watery trail would be even brighter.

More importantly, it would also stick around for much longer: the bubbles could last for up to 24 hours, compared with an average lifetime of a few minutes for ordinary bubbles.

This would have the effect of reflecting and refracting sunlight off the surface of the ocean, said Prof Forster.

The team found that making bubbles 10 to 100 times smaller than their current size - to about 1 micron (one millionth of a metre) - had the greatest impact. And that this could be done by fitting aerosol technology to the backs of ships.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Mon 05 Jan 2015, 13:49:24
by Graeme
New Year's Carbon Dioxide Removal Review/Preview: 2014/15 Edition

Welcome to the first annual edition of the Everything and the Carbon Sink carbon dioxide removal (“CDR”) New Year’s review/preview post! This post highlights my take on the most significant advances in the CDR field from the past year, and my expectations for how the field might develop in 2015. So without further ado…

The Science of CDR:

Review: In my opinion, the most important development in any area of the CDR field in 2014 was the publication of this language in Chapter 6 of Working Group 3’s contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on climate change:

“The large majority of scenarios produced in the literature that reach roughly 450 ppm CO2eq by 2100 are characterized by concentration overshoot facilitated by the deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.”

This statement signifies that the leading international group of climate scientists think that CDR solutions are no longer a “nice to have” greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emission abatement option, but instead are a “must have” option if we hope to prevent significant climate change.

Preview: With the likely need for CDR now established, I expect the scientific advances that will have the greatest impact in 2015 will be related to how large-scale CDR might be achieved in the future. Many key scientific questions still remain about scalability, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of the leading approaches to CDR (see figure below). For example, I expect progress to be made answering questions about the sustainable supply potential of biological based CDR approaches, as well as about the permanence of the carbon sequestration from approaches such as biochar and carbon “negative” agricultural techniques. In addition, I expect incremental R&D advances in the carbon capture field more generally from government-sponsored projects (such as ARPA-E and Cyclotron Road).


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Sat 10 Jan 2015, 16:09:45
by Graeme
Cheap asphalt that can suck up carbon dioxide has been created

The asphalt that forms our roads can be modified to store carbon and help reduce the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere, new research as found.

A team from Rice University in the US has used asphalt, or bitumen, to make a cheap porous material that can store an impressive 114 percent of its weight in carbon dioxide.

Known as asphalt-porous carbon (A-PC), the new material stores the carbon dioxide like a sponge at room temperature, but lets other gasses, such as methane flow through freely.

This means it’s an ideal material to use as a filter in natural gas wellheads, which currently release a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in addition to the desired methane. The captured CO2 could later be extracted for other practical purposes, and the study shows that the material can store and then release CO2 over and over again without degrading.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Fri 16 Jan 2015, 17:43:32
by Graeme
A Carbon Sequestration Proposal for the World

I have been following the climate-change and carbon storage debates for over 30 years and still have not heard of any proposals that make as much sense as the one outlined herein. The recent Copenhagen Climate Conference was a lot of business-as-usual power plays. I have yet to read a single report that said anything meaningful was agreed upon. There have been a lot of high-tech ways proposed to tie up the atmosphere’s excess carbon dioxide, but it seems that hardly anyone talks about the down-to-earth, achievable methods of carbon sequestering outlined here. One good thing that did come out of the Copenhagen conference is that 50,000 people from civil society, small farmers, indigenous people, NGO’s, etc attended the alternative Klimaforum09 in Copenhagen. A lot of real things were accomplished there and people will go home and make real changes that count. It is interesting to note that Klimaforum09 was conceived of by a long-time Danish permaculturist, Tony Anderson.1

The following proposals are needed global investments whether you believe in climate change or not. These proposals make financial sense, are doable without inventing any new technology and will be net gains for society and biodiversity at large. There are four main themes in this proposal:

I. Reforestation/Afforestation of 5 billion acres worldwide = 150 billion tons of carbon sequestration.

II. Earth repair and improved ecosystem management of existing forests and all other terrestrial ecosystems = 100 billion tons of carbon sequestration. This includes cities, forests, marshes, savannas, grasslands, steppes, and deserts. (I haven’t tackled this equation yet, but this is a conservative estimate.)

III. Increasing the soil organic matter content by 1% on arable farmland worldwide = 43.86 billion tons of carbon sequestration (75.62 billions tons of soil organic matter which is 58% carbon). These figures are for the top one foot of the soil. Most farm soils in the world currently have between 1% and 3% organic matter levels.

IV. Mobilizing the people and resources to accomplish these goals.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Wed 21 Jan 2015, 17:44:03
by Graeme
Sequestration on shaky ground: Natural impediment to long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide

Carbon sequestration promises to address greenhouse-gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and injecting it deep below the Earth's surface, where it would permanently solidify into rock. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that current carbon-sequestration technologies may eliminate up to 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. While such technologies may successfully remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, researchers have now found that once injected into the ground, less carbon dioxide is converted to rock than previously imagined.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Mon 09 Feb 2015, 06:39:34
by dohboi ... untestable

Why Geoengineering Is ‘Untested and Untestable’

An opinion piece in Nature calling for geoengineering tests fails to mention the most significant problem with these experiments.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Tue 10 Feb 2015, 23:31:35
by dohboi ... -idea.html

Panel chairwoman Marcia McNutt, editor of the journal Science and former director of the U.S. Geological Survey, said in an interview that the public should read this report "and say,

'This is downright scary.'

And they should say,

'If this is our Hail Mary, what a scary, scary place we are in.'"

Anti-‘Geoengineering’ National Academy Report Opposes ‘Climate-Altering Deployment’ ... gineering/

These mammoth reports can be summarized with a paraphrase of a line attributed to Samuel Johnson, “Your proposed climate intervention strategies are both safe and affordable. But the strategies that are safe are not affordable, and the strategies that are affordable are not safe.”

Indeed, it is because the two types of climate intervention are flawed in such different ways that the committee did not want to conflate them. That’s why they ultimately decided to split their report in two.


the implementation of geoengineering is an act of desperation... if for no other reason it could amount to a declaration of war on the nations that the geoengineering hurts. If society cannot even pay for better controls on emissions isn't it a fool's dream to believe that it is better to pay large sums of money in the near future that will create even further problems?

NRC, (2015), "Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration" ... uestration

See also: ... story.html

Extract: "The lack of progress for more than two decades, however, makes it “increasingly likely that as a society we will need to deploy” some forms of the least-risky technologies to reduce the Earth's temperature, they said.

The scientists acknowledge that developing risky tools to counteract global warming carries a "moral hazard," in which nations may become even less motivated than they are now to take immediate steps to combat climate change. But not having the tools in hand might also result in future actions without adequate scientific research.

“People are going to read these reports and they are going to be very scared about the future,” McNutt said.

"That scientists are even considering technological interventions should be a wake-up call that we need to do more now to reduce emissions, which is the most effective, least risky way to combat climate change," McNutt, a former director of the U.S. Geological Survey, said in a statement. "The longer we wait, the more likely it will become that we will need to deploy some forms of carbon dioxide removal to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.""

(Thanks to ASLR for the last bit and to ritter for the piece.)


Limiting peak warming to two degrees above pre-industrial means reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2.4 per cent per year from 2015 (green). Delaying cutting emissions until 2025 means the same rate of cuts results in 2.5 degrees warming (yellow). Staying below two degrees would require much faster emissions cuts. Source: Stocker & Allen ( 2013).

Bad as this looks, it seems to be much more conservatives than the levels of cuts Hansen and especially Anderson are calling for.