GW Desperation Drives Slightly Mad Ideas

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Climate Change: Time For Some Slightly Mad Ideas?
By Stephen Leahy

Sep 28 (IPS) – Lack of governmental action on climate change is forcing scientists to consider radical climate geo-engineering schemes such as giant vertical pipes in the ocean and growing vast blooms of plankton to try and prevent the worst from happening.

Companies backing some of these schemes hope to profit from the rising public clamour for action and politicians desperate to avoid serious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“I wasn’t in favour of geo-engineering before, but we haven’t done well in reducing emissions,” said Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum in London and former head of the British Antarctic Survey.

In fact, the global community continues on the “business as usual” path in terms of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), thus increasing the chances of catastrophic climate change, Rapley, a climate change expert, told IPS.

“Just look at how incredibly quick the Arctic sea ice is melting,” he said.

This month, the Arctic sea ice shrank 20 percent more than the previous melt record set in 2005. Many scientists now believe that the Arctic region will melt completely during the summer months in a few decades — far sooner than previously estimated.

“The stakes are so high, we’re going to need extra tools to cope with climate change,” Rapley said.

Rapley and co-author James Lovelock published a paper on their geo-engineering “tool” — giant vertical pipes in the ocean — this week in the prestigious journal Nature.

The idea is to place a series of vertical pipes 10 metres in diameter and 200 metres long in the ocean so that wave motion would pump up water from 200 metres below the surface. This would encourage algae to bloom and push carbon dioxide back down, said Rapley.

He credits James Lovelock, an independent research scientist affiliated with the University of Oxford, with the original idea. Lovelock, who first proposed the Gaia Hypothesis that the Earth as a single highly complex organism, believes the climate change tipping point has been reached and drastic measures are needed to avoid the worst.

“We’re not sure that pipes will actually work but it looks like it would have low unintended consequences,” Rapley said, meaning that at least the scheme is unlikely to do more harm than good.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson has reportedly offered to fund research on the idea.

A company called Atmocean in Santa Fe New Mexico has already begun trials of a very similar technology in the past year, Rapley has since learned. The company says placing three-metre diameter pipes, two kilometres apart in 80 percent of the world’s oceans would sequester, or trap, two billion tonnes of carbon per year, according to the company’s website. Global emissions are currently 8 billion tons annually, up from 6 billion in 2000.

“That shows it’s not a completely mad idea,” said Rapley.

For full article please see Time For Some Slightly Mad Ideas?

3 thoughts on “GW Desperation Drives Slightly Mad Ideas

  1. Jeremy has a good idea. We need to say goodbye to the Happy Motoring era and the ICE age, Internal Combustion (machine) Era, and start walking. Because in the far distant future, we might really need to walk, because that is all there will be left to do. Global warming is for real, and as my blog shows, we also might need to start thinking now about creating model polar cities for survivors of the big Event…..circa year 2500 or so….

  2. To the reference on top ‘ Organic will provide 3 x more food….’ I would like to say the following: yes, that is right – but there is something else very important to know about organic food – it will take us back to ‘normal’ portions of food as it does contain many more nutrients, minerals, vitamins as so called ‘conventional’ food. The reason being that the plants from which we derive the food (or the animals) have much larger root stocks in contrast to the chemical food, they grow in humus rich soil, with its own soil fertility and a much better water retention capacity (sponginess of the soil). Now many readers will ask but where and how do we find this soil – easy, we create it with nature’s help (read my article and the one that will follow). By doing so we reduce pollution of the atmosphere (fertilizers etc. depend on oil of which we are getting very short), pollution of ground water, rivers, dams and lakes of course the sea – rivers in most cases end up in the sea. Nutrients in waters increase the algae growth, these deplete the waters of oxygen and then, like a string of pearls, one disaster after the other happens (read more what I will writing in the future). The idea with these pipes in the sea is new to me – what however is not new is that we can get most of our electricity from the sea and thus could avoid or reduce global warming by quite some percentage. But hardly anybody cares as it does seem to bring enough money in the power supply industry. It is a crying shame. You want to know more details – contact me, Regards,Helga

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