Climate’s Urgent Repair
With nowadays about 6.7 billion people on earth and by 2050 estimated more than 9 billion, to maintain these extra 2.3 billion people while added with expected raising standards of living all over the planet, the world consumption of energy could increase by about twice from that of today. For economical, security and environmental reasons, the west has to free itself from foreign oil. Oil dependency weakens security because much of the world's oil is controlled by regimes that do not share our values. The only solution is to become independent of the present energy supply, by using energy sources as described in my two previous articles related to synthetic diesel fuel and nuclear energy both are abundant, cheap and don't have hidden environmental, social or military cost. Thus the west should wean itself off fossil crude in order to diminish its crucial importance in the world’s energy market. That would make states like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia and Venezuela less powerful, and less able to fund militias and terrorist groups.
However the slow speed of decision-making in global politics is no match for the swiftness of climate change and growing energy consumption. The earth's climate system is a big, slow-moving mechanism with plenty of inactivity but that doesn’t mean a catastrophe is slow in coming. Some of the increasingly frightening scenarios are for example, that carbon begins to leak out of melting permafrost, or warming oceans raising air humidity in other words intensifying the greenhouse effect caused by carbon. Perhaps most important is the growing consent that the gasses already emitted, will go on warming the earth for centuries to come. The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that by the end of this century, temperatures could rise by between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius. A rise of 5ºCelsius by 2100, which is a relatively short period in geologic terms, would almost certainly demonstrate to be a disaster for civilization. That's why many scientists have begun to urge serious consideration to apply geo-engineering schemes that only a few years ago seemed absurd and dangerous. The gigantic issues that surround the prospect of modifying the planet, are currently off the radar screen for most of us, but could come up in a very big way in the relatively near future. Leaders and scientist are required to start talking to the public before that happens.
Two key views for a solution do exist: the first to capture the gasses out of the atmosphere and the second to cool the Earth’s atmosphere by putting up a protective sun-ray shield in this case by utilising sulphur particles.
Carbon capture, is very expensive and less likely to offset the expected steep rise in temperatures. Although cleaning the air is far less controversial than the idea of cooling it by geo-engineering. The task of sucking carbon out of the atmosphere is mind-bogglingly huge. Each year the world’s industries and autos release about 30 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in the air. If liquefied it would take less than four years to fill an underground space the size of Lake Geneva. And that is not including the 1.8 percent annual rise in emissions, or the billions of tons of carbon dioxide that have already accumulated in the atmosphere for the past 100 years. Scientists still think there's enough storage space in the form of porous rock deep beneath the earth's surface to accommodate all the liquid carbon dioxide we can pump, but getting it there would take many years and cost billions. The cost to removing only the new emission would reach up to $150 billion/year. Britain's authoritative 2006 report on the cost of cutting emissions enough to stabilize temperatures put the price tag at about 1 percent of the world's annual GDP; while other estimates run as high as 4 percent.
The second option is much cheaper it is based on cooling the planet by deflecting solar rays by the release of sulphur dioxide or SO2. This could be done for one thousandth of 1 percent of GDP. (1/1000% of GDP).
In 2006 Mr. Crutzen, a chemist and Nobel Prize winner, wrote a paper in the journal Climate Change. He followed up on an idea that originated from Russian physicist Mikhail Budyko, who proposed in 1974 using planes to release sulphur dioxide, into the atmosphere, where it would react with water and other molecules to form sulphate particles, the same substance as volcanic ash. Crutzen pointed out that the amount of SO2 you'd need to lower temperatures is surprisingly small. By Crutzen's calculation, it would take about 1.5 million tons of SO2 to offset the effects of a doubling of CO2 concentrations from preindustrial levels to 550 parts per million (ppm), compared with today's level of 385ppm. Others talk about the necessity as high as 5 million tons, which still is nothing that couldn't be handled by a fleet of airplanes for a few billion dollars. The low price is rather astonishing.
Engineering the climate may look worrisome, but it will be inevitable, which is why policymakers would do well to start thinking about it now. If global warming does accelerate in coming years, any scheme to stop it may start to look safer than the alternatives.
Having read these three articles it will be clear that D-day for Climate’s Urgent Repair is not far off anymore. The question may arise, what can I do to avoid this catastrophe? You and we all can do a lot more than we think. You could start by forwarding this message to all your friends and ask them after reading to do the same. Lets hope that as many members of nowpublic take notice as well and also do the same. Further anyone with a blog is allowed to copy this message to get even more people informed about the urgency on this subject. Together we might be able to generate better awareness and to have politicians motivated and convinced of the utmost importance. In December this year the climate summit takes place in Copenhagen-Denmark. Measures so far implemented in the Kyoto agreement are either counter productive or not far reaching enough. Better solutions are available than so far are applied there may be some drawbacks like the use of SO2 in the atmosphere, for which alternatives are under development. Action has to be started now, soon we are too late, and there is a real urgency to have as many people informed and mobilized as achievable. Bear in mind: Cheaper energy also contribute to faster economic recovery and the creation of more jobs. Hope more nifty ideas and initiatives will follow.