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Hoping That Sucking CO2 From the Air Will Fix the Climate? Good Luck (easac.eu) 316

From a study published on Thursday by scientists on the European Academies Science Advisory Council: Senior scientists from across Europe have evaluated the potential contribution of negative emission technologies (NETs) to allow humanity to meet the Paris Agreement's targets of avoiding dangerous climate change. They find that NETs have "limited realistic potential" to halt increases in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at the scale envisioned in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios. This new report finds that none of the NETs has the potential to deliver carbon removals at the gigaton (Gt) scale and at the rate of deployment envisaged by the IPCC, including reforestation, afforestation, carbon-friendly agriculture, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCs), enhanced weathering, ocean fertilisation, or direct air capture and carbon storage (DACCs).
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Hoping That Sucking CO2 From the Air Will Fix the Climate? Good Luck

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  • Complete BS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dbialac ( 320955 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @11:37AM (#56047325)
    Use salt-waterable plants to turn the Sahara desert green and you'll reach gigaton absorption. For perspective, the Sahara is about the size of the United States.
    • Re:Complete BS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nealric ( 3647765 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @11:40AM (#56047349)

      Irrigating an area the size of the United States would be quite the project. Who is going to pay? And how are we going to coordinate a massive engineering project in a region with no stable government?

      • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @11:44AM (#56047369)

        Who is going to pay?

        Obviously, Mexico. Right after they finished paying for the wall.

      • Re:Complete BS (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dbialac ( 320955 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @11:46AM (#56047385)
        Anything we do is going to be quite an engineering project, and a number of those countries actually are quite stable. As for the "pay", part, grow the right plants and you can actually generate ethanol in a carbon-negative setup: http://energypost.eu/exclusive... [energypost.eu]
      • Wouldn't that destroy delicate desert habitat and extinct a variety of species?
        • Re:Complete BS (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:39PM (#56047763)

          Wouldn't that destroy delicate desert habitat and extinct a variety of species?

          Not sure if you have noticed... but the Sahara is a bit of a desert. The least number of lifeforms of any ecosystem. Biodensity and biodiversity is very low.

          The worst danger is if the winds are no longer able to pick up sand from the Sahara (parts of it are high in nutrients from when the Sahara was a tropical paradise many millennia ago). The sands from the Sahara are currently responsible for feeding the rain forests in South America with certain nutrients. Cut off the sand and the rainforests quickly become weaker. The rainforests are currently ARE high in both biodensity and biodiversity.

          • Re:Complete BS (Score:5, Informative)

            by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:49PM (#56047835)

            Wouldn't that destroy delicate desert habitat and extinct a variety of species?

            Not sure if you have noticed... but the Sahara is a bit of a desert. The least number of lifeforms of any ecosystem. Biodensity and biodiversity is very low.

            The worst danger is if the winds are no longer able to pick up sand from the Sahara (parts of it are high in nutrients from when the Sahara was a tropical paradise many millennia ago). The sands from the Sahara are currently responsible for feeding the rain forests in South America with certain nutrients. Cut off the sand and the rainforests quickly become weaker. The rainforests are currently ARE high in both biodensity and biodiversity.

            Not sure why this is marked as flamebait since it's true. https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/nasa-satellite-reveals-how-much-saharan-dust-feeds-amazon-s-plants [nasa.gov]

            • Re:Complete BS (Score:4, Insightful)

              by quintus_horatius ( 1119995 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @01:10PM (#56048029) Homepage

              Not sure why this is marked as flamebait since it's true.

              It's like marketing. You can have the best product in the world but if your marketing sucks then nobody will buy it.

              GP has a good point but started their response off like a douchebag. GGP has a perfectly good question that should be addressed.

              Yes, the Sahara is a desert and no there isn't much life there -- but there is native life. Turning it into planted forest would seriously disturb that life. Is it worth it?

              • Yes, the Sahara is a desert and no there isn't much life there -- but there is native life. Turning it into planted forest would seriously disturb that life.

                Letting global warming continue unabated, increasing both the temperature and dryness of the Sahara, would ALSO seriously disturb that life, and likely do so even more severely.

                How about a compromise: You agree to let us irrigate half the Sahara, and we agree to leave the other half undisturbed. Deal?

        • I assume a number of species unique to the Sahara would go extinct if we forested the area to become a large CO2 sink. Here's the deal though, if these people are right on the threat that global warming poses then humans will go extinct unless we do something.

          What's more important to you? Saving humanity, or saving some desert snakes and lizards?

          I'll vote for humanity. Fuck those desert critters. Darwinian evolution means some species survive and some don't. If people want to see these critters survive

          • Re:Complete BS (Score:4, Insightful)

            by eaglesrule ( 4607947 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @01:47PM (#56048371)

            Higher average temperatures may end up causing many of the desert species to go extinct anyway. Life existing there is already tenuous.

            Besides, no reason such an endeavor would have to be 'all or nothing'. The interior portions of the desert would be the least accessible to water anyway.

          • Fair enough. I'm more looking at more wood-building construction, disposal by dropping debris down old oil wells, and fast-growing trees in controlled tree farms. We have a lot of land in Virginia and Florida where the biomass energy market has driven destruction of native forests and replacement with pine plantations; we need to re-log those, destroy the remaining pine species, and restore them to original habitat. The pine is useful for building material; and we can authorize a limited amount of land

      • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:16PM (#56047585)

        Irrigating an area the size of the United States

        Will be good to lower sea levels.

        • Effects would be slim to none unless much of the area you're irrigating is currently dry and below sea level (or is dry and cold enough that the water would freeze into a glacier above sea level). Otherwise you're literally trying to push water up a hill.

      • Who is going to pay for any mitigation effort? As it happens, I imagine companies would quite happily lobby their governments to put up money rather than having to pay it themselves in terms of taxes and regulation. And the politicians will be only too happy to sign up for something which lets them take credit for solving a much touted problem without much risk of alienating constituents.

        "No stable government" only makes it easier. When have the major powers ever had a problem getting their way in an are

      • The neighboring countries have enough money. The main problems with that project are using salt water which is obviously the salt being corrosive and the fact that now you're removing the Sahara as a natural barrier for many of those relatively prosperous north-Saharan countries from the very unstable south-Saharan ones.

        When you dream up projects, many people think of the obvious technical and direct financial effects which are not insurmountable at scale but the economic and military results are less obvio

    • Re:Complete BS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by taiwanjohn ( 103839 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:20PM (#56047621)

      Re-greening the desert is actually one of the most effective ways to sequester CO2, and it can be done with a lot less water [youtu.be] than most of us would assume. Both Joel Salatin and Allan Savory [youtube.com] have stated that large scale adoption of managed intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) could re-sequester all the CO2 we've added to the atmosphere since the industrial revolution within a couple of decades.

      In a nutshell, well managed herbivores help keep the soil healthy, and actually increase the topsoil layer. More soil stores more carbon, as does healthier soil, so it's a double win. A triple win if you consider the healthier livestock -- grazing outdoors instead of crammed into factory feedlot "farms". More and healthier soil also retains more water, helping to alleviate the looming water crisis.

      • Re: Complete BS (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2018 @01:36PM (#56048259)

        I watched a documentary a few years back about a small village in Africa experiencing decades of drought. They were getting the people to plant various plants and use their limited water to water the plants. The people were completely against this idea for years but when the documentary was filmed they reluctantly went along with it.

        I was absolutely amazed how fast the areas they planted stuff in the desert began to be green again. The scientists advising them said it should inevitably bring more rain (or at least, when it does rain the water will be absorbed into the vegetation areas and not lost) and, at the end of the documentary they had like a mini-lake forming in the middle of all the greenery they planted and all the villagers were super happy.

        I don't know how long filming that took, maybe a year or up to four years, but I was amazed that something like that was even possible in the middle of the desert. They had beautiful vegetable gardens and a nice little lake forming. The final clip showed the villagers' kids splashing and playing in the water.

        • It's not possible in the middle of a desert. It is possible on the edge of the desert, and is a common tactic to preventing the Sahara from encroaching further into non-desert.

          • by HiThere ( 15173 )

            If that works at the edge of the desert, then it could (should?) be able to slowly decrease the size of the desert.

            OTOH, it's my understanding that the desertification of the Sahara is not, older claims to the contrary, *caused* by overgrazing, but rather the overgrazing made the desertification cause by changing climate worse. If so, then while that kind of technique could improve things a lot, it wouldn't change the desert back into grassland.

      • "Re-greening the desert is actually one of the most effective ways to sequester CO2"

        Until the plants live their lifespan at which time they die and re-release the carbon to the atmosphere. It's like stuffing the credit card bill in the drawer, instead of paying it off.

        Actual sequestration means removing the carbon from the biosphere nearly permanently----making new coal and stuffing it somewhere geologically isolated, uncombustible and undigestible.
    • is the Sahara already salty, will dousing it with salt water rule out better options later ?
      • The Sahara naturally floods with salt water as the Earth's wobble moves it away from the sun. You can actually find whale bones there because it becomes an ideal calving area for them.

    • This happens about every 20,000 years naturally. However, what you're missing is what would happen if you did that today. Because we're on the opposite end of the cycle (Earth's wobble has the Sahara closer to the sun) you'd get huge amounts of evaporation. This would intensify storms hitting North America and likely increase their frequency.

    • Use salt-waterable plants to turn the Sahara desert green and you'll reach gigaton absorption. For perspective, the Sahara is about the size of the United States.

      And where exactly are you planning to get the massive amounts of energy needed to somehow turn the Sahara green? What you think it's a matter of digging a few ditches and planting some ground cover? How do you think that is going to work economically and who is going to pay for it? What makes you think that even if you by some miracle succeed that there wouldn't be severe unintended consequences?

      I love it when slashdotters propose ridiculous one sentence solutions to massive problems as if it's the most

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        It's not ridiculous. It's probably impractical, and there's a lots of places where it's very "hand-wavy", but it's not ridiculous.

        OTOH, it going to require lots of untrusting countries to participate together for a long time. It's going to be quite expensive. It's not going to yield quick results. Etc.

        There are lots of reasons why prior proposals to do the same thing haven't gotten off the ground. Outside of the ones mentioned above the one that bothers me is watering it area with salt water. Not many

    • turn the Sahara desert green

      Yes what could possibly go wrong with terraforming an area the size of the USA.

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @11:38AM (#56047333) Homepage
    But some aspects will help. Some amount of CO2 removal along with switching to carbon neutral power sources and increasing energy efficiency will go a long way.

    If one wants to help directly with helping reducing CO2 production then donating to solar and wind charities is the best bet. For solar, the best two seem to be Everybody Solar https://www.everybodysolar.org/ [everybodysolar.org] (which gets solar panels for non-profits like museums and homeless shelters), and the Solar Electric Light Fund https://self.org/ [self.org] which gets solar panels for people in developing countries. Right now, I haven't seen a specific wind charity that seems to be absolutely ideal, but of those in the US, the best one seems to be the New England Wind Fund https://www.massenergy.org/the-wind-fund [massenergy.org].

    Most Americans care about and are concerned about climate change https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/most-americans-want-climate-change-policies/ [scientificamerican.com], but right now, the federal government isn't doing much. In the long-run, actually solving this is, as with the ozone hole problem and as with acid rain going to take a combination of government, market forces, charity, and new research. Until the current US administration is removed, the best most of us can do is focus on the charity aspect.

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:07PM (#56047507)
      I don't think the issue is removal, but sequestration. Eventually trees or other plants die and the carbon from the dead wood or plant matter must go somewhere. On a geologic time scale it becomes coal, oil, etc. but more immediately forest fires and the like will be returning a good chunk of it back to the atmosphere. Even if we could do something like ethanol in an efficient manner to where we could replace growing crops with drilling for oil, we're still just creating a carbon churn. The real task is finding something that's economically valuable to do with all of the carbon that's been pulled out of coal and oil deposits so that there's a real incentive for people to solve this problem. Telling them the world is going to end in 30, 100, 500 years unless we get our act together doesn't seem to work at all.

      I think what we should be researching is how to fabricate carbon into building materials. We've already found that things like carbon fibers are incredibly useful in several domains, and carbon nanotubes have been shown to have orders of magnitude more tensile strength than other materials we're using now. Figuring out how to synthesize those things less expensively would provide economic incentive to capture carbon and a good long-term solution for sequestering it.
      • Sequestration (Score:4, Informative)

        by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:14PM (#56047549)

        CO2 emissions from rotting plant matter are minimal. Most of the carbon is gobbled up by the bacteria, mold and bugs that are eating the dead plants. A tree will take in far more CO2 during it's lifespan than it will emit after dying.

        • Re:Sequestration (Score:4, Informative)

          by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:43PM (#56047789) Homepage

          CO2 emissions from rotting plant matter are minimal. Most of the carbon is gobbled up by the bacteria, mold and bugs that are eating the dead plants.

          Uh, when bacteria, mold, and bugs "gobble up" dead plants, they convert the organic carbon into carbon dioxide. That's what the word "eat" means.

          A tree will take in far more CO2 during it's lifespan than it will emit after dying.

          Turns out not. When they rot, they return to the atmosphere exactly the same amount of carbon dioxide that they originally removed from it.

          Unless they are sequestered, for example, by being buried and converted into peat, or for that matter, coal.

          Of course, in the short term, trees do remove carbon dioxide, and "short term" here may mean a century or so-- it's possible that may be good enough.

          • Re:Sequestration (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @01:21PM (#56048127)

            "Unless they are sequestered, for example, by being buried and converted into peat, or for that matter, coal.:"

            The problem is if you look at the tree narrowly, then yes, it will rot and release all its CO2. If you look at the forest, fresh growth will replace the rotted tree and continue the cycle.

            Old forests will very slowly sequester carbon in new topsoil, but will otherwise be mostly neutral.

            New forests would be needed, and yes, sequestering new growth should help (soil impact aside).

            The most secure way I can think to sequester carbon is to use it in our buildings, furniture and other products. They're sheltered and have an economic incentive to not rot. They'll evnetually be recycled, landfilled, or otherwise destroyed, but there will always be a certain tonnage of wood used in the homes and offices of living people.

            Thick wooden floors, thick wooden roofs,... thick panels of wood on walls. Hardwood if you can.

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @11:40AM (#56047343) Journal

    Just because these technologies and actions might not work well enough does not mean they will not help, and that they should not be pursued, unless there are viable options into which we should put our available resources.

    Reforestation / afforestation is the best option, from what I understand. That and cutting down trees at a furious rate so we can bury them in abandoned mines and plant more.

    • actually, the whole point is that the effort required is NOT worth it. They can not make a dent.
      Instead, we need all nations to drop their emissions. The only way to do that is hit them on exports.
      If we use sats for measuring, we can see CO2 float in and out of nations and can then determine not what is causing, but simply WHO is causing it.
      Then normalize based on emissions / $ GDP.
    • Instead of burying them in mines, turn the wood into charcoal so won't ever rot. You lose a little carbon in the process, but you end up with a much more stable product, and you can net some energy out it all too.

  • They forgot to mention using a giant vacuum with a charcoal filter attached.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:01PM (#56047477) Homepage

    ...but humans are lazy. To which end, note the following:

    I read somewhere recently, that - since the big campaigns for CO2 reduction started - humanity has increased CO2 output at an average rate of 1.6%. Before all this attention was focused on climate change, CO2 output was increased at an averate rate of... 1.6%. Even granting that reducing CO2 output is a good thing to do, it is quite apparent that we are not going to do so. None of the sequestration technologies make much sense, none of them (other than possibly reforestation) scale, and frankly some of them are hugely dangerous in their own right.

    tl;dr: There's no point in fighting the inevitable. CO2 is going to continue to increase. Fortunately, this also means that there is no longer any reason to continue making exaggerated end-of-the world claims. The planet is warming, some anthropogenic, some natural. it will probably warm by a degree or even two in the next 80 years. Figure out what impact that's going to have, and deal with it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 )
      Too bad you didn't look it up, because that isn't quite true. In the US, CO2 emission has been trending downwards for the last few years. While this is primarily due to natural gas use this is also due to the use of wind and solar power (which combine really well with natural gas since gas plants have very fast spin-up times) and more efficient cars. See https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601415/carbon-dioxide-emissions-keep-falling-in-the-us/ [technologyreview.com]. And two years in a row, global CO2 production declined http://p [scitation.org]
      • had you looked it up further, you would have seen that the entire west, as a whole, has our emissions dropping. In addition, other than Germany, eastern Europe, Australia, and now Japan, the west has stopped building coal plants.

        And O really pushed Wind/Solar here (too bad he allowed China to dump here), and now, Trump is about to focus on geo-thermal, along with nuclear power. Both of these will be capable of replacing a lot of base-load and dropping America's CO2. Add to that the fact that the west is
        • The idea that Trump is going to do any focus on geo-thermal or nuclear power does not seem justified given how much he talks about and pushes for coal unfortunately. It is too bad though; I agree that both would be very good for baseload issues.
          • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @01:10PM (#56048039) Journal
            First, I am not a fan of trump (though I did stick up for for the first 5 months due to my giving all presidents before 6 months; I just could not last 6 with trump).
            Secondly, trump can talk coal all he wants. But, the simple fact is that utilities will decide based on current AND FUTURE expected costs. We all know that coal is dirty and expensive. The last thing that an American utility is going to do is add a new coal plant knowing full well that today is the cheapest it will ever be, and it is STILL more expensive than nat gas, and wind.
            Geothermal will be added because it requires drilling and trump will be here to help his buddies in oil/gas.
            And as to nukes, we have more than 10 companies working on SMRs. America, in fact the world, requires new nuclear power. I believe that the GOP will push for subsidies to get these going AND probably install them in various places.
            Heck, we are stupid for not installing nuclear power in our territories. Puerto Rico is IDEAL for NuScale's SMR. These are 50 MW in size and the cooling could desalinate the water. So many issues solved.
            • I think this is pretty accurate in general about what utilities are likely to do. My objection is to the statement that "Trump is about to focus on geo-thermal, along with nuclear power." What the utilities want/do and what Trump focuses on are not the same thing.
              • geo-thermal is drilling. BIG MONEY in that. HUGE money. Trump has lots of ppl in his pocket.
                And as to nukes, wishful thinking? Hoping that Perry will do the right thing and push that.
        • Trump is about to focus on geo-thermal, along with nuclear power.

          He has mentioned some support those two, but he's mentioned support for coal power about 100x more often, and he just recently announced plans to gut government funding for renewable energy research. He's going to Make America Gross Again in terms of CO2 output.

          It might not mean disaster though, it could just mean that the US will be paying out the nose for carbon credits from Europe and China for a while.

          • LOL.
            China produces more CO2 than anybody. There will not be a penny going to them for credits, thats for sure.
            Claiming that would be like claiming that Tesla will by pollution credits from Ford Trucks.
    • Fortunately, this also means that there is no longer any reason to continue making exaggerated end-of-the world claims. The planet is warming, some anthropogenic, some natural. it will probably warm by a degree or even two in the next 80 years. Figure out what impact that's going to have, and deal with it.

      Well that's the thing. People are figureing it out and then they're accused of making exaggerated end of the world claims. It seems the bar for claiming things are exaggerated end of the world claims is ex

    • Dang man.. You are going to be savaged...

      But I agree 100% with you. We are NOT going to be able to fix this problem, regardless of it's cause at this point. The geopolitical situation doesn't allow it. Getting all the various governments to agree is as impossible as hearding cats.

      Best we stop all the caterwauling and hand wringing over prevention and just start the planning to deal with it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 )

        The "deal with it" strategy is quite well-researched. It costs ~100 times more than cutting emissions, leaves billions of people at risk even with the expenditure, and also almost certainly will cause numerous wars with unpredictably bad outcomes. How do you prepare for a global economic depression and general war and misery? You don't, you just live with it when it happens. So we may as well keep trying to talk people out of causing it, even if it's a hopeless task as it probably is.

        • Roger.. That's one vote for trying to heard the cats...(Not happening...) No mention of the possibility that it may be too late anyway?

          There are some things that just cannot be done and it doesn't matter how logical or cost effective they seem to you. We may as well get a jump on dealing with the issue.

        • One way of dealing with it costs nothing: switch everybody to a vegetarian diet, and eliminate the billions of methane-spouting animals raised for food, in addition to allowing a lot more land to be used for growing trees.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Although we did not decrese the increase, we also di not increase it any further. Once could argue that if we had done noything the increase would not be 1.6, but 3.2.

      So instead of have on motor putting out the extra 1.6, we have 2 motors putting out the extra 1.6.

    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      During that same time period a massive number of people got access to electricity for the first time and many third world nations saw drastic increases in drivers (two of many ways people typically pump extra CO2 into the atmosphere). Really it's truly amazing that number has stayed even during said time period and is a sign that our still emerging alternate sources of energy generation and pollution controls are in fact making a difference.

  • frustrating (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @12:15PM (#56047567)

    I'm pretty sure that blurb is not from the report. The conclusions of the report are

    The EU should thus consider what possible policy options may be appropriate to climate policy. For instance, by considering:
    - supporting initiatives such as "4 per mille" by incentivising agriculture to increase SOC;
    - providing greater incentives to increase carbon stocks in forests (EASAC, 2017);
    - reviewing and updating CCS development and demonstration programmes;
    - conducting research on reducing energy and resource costs of DAC;
    - maintaining a watching brief for other options to remove CO2 to compensate for sectors such as aviation where fossil fuels cannot easily be substituted; and
    - addressing the weakness of market forces to fund deployment of CCS (and ultimately viable NETs) owing to the low carbon price and questions over the eligibility of NETs within the Emissions Trading Scheme.

    There's a lot of text around those bullets, but it doesn't read as doom and gloom to me.

    From the introduction

    ...humanity will require all possible tools to limit warming, and these technologies include those that can make some contributions to remove CO2 from the atmosphere even now, while research, development and demonstration may allow others to make a limited future contribution. We thus conclude it is appropriate to continue work to identify the best technologies and the conditions under which they can contribute to climate change mitigation, even though they should not be expected to play a major role in climate control at the present time.

    Anyone who spends five minutes thinking about how carbon capture would work should understand that that's a pretty self evident statement.

  • Then why bother trying?

  • Co2 will continue to rise until ALL nations are made to lower their emissions together. China is building out 700 GW of new coal plants, while the entire west has less than 700 GW .
    Due to America's consumption of goods, esp. from China, all that is needed is for America, if not the west, to tax ALL consumed goods/services based on where the worst part/service comes from. This will get nations to either clean up, choose clean energy for the future (i.e. no more buying of coal plants from china), lose expo
    • For a fair solution, require all nations to have the same carbon output per capita. That will of course mean the developing world can keep building and Americans will be reduced to poverty.

      Or we could give up on fairness and use the current system.

  • by ledow ( 319597 )

    For the millionth time:

    I'm happy to assume we're right about human-created global warming based on CO2 etc. emissions. Let's take that as a given and run it to the logical conclusion.

    The important thing is: If we were to stop ALL emissions today, immediately, completely, globally... what happens? Does the situation fix itself? Over how long? What's the impact on, say, sea-level rises or whatever in even the BEST case scenario?

    Because if those BEST POSSIBLE impact is, say, displace a million people, but

  • I will believe global warming is a real threat when the governments of the world deploy nuclear power in large numbers. Presumably these government officials have more information on the threat than any one reading this forum. The zero CO2 output of nuclear power is undeniable, or rather it's as close to zero as any other energy source that's being called "zero carbon".

    I'm sure someone is going to claim that nuclear power is too expensive. Well, how much does the extinction of humanity cost? Also, this

    • I will believe global warming is a real threat when the governments of the world deploy nuclear power in large numbers. Presumably these government officials have more information on the threat than any one reading this forum. The zero CO2 output of nuclear power is undeniable, or rather it's as close to zero as any other energy source that's being called "zero carbon".

      There are a lot of climate activists who agree with you.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2017/08/03/the-real-climate-consensus-nuclear-power/ [forbes.com]
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/03/climate-scientists-support-nuclear-power
      http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/189068-climate-scientists-to-green-activists-embrace-nuke-power
      https://www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists/index.html
      https://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power/nuclear-power-and-global-warming

  • It's not CO2, it's you. They won't tell you this outright but you're taking up space, resources and just you being here is causing damage to the planet. Until we have reasonable population controls in place it won't matter if the temps go up 20C, we'll have the four horseman of the apocalypse sooner.

    In the words of George Carlin: The planet will be fine, the people will be fucked.

  • Engineer #1: "Look at our amazing CO2 scrubbing system!"
    Engineer #2: "What's powering it?"
    Engineer #1: "That very large diesel generator right over there!"
    Engineer #2: Looks at floor... "You know..."
  • We're not entering the "Diamond Age", we are entering the graphene age; it's one of the most useful materials ever. Graphene is 100% carbon, and we are just beginning to learn how to use it at a time we have a YUGE surplus of carbon. The costs may be prohibitive now, but hopefully soon we will be making everything out of carbon, as soon as we can figure out how to lower the amount of energy input required. So the old adage about problems actually being opportunities MIGHT turn out to be true in this case. (
  • You mean with like trees, and grass, and plants, and stuff? I'm thinking it might form some kind of cycle or something...

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken

Working...