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Sigmetnow

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #50 on: March 06, 2015, 08:13:17 PM »
Admiral David Titley and others explain why we should study geoengineering -- but please don't call it that.
The scientists also would like us to stop using the term geoengineering and start saying “climate intervention.” Geoengineering is a confusing term, they say, because geo- refers to the earth, not specifically to the climate, and engineering is generally something people do with systems they can control—not a system as complex as the climate.

“Engineering is something you do to a system you understand very well,  where you can try out new techniques thoroughly at a small scale before staking peoples’ lives on them,” writes Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, a professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago and a member, like Titley, of the NRC committee that prepared the report.

“Hacking the climate is different—we have only one planet to live on, and can’t afford any big mistakes.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2015/02/25/four-reasons-to-study-a-bad-idea-geoengineering/
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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #51 on: March 07, 2015, 03:51:34 PM »
Given the predicament, the research, trials and deployment of both modes of geoengineering seem to me appropriate under a range of limiting conditions.

The first, as Neven rightly remarks above, is the systemic change of society as an accompanying transformation - without which Geo-E is patently insufficient.

A second is of governance, with a UN scientific agency mandated for the supervision of proposals' research and trials, and potential accreditation, with any deployment being by the collective decision of the UN member states, with such decisions for the Albedo Restoration mode being valid only after a credibly stringent Emissions Control treaty is in operation.

A third is of the need for both modes' deployment alongside Emissions Control, as there is no case for any individual approach or any two of the three approaches offering a viable means of the mitigation of AGW.

A starting point of the debate is the need of a stringent Emissions Control treaty, without which, as Wili rightly points out above, the RCP 8.0 massive renewables' deployment doesn't cut emissions since any fossil fuels locally displaced by them would continue to be bought and burnt elsewhere.

Yet Emissions Control alone demonstrably cannot resolve the advanced and accelerating threat we face. As Prof. Mann pointed out on 18/3/14, under BAU we are on track for 2.0C by 2036, or by 2046 if ECS were as low as 2.5. :  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-will-cross-the-climate-danger-threshold-by-2036/  Given that even a cut not in anthro-emissions but in anthro-CO2 stocks will provide a cooling only after the ~35 yr timelag of ocean thermal inertia, even the best case of Emissions Control cannot avoid the hazards of passing the 2.0C threshold.

Taking that best case to be "near-zero global GHG output by 2050" exposes further limitations. Beside the substantial warming unveiled by the closure of of the 'fossil sulphate parasol' the majority of warming from 2050 emissions is not realized until the 2080s, allowing the eight Major Interactive Feedbacks [MIFs]~70 years of continuous anthro-warming, plus warming from their own direct and indirect interactions, escalating their CO2_e outputs far past the point of fully offsetting our best case of emissions control. While the precise levels of those outputs cannot be calculated, the MIF outputs' track records to date strongly affirm this perspective.

For example, consider the paper by Ramanathan et al from Jan 2014 :  http://www.pnas.org/content/111/9/3322.abstract  It is a study of the Arctic sea-ice decline fraction of Cryosphere decline in the satellite record since '79, which found that warming from the resulting Albedo Loss was equal on average to 25% of the warming from anthro-CO2 stocks during the period. This is roughly equal to a new China's-worth of annual CO2 output, and given the progress of the sea ice loss it is on a strongly rising trend, but has thus far been masked by ocean thermal inertia. With ~43% of anthro-CO2 outputs going into natural sinks, we should need to cut outputs not by 25% but by 43.8% to offset the warming from ASI decline Albedo Loss.

Given that this is only a part of overall Albedo Loss, and that that is only one of the eight MIFs, it is rather obvious that we are fully committed to the MIF outputs exceeding our best case of Emissions Control if they are not constrained by Geo-E.

Unfortunately even the best case of the simpler mode of Geo-E, "Carbon Recovery for Food Security" cannot provide a timely cooling to halt the MIFs' escalation. While techno options such as DACCS have just their CO2-capture function costed at "at least $600/TCO2" by the American Physical Union ($600Bn /GtCO2), the benign option of native Coppice Afforestation for Biochar offers a second revenue stream via the production of Methanol from the retorts' surplus hydrocarbon gasses.

Yet even with the massive deployment incentives of minimal infrastructure, plus two revenue streams plus raised global food security, and even using efficient village-scale retorts across the 1.6Gha.s of suitable non-farmland identified in the joint WRI-WFN study, there is little prospect of full scale harvests of 10-yr-old growth before the 2040s. This indicates that if this approach was used alongside the best case of Emissions Control, its global cooling could not even begin before the late 2070s, and thus offers no useful control of the MIFs. The real and indispensable functions of a new global industry in Carbon Recovery for Food Security are thus of helping to stabilize global food security ASAP, of minimizing the peak of airborne CO2 ppm potentially before 2050, and of fully cleansing the atmosphere by around 2100, thereby conserving at least a part of the oceans' ecology by limiting the peak and the period of ocean acidification.

The Albedo Restoration mode of Geo-E has had a rising chorus of bad press over the last two years that has been oddly concerted in using standard easily refuted charges - on exactly the model of concerted climate denial. The most obvious of these can be seen in this thread's title, when in reality the very eminent Prof. Holdren (Obama's chief science advisor) while critiquing the sulphate aerosols proposal has pointed out that its costs "could be met by a middle rank economy out of its petty cash" - i.e. there are no vast profits to be made.

While the patently deficient sulphate aerosols proposals are widely cited as the standard option, in reality there are potentially benign options such as 'Cloud Brightening', where seawater is lofted to low clouds as a very fine mist. This option is targettable to provide regional cooling (e.g. of the arctic) and to have any extra rains fall over oceans, and can be halted within the fortnight required for treated clouds to rain out. Its infrastructure costs would comprise around 2,000 wind-powered vessels of 100ft length, and its operation would need to be maintained for the most of the duration of the Carbon Recovery program.

From this perspective Dr Pierrehumbert's shrill denunciation of Geo-E is simply bizarre for a formerly reputable scientist - pretending that we'd be committing future generations to maintaining Albedo Restoration for millennia is intellectually dishonest in assuming, without mentioning, that no Carbon Recovery technique is employed in his scenario.

However, there is a long lead time before any benign Albedo Restoration option could be deployed, consisting of the years needed for negotiating the appropriate governance, for the mandated agency's supervision of proposals' research and their shortlisting for trials, for observations of the chosen option's effects over at least a decade, and then for the negotiation of its full deployment. If that summed to as much as 21 years, it could take us to Prof Mann's 2036 deadline.

The difficulty with this is not only another 21 years of the escalation of the MIFs, whose momentum is then far harder to control (e.g. Methane Hydrates' melt), but that we are liable to see two or more major food producing regions having extreme droughts simultaneously during the 2020s, thus imposing the onset of serial global crop failures and severe geopolitical destabilization. The increasingly erratic annual harvests, going from serious shortages, exceptional prices, national hoarding and unrest to a bumper harvest within a few years indicates that a climatic destabilization of agriculture is already under way and we are already on that track. Whether such geopolitical destabilization generates global conflict is an open question, but it almost certainly curtails the global co-operation essential for the mitigation of AGW, thereby tightening a vicious spiral of hunger and conflict.

From this perspective it is extremely urgent that the negotiation of appropriate UN governance of the R,D&D of Geo-E is formally established without delay. Prof. Forster (an IPCC lead author) wrote an article: http://thebulletin.org/not-enough-time-geoengineering-work7963  that is aptly titled as "Not enough time for geoengineering to work ?" and is well worth reading for a more authoritative background on the issue.

Regards,
Lewis












« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 04:14:09 PM by Lewis C »

JimD

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #52 on: March 07, 2015, 04:50:17 PM »
Lewis

The first, as Neven rightly remarks above, is the systemic change of society as an accompanying transformation - without which Geo-E is patently insufficient.

A second is of governance, with a UN scientific agency mandated for the supervision of proposals' research and trials, and potential accreditation, with any deployment being by the collective decision of the UN member states, with such decisions for the Albedo Restoration mode being valid only after a credibly stringent Emissions Control treaty is in operation.

A third is of the need for both modes' deployment alongside Emissions Control, as there is no case for any individual approach or any two of the three approaches offering a viable means of the mitigation of AGW.

A starting point of the debate is the need of a stringent Emissions Control treaty, without which, as Wili rightly points out above, the RCP 8.0 massive renewables' deployment doesn't cut emissions since any fossil fuels locally displaced by them would continue to be bought and burnt elsewhere.

I agree with Neven in the sense that geo-engineering without systemic civilizational change is just providing the axe murderer with an axe.  It is worse by far than a waste of time it is insane.  So the basic answer to geo-engineering has to be a giant f**k no!  I expect sometime in the future that people taking this path will face deadly violence.

The core problem here is systemic civilizational change.  IF we were capable of that we would not need to resort to geo-engineering as we would rationally make the changes needed 'now' and thus avoid the worst effects of collapse.

We would have no requirement for the global dictaorship implied by your item on UN control and governance.  Me and a lot of others will readily agree that democracy is heading for the dust bin as you indicate is needed.  But there is absolutely no chance what so ever of the UN ending up in charge of anything much less telling powerful countries what to do and trying to enforce such dictates.  Surely you recognize this.  Almost no country on earth would allow such control except at gunpoint.  If you even suggested such to the US we would burn your house down with you in it.  Harsh words but the reality of the world.  Global governance is just not going to happen. It is a giant pipe dream.

Collapse brings with it decreasing complexity not the opposite.  Global governance is the ultimate level of civilizational complexity.  We simply do not have the wealth to pull it off.  That level of civilizational change is well beyond our capabilities.  We are going in the opposite direction currently and the pace of decline is picking up steam.

The worlds dominant players like the US are clearly losing their ability to make all the decisions and control events.  Germany is losing ground the same way in Europe.  Empires are crumbling.  We are not heading for global governance but towards a world which is much more Balkanized than it is today.  One of the signatures of collapse is the breakdown of the various forms of centralized governance and control. 

So I guess we can just move on from such suggestions as they fall into the realm of highly unlikely.

The civilizational change we need is to immediately start the process of managed de-growth of our consumption, population and economic systems.  If we could actually do that (it would be perhaps our greatest human achievement) we would likely be able to mitigate and adapt to future global conditions.  Technology does not offer a solution here, reason does.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bruce Steele

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #53 on: March 07, 2015, 05:03:15 PM »
Lewis C,  ASLR posted a 2013 piece from climatecentral that has comments you made?Dec. 2013.
on geo-x.  I am glad you are including acidification in your current arguments .
 If acidification does impede the carbon pump in the southern oceans then carbon capture will need to sequester a few more Gt CO2 to stay even with failing natural systems of carbon capture and storage.
SRM may have some benefit if the diatom sensitivity to light intensity under acidified conditions can be moderated. If we do start to lose the efficacy of the biological carbon pump and that is a real possibility then we will need miracles.
   By Lewis Cleverdon (Wales)
on December 27th, 2013
“The argument for geoengineering goes like this: the world is getting inexorably warmer; governments show no sign of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so why not control the planetary thermostat by finding a way to filter, block, absorb or reflect some of the sunlight hitting the Earth?
Such things can be done by pumping soot or aerosols into the stratosphere to dim the skies a fraction, or even floating mirrors in Earth orbit to reflect some of the sunlight back into space.
Either way, the result is the same: you have global temperature control, tuned perhaps to the average at the beginning of the last century, and you can then go on burning as much petrol or coal as you like.”

Quite why Climate Central should choose to publish such journalistic tosh is obscure.
The strawman proposed above as being “The argument for geoengineering” has been used as the basis of perhaps a score of articles by opponents of Geo-E in the last two years, often with the deceit of implying that sulphate aerosols Are geoengineering, and almost always with the deceit of pretending that geo-engineering means ‘solar radiation management’ [SRM], as above.

Have tracked developments in Geo-E over the last two decades, it is worth noting that I’ve never yet seem a serious proposal of SRM as an alternative to global emissions control. Not once.

Even the USA’s ‘Bipartisan Policy Committee’ has been at pains to make clear that none of its participants see SRM as anything more than a potentially useful addition to emissions control. At the other end of the spectrum, the UK’s ‘Royal Society’ (that predates all other national academies of science) has made crystal clear in a formal study that both modes of Geo-E (SRM and Carbon Recovery) may have roles to play as accessories to emissions control and should therefore be researched, but that they have no role as an alternative to emissions control.

The actual conclusions reported above “that climate geoengineering cannot simply be used to undo global warming” is thus merely repeating extant science provided by the Royal Society and others. Yet the manner of the reporting gives an impression that this is a damning condemnation of Geo-E as an option, which is wholly untrue and misleading.

Given that the US govt has yet to ‘pledge’ more than a 3.67% cut of CO2 output by 2020 off the legal 1990 baseline, it is obvious that international rivalry is dangerously obstructing the timely mitigation of the climate threat. Numerous highly reputable scientists have affirmed the the value of holding Geo-E capacities as a ‘backstop option’ should the negotiations fail to provide a timely effective treaty. 

Yet a still more pressing concern is that eight potentially major positive feedbacks are already observed to be accelerating, and that all are linked by multiple interactive reinforcement couplings. (For example, Albedo Loss in the form of the decline of arctic sea ice is sending warmer winds over the tundra where their signature is observed in the advance of Permafrost Melt up to 1,500kms inland). This means that the feedbacks are not only accelerated by AGW and, after the timelag of ocean thermal inertia by each one’s warming outputs advancing AGW and thus all the feedbacks; they are also being accelerated by their current interactions via the couplings, thus multiplying the warming they’ll impose after the timelag. This level of integration means that in effect they form a single organic system with a high potential for the rapid escalation of its outputs.

The IPCC’s proposed mitigation under RCP2.6 offers a 2 in 3 chance of respecting a 2.0C ceiling of warming, but this is calculated without the inclusion of the seven major non-linear feedbacks - and so must logically be seen as describing only a fraction of the warming that the best-case of emissions control would impose over the next ~75 years of warming.

From this perspective, both modes of geoengineering will be required to avoid the untenable outcomes of passing 2.0C in terms of the onset of serial global crop failures and terminal ocean acidification, and the stringently supervised research of both modes is the primary factor of their availability. By publishing articles such as that by Radford that give the impression that geoengineering research is pointless and potentially malign, Climate Central is plainly not supporting the application of science to the climate predicament. It would be helpful if someone could explain why it has done so.

Regards,

Lewis

 

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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #54 on: March 08, 2015, 01:04:03 AM »
Bruce - thanks for your response.

Re the decline of the ocean carbon sink I've not seen anything that refutes the expectation of its decline - Given that ocean heating and acidification both reduce the intake of CO2 (not to mention the knock-on loss of plankton and the influx of large volumes of ex-glacier carbon dust) it would have to be something pretty spectacular that's been overlooked thus far to provide a cogent refutation.

What concerns me is not the potential scale of the Ocean Heating & Acidification Feedback, which is relatively minor, but the number and degree of direct coupling mechanisms it has with all other major feedbacks except possibly Soil Desiccation. In particular I'm looking for any papers on the potential rates of cooling of the upper oceans to below the depth of the most vulnerable Methane Hydrates, since cooling the SAT is nice but SFA use if the oceans' warmth then penetrates the Hydrates for too long. I hope you'll post anything worth seeing on this.

Re the need of a miracle I'd well agree - and I rather think that it's here but is not yet widely recognized, let alone employed. - What are the odds of an agricultural practice ~2000 years ago that demonstrated across an area the size of France and Spain a reliable means of Carbon Recovery - that uses only coppice harvest and agricultural wastes, is exothermic in production, offers a co-product liquid fuel, and that not only raises poor tropical soils' fertility but also acts as a soil moisture regulator ?! The odds are quite astounding in my view, which I find helps with maintaining the faith that we can resolve the predicament we face.

You're right that the comment deconstucting the standard bullshit article on Geo-E in Climate Central was mine - as I recall the editor ducked the question of why he accepted it. Since then, with the NAS report on the issue with its timid call for research, there have been scores of such articles worldwide (Google tracks all of those in English for me) pushing the same range of absurdly brittle claims.

The best one in my view is the strawman of "Space Mirrors" which anyone with half a brain - let alone scientists - can see through in a second if they stop to look. Why Mirrors ? Why not rocks, thistledown, ladies' handbags or dead rabbits ? All will block sunlight at least as well a mirror can. The fact that this option would permanently shade the planet, and cannot be tested at local scale, and is beyond any estimation of costs, are a few further pointers to some very influential agency wishing to steer public opinion into strongly opposing Geo-E.

The only conceivable objective I've seen to date is far fetched from a "received wisdom" perspective, but should none the less be considered on its merits -
In the event of the onset of serial global crop failures, famine and mass migration, with some govts being partly destabilized, a population strongly opposed to Albedo Restoration will be far slower to pressure its govt into lifting its veto at the UN on using the Geo-E option, thereby allowing climatic destabilization to continue its work. Any govt with the capacity to produce large per capita food surpluses is then holding the cards that matter, without firing a shot.

This is of course conjecture, but it's the only objective I've seen that fits both the required level of influence across the corporate proletarian media and tamer green websites such as Grist & Climate Central, while also yielding an outcome of interest to the dominant state. Any other explanations would be very welcome.

Regards.
Lewis


« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 04:58:49 AM by Lewis C »

Sigmetnow

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #55 on: March 08, 2015, 01:04:47 AM »
Small-scale geoengineering?  Boston using black sand to melt snow in Fenway stadium.

@weatherchannel: RT @JimCantore: Grounds crew at #Fenway spread black sand last week. Snowpack shrunk >2ft so far.
Photo: David Mellor http://t.co/dGVr9RYNQ4
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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2015, 12:51:14 PM »
It is worse by far than a waste of time it is insane.  So the basic answer to geo-engineering has to be a giant f**k no!  I expect sometime in the future that people taking this path will face deadly violence.

The core problem here is systemic civilizational change.  IF we were capable of that we would not need to resort to geo-engineering as we would rationally make the changes needed 'now' and thus avoid the worst effects of collapse.

Jim -
I'm sorry to see this ill-informed and aggressive post from you. Taken at face value it plainly opposes Geo-E on false grounds, when even the US and EU govts are in process of formally committing to the Carbon Recovery mode in Paris, with their widely reported aims of achieving "Net-zero global GHG outputs" "by 2100" and "in the 2nd half of the century" respectively.

Geo-E is far from a waste of time, alongside Emissions Control it is a necessity to which GHG emissions to date commit us, both to avoid the terminal acidification of the oceans and to halt the escalation of the 8 Major Interactive Feedbacks and to avoid the onset of serial global crop failures and their consequent geopolitical destabilization. Both modes of Geo-E are also already a fact on the ground with rising popular commitment to both tree-planting and the white painting of roofs etc.

If you are really unaware of the urgency of the predicament you might benefit from reading Prof. Mann's account of our track past 2.0C by 2036  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-will-cross-the-climate-danger-threshold-by-2036/  While this is a projection under BAU, there is no prospect of lowering atmospheric CO2 stocks by that date, so Emissions Control has little or no bearing on that outcome.

Your claim that "The core problem here is systemic civilizational change" is arse-about-face since systemic civilizational change is clearly the core solution.  The climate predicament is evidently far beyond mitigation merely by civilizational change altering our conduct on emissions. Your idea that we wouldn't need Geo-E "IF we we're capable of civilizational change" actually acknowledges the need of Geo-E, but your assertion that enacting that capability would "avoid the worst effects of collapse" is patently fatuous. It is unclear whether you read more of my post than you quoted, but as I laid out in detailed evidence in it ". . . it is rather obvious that we are fully committed to the Major Interactive Feedbacks' CO2_e outputs exceeding our best case of Emissions Control if they are not constrained by Geo-E." This in turn means that without Geo-E we are fully committed to the onset of serial global crop failures in a world that faces not a mere population explosion but an absurdly heavily-armed population explosion. Quite what worse effects of collapse you envisage you've yet to make clear.

. . . .there is absolutely no chance what so ever of the UN ending up in charge of anything much less telling powerful countries what to do and trying to enforce such dictates.  Surely you recognize this.  Almost no country on earth would allow such control except at gunpoint.  If you even suggested such to the US we would burn your house down with you in it.  Harsh words but the reality of the world.  Global governance is just not going to happen.

Your remarks on the UN and nations' refusal to accept constraints and commitments on their conduct are simply bizarre. The US operates like almost all other nations under the terms of dozens if not hundreds of UN agreements which limit its freedom of action. Some you may have heard of are the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the Global Environment Facility, and the World Bank. The very act of a nation signing up as a UN member places constraints on its conduct.

Your idea that the UN seeks global dictatorship is a paranoia that seems quite strongly propagandized in the US, when in reality the UN actively encourages a wide range of the basic conditions in which democracy can flourish, including education, poverty reduction, access to communications, etc. What the propaganda is at pains to hide is the plain fact that the UN can by its mandate do only what its member nations instruct it to do. It does not have and it does not seek any power to do other than it is instructed to do. It does, as instructed, actively encourage instructions which, from its global vantage point, it can see will serve the common good. When it is instructed to establish a scientific agency for the global governance and supervision of Geo-E R&D it will do so, just as it will assist the formulation of a protocol defining the process of member-nations' collective decision on Geo-E deployment. To put it bluntly, if we didn't already have the UN as a global parliament, we would have to invent it.

Where we may agree is that it is reason, not new technology, that offers the solutions to our predicament. The Carbon Recovery mode of Geo-E is a case in point, given that the technology of the charcoal retort is an invention of the 19th or possibly 18th century. Biochar, going back over 2,000 years is another. Coppice forestry, going back over 6,000 years is a third. What is new and relevant is the reasoning for their joint application to resolve the damage of stupid unreasoned fossil fuel dependence. Using our capacity to reason it is very plain that running away from a complex society is no solution and does nothing even to delay a crash, let alone to mitigate it. On the contrary, the more that intelligent people are persuaded to run away, the lower the chance of effective mitigation. We have no option but to re-orientate the vessel that carries us while also re-organizing the reasoning in its decision-making processes to deflect rogue actors like the US. Those who want to jump ship and head for the hills to play at survivalism are of course free to do so, but they abdicate any influence over the vessel's destination, on which they remain dependant.

Your post above appears to me to reflect a common misapprehension that the loss of US global economic dominance leads necessarily the end of civilization - which is perhaps most clearly promoted in the failed ASPO thesis of assuming that the decline of one key resource would terminate the concerted global effort to maintain the material expansion of society and would cause its collapse. Had ASPO's study been of "the Peak of Crude Oil", accepting that other oils would be brought online as required, it wouldn't face credibility problems now, when the reality includes not only a passing glut of fracked oil etc but also the vast potential resources of Coal-Seam-Gasification for liquids and of Methane-Hydrates for liquids.

I've long noted that the ASPO doctrine pushed by Heinburg and others for many years dismissed the possibility of AGW being a serious threat on the ludicrous grounds of insufficient FF supply, then as this became untenable it switched to a defeatist position of claiming that it is beyond society's capacity to mitigate AGW and that, since collapse was inevitable, we should refrain from concerted global efforts to do so and instead focus on grass-roots 'adaption'. I have to say that I'm unable to distinguish these arguments from those promoted by the opponents of timely action to mitigate AGW.

And no, I am not saying you (or Heinberg) are intentionally acting for the delayers, but yes, I suspect you have been conned by one of their several potent propaganda programs.

Regards,
Lewis


Neven

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2015, 05:03:29 PM »
There are obviously different kinds of geoengineering. If it's about taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, I would say f**k yes! If it's about spraying aerosols, seeding the oceans or putting up giant mirrors in space, I say f**k no, you crazy idiot!

Life can be simple sometimes.  8)
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wili

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #58 on: March 09, 2015, 05:27:37 PM »
I would like to second Neven's point and ask Lewis to clarify which kind(s) of geo-engineering he means to be discussing here.

As to Lewis's claim:"doctrine pushed by Heinburg [sic] and others for many years dismissed the possibility of AGW being a serious threat on the ludicrous grounds of insufficient FF supply"

I have read much of what Heinberg has written and heard many of his talks, but I have never heard him espouse this position. Please identify a specific passage where he does so, or retract the claim.

(I have known others in the PO camp to make this ridiculous claim, just not Heinberg.)

"...it is beyond society's capacity to mitigate AGW and that, since collapse was inevitable, we should refrain from concerted global efforts to do so..."

I don't see Heinberg saying this (the second part) anywhere, either. Again, please cite passages if you have found some.

And as to: " Using our capacity to reason it is very plain that running away from a complex society is no solution..."

Well, let's just say that lots of very logical historians who have studies this issue much more than you or I have come to a very different logical conclusion than you have here.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 05:35:48 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Sigmetnow

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #59 on: March 09, 2015, 11:08:03 PM »
There are obviously different kinds of geoengineering. If it's about taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, I would say f**k yes! If it's about spraying aerosols, seeding the oceans or putting up giant mirrors in space, I say f**k no, you crazy idiot!

Life can be simple sometimes.  8)


It used to be this simple for me, too, Neven.  But reading about the potential storage problems with CCS now makes me concerned about whether we can do that safely, either. 
Not saying we should rule it out!  I'm just saying we need to take a hard look at where we are with, say, nuclear storage, and not be so sure that CO2 storage will work as flawlessly as we think it will.  Underground storage, in particular, seems to have a lot of risks not yet adequately accounted for.  I think we have a lot more research and testing to do first.

http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/show/Carbon+capture+and+storage#Injection
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Neven

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #60 on: March 10, 2015, 10:55:07 AM »
Hmmm, okay, thanks for complicating matters, Sigmetnow.  ;D

I was referring more to the coppice/biochar stuff Lweis talks about. A key component of the solution lies in agricultural practices, I believe.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #61 on: March 10, 2015, 02:34:37 PM »
New worry:

What if we have passed the point where planting more trees will help us?  The Amazon rainforest may be changing to a carbon source rather than a carbon sink.

  Tropical rainforests have been popularly thought of as the "lungs" of the planet. Here, we show for the first time that during severe drought, the rate at which they "inhale" carbon through photosynthesis can decrease. This decreased uptake of carbon does not decrease growth rates but does mean an increase in tree deaths. As trees die and decompose, the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase, potentially speeding up climate change during tropical droughts.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150304141458.htm

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/drying-amazon-carbon-concern-18241


Southern U.S. forests appear to have breathing problems, too.
http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20150202/southern-forests-ability-suck-carbon-air-may-be-slowing
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #62 on: March 10, 2015, 03:17:46 PM »
While you are weeping quietly into your favorite beverage, enjoy this article on the psychology of "chemtrails."  :)  A good reminder of the importance of communication with all this geoengineering stuff.

http://blackbag.gawker.com/chemtrails-dont-exist-or-did-the-government-pay-me-to-1690357705
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wili

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #63 on: March 10, 2015, 03:59:07 PM »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

AbruptSLR

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #64 on: March 10, 2015, 04:22:14 PM »
Another post about climate communication--does one stress consensus or geo-engineering?

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/mar/10/consensus-and-geoengineering-how-to-convince-people-about-global-warming


wili,

In addition to geo-engineering maybe we need to start talking about "emotioneering" with the understanding that almost all people base their decisions on emotions and that we are in a fight with the denialosphere for the hearts and minds of the general public and policymakers.

Best,
ASLR
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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #65 on: March 10, 2015, 06:30:22 PM »
Neven - thanks for your response.

What expertise I have is a few decades study and practice of native coppice forestry, so on the Carbon Recovery for Food Security mode of Geo-E I can say with some confidence that in concert with rapid Emissions Control it has the potential to minimize the peak of CO2 ppm and to cleanse the atmosphere of anthro-CO2 by around 2100.

Howevers -
1/. The re-emission of CO2 from the oceans as airborne ppm falls is potentially large - the 2100 target includes ~40% of what's gone in - so every scrap of available ag & urban & forestry biomass wastes may also be required - allowing for other ag uses' continuation. If needed non-boreal paper-pulp forestry could be replanted as extra coppice as it's harvested.
2/. The scale envisaged is of the 1.6Ghas of suitable non-farmland seen in the WRI-WFN report.
3/. That scale is an immense planting program in its own right, and is at best completed by the 2030s, meaning full harvest of 10yr-old growth doesn't start till the 2040s, meaning that first marginal cooling doesn't start till the 2070s.
4/. Without the Albedo Restoration mode of Geo-E being successfully applied the MIFs + Anthro-CO2 outputs would very likely impose a climate destabilization heavily degrading the program's forests well before 2070.
5/. Carbon Recovery is thus a necessary but not sufficient addition to rapid Emissions Control for a sustainable outcome.

DACCS & BECCS in my view are nowhere remotely near competitive with CRFS either in terms of $/T CO2 sequestered, nor in benign results /TCO2, nor in their physical scaleability, noting that CRFS has a potential second revenue stream from coproduct methanol made from charcoal retorts' surplus hydrocarbon gasses.

Pasture Carbon sequestration certainly appears to have a significant potential where circumstances allow, but I've yet to see cogent research identifying the actual scale that is viable. Item no. 473645 for greater research, ASAP.

Regarding Albedo Restoration, of the several serious proposals Cloud Brightening and Cirrus Cloud Thinning currently appear most promising, given that they can be effectively trialled at local and regional scales and trials' effects can be halted within a fortnight (by raining out the catalysts) and that the former can be deployed by about 2,000 wind-powered vessels of 100ft length. But on this I've no expertise, just some study.

Given the strong potential for unilateral deployment of harmful forms of Geo-E to generate warfare, it is only through the UN member states' decision that deployment could occur sustainably. And that in turn indicates the need of the governance of a concerted research and selection process under a UN scientific agency. To avoid any risk of suppressing nations' ambition on rapid Emissions Control I'd urge the adoption in the decision-making protocol of a clause stating that a decision to deploy the Albedo Restoration mode cannot be valid until a credibly stringent Emissions Control treaty is agreed, ratified and in force.

However - a decade or more of research and observations of the effects of the leading option is needed to be confident of having identified a reliably benign system of targeting and intensity of effects, on top of which is the time needed to negotiate the UN governance protocol and then finally the time needed for the decision to deploy.

An overall schedule may thus be somewhere between 10 and 20 years for this sequence, which is very late indeed from the perspective of the looming threat of the onset of serial global crop failures during the 2020s. Once they hit, we'd be very likely to lose the geopolitical coherence needed to operate the Emissions Control treaty, as well as the Carbon Recovery and Albedo Restoration programs.

From a risk avoidance perspective the negotiation of the Geo-E governance protocol is thus a matter of the greatest urgency - certainly no less than the Emissions Control treaty.

All of which is a seriously difficult mountain to climb, but I observe that actually humanity doesn't have anything better to do, so we might as well get on with it.  8)

Regards,
Lewis




« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 08:17:28 PM by Lewis C »

jai mitchell

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #66 on: March 10, 2015, 07:13:01 PM »
1.  Current emissions trajectories hold that there will be insufficient reductions of CO2 emissions to keep us below climate responses that will be catastrophic.  Indeed, we have already exceeded those atmospheric abundance levels and have a current, "locked-in" warming of an additional 1.7-3.5C when current anthropogenic aerosol emissions impacts on arctic albedo and near term feedbacks are considered.

2. Within the next 10 years we are going to see considerably increased regional destabilizations caused by water and food shortages.

3.  The mere existence of the potential for this technology is enough of a moral hazard to justify continued emissions, much as the existence of CCS has been used to justify further emissions.

4.  The only IPCC scenarios that allow for a continuation of modern civilization (< 2C warming) already include atmospheric carbon extraction technologies, so much so that they produce net negative emissions after 2050 (even with significant residual anthropogenic emissions due to food production)

5.  increased regional destabilization and resource scarcity will make the necessary emissions reduction strategies even more difficult than they are today.

Therefore:

We will be seeing stratospheric sulfate deposition within the next 10-20 years, especially if the secondary aerosol effects are at the high end of the uncertainty and China successfully implements their aerosol reduction pollution controls.  In other words, we will implement this technology to make up for the current sulfate parasol that is keeping things they way they are now.  However,  current resource decline trajectories (fishery collapse, damage loss effects from increased storm activity, increased regional conflicts) are going to continue so that the implementation of further emission reduction strategies will be much more difficult in coming decades.

However, with any grace, sufficient societal mobilization forces, combined with true international cooperation will lead to radically effective carbon reduction and atmospheric extraction technologies to take place. 

None of these things will happen fast enough to prevent the loss of over 50% of the world's human population and 80% of the globe's species to extinction from climate and acidification related impacts.
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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #67 on: March 10, 2015, 07:39:05 PM »
Jai - I note you offer no evidence to back your assertion that the chosen mode of Albedo Restoration will be sulphate aerosols, depite the range of patently preferable options.

Could you explain this ?

Regarding the moral hazard issue of Geo-E's potential undermining ambition in Emissions Control, I personally doubt the strength of that hazard given a simple clause in the requisite UN protocol for Geo-E governance, whereby the member states' eventual decision to deploy is not valid without a credibly stringent Emissions Control Treaty being in force.

Your assertions of human and other species' losses seem speculative without accompanying data on AGW controls decade by decade. I'd well agree that losses could be that severe or worse, but with care and massive effort they could equally be a lot better.

Regards,
Lewis

jai mitchell

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #68 on: March 10, 2015, 08:13:48 PM »
Could you explain this ?

least cost and proven technology, also the most likely to replicate current anthropogenic aerosol loading.

I have enjoyed reading your posts.

Your understanding of human motivation is off if you think that the forces current opposing climate mitigation activities for their own economic gain will NOT utilize the moral hazard of Geo-E as a means of self-justification, because they fear UN treaty compacts must be developed before implementation.

re: human and species loss.  I don't think you really understand the systemic response that will occur under a regime of June 21 ice-free arctic and 2.5C globally averaged temperature anomalies, with an additional 1.5-4.5C of locked-in warming due to feedback effects.

see:  https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1170.msg47189.html#msg47189
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 08:23:01 PM by jai mitchell »
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JimD

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #69 on: March 11, 2015, 01:12:07 AM »
Lewis

.Your remarks on the UN and nations' refusal to accept constraints and commitments on their conduct are simply bizarre. The US operates like almost all other nations under the terms of dozens if not hundreds of UN agreements which limit its freedom of action. Some you may have heard of are the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the Global Environment Facility, and the World Bank. The very act of a nation signing up as a UN member places constraints on its conduct...

Your naivety about how the world functions and who controls and determines what the above organizations do is simply amazing.  There are few organizations which have done more harm in the world than the IMF and the World Bank.  They are the primary financial control and funding mechanisms of the American Empire.  They help us run our colonies.  The UN does nothing significant that the US does not want it to and we follow none of its rules we object to.  This is pretty much common knowledge by the way.

It is not just the US populace which would never comply with external governance.  The Russians and Chinese and Indians come to mind. We are not going to get a global governing body to manage anything.  Human nature would not allow it.  We simply do not trust each other that much.

I won't even go into how stupid most geo-engineering schemes are and others have provided some good replys.  What I would point out to you is that your entire argument is structured around a globally governed program.  This simply is not possible in todays world and it is very unlikely that human nature is going to allow such a thing in the future.  Not to mention how one would find the wealth and energy to do such things in a world undergoing collapse.

I don't doubt that some of these projects will eventually happen, but it will be powerful countries executing them.  As desperate measures.  One can be pretty certain that there will be lots of desperate measures taken eventually.  That certainty is one of the reasons we must act now and stop delaying with the BAU nonsense.  We might be able to avoid a few of those desperate measures.
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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #70 on: March 11, 2015, 06:37:50 PM »
 
least cost and proven technology, also the most likely to replicate current anthropogenic aerosol loading.


Jai - the least cost option is that of "Cloud Brightening", using ~2000 wind powered hoats of 100ft length, as compared with the purchase, maintenance, operation and fuelling of a fleet of cargo jets shuttling to the stratosphere each day and staying there while gradually releasing their load.

The sulphates option does have the example of Pinatubo's cooling effect as a theoretical demo, but that is very different from delivery in small lots by jet being proven, which would require long research. Given that it cannot be effectively researched at less than global scale (whatever volume is released then spreads round the stratosphere) and that it takes ~2 years to rain out, and that it is liable to cause very damaging disruptions to global rainfall patterns (being untargettable) and given that the alternative of using titanium oxide would at least avoid the massive acid rain effect,
the sulphate aerosols option seems the least likely of the 4 most prominent proposals to end up being selected.

If opposition to well supervised research were to mean that at the point where serial global crop failures began to generate geopolitical destabilization zero research had been achieved, then I'd agree that sulphates and titanium oxide might be seen as the only 'ready' options and the latter then being deployed by default - but that would involve enough people being sufficiently stupid to oppose the demonstrably necessary scientific research.
 
Re the moral hazard question, getting a credibly stringent Emissions Control treaty into operation is the starting point of actually cutting global GHG output, not least because without it any fossil fuels locally displaced by renewables are simply bought, shipped and burnt elsewhere. At that point all nations are committed, and the subsequent deployment of the Albedo Restoration mode of Geo-E can no longer have an effect on what nations' commitments are under the treaty.

In addition, I think our assessment of just what forces are at the core of opposition to the mitigation of AGW are probably rather different. More on this anon.

re: human and species loss.  I don't think you really understand the systemic response that will occur under a regime of June 21 ice-free arctic and 2.5C globally averaged temperature anomalies, with an additional 1.5-4.5C of locked-in warming due to feedback effects.

In response I can only say that studying the systemic response under such warming since the early 1990s is the reason that I understood the innate deficiency of the Emissions-Control-alone approach some years ago and so began to write of the necessity of a commensurate 'Troika' strategy that includes both modes of Geo-E. While it is not yet a popular position, it is heartening to see it gaining support wherever it gets a fair hearing rather than being merely shouted down by opponents. I hope you'll give it further consideration.

Regards,
Lewis

jai mitchell

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #71 on: March 12, 2015, 01:50:06 AM »
Lewis,

I also agree with you (and the IPCC) that atmospheric CO2 extraction is a necessary function.  I have seed LCOE studies show that only a very moderate cost of carbon subsidy would allow agricultural waste (mostly grain chaff) to be carbonized to char and generate electricity at a profit.  While this is a necessary activity, it will not produce the reductions needed, on the order of billions of tons of carbon dioxide removed per year.  In addition, other activities will be necessary, likely CCS and amine-driven extraction methods, at very high incident costs, though not relative costs compared to the world-ending climatic response we are running up against.

The technology associated with the model you describe does not exist.
http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1974/4217

While that doesn't mean that it won't in the future, I believe that there will be multiple dimming and albedo efforts in future decades as we move into a regime of intense climate extremes.  And these before the arctic completely melts out.  Once that does occur, we will find that we have simply waited too long and there will be a terrible reshuffling of resources and population centers.  This is a very uncertain future for us all.
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JimD

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #72 on: March 12, 2015, 07:18:05 PM »
jai

...I have seed LCOE studies show that only a very moderate cost of carbon subsidy would allow agricultural waste (mostly grain chaff) to be carbonized to char and generate electricity at a profit.  ...

I would point out the bad side of this idea as a former organic farmer.  Any action like this depletes the soil of needed nutrients.  If we are going to stop using fossil fuels then we have to consider the very harmful effects of not returning the chaff to the soil.  We cannot depend on untold amounts of artificial fertilizers made from natural gas to be offsetting (only partially of course) our poor agricultural processes.  Industrial agriculture practices aside, we must stop doing anything which removes nutrients from the soil unless it is for feeding people.  And we need to return far more organic waste products back to the land if we want to be more sustainable (not actual sustainability but just to do much better than we do now).  So the above is not a good idea nor are all the bio-fuel schemes folks come up with (not that you said you were in favor of them, but to make a point).
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How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

jai mitchell

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #73 on: March 12, 2015, 10:55:55 PM »
worms. . .

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969715001370

When the vermicompost–biochar mixture was applied, further growth and yield improvements were recorded in some cases. When applied alone, biochar had a positive influence on maize yield and growth, thus confirming its interest for improving long-term soil productivity.

In addition, this study showed for the first time that the combination of vermicompost and biochar may not only improve plant productivity but also reduce the negative impact of agriculture on water quality.
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Revillo

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #74 on: March 14, 2015, 04:26:08 AM »
Looking at the Mauna Loa CO2 curve today, I noticed something interesting with regards to CO2 rise and volcanic activity:

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/


In 1992, average mean CO2 rise was 0.48ppm. This is astonishingly low in a period when global mean CO2 rise was and is typically between 1.5-2.5ppm. This unusual year coincides with a global cooling of ~half a degree commonly associated with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo (SO2 aerosols). Contrast this with the sharp annual mean increase of 2.93ppm witnessed in 1998, after the intense el niño of that year led to record warming.

Considering that anthropogenic emissions did not change significantly between these years, it's safe to say that the extra CO2 ended up in the oceans. This makes sense, as CO2 concentrations in water increase with decreasing temperature. (I'm not an expert in this so by all means help me fill in the details here).

Since CO2 leads to carbonic acid in water, would it be safe to assume then, that any efforts to cool the Earth by albedo modification would increase the acidity of the oceans considerably by directing and excess of atmospheric carbon into the oceans? Of course, sulfate aerosols in particular would precipitate out as sulfuric acid and compound the effect.

Scientists often refer to albedo modification as an option with "winners and losers" but I fail to see how anyone could be a winner in a world of a rapidly acidifying ocean, unless you happen to be a jellyfish. We depend on the health of the ocean ecosystem more than we care to admit, and there's plenty of research extrapolating ocean acidification to a dire future. Speeding this process along could very well lead to more severe results than our steady warming.




wili

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #75 on: March 14, 2015, 05:57:42 AM »
"any efforts to cool the Earth by albedo modification would increase the acidity of the oceans"

Yes, I think that is likely true.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #76 on: March 14, 2015, 07:34:37 AM »
- In 1992, average mean CO2 rise was 0.48ppm. This is astonishingly low in a period when global mean CO2 rise was and is typically between 1.5-2.5ppm. This unusual year coincides with a global cooling of ~half a degree commonly associated with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo (SO2 aerosols).

- Contrast this with the sharp annual mean increase of 2.93ppm witnessed in 1998, after the intense el niño of that year led to record warming.


Revillo -

Your assertion of cold water taking in more CO2 than warm water is a rather basic part of various marine sciences, but the attempt to use an El Nino year and the Pinatubo year as a new evidence of this seems both spurious and as yet somewhat under-researched. How many other factors are you willing to consider while trying to find a pair of causal relationships ?

Joe Romm has a good post up that you may find interesting discussing a 2014 paper that identified the long expected decline of the oceans' function as a natural carbon sink. As this leaves more of anthro-CO2 output in the atmosphere each year it is confirmation that Ocean Heating and Acidification is the eighth Major Interactive Feedback. : http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/12/3632373/carbon-sinks-climate-action/

However, to propose that Albedo Restoration would significantly increase ocean acidification on the strength of your uproven hypothesis is both premature and patently irrational as a critique of Albedo Restoration's utility.

When two techniques each addresses one crucial part of a critical problem, do you really discard one and ignore the other because neither can by itself address the whole problem ?

When you break a leg you could tell the doctors on arrival at hospital that you won't have a plaster cast because that would just leave the bones out of alignment and unable to heal up - Or would you respect their expertise in applying Two techniques to the One broken leg ?

The technique that is the complement to Albedo Restoration can be described as Carbon Recovery. It is employed to recover airborne carbon dioxide, at best to the extent of drawing the excess CO2 back out of the oceans to restore their natural alkalinity.

Neither of these two modes of geo-engineering can resolve our climate predicament alone, nor in tandem with the essential rapid emissions control.

Rapid emissions control alongside both modes of geoengineering could potentially serve to minimize the peak level of CO2 and the peak level of warming and its associated climate destabilization. In this Troika format global temperature is restrained during the many decades required for the cleansing of the atmosphere, thereby conserving the necessary forestry that would otherwise be lost to the impacts of warming.

As yet the best proposals for Albedo Restoration need at least a decade of stringently supervised research before there could be any confidence of their reliably benign function in operation. The starting point is the development of that necessarily global supervision capacity.

Regards,
Lewis

Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #77 on: March 14, 2015, 07:40:24 AM »
"any efforts to cool the Earth by albedo modification would increase the acidity of the oceans"

Yes, I think that is likely true.

Wili - you know that is patently untrue.

Why pretend you don't ?

Regards,  Lewis

wili

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #78 on: March 14, 2015, 04:20:50 PM »
What exactly is patently untrue about it?

Is it the 'any' part. Of course, if it is combined with a (somehow) successful effort not just to stop all further emissions, but also to draw down considerable carbon out of the atmosphere, then, yes, in theory I suppose the 'any' part might not be true.

But I have a sense that I'm missing some point, here. Do you think that a cooler ocean would absorb less CO2 for some reason? Do you think cooling the planet by this method would not cool the oceans? Where is the flaw that you intend to point out, exactly?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #79 on: March 15, 2015, 02:38:44 PM »
Wili,
yes, beside there being no quotes I've seen of any serious scientist or politician proposing the use of Albedo Restoration as being sufficient without both Carbon Recovery and rapid Emissions Control,
there is also the fact that the US and EU and others are aiming for "Net-Zero" emissions targets in Paris, which is a de facto commitment to both Carbon Recovery and Emissions Control.
There is thus no serous prospect of Albedo Restoration being deployed in isolation.

However there are at least three other factors which negate the possibility of Albedo Restoration "increasing ocean acidifcation".

- An effective deployment of Albedo Restoration provides sufficient cooling to decelerate the 4 warming-driven carbon-emitting Major Interactive Feedbacks [MIFs] (Permafrost Melt, Forest Loss, Soil Desiccation & Methane Hydrates' Melt) thereby preventing their otherwise inevitable addition to airborne CO2ppm, thereby actively reducing the intake of CO2 and its increase of ocean acidification.
- In halting those feedbacks' raising of CO2ppm, Albedo Restoration also halts the CO2-driven MIF of Fertilized Peatbog Decay, which will otherwise continue to escalate its output of CO2 adding to ppm and thus to ocean acidification.
- In halting (eventually) the warming-driven Methane Hydrates' Melt, Albedo Restoration would avoid its direct addition to the oceans of substantial volumes of CH4 (that are dissolved before reaching the surface) where they are quite rapidly converted to CO2 by methanotrofic bacteria, thereby avoiding a substantial direct addition to ocean acidification.

From this perspective Albedo Restoration is absolutely essential as part of the Troika strategy if terminal ocean acidification is to be avoided.

In my view this is an extremely urgent issue, given not only the loss of most corals under 1.5C of warming, but also the likely onset of serial global crop failures by that point, while at present we are 10 or 20 years away from having a technique of Albedo Restoration sufficiently researched to allow its deployment.

In this light what we face can be seen as the third and final 'window of opportunity"

Regards,

Lewis


wili

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #80 on: March 15, 2015, 03:26:48 PM »
Lewis wrote:

- An effective deployment of Albedo Restoration provides sufficient cooling to decelerate the 4 warming-driven carbon-emitting Major Interactive Feedbacks [MIFs] (Permafrost Melt, Forest Loss, Soil Desiccation & Methane Hydrates' Melt) thereby preventing their otherwise inevitable addition to airborne CO2ppm, thereby actively reducing the intake of CO2 and its increase of ocean acidification.
- In halting those feedbacks' raising of CO2ppm, Albedo Restoration also halts the CO2-driven MIF of Fertilized Peatbog Decay, which will otherwise continue to escalate its output of CO2 adding to ppm and thus to ocean acidification.
- In halting (eventually) the warming-driven Methane Hydrates' Melt, Albedo Restoration would avoid its direct addition to the oceans of substantial volumes of CH4 (that are dissolved before reaching the surface) where they are quite rapidly converted to CO2 by methanotrofic bacteria, thereby avoiding a substantial direct addition to ocean acidification.

Good points (and I see we share an obsession with carbon feedbacks :)), but technically these mean that albedo geoengineering (again, alone) would decrease alkalinity less than allowing the earth to heat up to the point that these feedbacks kick in. It does not show that albedo geoengineering would not decrease alkalinity.

(Sorry if this seems picky, but I do like to be as clear as possible...though my need to use all those double negatives doesn't help on that front.  :-\)
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #81 on: March 15, 2015, 04:20:22 PM »
Lewis, Although with enough carbon capture and geo-e you may help prevent some of the positive feedbacks you describe the oceans will continue to acidify until surface oceans get closer to equalizing with current atmospheric Co2 concentrations . Biological processes will continue to reduce surface ocean pH via the biological carbon pump but it takes a long time for the ocean water masses to mix and for the biological processes to remove the surface water acidification. Remember the carbon land sink has taken ~ 25% of anthropogenic carbon , the ocean ~ 25% and the atmosphere ~50%. The 50% that has already gone into the atmosphere will continue to acidify surface waters until most of it has gone back into deep oceans sinks. This will take hundreds of years and although the ultimate pH of the worlds oceans will be determined by the gross volume of carbon emitted you can't stop a certain amount of future acidification even if you stop all emissions today. " Terminal Acidification " is some pretty scary terminology . This terminology implies all ocean life will expire and that is simply erroneous . There has been lots of stress testing of various lifeforms that can handle 7.8 pH and we will need to emit another 2000 GT carbon on top of the 500 GT we have already released to get there.
So life won't end but corals are in serious trouble. I can't really venture a guess on how much extra acidification will happen with the extra CO2 that may come from the positive feedback loops you describe but for them to take over our anthropogenic inputs they will need to feed in that 2000GT carbon I mentioned earlier. I guess the scary part is it doesn't really matter if those feedbacks take a thousand+ years to deliver their carbon it is the gross volume and not time that will determine the ultimate amount of acidification that will take place and like I have said before it takes tens of thousands of years for the natural system to return ocean pH to status ( at 8.2 )  In short the oceans will continue to acidify even with carbon capture and geo-e , we can only stop it if we actually can draw down atmospheric CO2to pre industrial revolution ( or close to )numbers of 280ppm.
 That is why we are struggling to figure out how to adapt our fisheries to expected future conditions.
I hate to say we aren't going to save the coral but in my opinion we already pulled the trigger. We will be living with that loss for the rest of human existence .   
   

Shared Humanity

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #82 on: March 15, 2015, 04:56:02 PM »

.....However, to propose that Albedo Restoration would significantly increase ocean acidification on the strength of your uproven hypothesis is both premature and patently irrational as a critique of Albedo Restoration's utility.

When two techniques each addresses one crucial part of a critical problem, do you really discard one and ignore the other because neither can by itself address the whole problem ?

I always view with a jaundiced eye persons who employ hyperbolic prose as well as vitriol like "patently irrational" to describe the opinions of others.

I have been reading this thread and, generally, have been enjoying the back and forth. With regards to the last comment you made that I have just quoted, the answer as it relates to the issue of AGW is yes. Discard them both as neither addresses the root cause of the problem.

When you encounter a problem, any effort to address mere symptoms of the problem will always result in a proliferation of new symptoms. When the system you are working with is complex (I can't think of many systems more complex than the climate system in its entirety.) the unanticipated outcomes caused by monkeying around with symptoms will always surprise. In general, geo-engineering can only make our problem worse. I view even the proposing of geo-engineering as a means to avoid the nastiest effects of CO2 emissions as a serious problem in that it allows us to avoid addressing the only real solution. The root cause of AGW is human driven CO2 emissions. The only safe solution is the elimination of these emissions.

Geo-engineering proposals are the equivalent of whistling past the graveyard.

Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #83 on: March 15, 2015, 05:47:05 PM »
". . .technically these mean that albedo geoengineering (again, alone) would decrease alkalinity less than allowing the earth to heat up to the point that these feedbacks kick in. It does not show that albedo geoengineering would not decrease alkalinity."

Wili -
To get it technically precise then if Albedo Restoration had been deployed in isolation before the first of the warming-driven carbom MIFs had taken off - which Dr John Gribben reported in his 1990 book "Hothouse Earth" was Permafrost Melt in Russia in the 1970s - it might be said to have advanced the oceans' uptake of CO2 up to the date where those MIFs would otherwise have started raising airborne CO2ppm.

However this is a rather hypothetical assesment given that in practice the carbon MIFs are already kicking in wholesale, for instance with significant Mts CO2 emitted by each of the Amazon's majoir droughts let alone other Forest Loss worldwide, and with Fertilized Peatbog Decay's CO2 output rising at >6%/yr on track to exceed present anthro-CO2 output in the 2060s.

In practice Albedo Restoration is thus a critical component of the Troika strategy for its role in avoiding termainal acidification, as well as for avoiding the onset of serial global crop failures and the loss of the requisite afforestation for Carbon Recovery.

Regards,

Lewis
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 06:13:59 PM by Lewis C »

Shared Humanity

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #84 on: March 15, 2015, 06:03:27 PM »
Since the rapid elimination of human caused CO2 emissions are an incomplete solution, leaving us with unacceptably high levels of atmospheric CO2 for hundreds of years, we will have to engage in some form of geo-engineering. The only safe and, in my mind, acceptable geo-engineering approaches are methods to accelerate the uptake (after the complete elimination of human driven emissions) of atmospheric CO2, sequestering it in solid form. The best of these will be natural processes like the greening of the planet through reforestation, aggressive practices of capturing CO2 in plants and turning these plants into the soil or accelerated aging. I am sure there are many more that can be employed that harness or enhance other natural processes that capture CO2.

If we fail to do the above, I am with Jim D in that I fully expect we will employ every manner of geo-engineering that we can dream up to address a bewildering array of symptoms. These increasingly desperate attempts will be all the evidence we will need to know we have lost the war.

Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #85 on: March 15, 2015, 07:11:21 PM »
Bruce -
thank you for your response.

I'm afraid that through an error of mine it is partly at cross purposes, in that I wrongly assumed the term 'Carbon Recovery' was widely enough used not to need definition as a term for the recovery of airborne carbon and its sequestration, as opposed to referring to the techniques of power stations' CO2 Capture and Storage.

Having some expertise in forestry and having run my own small (40acre) coppice woodlands since 2006, I'm reasonably confident that a very major program of Carbon Recovery utilizing Native Coppice Afforestation for Biochar (for plowing in with farms normal cultivation as a valuable soil moisture regulator and fertility enhancer) could achieve the cleansing of the atmosphere by around 2100.

The Conditions for such an outcome would include a rapid contraction of anthro emissions - at best cutting to near-zero by 2050 -, as well as the deployment of a reliably benign mode of Albedo Restoration as soon as it has been sufficiently researched - by say 2030? - in order to cut the risks of crop failure and halt the feedback outputs as rapidly as possible.

Those conditions would also include the use of efficient village-scale charcoal retorts across the 1.6GHa.s of suitable non-farmland identified as available in the joint WRI-WFN study, with the retorts' surplus hydrocarbon gasses being converted on site to the basic liquid fuel methanol to provide both fuel for the product's distribution and a second product and revenue stream to help defray costs.

A further consideration is that to function well it must be done well and for the right reasons; that is it needs to be developed and operated under the governance of a UN scientific agency for both social and ecological benefit, while its purpose is preferably not as carbon offsets for nations' residual fossil fuel burning but at best as the means by which nations can contribute to costs as a verifiable means of the gradual recovery of their cumulative emissions.

From this perspective I'm looking to the best case of the Troika strategy, implementing rapid Emissions Control with Carbon Recovery and with Albedo Restoration - all of which is aiming high, but I see nothing to lose by doing so.

With regard to the idea of the terminal decline of the oceans, I'd use the term intentionally in the political sense to describe the point where there is nothing left of their ecology that is much use to us for food. This is also of course a point of massive ecological collapse but it is not, as you rightly remark the end of all lifeforms. In my view we need to use alarming language (and always be ready to provide definitions) just as we need to start getting very angry indeed with the bipartisan US policy of obstructing the mitigation of AGW in hopes of maintaining its own dominance.

As you are clearly far better informed than I on the science of ocean acidification, I wonder if you might be persuaded to run some evaluations of the outcome out to say 2150 of the Troika's best case above ? The base case would mean cutting warming back to the pre-industrial level during the 2030s, followed by peaking CO2ppm around 2050, followed by its slow decline to 280ppm around 2100, but any variations on this format showing particular strengths and weaknesses would also be very welcome.

From this perspective I think we still have a chance of resolving the predicament if appropriate action is taken sufficiently swiftly, but I'd be the first to agree that the window of opportunity is closing by the year.

Regards,

Lewis
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 05:59:06 AM by Lewis C »

Bob Wallace

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #86 on: March 15, 2015, 07:59:53 PM »
I'm reasonably confident that a very major program of Carbon Recovery utilizing Native Coppice Afforestation for Biochar (for plowing in with farms normal cultivation as a valuable soil moisture regulator and fertility enhancer) could achieve the cleansing of the atmosphere by around 2100.

I think this is an idea we should explore.  I really doubt the 2100 date, but I'm open to being convinced.

I think it could take more like 150 to 250 years to make a significant dent in atmospheric CO2 levels rather than only 50.  We've burned an incredible amount of coal and oil over the last 100+ years.

Char orchards, where all the growing and harvesting was done using renewable energy.  Shipping the char where it would be useful (lots of soils aren't benefitted) or simply burying it.  We might be able to speed up atmospheric CO2 declines.

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #87 on: March 15, 2015, 09:08:14 PM »
Lewis, CO2 is always trying to equilibrate gas partial pressures between the atmosphere and surface waters. The biological pump removes surface carbonates and organic matter to depth and thereby maintains enough of a difference between surface water pCO2( dissolved CO2 ) and atmospheric gaseous CO2 so that the oceans remain a sink. When deep waters upwell  they can bring that CO2 back to the surface in concentrations above atmospheric levels ( > 400ppm ) and become a source rather than sink.
 In answer to your question, if atmospheric CO2 levels are returned to 280 ppm almost all acidification will disappear in offshore open waters. Coastal eastern boundary currents and eastern equatorial upwelling regions will still return CO2 to the atmosphere . The majority of anthropogenic carbon remains in surface and intermediate waters so that portion of antCarbon held by intermediate waters  upwells after about fifty years. If your projection is for 2035-2050 to be ant C max and somehow to actually pull atmospheric CO2 down to 280 by 2100 then acidification will be largely a non issue.
You will need to sequester about over 250 billion tons of carbon in fifty years  to achieve that goal. This means you will somehow need to double the terrestrial carbon sink from current 2.5 Gt per annum to 5 Gt and that number will need be larger to the degree that the ocean carbon sink is compromised by heat.
 Part of that increase in the terrestrial carbon sink can be improved with a change in agricultural practices that include craver crops and no till. If that transition to no till necessitates select sprays to control weeds then society may need to reevaluate organic standards and goals. Energy needs a full accounting in agriculture and that includes ag forestry and coppicing as well as organic standards.
 I am a farmer too and honestly even with good intentions and a certain amount of financial flexibility a transition to the levels of soil carbon that you envision putting away will require some compromises with nature. Coppiced forests are not natural ones, cover crops aren't compatible with multiple crops per season, and oh ya no fossil fuels. I'm in but then maybe my values are sideways to civilization anyhow. My solar runs my pumps these days but if we don't get water soon I won't be growing much next year, I will be losing fruit trees and as you well know coppicing trees require rain also.
   
     

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #88 on: March 17, 2015, 12:43:00 AM »
A possible advancement in CCS:  tiny bubbles.
The polymer bubbles are filled with the entirely pedestrian ingredient of baking soda, long known to absorb carbon dioxide, but it’s the bubbles themselves that are the breakthrough. They’re permeable, which means that CO2 gets trapped and absorbed by the baking soda solution inside them. In theory, you could affix the bubbles to the inside of a power plant smokestack and trap the CO2 before it is released into the atmosphere.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-16/these-tiny-bubbles-may-save-the-planet
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #89 on: March 17, 2015, 12:56:58 AM »
A call for "regenerative farming" in place of quick-fix geoengineering.
Unlike geoengineering’s quick fix, regenerative agriculture cannot be implemented at scale without deep cultural changes. We must turn away from an attitude of nature-as-engineering-object to one of humble partnership. Whereas geoengineering is a global solution that feeds the logic of centralisation and the economics of globalism, regeneration of soil and forests is fundamentally local: forest by forest, farm by farm. These are not generic solutions, because the requirements of the land are unique to each place. Unsurprisingly, they are typically more labour-intensive than conventional practices, because they require a direct, intimate relationship to the land.

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/09/we-need-regenerative-farming-not-geoengineering
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Bob Wallace

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #90 on: March 17, 2015, 05:39:46 AM »
A possible advancement in CCS:  tiny bubbles.
The polymer bubbles are filled with the entirely pedestrian ingredient of baking soda, long known to absorb carbon dioxide, but it’s the bubbles themselves that are the breakthrough. They’re permeable, which means that CO2 gets trapped and absorbed by the baking soda solution inside them. In theory, you could affix the bubbles to the inside of a power plant smokestack and trap the CO2 before it is released into the atmosphere.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-16/these-tiny-bubbles-may-save-the-planet


Better yet.  Install renewable generation and shut the damn plant down.

Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #91 on: March 17, 2015, 05:56:51 AM »
I think this is an idea we should explore.  I really doubt the 2100 date, but I'm open to being convinced.

Bob - I'm of course open to correction on the numbers and thus the feasible target date for 280ppm, but from what I know at present 2100 looks like a high but viable goal.

The volume to be recovered is indeed immense, and must reflect both the current 120ppm of anthro-Carbon held in the atmosphere, plus the net addition by the end of anthro emissions (proposed as 2050), plus the volume that can be expected to be emitted by the oceans as airborne CO2 declines. There must also be an allowance for a small inevitable anthro-output such as from rice-growing CH4 converting to CO2.

Under the Conditions outlined at #85 above, the scenario I'm working with allows 25 years for the negotiation, organization and establishment of 1.6Gha.s of native coppice afforestation, (~4.0Bn acres) meaning that the first full harvest of 10-yr-old growth occurs in 2040.
The global average yield is set at 12Ts Dry Wood /ha /yr (TsDWd/ha/yr) which is quite modest given tropical rates under a stabilized climate.
(Without the application of Albedo Restoration all bets on the growth of forest, let alone food crops, are off by the 2030s).

Using moderately efficient retorts that convert 35% of wood to charcoal (the best being ~42% using a high tech microwave system) 12TsDWd = 4.2TsC (charcoal)
Overall yield then equals 1.6Gha.s x 4.2TsC = 6.72GtC /y
Dividing by 2.135GtC per ppm of CO2 = 3.15ppm buried per year
By 2100 this implies a recovery of 60yrs x 3.15ppm = 189ppm
Allowing 120ppm of this to clear the current antCO2 leaves only 69ppm to meet future outputs.

From here on the numbers are hazy.
Michael Mann proposes 50ppm as the feasible target for remaining antCO2 outputs, but I suspect we could do rather better given :
a/. the rapidly falling costs of N-F power and diverse storage options, and
b/. the rising corporate demand to halt FFs by a carbon price of Allocate, Cap & Trade, and
c/. enough people being willing to risk what they have to end society's FF dependence.

The allowance for remaining antCO2 is thus set at 40ppm,
leaving 29ppm to meet the CO2 re-emerging from the oceans.
A rule of thumb puts the amount gone into the oceans at a bit over half what's held in the atmosphere, i.e. around 70ppm, and the most knowledgeable scientist I've spoken to advised a figure of 40% of that being re-emitted as airborne CO2 falls, which is 28ppm.

Against the plain fact that either or both of remaining antCO2 output and ocean CO2 output may in practice be larger than projected above,
is the equally plain fact that we have both additional biomass resources in view including agric, urban and forestry wastes that could be sequestered as biochar;
and also the potential of agricultural practice C sequestration which certainly offers a useful additional sequestration,
as well as the possibility of an advance in DACCS cutting its costs from >$600Bn/GtCO2 to less than $50Bn, (but fortunately we don't appear reliant on this possibility).

Overall there thus seems a good viability case for setting 2100 as the target date for 280ppm,
on top of which is the presentational case of such a beautifully round number,
and on top of that is the actuarial case that we'll be long under the sod by 2100
- so we won't have to listen to whingeing about a goal that was some number of years off.

But to meet the trend of that goal the negotiation of the protocol governing the global program of Carbon Recovery needs to be under way ASAP!, and the concept of a major new global industry in "Carbon Recovery for Food Security" needs to be propagated very widely.

Regards,
Lewis




« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 07:29:55 AM by Lewis C »

Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #92 on: March 17, 2015, 06:38:33 AM »
Bruce - thanks for your thoughts on acidification under the Troika strategy - Having recently seen a paper showing severe suppression of shellfish along the N & W coasts of Canada by the late 2020s, I've been rather concerned as to quite how bad our best case of acidification will be.

In the post above to Bob I've put an outline of the numbers required for getting 280ppm by 2100 as best I see them. They are inevitably hazy given the circs, but anything you care to add to give them better definition would be very welcome.

Very sorry to hear of your trials with drought on the fruit trees and coppice. One technique I'd mention in case you're not already using it in the orchards is laying low-grade sheep fleeces around the stem to shade the ground and slow down the evaporation of any pumped water you can get to them. Re-laying the fleeces after watering is laborious but if done while watering the next tree it doesn't cost much time. OTOH a commercial orchard of hundreds or thousands of hectares isn't going to water many trees individually . . .

God willing the El Nino development will turn the weather to a better outlook.

Regards,
Lewis

jai mitchell

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #93 on: March 17, 2015, 07:00:30 AM »
FYI

Boreal forests occupy large areas of the northern hemisphere and are mainly found in Canada, Russia, Alaska and Scandinavia. Biodiversity in these forests is generally low. Plant biomass is much higher than in the tundra, with roughly 60–100 tonnes of carbon per hectare, of which around 80% is in the above-ground biomass (Mahli et al. 1999; Luyssaert et al. 2007


I don't think that billions of tons of carbon is going to be removed from the atmosphere from this process.  The scope and scale would be equal to the entire human endeavor of the past 100 years! (estimate)

http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/natural-fix/page/3725.aspx

I am not saying that high carbon soil fixing farming practices and char is a bad idea, I am just saying that it won't be enough.  Especially if we are still burning coal in 20 years.
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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #94 on: March 17, 2015, 08:16:49 AM »
Jai -
I'm not clear as to the relevance of the Boreal forests' carbon stock densities, given that coppicing for biochar is necessarily a sylviculture of the temperate and tropical zones, where both growth rates and stocks/ha are far higher.

Three posts up at #91 I laid out some basic numbers on the prospect for rapid carbon recovery which you might want to evaluate. If you can propose amendments I'd be interested to see them, as getting the carbon back out of the atmosphere is plainly highly significant to all other aspects of the predicament.

Regards,

Lewis


jai mitchell

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #95 on: March 17, 2015, 05:10:38 PM »
Lewis,

the size of the nation of brazil is 849 million hectares.

what would be the carbon footprint of falling and dragging, chipping and then processing to char, then grinding, shipping and then burying a forest that is almost 2 times the size of the nation of brazil?
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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #96 on: March 17, 2015, 06:37:00 PM »
the size of the nation of brazil is 849 million hectares.

what would be the carbon footprint of falling and dragging, chipping and then processing to char, then grinding, shipping and then burying a forest that is almost 2 times the size of the nation of brazil?

Jai - good question.

There are three strands to the answer - distance, energy and carbon efficiency.

Re Distance - it has always been the practice in charcoal making to minimize the haulage effort, and this factor shapes the proceedure and the scale of conversion facilities.
- The wood is stacked at the edge of the coup, the felled area traditionally of 1 to 2 acres, where it's allowed to dry out thus shedding about a third or more of its weight.
- It is then hauled a maximum of 2 or 3 miles to the conversion yard, (beyond which distance the economics rapidly go into reverse) with this being well within the proven economic range of teams of draft animals hauling wainloads at a time (though old cheap tractors may also be useful)
- The yard is necessarily of 'village scale' rather than being maximized under the increasingly criticized "economies of scale", and includes sufficient retorts to handle the annual harvest from the catchment area, plus a milling, mixing, tote-bagging and storage facility for distribution by light truck (or by river barge whenever feasible).
- The retorts produce a surplus of hot wood gas after the fraction used for their ignition, (after which the charring is highly exothermic) which contains around 28% of the wood's energy potential. This crude mixture of nitrogen, a little CO2 and hydrocarbon gasses and vapours can be readily purified and converted to the liquid fuel methanol, [CH3OH] that offers exceptionally clean rapid combustion characteristics and about 55% of the energy of petrol per unit of volume. A part of the heat output may be used via the highly durable Stirling Engine for the production of process power.

Re Energy - a series of energy inputs are listed above, all of which are met either by draft animals requiring some grazing land and cerial crops for feed, or by the heat and methanol outputs from the plant.

Re Carbon Efficiency - There is certainly some embedded fossil carbon within the equipment used at all stages, most notably in delivery trucks and metal retorts, but when set against the volumes of carbon being delivered in the form of biochar on a daily basis for plowing in by farmers, that is a negligible volume.

The short answer is thus that the carbon footprint of the extraction, haulage, processing and delivery of the requisite scale of Biochar supply is of only negligible significance.

Regards,

Lewis






jai mitchell

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #97 on: March 17, 2015, 10:29:21 PM »
Lewis,

I meant carbon emissions from the soil:  http://www.borenv.net/BER/pdfs/ber9/ber9-199.pdf

When you chop down the trees, the roots die and decompose, in addition, you dry out the tropical soil and change rainfall patterns.  not to mention biodiversity loss.  I wonder if you have truly thought through this idea.

Please consider the manpower, logistics and environmental devastation such a scheme would entail.  You are talking about clear cutting a significant fraction of the tropical forest belt. 
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« Reply #98 on: March 17, 2015, 11:03:15 PM »
The linked research indicates that prior scientific assumptions about the advisability of converting Africa's wet savannahs to cropland were overly optimistic (see extract).  The application of "Coppice Afforestation for Biochar" to the tropical rainforest may be even more inadvisable:

Searchinger, T.D. et al. (2015), "High carbon and biodiversity costs from converting Africa's wet savannahs to cropland", Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2584

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2584.html

Abstract: "Do the wet savannahs and shrublands of Africa provide a large reserve of potential croplands to produce food staples or bioenergy with low carbon and biodiversity costs? We find that only small percentages of these lands have meaningful potential to be low-carbon sources of maize (~2%) or soybeans (9.5–11.5%), meaning that their conversion would release at least one-third less carbon per ton of crop than released on average for the production of those crops on existing croplands. Factoring in land-use change, less than 1% is likely to produce cellulosic ethanol that would meet European standards for greenhouse gas reductions. Biodiversity effects of converting these lands are also likely to be significant as bird and mammal richness is comparable to that of the world’s tropical forest regions. Our findings contrast with influential studies that assume these lands provide a large, low-environmental-cost cropland reserve."

See also:
http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/03/farming-africas-wet-savannahs-would-have-high-environmental-costs-study-warns/


Extract: "As the global population rises, some scientists have suggested that Africa's wet savannahs could be ideal for growing the extra crops needed to meet the growing demand for food and bioenergy.
But it isn't quite the solution it seems, according to new research. The idea that Africa can provide food and biofuels while keeping emissions low "does not add up", the researchers say."
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Lewis C

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Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« Reply #99 on: March 18, 2015, 12:03:41 AM »
Jai - I answered the question you wrote:

what would be the carbon footprint of falling and dragging, chipping and then processing to char, then grinding, shipping and then burying a forest that is almost 2 times the size of the nation of brazil?

I'm equally willing to answer your new questions, but I'd appreciate a response to the detailed answer to your last one, without which discussion is diminished.

You need first an understanding of the ancient and highly sustainable sylviculture of Coppice, which in preceding agriculture is arguably our oldest surviving sustainable industry.

Coppice consists of a woodland that is harvested cyclically and regrown from the stumps. For a coppice on a 10 year growth cycle there will be 10 plots felled in succession, meaning that there is one ready each year. The roots do not die so long as the cycle is less than ~35 years and browsers are not allowed to graze off the new growth, but instead they put out exceedingly vigorous growth owing to the massive root ball that develops. The rule of thumb is that from the second harvest onwards coppice grows 20% faster than normal cohort forestry. The trees thrive on this regime, with their biological clock being reset at each harvest, with the oldest known in Britain being a hazel near Ashford in Kent that was planted during the Roman occupation.

Coppice is never a clear-cut operation - cutting areas (coups) are limited to the traditional 1 to 3 acres and often smaller. Larger coups would allow more wind in slowing the start of the growth season and leading to lower humidity and soil moisture in summer, again slowing growth. The felling is done during the dormant season in temperate climes to increase the formation of new buds on the stump, though by contast in Burma the trees are cut when convenient and regrow just as well.

Extraction to a stack at the edge of the coup is normally done in winter in temperate climes to minimze plants' obstruction, but on wet sites is better done in summer when the ground is firmer. Haulage in the UK is normally by pony, though in many countries oxen are used. This has advantages of tight manoeuvring, minimal ground disturbance, and when trained of being self-guided between somebody hitching bundles of logs out on the coup and somebody unhitching and building the stack. Tractors are unhelpful for extraction as their ground pressure affects the trees' roots and has been shown to slow growth rates. A timber bob or 'pair of wheels' can be used to avoid logs scraping the ground which adds to haulage load.

An interesting aspect of native coppice forestry is that it accomodates exceptional biodiversity - the highest of any ecosystem in Europe - and I know of no reason against this being the case elsewhere. It does so due to the "ecological edge effect" where year by year the light enters onto a new patch of the woodland floor and then gradually declines as the trees grow during the felling cycle. This generates unique floral and fungal inventories which attract corresponding insect and bird communities plus every mammal, amphibian and reptile that can get a living from the result, including carnivores where they are respected.

So in answer to your questions:
When you chop down the trees, the roots die and decompose,
In coppice forestry they do not; they can live for at least 1700 years.

in addition, you dry out the tropical soil and change rainfall patterns. 
No, coppice doesn't dry out tropical soils and change rainfall pattern, particularly when it is planted anew and so adds to total tree cover - as in the proposed program

not to mention biodiversity loss.
A program of Native Coppice Afforestation in plots across 1.6GHa.s will provide an immense and world-changing boost to biodiversity, particularly where it is planted to buffer or rejoin isolated old-growth forest reserves.

I wonder if you have truly thought through this idea.
I began thinking this idea through in its early formats back in the late 1980s, when I was first consulting to the UK govt on forestry issues. 25 years later I have thought this through in some detail.

Please consider the manpower, logistics
I've done so in close detail for project proposals but given the number of critical variables I'd say here that they depend largely upon local conditions and on inputs.

and environmental devastation such a scheme would entail.
If it it entailed the slightest 'environmental devastation' I'd not be proposing it.

You are talking about clear cutting a significant fraction of the tropical forest belt. 
No, I'm talking about nothing of the sort. I'm talking of the feasibility and multiple critical benefits of a global program of Carbon Recovery for Food Security.

All the best,

Lewis



« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 03:04:34 AM by Lewis C »