Guardian UK – An American businessman conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, dumping around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada’s coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineering scheme and not stopped it.
Satellite images appear to confirm the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed – a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilisation that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.
The algae bloom was apparently ten times larger than any previous test.
The dump took place from a fishing boat in an eddy 200 nautical miles west of the islands of Haida Gwaii, one of the world’s most celebrated, diverse ecosystems, where George convinced the local council of an indigenous village to establish the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation to channel more than $1m of its own funds into the project.
Sources indicate that the Council of the Haida Nations, the political body that speaks for all Haida people, is passing a resolution that any future decision on such projects will have to be ruled on by the entire nation, rather than by one village.
The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation was established by Old Masset village after they borrowed $2.5m dollars from a Canadian credit union, which provided the loan despite flagging numerous concerns about George’s credibility and his plans to try to win carbon credits for the project.
Some “Environmentalists” criticize Canada for being one of “four horsemen of geoengineering”, joining Britain, Australia and New Zealand in opposing southern countries’ efforts to beef up the existing moratorium on technological fixes for global warming.
Nextbigfuture supports Canada and those countries in developing effective geoengineering. I also believe that China and other countries will join them.
Ten ways to reduce emissions that are not geoengineering
The following are my list of top ten technologies that would have a big effect on reducing emissions. These will reduce the unintentional effects on the environment and climate but are not classified as geoengineering. Although current emissions from cars, buildings, agriculture and industry all apparently effect the climate.
1. China Broad Group making “Can be built” factory mass produced high rises and skyscrapers. Deployment of 5 times improved energy efficiency by 2020 with many partners (30% of new construction) would save 400 million tons of CO2 per year
2. Black Carbon free cookers for 700 million households would save 18% of black carbon soot. Equal to about 10% (3 billion tons) of today’s CO2 in warming effect. Current target is 100 million households by 2020 for the equivalent of about 400 million tons of CO2 per year in warming reduction.
3. Diesel particulate filters for cars and trucks and other diesel engines can reduce the 14% of black carbon from transportation. Majority of vehicles are existing older cars and trucks already on the road and would need retrofits
4. Massive amounts of electrification of vehicles could reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions. There are 150 million electric bikes and scooters (mostly in China). This could increase to 500 million electric bikes and scooters by 2020. This will reduce the usage of 2 billion regular cars and vehicles. There will at best by 20 million electric or hybrid cars without massive change.
5. A variety of DOE and other approaches to retrofitting existing buildings for efficiency could increase energy efficiency by about 20%. Perhaps 1 billion tons of CO2 per year worldwide by 2020.
6. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions from concrete. 5% of world total. There is green cement which can absorb carbon dioxide. Green cement is unlikely to be deployed on a wide scale by 2020 because of the need for long term studies to prove develop and prove the safety of the new materials. Also, the new material have to be scaled up.
7. Scaling up of regular nuclear power and hydro power. The world will add about 1000 TWh of hydropower and about 1200 TWh of nuclear power.
8. Nuclear fission technology advances –
* Annular fuel (MIT invented, being commercialized in South Korea (can boost existing and future reactors by 20-50%)
* factory mass produced pebble bed reactors (China under 210 MWe being built, first 2013-2014)
* factory mass produced breeder reactors Russia, first in 2018-2020
* Hyperion Power Generation 25 MWe reactors, first in 2014-2018. Could be used to convert container ships to nuclear power. China COSCO shipping company was interested in nuclear shipping. Nuclear shipping would reduce pollution from the worst grade of oil – bunker fuel. 5000 ships would be like electrifying 100 million cars.
Should be big impact from 2018-2030
9. Johannes Lehmann of Cornell University estimates that by switching to slash-and-char from slash-and-burn agriculture, which turns biomass into ash using open fires that release black carbon and GHGs, 12% of anthropogenic carbon emissions caused by land use change could be reduced annually, which is approximately 660 million tons of CO2-eq. per year, or 2% of all annual global CO2-eq emissions.
Lighter roads and roofs too
From now until 2040, if you want to have a 0.75 degree celsius increase instead of a possible 1.25 degree celsius temperature increase then soot mitigation should be targeted. Measure against CO2 would have an effect by around 2070.
Soot makes the ice darker and melt faster and increases the amount of heat that is absorbed instead of reflected.
Geoengineering is simple and cheap
The cost to construct a Stratospheric Shield with a pumping capacity of 100,000 tons a year of sulfur dioxide would be roughly $24 million, including transportation and assembly. Annual operating costs would run approximately $10 million. The system would use only technologies and materials that already exist—although some improvements may be needed to existing atomizer technology in order to achieve wide sprays of nanometer-scale sulfur dioxide particles and to prevent the particles from coalescing into larger droplets. Even if these cost estimates are off by a factor of 10 (and we think that is unlikely), this work appears to remove cost as an obstacle to cooling an overheated planet by technological means.
HIGH-FLYING BLIMPS, based on existing protoypes, could support a hose no thicker than a fire hose (above) to carry sulfur dioxide as a clear liquid up to the stratosphere, where one or more nozzles (below) would atomize it into a fine mist of nanometer-scale aerosol particles.
The iron dusting and algae bloom sinking method would be used if you also want to prevent ocean acidification.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.