what's the most promising idea in geoengineering?

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Offline annie123

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What do people think is the most promising idea in geoengineering re climate change solutions?


Offline CliffordK

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Re: what's the most promising idea in geoengineering?
« Reply #1 on: 30/10/2012 02:25:15 »
I foresee band-aid solutions in the future.

Loading up the pickup, and heading northward!!!!!!!!

Holland, of course, has been dealing with draining lowlands since settling the country.  Around the world, It is likely that engineering of sea/seaport interfaces will require substantial effort in the future with a combination of raising sea level and land subsidence.

In many places, we are already having issues with competing water distribution for human consumption, agriculture, energy, and preserving nature.  In many parts of the world, water distribution will become a critical issue.

One option would be to put more effort into reducing the use of water.  Does everyone need green lawns?  What about low water landscaping?  Redesigning waste systems to better separate reusable water waste resources?

And, with agriculture, looking for better methods to sustain agriculture with less irrigation.  For example the DESERT in Washington state is noted for its wheat production without irrigation. 

I've wondered if there would be ways to better capture rain water for agriculture, for example putting down a layer of clay just below the top soil.  I've been in rain storms in Nevada where minutes after the storm, the water soaked into the soil, and everything seemed just as dry as before the storm.

Of course, there is always the risk of unintended consequences.  So, blocking water from soaking into the ground could block the replenishment of underground aquifers.


Offline evan_au

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Re: what's the most promising idea in geoengineering?
« Reply #2 on: 10/11/2012 08:26:24 »
Humans have been changing the global climate since the introduction of agriculture, which increased methane production.
We are continuing with increased production of CO2 and other greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution.
Return to another glacial period does not seem imminent, if current trends continue.

To counteract this greenhouse effect, we have "accidentally" done the following:
- The treaty to restrict chloro-fluorocarbon production has started to decrease levels of these gases in the atmosphere; these are potent greenhouse gases, with a fairly long lifetime in the atmosphere
- Ships burn a lot of sulphur-rich fuel; this produces clouds, which reflect heat into space. However, these sulphur componds very soluble, and wash out of the atmosphere in a few weeks.
- Farm runoff dumps a lot of fertiliser in the sea, which increases CO2 takeup by plankton.

I think that intentional methods we could use to combat temperature rise could include:
- (The unpopular one): Reduce use of fossil fuels
- Move towards less carbon-intensive fuels like natural gas, clathrates, nuclear, wind, solar & wave power
- Bioengineered plankton that produce fuel using sunlight.
- (The one that is always 30 years away): Thermonuclear power generation
- Pumping cloud-seeding chemicals or bacteria up a pipe attached to a balloon
- Passenger jets could inject high-altitude chemicals, in the same way that ships do at sea-level
- Intentionally transplanting species to environments which are more suited to their preferred temperature range
- Reestablish ecosystems on Greenland and Antarctica
- (Long-Term): Satellites which reflect part of the Sun's light away from Earth

Combating increased ocean acidity would require:
- massive chemical neutralisation, which is probably undesirable
- biological engineering of many species

Combating sea level rise could use:
- Sea walls
- Move cities, infrastructure & farms to higher land

Combating mass species extinctions could use:
- A large-scale national parks project, with continuous patches of natural land along a north-south corridor
- A large-scale project to collect DNA from all endangered species, sequence it and store it in a library
- A large-scale zoo project so we preserve at least one animal species from each family, so that (one day) we could recreate the extinct species
- A large-scale herbarium project, where we capture and propagate seeds from all plant species

Note that most geoengineering proposals only tackle one aspect of the problem
...and unintended side-effects are almost inevitable whatever we do
- Some of these methods are very carbon-intensive, propagating the very thing they are trying to combat
- and for every winner, there will be losers (I could imagine that Siberia would appreciate any increase of the growing season!)
- and someone will inevitably find some way to turn it into a weapon
so it is better to use methods which can be turned on & off fairly easily.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2012 02:04:34 by evan_au »


Online syhprum

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Re: what's the most promising idea in geoengineering?
« Reply #3 on: 19/11/2012 18:53:29 »
One part of this scheme is in operation.

« Last Edit: 19/11/2012 18:58:08 by syhprum »


Offline CliffordK

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Re: what's the most promising idea in geoengineering?
« Reply #4 on: 19/11/2012 23:01:05 »
There are several seed vaults around the world.  However, most of them preserve crops, and I don't believe any are dedicated to preserving animals, or "weeds".

The nice thing about Svalbard is that it will function reasonably well without power. 

For long-term sperm & egg storage with passive power.  Perhaps central Antarctica.  Or the moon?