Of increased importance, as policy makers and politicians prepare to negotiate binding carbon emission targets at December's United Nation's Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen (CoP15), many feel we need to come up with a plan B as climate mitigation appears to be too little too late.
Authors Peter Cox, professor of climate system dynamics at the University of Exeter, and Hazel Jeffrey, head of strategic management at the UK's Natural Environment Research Council, who were both involved in the Royal Society's new report but writing independently for Physics World, examine the potentials of different geoengineering initiatives.
Different schemes for both direct carbon-dioxide removal, such as fertilising the ocean with a nutrient such as iron to enhance the oceanic carbon sink, and solar-radiation management through, for example, brightening the clouds have different benefits, costs and risks associated.
What sounds like sci-fi could be a crucial alternative to common mitigation, which, even if carbon emission should be cut by as much as 50% by 2050, is unlikely to keep global warming below two degrees this century.
While more research needs to be done to ascertain the risks and effectiveness associated with these large-scale interventions in the climate system, many geoengineering strategies have a better benefit-to-cost ratio than conventional mitigation methods.
Neither costs nor practicality might be the real reasons behind climate scientists' reluctance to embrace geoengineering, as Cox and Jeffrey highlight, "The primary reason there has been so little debate about geoengineering amongst climate scientists is concern that such a debate would imply an alternative to reducing the human carbon footprint."
Joseph Winters | EurekAlert!
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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