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!
Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
19.01.2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science
Artificial agent designs quantum experiments
19.01.2018 | Universität Innsbruck
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
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