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New Geoengineering Study

A number of people have sent me links to reports about a new geoengineering study to be released tomorrow (the 28th) in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, an open-access science journal from the European Geosciences Union. I haven't seen the study itself yet -- I'll download it as soon as it becomes available -- but from what's been reported, it looks like a good attempt to grapple with the diverse effects from different geoengineering strategies.

In the meantime, this piece at Grist gives you a flavor of environmentalist reaction to the study, while this post by Oliver Morton offers some of the scientific details.

The quick conclusion from reading the various reports about the report is that no one approach to geoengineering is a magic bullet. A combination of programs, with some insolation-blocking (likely with stratospheric sulphates) and some carbon sequestration (through buried charcoal and "biochar"), seems the most reasonable partner to aggressive emissions reductions.

It's increasingly hard for me to see a climate survival strategy that doesn't involve some geoengineering. Reports like this one are important tools in helping us figure out what we can do, carefully, and what's not worth the risk.


Jamais, having read summaries of the study, I think it's fair to note that employing stratospheric sulphates was among the riskiest of the strategies, therefore not necessarily among the most effective. Enhancing carbon sinks, especially through strategies that have other useful benefits (forests, biochar) were effective, less risky, and useful for many problems we face.

Following the revelations about the net warming effect aircraft con-trails had (due to persistence and reflection characteristics), I asked the CSIRO whether any studies had been made into what could be done to mitigate (or even reverse) the effect of contrails.

Answer: no such studies had been conducted by CSIRO at least (as of 2007)

So, this talk of SO2 additives must be fairly recent.

I notice that even Lovelock is admitting that biochar is an effective remedy (although he doubts we are willing to do it on a large enough scale)


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