Earth Science News  





. Can We Use Science To Solve Global Warming

Through photosynthesis, trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere, thus reforestation (and reduced deforestation) can play an important role in offsetting carbon emissions. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates reforestation could remove the carbon equivalent to about 10 percent to 20 percent of projected fossil fuel emissions by 2050.
by Staff Writers
Dallas TX (SPX) Feb 05, 2008
Combating a warming world requires a portfolio of strategies, including exploring innovative new approaches to apply science and engineering, according to a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). The report warns that focusing solely on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is too inflexible and politically unrealistic.

If combating potentially harmful global warming requires substantially reducing CO2 emissions, then we will likely lose the fight, said Pete Geddes, executive vice president of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment and an NCPA adjunct scholar who authored the report. We need to begin treating the illness, and stop focusing all our energies on the underlying cause or debating its origin.

CO2, a potent greenhouse gas, helps warm the planet. Recently, the burning of fossil fuels has pushed atmospheric levels of CO2 from approximately 280 parts per million (ppm) at the start of the Industrial Revolution to approximately 380 ppm today. Over the next few decades CO2 levels will continue to increase.

This worries scientists who argue that increasing CO2 emissions are raising global temperatures substantially and later in the century could result in a variety of problems, including rising sea levels and the spread of tropical diseases.

Worse still, there is a small possibility of abrupt and catastrophic change over one or two decades, including the sudden disintegration of the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets, causing a rapid, many-meter rise in sea levels.

Yet according to the NCPA report, this would happen over too short a time to reduce the damage through CO2 emissions reductions, particularly with the prospect of increasing energy use in the developing world over the next 50 years.

In 1992 the National Academy of Sciences recommended three geoengineering options worth exploring: reforestation, directly screening out some sunlight and increasing ocean absorption of CO2.

-- Reforestation. Through photosynthesis, trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere, thus reforestation (and reduced deforestation) can play an important role in offsetting carbon emissions. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates reforestation could remove the carbon equivalent to about 10 percent to 20 percent of projected fossil fuel emissions by 2050.

-- Atmospheric Sun Screens. Volcanic eruptions that release massive amounts of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere provide a natural cooling effect, because SO2 eventually turns into highly reflective solid particles that bounce solar radiation back into space. One proposal to mimic this effect would be to increase the planets reflectivity by putting tiny particles of silicon dioxide (basically, kitty litter) into the stratosphere.

Other proposals to reduce the solar radiation reaching the Earth include putting a large mirror or shade into orbit between the Sun and the Earth, or placing trillions of small transparent sheets in orbit to reduce the sunlight reaching the Earths surface by 2 percent (sufficient to offset warming even with a doubling of CO2), or laying a reflective film over much of the planets deserts.

-- Ocean Absorption. A third idea is to add iron to the upper layers of the ocean. Iron acts as a fertilizer, increasing the growth of phytoplankton which, like all plants, creates carbon compounds by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The resulting algal blooms, when they sink, would take carbon to the sea floor, essentially storing it away.

If we are to truly fix our climate, we cannot dismiss these options out-of-hand, said Geddes. Its time to think outside our soapbox.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Ancient Climate Secrets Raised From Ocean Depths
Canberra, Australia (SPX) Feb 04, 2008
Using a remotely operated submersible vehicle the international research team captured images of life found on deep-sea pinnacles and valleys up to three kilometres beneath the Ocean's surface. During a three-week voyage, scientists from CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship and the US, collaborated to retrieve examples of live and fossilised deep-ocean corals from a depth of 1 650 metres near the Tasman Fracture Zone, south-east of Tasmania.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Africa quake toll rises as homeless add to aid crisis
  • Limited Economic Impact But Chief Meteorologist Says China Unprepared For Weather
  • NC-Based Piedmont Triad Ambulance And Rescue Deploys Next Gen Wireless Network
  • Millions struggle for tickets as China battles weather

  • Can We Use Science To Solve Global Warming
  • Ancient Climate Secrets Raised From Ocean Depths
  • Microbes As Climate Engineers
  • Economists Help Climate Scientists To Improve Global Warming Forecasts

  • Indonesia To Develop New EO Satellite
  • Russia To Launch Space Project To Monitor The Arctic In 2010
  • New Radar Satellite Technique Sheds Light On Ocean Current Dynamics
  • Radical New Lab Fights Disease Using Satellites

  • Bio-Crude Turns Cheap Waste Into Valuable Fuel
  • Kelly Space Launches Eco-Friendly Wireless Lighting Control Technology
  • Intel Becomes Largest Purchaser Of Green Power In The US
  • Analysis: Putin to head Gazprom?

  • Penn Researchers Discover New Target For Preventing And Treating Flu
  • Globe-Trotting Black Rat Genes Reveal Spread Of Humans And Diseases
  • Risk of meningitis epidemic in Burkina Faso increases
  • Analysis: NATO begins pandemic monitoring

  • Markets Of Biodiversity And Equity In Trade An Illusion Or Not
  • Telepathic Genes
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Researchers Race Against Time To Save Tasmanian Devils
  • Rare dolphin 'beaten to death' in Bangladesh

  • New York City Uses Mobile GPS From AT and T and TeleNav To Help Keep City Clean
  • Italy pledges to honour Naples rubbish plan after EU ultimatum
  • EU threatens Italy with court action over rubbish crisis
  • Protecting The Alps From Traffic Noise And Air Pollution

  • Blue-Eyed Humans Have A Single, Common Ancestor
  • Brain Connections Strengthen During Waking Hours And Weaken During Sleep
  • Fueling And Feeding Bigfoot
  • Higher China fines for stars breaking one-child rule: state media

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement