Be More Negative

It’s going to take more than just reducing our emission of greenhouse gasses to replenish our atmosphere. That’s where negative-emission technologies comes in.

Negative-emission technology requires the net amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to decrease. This doesn’t mean that new technologies will go up into the sky and pull out the bad stuff. Instead, carbon dioxide and other gasses can be sequestered from plants and pulp mills and stuck in the ground. Though this seems like a temporary solution—what happens to that land? So far, sequestering hasn’t been studied in tremendous depth and isn’t used industrially.

It is, however, assumed in almost all scenarios involving less than a 2 ºC temperature rise—that’s when the serious consequences of global warming start.

To bring more research attention to this, Tim Kruger (not @TimKrugerXXX) from the University of Oxford set up a conference, happening this week. Kruger suggests regulating carbon dioxide emissions and making plants pay to clean up their atmospheric trash. I stand fully with that, but I can’t see it actually happening in the US. (Insert joke about Congress being worthless.)

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is encouraging such geoengineering, but many people find it risky. It would only take one country, maybe even one research group, to mess things up for everyone. With everyone rushing to find a solution before the world boils, it’s likely someone will be hasty. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Maybe we need to be negative to get positive results.

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