Crucial Concepts, Steps And Deadlines Humans Must Meet
To Prevent Global Warming From Running Away
Writer: Pang, Yiu Kai(´^Ä£¶¥) of Ecological Economy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mother Tongue English Language Advisor: Ann Agranoff of City University Of New York.
US Circulation: May 2016
Formal Internet Release: Feb 2017
Nature's Deadline for Capping Global CO2 Emissions: 2020
Nature's Deadline for Capping Atmospheric CO2 Concentration: 2030
Nature's Deadline for Capping Atmospheric Surface Temperature Rise: 2050
The highest atmospheric CO2 concentration at which the surface temperature will stop rising: 300ppm
The Point Of No Return of global average surface temperature: 16 deg C
Global CO2 Emissions Must Be Cut By: 95% Of Global Emissions in 2015
2015 was the year when Nature slapped climate deniers sharply right in the face and made them admit the earth is really warming up, although they proceeded to turn to lay the blame on the sun instead. ......
2016 was even worse, the Arctic experienced an unprecedented air temperature warm up during the whole fall and winter time, making the global sea ice extent shrink in winter as a result.
Even so, the number of those who react to this calamitous situation is still small, even though right at the beginning of this century the world- renowned physicist Stephen Hawking already warned the world if humans do not solve the global warming crisis, the earth's surface temp will rise to a high similar to that of Venus, and the process will very likely be non-reversible after the earth's average temperature has risen above the point of no return: 16¢XC(or 60.8¢XF). A few years later, the ex-vice president of US, Al Gore, produced a Oscar-prize-winning movie, aimed at showing the general public how the prevalent practice of energy use is causing global warming and what humans should do to stop it. Al Gore later won the Nobel Peace Prize together with IPCC because of this. However, it is clear that all these stunning climate phenomena and warnings cannot move US people much, for they even elected an anti-environmentalist as their president in 2016, What Donald Trump did right after taking up the office was to slash US's environmental protection department, the EPA.
This crisis is really most frightening, and such a crime done by humans may also be deemed as imaginably the worst, also humans' unresponsiveness to this crisis is also incredibly amazing, except that the hope of recovery from such planetary vandalism also seems bright. Leading political and scientific figures of the world except the Trump government have sounded the alarm and have won unambiguous positive responses from world class authoritative circles, such as the Nobel prize committee, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences...., not to mention the inter-governmental panel on climate change had already been set up by the United Nations long ago, a global political leaders' summit meeting of a marathon type on combating climate change has been held, one after another, since 1989. Until 2015, we have witnessed a great leap forward in the switch from fossil fuels to low impact renewables in some part of the developed industrial countries, especially Northern Europe.
However, when we look into the figure, whether it be the average global temperature, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, air pollution index, or oceanic dead zones , they have all been increasing in a steady rate, not a trace of human effort can be seen in the form of downward moving curve. What do these nul results indicate?
Different Stories Of Different Major Green House Gases
To find out the reason, we may need to first single out the most threatening one from among the big clusters of environmental crises and have a closer examination into it. Needless to say, the most destructive one must be the average global temperature rise. There are lots of environmental factors affecting this rise, among them some are directly related to human activities, while some are not. The most influential direct one, needless to say, must be carbon dioxide, yet it may be useful to have a closer look at the relationship between global average temperature rise and CO2 release. On such a look, non-climate-specialists may be surprised to find that the largest portion of energy radiated back into space from the earth is not absorbed by CO2, but by water vapor. When water in the air is in the gaseous state, it's a green house gas, though not potent, and absorbs only one thirtieth of the heat absorbed by CO2., but the water vapor content is roughly 60 to 70 times of CO2's , therefore, it still contributes two thirds of the heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases . Does it mean we also need to take care of human release of water vapor then? Completely not. Atmospheric vapor content is not affected directly by human release or absorption of it, it's a dependent variable of the average atmospheric temperature, chiefly dictated by dynamic water/vapor equilibrium at oceanic-atmospheric interface. So long as the temperature stays the same, more water vapor injected into the atmosphere only results in more water particles jump through the interface to ocean water than those jump into the air from the latter, until the water vapor content drops back to what it should be in that temperature. When the average temperature gets higher, which means ocean water molecules oscillate at a greater force, more water molecules will be thrown into the atmosphere and results in higher water vapor content at higher temperatures, and the opposite is also true.
But we must not conclude, simply because of this, water vapor is undesirable in combating global warming, One must note that the role water plays in the atmosphere is more than one. The maximum amount of water vapor that can be held in the air is limited. When more than this amount is present, water vapor will cluster together, condense into water droplet, float in the air as mist, fog, clouds, etc.. High altitude clouds, such as alto stratus cloud, cirrus cloud, reflect sunlight back into space like ice cap, although they also reflect the earth¡¦s radiation back into the earth¡¦s surface. No wonder until 2015 scientists still take water in the atmosphere as an indeterminate.
Different chief green house gases tell different stories. Methane is around 25 times(100 year timescale) more potent than CO2, Nature has been releasing it from time immemorial, and humans since the onset of agriculture, yet it contributes not much to the storage of heat in the atmosphere. One quickly guesses this weird result may be because CH4 cannot stay long there. Exactly! There have to be some OH ions flying around in the air, sooner or later they have to collide with CH4 molecules, and react with them to form CO2 and H2O. On average a CH4 molecule stays 10 years in the atmosphere, which explains why methane concentration amounted only to 300-400 ppb(0.3 - 0.4 ppm) during glacial period and 600-700 ppb during the much warmer interglacial period during the recent most geological time.
One would then also quickly guess methane is a benign kind of green house gas. Not at all!!! Leading climate scientists have even sounded the alarm: entering 2015, the earth had also entered into a state of climate emergency because of methane. So long only a very slight percentage of methane in the atmosphere has been stored up, it's accumulation on the earth since unknown primordial time can be appallingly huge, not to mention the recent 8000 year of human agriculture has also added quite a lot into the stored up masses. From time to time some of these methane molecules each forms methane hydrates with some tens of water molecules, accumulates in deep sea floor as methane hydrate deposits. They stay inactive under high pressure or very low temperature, so lots of them can also be found under the shallow Arctic sea bed where they can also be stored up even the pressure there is not great. 2015 was also the first year sail boats could sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific crossing the Arctic without sea ice blockade in summer. Scientists predict that just some years away the Arctic will completely be summer sea ice free, i.e., it's sea water insulation will be gone in the summer, letting the Arctic summer sun heat up the sea water round the clock.
No wonder most climate scientists are so shocked, anyone with some thinking ability can infer the methane hydrate deposits trapped in the Arctic sea bed are going to be let loose, methane gas will escape en masse. Evidence has also surfaced. Methane concentration curve had been moving upward at a non-steep constant slope since the onset of industrial revolution, but once the earth entered into the 21 century, the curve has also been curving more and more upward, and reaching take off point around 2015!!!
Releasing CH4 alone, under normal conditions, only adds up methane hydrate to the deposits, it does not significantly affect the global atmospheric temperature, but once the temperature is driven up to such an extent that methane hydrates can no longer be kept, it's global warming effect is going to be many times fiercer than CO2's. The higher the concentration is CH4 , the longer it can stay in the atmosphere because less OH ions are left in the air to collide with them, and scientists have yet to find out a way by which CH4 can be contained in their deposits under such a situation. Quite some climate scientists are even demanding governments in the world to declare climate emergency, but what a pity politicians¡¦ ears are usually deafened by the loud cries from money, power, status and high tech, such outcries from climate scientists are simply too faint.
Natural CO2 Sequestration
We can see that without CO2 over release, CH4 will still sit quietly in their deposits for one or more geological eras, so the decisive green house gas is not CH4, but CO2. Yet the storing up of CO2 in the atmosphere does not rest in over-releasing alone, the natural equilibrium process has been dynamic, balance has to be maintained by 2 opposite actions: releasing and taking back. Either over release or insufficient take back can also lead to stockpiling of CO2, actions to limit it's growth have to be done both ways, so we must also see how CO2 is taken back, and whether it's recovery process has been hampered or even blocked.
CO2 has been recollected from the atmosphere chiefly by photosynthetic and shell forming living creatures, among them roughly half is recollected by phytoplanktons, a unicellular photosynthetic micro-organisms floating on ocean waters and the other half by plants, chiefly trees, and a slight % is by CO2 in sea water reacting with CaO to form CaCO3, i.e., the shells of shell forming animals. But since the onset of agriculture humans have been cutting down trees, clearing large area of forests for their farmland and pasture land. In the past 200 years, damage has even been upgraded to over hunting and fishing, polluting the land, the rivers and the oceans, thus dwindling phytoplankton and shell forming animal numbers. Isn't it true the warming up ocean water absorbs more CO2? True, only that CO2 also acidifies the ocean water, making it less suitable for marine life to dwell in.
The Point Of No Return: 16¢X C
The block diagram for re-establishing atmospheric heat balance is thus clear. Besides quick enough switching to low impact renewable energies to deduct CO2 discharge, humans must also reforest a large part of those deforested lands, switch from the present industrial type to organic types of farming to conserve and even regenerate more soil and thus quicken the carbon sequestration process, limit desert growth through tree planting to increase carbon sequestration by forests; stop polluting the oceans and stop exploiting living creatures inside to restore phytoplanktons . These remedial measures must be done quickly enough to avoid 16¢X C(60.8¢XF), the temperature of no return (see paragraph 2), otherwise the positive feedback mechanism is already enough to drive the global temperature up and up even humans no longer release CO2 into the atmosphere. The mass release of CH4 from arctic seabed methane hydrate deposits is only one of such positive feedback loops, the drying up of tropical rain forests so that less and less CO2 is taken back from the atmosphere is another, altogether scientists can at least point out close to ten such loops. This's why we have an allowable global surface average temperature ceiling. However, in 2015 year end the global average was already 15.0¢X C(59¢XF), a mere 1¢X C(1.8¢XF) away, yet the IPCCs worst case scenario projects that it will rise to around 21¢X C(69.8¢XF) by 2100! According to this worst case scenario, we must be able to halt the temperature rise before 2032, otherwise it will be too late, even no more CO2 releases into the atmosphere, the global surface average temperature will still keep rising until a new balance can be striken out again at another higher temperature. Some leading climate scientists say it will be 8 to 10 degrees higher, but no one knows for sure. What can we know about the impact will bring us by this 8-10 degrees higher? Simple! 2015 is only 1.0 degree C higher, it's already climate chaos everywhere, including the triple super typhoon emerged together in the western Pacific, the death of the world's bread basket, California, because of long term drought¡K¡K
You may try to console us this's only the worst possible scenario, the best case is that by 2100 the rise will still be around half degree, and IPCC didn't say which one is more likely, so humans should still have more than one century to halt the rise.
Unfortunately such self consolation is irresponsible as this crisis matters the life and death of the whole planet, we should only take the close to worst case as highly possible to minimize as much as possible the chance to destroy our planet. Such self consolation is also at odds with all engineering measures as it leaves no safety margin. But the most important of all is still facts do keep coming out and cause climate scientists to worry whether IPCC has been too conservative in projecting the globe's warm up pace, which drove IPCC in 2015 to review newly emerged data and revised the worst case scenario by 2100 to be 7.8¢X C(14.0¢XF) higher, as against 1.0¢X C higher in 2015 year end. With this new figure, taking the rise to be linear, humans must stop the temperature rise before 2029. Of course, the actual rise will not be linear, it must be slower in the first few decades and becoming quicker and quicker in the subsequent ones. On the other hand, taking the revised-for-worsened-new-conditions worst case as target may also seem too austere. With this 2 factors taken into account, at most we may conclude the temperature must be capped within the 30s of this century.
4 Different Steps To Halt Temperature Rise That Humans Usually Mix Them As One.
There are altogether 4 different closely related concepts humans must not mix up, namely, global capping of CO2 release, capping of atmospheric CO2 concentration, capping of global average surface temperature, and point of no return. Firstly, humans should know that capping of global CO2 release does not necessarily mean atmospheric CO2 concentration will also be capped, so long as the capped release rate is higher than the CO2 re-collection rate, the concentration will still get higher and higher. This is just like a leaking boat. Continuously bailing water out of the boat does not necessarily mean the boat won't sink, your rate of pouring water out(liters per minute) must be greater than the rate of water flowing into your boat, only then you can have less and less water inside. Secondly, even granted the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has been capped, this again does not mean necessarily the global average temperature can also be capped. The balanced CO2 concentration is around 280ppm, higher than this means the global temperature will be driven up. Unfortunately the concentration already shot through 400 ppm in 2015, the most optimistic projection is that it can be capped at 500ppm, after that humans must still work for many years, to further reduce CO2 emissions, to reforest the land, clean up the oceans, and change the prevalent industrial type of farming to a soil conservation one to increase carbon re-collection rate, only then the CO2 concentration can be brought down to that at the beginning of the industrial revolution and the temperature will then be capped. OK! Even granted most humans repent at last and can bring down the CO2 concentration to 280ppm, but if the temperature is already higher than 16¢X C, the point of no return, it still cannot be capped. Humans must be able to halt the rise at a temperature lower than 16¢X C, otherwise the positive feedback mechanisms are already enough to drive the temperature up even CO2 concentration is lower than 280ppm. Taking this limit into account, the global average surface temperature must peak within the 30s of this century.
CO2 Super Powers
2015 was also the year the two CO2 super powers(The two together contributed 45% of the global release) finally sat down together and pledged they are going to do something to stop killing this planet(In their own sense they are saving, not stop killing, but the writer cannot agree). The son of a communist revolution hero told the world he was going to cap China's CO2 release by 2030, and the Nobel peace prize laureate announced US would reduce their CO2 emissions by around 27% by 2025, comparing to 2005 level. But the fact was that in that year we could already see devoted engineers, technocrats and investors had already overcome both technological and feasibility barriers in switching over to chiefly wind and solar energies. Northern European countries had become the paradigm of the modern world. A year before 2015 over 40% of their total energy consumption already came from low impact renewables, chiefly wind and solar. It's not only their swift remedial response which won them the honor, the average people admire their economic infrastructure's ability to withstand the great waves of the 08 financial tsunamis even more. European Union countries were also quite successful. Two years ago they could achieve 15% from renewables, thus cut down their CO2 emissions by 1 plus % than the previous year. If the industrial countries can all act similarly, or even only to some extent, we are quite confident the global warming crisis can be overcome. Europe has shown us technology and feasibility are already right at humans¡¦ fingertips, yet most of the industrial world are simply unwilling to press the button.
Remedial measures and public awareness in developed industrial countries other than Europe have been disappointing. Although North America and Australia have also been developing renewable energies, the pace has been too slow. Newly flourished industrial countries performs even far worse. Although the 2 newly industrialized over-populous ancient nations¡¦ per capita emissions is not high and are developing renewables, with India performed even a lot better, but their hugh populations nurtured by their traditional culture had made them the chief emitters. Usually we can find explanations for developing industrial countries: a backward culture, corrupt government, poor economy, and the poorly informed public, but the leading figures of the UN climate summit conference are from most advanced countries whose scientists are the ones who discovered human induced global warming and have been doing detailed and accurate research about the earth and the climate conditions, but until 2015 the marathon global conference had yet to pass anything effective!!!
When Should The Deadline Be For Capping Global Emissions
Anyhow, if US can cut it's emissions by 27% by 2025, most probably other less responsible developed countries like Canada can all be expected to cap theirs by around 2020, so are other developing countries except China. Even though some of the latter's emissions will still be rising, but their increase will be compensated by other successful countries.
The most reluctant CO2 super powers, most climate scientists would agree, must be US and China. If China can peak their emissions in 2030, we believe the global emissions can also be capped. Yet humans must not laugh too early, more effort will still be needed to go on to cap the atmospheric CO2 concentration and then the average surface temperature, altogether humans only have less than a decade to finish these tasks after China has capped it's emissions!!! What then is the chance to succeed? Very very slim!!! You may say this close to worst case calculations is only a safe play, it may not be a closest to reality projection. Well, let's take the middle case scenario then, by 2100 the rise will be 3.7¢X C., so it will reach 16¢XC in 2045, after allowing for the rise to be slower in the 20s and 30s, the temperature must still be capped within around 2050. Humans only have one decade more, so the chance to succeed is still too slim!!! Inferring from the fact that even granted China can cap their emissions by 2030, but that also means it takes humans 40 years¡¦ effort to cap the emissions since the first global climate summit meeting was held in 1991, what reason can we have that we will be able to finish two more tasks within 20 years, especially when we see no reason why capping the concentration as well as the temperature can in any way be easier? Capping emissions alone doesn't mean CO2 concentration is also capped, humans will still be discharging a few tens of billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, it was 35 billion tons in 2013, capping emissions only means the amount of discharge will not increase further, the discharge amount by then will still be unprecedented, so the concentration will still be rising in an unprecedented fast rate!!!
How Many % Slash in CO2 Emissions To Cap The Atmospheric CO2 Concentration?
How many billion tons of discharge is allowed to accomplish the next task? Most people would think if humans can work a three quarter or so slash, that should be more than enough. Well! The fact is, It all depends on the global coverage and profusion of varius carbon absorbing living creatures(see para 12) as well as how much farmland can be switched to soil conservation/regeneration type, i.e., whether global emissions can be less than global recollection, therefore no body can predict for sure. Anyhow we can still infer from the industrialization past to find out some criteria. CO2 concentration and global temperature started to rise noticeably since humans started to spew out large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere even though forest and phytoplankton cover that time were far better, they could recollect a larger amount of CO2 than what it can be now. In 1920 the global emission was close to 4 billion tons, only about 1/10 of the amount in 2015, but we can already see a consistent rising trend in both global temperature and CO2 concentration. It's clear that even the largely healthy earth conditions could not digest the early industrialization emissions, it's reasonable to conclude the earth cannot tolerate any large scale emissions without pushing up the atmospheric CO2 concentration, this also means humans must at least cut down more than 95% of the 2015 global emission in order to halt the concentration rise, and cutting more than 95% also means all industrialized countries must switch over more than 95% of their energy source to low impact renewables. Any other disagreements just cannot explain the early industrialization phenomena mentioned above.
It all goes without further reasoning that unless all industrialized countries can act like northern Europe, or at least like European Union, there's no hope humans can bring down global emissions from several tens of billion tons to less than 3 billion within two decades. Yet the necessary task does not end here. Without capping the concentration rise, the global temperature of course will only go on rising, but even humans has capped the concentration, the temperature will still go on rising unless humans can at least bring the concentration down to the level right at the beginning of the 20 century, i.e., around 300ppm!!!
Any other disagreements simply cannot explain the consistent global temperature rise trend right in that period.
How To Cap The Global Average Surface Temperature?
Upon interpreting CO2 concentration and temperature rise phenomena during the early industrialization period , another even more formidable problem quickly arise. Even supposd humans can achieve zero emissions before reaching the point of no return, the 500 or more ppm is already more than sufficient to drive up the temperature, humans must be able to bring down the concentration to 300ppm or so, otherwise this last task is still cannot be accomplished. The method is through recollection of CO2 from the atmosphere, called carbon sequestration. There are already mechanisms in Nature mentioned above(para 12), what humans should do is just heightening them, strenghening them, or we may say the recovery of global ecology and environment(para 13), plus foresting a portion of the deserts. If humans can achieve this good enough, say, can additionally cover a certain part of the deserts with forest, in principle the temperature can be capped at a concentration higher than 300ppm, thus shorten the time needed.
What Chance Does Humans Have To Bring Down The Concentration From 500ppm To 300ppm within 20 years?
What chance do humans have to achieve this task within one to two decades? We can also have a rough guess through interpreting forest cover in the past decades. The more important phytoplankton is left behind at this moment simply because humans didn't know much about it until recent decades, and this insufficient phytoplankton knowledge in the past may always be one additional excuse no matter what conclusion we draw about phytoplankton cover. But forest is different. Humans know about it's importance long long ago, decades ago we still took forest as the main tool in Nature for carbon sequestration and atmospheric oxygen provider. Every government in the world knows they have an obligation to increase forest cover to combat global warming. However, decades have past but the whole earth ends up with far less forest area except developed countries as well as a portion of the developing ones. Forest cover increase in developed countries may not reflect they have fully implemented their obligation, very possibly they have only moved the deforestation to other developing and third world countries, i.e., they import timber, food, animal feed and farm products from other places. Had they got those resources from their own countries, most probably their forest cover would have also dwindled. In addition, the real situation is worse than the surfaced figure of dwindling rate. Such figure does not reflect whether the old growth or even rain forest are being cut down and artificial young ones are being replanted.
The difficulty of combating deforestation or even enlarging forest cover lies in the fact that forests is priced natural resource, on the other hand humans also want to clear more and more land for priced food production, various sorts of development, and for replacing no longer bio-productive farmland due to abuse of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, monoculture and GMO species etc.. Unlike fossil fuels, humans simply find it nearly impossible to find alternatives or substitutes for fertile land.. So it would already be a great progress if humans could halt the deforestation of rain forest and old growth, not to mention enlarging the global cover of various sorts of forests within one to two decades. Even the whole world could act like Northern Europeans, the environmental paradigm of the industrial world, we still cannot get any clue humans can recover the global forest cover, for if Northern European countries have to get all their food, feed, timber and other farm products from within their own countries, their forest cover will also dwindle.
So we have every reason to conclude recovering the earth's carbon sequestration ability is even a much more formidable task than global 95% or above carbon emissions cut. Skeptics will retort such saying can produce no proof, but such retortion also shows their reasoning is at flaw. First, for social-cultural-environmental projective matters, scientific conclusion is nearly impossible to draw as no body can rule out other unpredictable factors that may come into play in future. Secondly, their retort exactly have to rely on the emergence of such unknown factors, but they cannot produce evidence what and how likely such factors will emerge. Thirdly, the right way to retort should be pointing out the wrong facts produced, the missing facts and/or reasoning faults, but it's clear nothing mentioned above can be found. That means this is the best possible conclusion we can draw.
Artificial Carbon Sequestration Possibility
Skeptics may laugh at once and point out artificial carbon sequestration is technologically feasible in the near future. Although carbon and oxygen chemical bond in a carbon dioxide molecule is at a very low energy state, so very large amount of energy is needed to raise the energy level of the bond electrons to break the bond if the sort of carbon sequestration we want is to free the atoms involved inside. Alternatively we may introduce compounds which can react with CO2 and let the bond be partially broken and reformed, thus greatly reduce the energy required, provided the end product is solid, for example, CaO + CO2 -> CaCO3., this is exactly the natural process to form shell inside the body of a shell forming animal, one of Nature¡¦s way for carbon sequestration. Thus we can collect CO2 from the atmosphere at an energy cost far lower than that required to produce it, and this low energy cost is the pre-requisite for carbon sequestration. However, we can still surely say skeptics do laugh too early, and this pre-matured laugh reflects modern industrial society people¡¦s bad thinking habit: target monism. Obstacles, solutions etc. are only one, having overcome one main obstacle means the whole problem can also be overcome. But the reality is: Even humans can take back CO2 in the air at cheap cost, another bigger problem arises: How can they take back all the CO2 released during the past 200 years within 20 years, i.e., bring down the atmospheric CO2 concentration from 500ppm to 300ppm within 2 decades? This means humans will have to filter the whole atmosphere, so most of the air mass must contact and go through the sequestration apparatus to give out the CO2 inside, this implies the apparatus has to be very huge, occupies a very large area of land, otherwise the machine must force the air current to get through and thus cost a lot of energy. This's exactly why Nature's carbon sequestration needs more than half of the globe's surface area for forest and phytoplankton cover, and why humans¡¦ deforestation and shrinking phytoplankton cover means dwindling CO2 recollection as a result. Yes! Skeptics are right, humans can work low cost carbon sequestration, but when it comes to sequestered one half CO2 in the atmosphere, the story is completely opposite in sense. The surest way to raise sequestration rate is increasing forest and phytoplankton cover, raising forest quality and biodiversity as well as soil conservation/regeneration type of farming, all other means is either environmentally too costly or taking up too many years.
Artificial carbon sequestration Natural carbon sequestration
As geo-engineering is still not a well established technical term, different people interpret this term differently. We should bear in mind some people take measures to increase phytoplankton cover on ocean surface as geo-engineering, but if this measure is no more than resuming the cover to it's original level, or any similar measures which can add to the health of the global eco-system are not what geo-engineering we are going to comment here.
Arguing upon here, Shallow environmentalists will break in, tell us that geo-engineering can get humans out of this dead end. Spraying SO2 onto the stratosphere, on top of troposphere, can reflect more sunlight back into space, thus lower the atmospheric temperature directly without having to go through the clumsy, complex, economy hampering process.
At first sight this seems to be a great idea, a business can be as usual solution, but the evil of this idea in fact also lies here, that it allows and encourages business as usual. Similar studies on how people respond to geo-engineering like the one published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society mostly reveals that wealthier, more power or more status inclined people acknowledge that ¡§knowing geo-engineering is a possibility makes them feel less inclined to make changes in their own behaviour to tackle climate change¡¨. The root of the crisis, in fact is not the rising temperature, but the failing human mind. When such failing minds possess the power to manipulate matter around them very easily, they only use such power to fulfil their own immediate gratification, even when such matter manipulation on the earth has worked havoc on the life system, they only selectively look for explanations to console their own selves and others that everything is still alright, that those who have sounded the alarms are fear mongers, no matter how plausible, how scientifically grounded the alarm sound has been. Or more often, they simply turn a blind eye to all these. If such prevalent social mentality is not changed, even granted SO2 spraying can really drop the global temperature, the CO2 concentration will still build up because humans will be much more reluctant to phase out fossil fuels, making the atmosphere store up heat more quickly than before, humans then need to spray SO2 again and again, and more often! As the spraying needs very hugh an amount, the effect turns out to be only an exchange of stable temperature with acidifying and polluting the whole biosphere. Yet the environmental crisis is not one, but an array of crises, queuing to become the most threatening one. Repeating spraying will acidify the land and oceans in an unprecedented rate, causing habitat loss, mass extinction, and dwindling phytoplankton cover, then more CO2 and other green house gases stockpiling as well as diminishing oxygen content in the atmosphere as a result, and then more and more SO2 spraying will be needed and thus completes a vicious cycle of SO2 spraying ¡V diminishing CO2 recollection, until all humans repent or go extinct. But whether humans repent or go extinct, the process is going to be a centuries long ecological purgatory state!!!
By this time climate deniers will jump out, offer you reports stating geoengineering can also boost switching over to renewable energies, a concept downright at odds over common sense. You'd better have close look at the background of the reports when you come upon such one in the news: who conducted it's studies, how it's conducted, etc., and you find they are from monotonous sources, problematic methodology, while those reports with opposite conclusion are usually from persons or institutions of more diverse and reliable background. If you don't know whether the methodology is alright, compare the source of the two opposite groups of reports. Comparing source with the above mentioned guideline is a means for laymen to discern good from problematic ones.
What Humans Can Do VS What Humans Have Been Doing / Will Do
As viewed from what humans will most probably do, we arrive at a dead end like what has been stated above. Alternatively, irrespective of whether humans will actually put them into practice, we can also try to see if it¡¦s within human ability to avoid the dead end, from this angle we find the answer is a definite yes. The technology as well as commercial feasibility are already there, so long every major CO2 releasing countries can mobilize great efforts and resources, they should be able to cap their emissions by 2020, cap the concentration by 2030 and bring it down to 300ppm before 2050.
But if humans can't cap their emissions by 2020, chance will be very very slim that they can cap the temperature before the dead line, 2050.
Therefore, there are two most important concepts humans must not mix up and most people do always mix them up with respect to solving global warming crisis. 1. What people can do. 2. What people actually have been doing and will do. It's hopeful with the former but hopeless with the latter.
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