Journal Entry (Saturday November 5, 2022)
We can’t cut carbon emissions enough to avoid the worst aspects of global warming. No formulas needed here. People lots smarter than I am have already done the math. If you are yet to be convinced of the existential danger we face, ask your children what they think. Either way, keep in mind that reality has a tendency to follow its own path regardless of what we “believe” it will do. Our best hope to secure a technological future that doesn’t kill the planet is to begin removing carbon emissions as soon as possible. The technology to do just that is being studied and in at least one case implemented. There is a geothermal plant in Iceland that is removing carbon dioxide and injecting it back into the earth so it can be calcified and “frozen” in deep rock layers. You can even provide support for this project. You can become a Climeworks Pioneer https://climeworks.com/. That’s fine and dandy, but it’s not enough to reverse the effects of Climate Change on its own. Professor Klaus Lackner at ASU is doing ground breaking research on this problem https://pit.asu.edu/center-negative-carbon-emissions. A lot more funding is needed, and recognition that, if not our best hope, atmospheric scrubbing will play a key role in abating the most severe effects of climate change. If we could just stop fighting wars long enough to divert maybe one fourth of our military budget into this research, we would be able to make great strides in a much shorter period of time, perhaps even averting the worst consequences that we currently face.
To try and put this into some sort of perspective, to have a 66% chance of preventing the average global temperature from rising above 1.5C without carbon dioxide removal, we need to cut carbon emissions to almost zero by 2040. To have a 66% chance of preventing the average global temperature from rising above 2C without carbon dioxide removal, we need to cut carbon emissions to almost zero by 2075. Keep in mind that a rise of 2C would have severe impact that would alter the planet in ways that some scientists are not convinced would be recoverable.
The material for this post was taken from Elizabeth Kolbert’s book “Under A White Sky.”