Essay by Eric Worrall
Failing to gain traction with solar geoengineering plans, the greens are dusting off ocean geoengineering ideas. But like all green ideas, ocean geoengineering has a fatal downside.
Can we beat climate change by geolocating the oceans?
Changing the chemistry of the seas through iron fertilization or increasing alkalinity may be our best hope for sucking large amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere – but the question remains whether it is worth it. risky or not?
SPRAYING iron ore “glued” to the husk using plant-based goo hardly looks like a recipe for saving the planet. Not to mention the fact that the mixture is designed to mimic whale droppings.
However, if a team of researchers backed by a former chief scientific adviser to the UK government breaks this down, it could soon reach an ocean near you. They are just one of a number of projects around the world, small in scale but big in vision, seeking a new way to avert the worst effects of climate change: the engineering of the oceans. positive.
Similar “geoengineering” proposals are controversial, and this idea is no different, horrifying those who warn of the undesired consequences of messing around with environments. sensitive sea. But the world’s lack of progress in limiting carbon emissions may make it necessary. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about how to deal with climate change make it clear that implementation technique for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be “inevitable” if humanity achieves net zero carbon emissions around the middle of the century. On land, there are many plans to do just that, from planting trees to machine in Iceland chemically capture CO2 so it can be buried deep underground. But getting any of them to the scale we need in time to really make a difference is a tough request. Maybe we need the ocean too.
Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? There’s nothing like solar geoengineering madnessreflect sunlight away from plants?
Not too fast.
Taiwan research team challenges global warming solution
Translated and compiled by Shin-wei Chang and Olivia Yang
“Iron fertilization” is widely recognized as a possible solution to global warming. However, a research team led by Haojia Abby Ren, associate professor of Geosciences at National Taiwan University (NTU), has demonstrated that “iron fertilization” is not beneficial for algae.
To lessen the effects of global warming, scientists have proposed a hypothesis of “iron fertilization,” which assumes that adding iron to the ocean can promote algae growth. to absorb carbon dioxide in the air.
However, researchers in Taiwan found a loophole in this hypothesis.
Algae growth requires nutrients other than iron, such as nitrates and phosphates. With an increasing number of algae, the consumption of these nutrients has also increased in the region. But when currents carry algae to other bodies of water, nutrients become relatively unnerving elements, making it difficult for algae to grow.
This results in iron fertilization not being able to increase algae growth worldwide; opposite, it will prevent the growth of algae in the equatorial region. In addition, the reduction of carbon dioxide is limited, and there will be a lack of oxygen in the ocean.
2016 study disproves the alleged benefits of iron supplementation as available here.
If the Taiwanese scientists are right, the worst-case outcome of a large ocean iron fertilizer effort could be the creation of a large dead zone in the equatorial ocean and no actual uptake of CO2.
A large dead zone at the equator is probably not as devastating as what solar geoengineers want to do with us, this can cause global hunger, but who knows. Either way, let’s hope that none of these high-risk global climate researchers ever get the funding they’re looking for.