COP for Geoengineering: a disciplined thinking towards global warming’s future
What are the eventualities of global warming? What within this century will come as the earth climate system keeps evolving with resistance and reaction to certain substances that keeps life going? It is a changing world where predictions can’t exactly say what will be evoked off a process that harms the climate or a procedure experimented to ease it.
The earth climate system is so complicated that studies are far from construing most of its anomalies and why they occur. If the earth climate system adapts to changes quickly or overtime without effects, it would have caused less headache for scientists.
The average temperature of the earth is posited to go up beyond 2oC before 2100 for global warming if Green House Gas (GHG) emissions are not effectively curbed. If the earth can adapt to this without shifts or changes in climate, it will be a good one.
As the world population is climbing from 7billion, it contributes in certain ways to increase in competition for some supplies available with a certain range like jobs, food, clean water and more. As inequalities within the population continue, means of survival and stability are priority sometimes at the expense of the environment.
The earth climate system does not understand some situation within it and will react when it wants for whatever purpose either natural or anthropogenic. Climate change is a feared reaction said to be occurring now and will occur with more biting effects in years to come.
Global warming, responsible for climate change is caused by increase in human induced GHG emissions that join natural GHGs in the atmosphere to attract heat to planet earth. The solution considered for global warming is reducing or curbing these GHG emissions effectively.
This reduction is ongoing in small scale globally and also responsible for the new shift in options for energy and industries worldwide. Large scale reduction is advocated for and pursued in climate change meetings by the UN. Large scale reduction is necessary to keep earth’s warming from a tipping point that holds unusual and recurrent devastation.
Large scale reduction in emissions faces opposition globally and scientists are already looking at what to do to support small scale reduction to hold back effects of climate tipping point. Geoengineering (or climate engineering) present a series of process that takes excesses triggering global warming off (CDR) or reduce excess effects of climate change (SRM).
CDR stands for Carbon Dioxide Removal, SRM stands for Solar Radiation Management; these are geoengineering processes onto solutions for global warming, the former removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the latter reduces the amount of sunlight reaching the earth surface.
These processes are on-point since some are comparable to natural processes that result in desired effects. CDR is usually considered safer than SRM because SRM is mostly space based and may affect other processes there including the ozone layer.
An aspect of CDR is underway in Illinois and a test of SRM may follow in UK by 2012. Some of those who question geoengineering always ask if nations will have to agree before any large scale (space based) deployment. It depends; large scale deployment if it will ever be used will go within a safe range with the help of models to know exact points of impact.
This safe range will also ensure that ‘assurance’ is provided for those with fear of being affected and weather conditions (in most places) will followed up to immediately withdraw the procedure if undesirably deviating due to this or whatever reason. The response of the earth climate system to geoengineering is not exactly known, but can’t be worst since we are aware of this fear that will make us insist on a safe range.
Advanced nations are closer to deployment of geoengineering; their closeness does not present that they are the only parties to geoengineering. Every nation on earth is a party to geoengineering since its deployment anywhere helps the earth’s atmosphere from harmful excesses.
A conference of parties for geoengineering may really never be formal like the ongoing COP17, but will be a spring of knowledge from nations where points from studies and observations are presented to support proposals and adjust them to clear fears of effects.
This conference is informally gathering and will take more shape in months ahead; some parties for now are in opposition and asking tough questions but with more openness from those close to experimenting, opposition will decrease and understanding will be shared.
UK Scientists for their SRM geoengineering experiment called Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) are facing opposition for reasons that include public awareness, risks and possibility to distract nations to agree to curb emissions. This opposition led to postponement of the process to 2012 and further postponement is likely if certain steps are not taken or adopted.
SPICE geoengineering test is coming as a simple go-before for a SRM procedure that should inject sulphate particles into the atmosphere to drive cooling. This procedure is similar to what was observed after the Mount Pinatubo Volcanic eruption in 1991.
The SPICE experiment is unavoidably important as part of a disciplined thinking for the future towards global warming eventualities; opposition raising questions that obvious answers cover are trying to hold it back. Those behind it are trying their best within their budget from a government grant but really have to step-up to eventually make their test come to reality.
The world is more open now and things don’t follow traditional formalities every time as before; blogs, social media and websites are points of discussion and interaction nowadays. These should be used rigorously to answer questions directed against the SPICE experiment.
The SPICE team is not begging for support, but clearing the air for fears about their study. Updates will include news post about geoengineering weekly, defensive reaction to research reports and news articles that attack SRM procedure related to SPICEs’, education about the future of SPICE after deployment, support of SPICE to curbing emissions as the major solution to global warming and interweaving SPICE with other geoengineering procedures that can complement it or go along.
Posts will also include a look into old and new climatic studies to show support against opposition for the SPICE project. The press office in charge of the SPICE project may take this up with submission from scientists and partners on answers to most questions.
A developing procedure that submits a solution to one of the fears of SPICE-related SRM is Ozone Layer Geoengineering (OLG). It is believed that injecting sulphate particles into the stratosphere may further damage the ozone layer, this fear if it happens may send up settling issue of ozone layer depletion.
OLG can be used to repair the ozone layer for its present depletion or for SRM if deployed. OLG presents injecting oxygen gas to depleted parts of the ozone layer to increase the number of useful molecules available there for protection and join in their reactions.
This will be discharged using an airship or an unmanned aircraft; workability is high and should repair to a desired extent. Oxygen molecule is one of the end products of ozone layer depletion by Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). This oxygen can be considered lost and hardly enters back into protection reaction [from harmful Ultra Violet (UV) radiations] to the earth surface.
If these end-product oxygen molecules where available for protection reactions in the stratosphere, then it would have been like a cycle of destruction and creation rather than loss considered for the total ozone depletion situation. Oxygen injection is more achievable and is a very close option for OLG.
Ozone cannot be injected because it is chemically unstable and cannot be stored, transported and used as required for OLG. Geoengineering the ozone layer is another option the SPICE team should look to review because of its importance to the future of their experiment.
Geoengineering anyway it comes will be carried out by a country or a group of countries, a conference or international summit is not compulsorily required. What is is clarity about the procedure & assurances for all parties. Geoengineering that ‘appear’ to affect others can be carried out to benefit not just the region championing it but most part of the world.
Geoengineering is a disciplined thinking towards that future and is likely with every study and attention as time passes. Geoengineering science will be less of a problem and headache eventually, it is therefore imperative that those with tough questions look around before asking and relax their thirst for (their definition of) satisfactory answers.
Tags: Geoengineering , COP17 , Climate Change , OLG , Global Warming ,
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