Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nature Geoscience Issue On Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

The December issue of Nature Geosciences has a series of articles on carbon sequestration. The editorial is behind a pay wall but the Correspondences and Commentaries are open access.

There is an interesting article on the geopolitics of geoengineering in which the author Philip Boyd raises the concern that the benefits and unintended detriments of geoengineering strategies would be spatially non-uniform and might lead to conflict between nations:

....A key concern is the scale on which geoengineering strategies, both for solar radiation management and carbon removal proposals, are used. Stratospheric sulphur injection and ocean fertilization would need to be adopted on a large scale and sustained over long periods of time if they are to have any globally significant effects. But it is the very scale and longevity of these schemes that makes regionally heterogeneous side effects more likely, and the potential for discord between nations more real. The unintended dispersal of geoengineering agents will only exacerbate the problem. For instance, ocean circulation will rapidly disperse modified surface and subsurface waters, which may be depleted in both nutrients and oxygen owing to fertilization-driven increases in productivity and carbon export. Such low-quality waters could infiltrate marine exclusive economic zones....

Getting global or regional political consensus on anything is damn difficult and geoengineering too will face that test. Overall the articles lean towards implementing some sort of geoengineering for controlling atmospheric CO2 levels and climate change.

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