The Paradigm of Climate Change and Why it Needs to go Negative

March 8, 2017


You are canoeing down a river. Things are going well. Oh no! There is a waterfall ahead. What do you do?

  1. Slow down
  2. Change direction and paddle the other way

Welcome to the paradigm of climate change.

It has been accepted practice that the goal of combating climate change is to reduce the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere. The three R’s have been preached over and over: reduce, reuse, recycle. This will achieve the goals of slowing our consumption of dangerous pollutants, and thus, slowing our emissions. This will just delay the catastrophic events that will occur because of climate change. The goal must be to innovate ways to redirect the current trend of climate change resulting in negative carbon emissions, with the goal of a net zero impact.

Here are some negative carbon emissions technologies that have been popularized recently:

  1. Bio-Energy through Carbon Capture and storage (Carbon Sequester). The containment, storage, and conversion of CO2 pollutants into energy.
  2. Bio-Char: The conversion of biomass into charcoal that can be used at a carbon-sequestration fertilizer. According to Dr. Michael Shafer, Harverd PhD and Founder and Director of the Warm Heart Foundation, there is a scientific one to three connection between the amount of biochar used in your garden and the CO2 removed from the atmosphere. Meaning 100 tons of organic waste annually (grass clippings, bamboo, tree branches, prunings, dead trees), a modest amount for any but an urban location. This converts to 25 tons of biochar and removes 75 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.
  3. Carbon Dioxide Scrubber. CO2­ ­scrubbing is a particular form of carbon capture that takes place after fossil fuel has been combusted, but before the exhaust is released into the air. According to How Stuff Works (who can explain things much better than me), “After the fossil fuel is combusted in air, the resulting gases are collected and chilled. The solvent is then added and absorbs the CO2, forming a new compound in a reversible chemical reaction. The new compound separates out from the other gases by entering a more solid state that gets pumped to a new chamber and reheated. The heat causes the CO2 to come back out of solution so that it can be diverted to storage. The solvent is sent back to the beginning of the cycle to be reused, and the cleaned flue gas is released into the atmosphere.”
  4. Enhanced Weathering: the human-driven enhancement of natural weather processes to increase the earth’s natural sequestration ability.

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