Climate Technology Primer (Part 2)

Here’s the second of a series of blog articles:

• Adam Marblestone, Climate technology primer (2/3): CO2 removal.

The first covered the basics of climate science as related to global warming. This one moves on to consider technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the air.

I hope you keep the following warning in mind as you read on:

I’m focused here on trying to understand the narrowly technical aspects, not on the political aspects, despite those being crucial. This is meant to be a review of the technical literature, not a political statement. I worried that writing a blog purely on the topic of technological intervention in the climate, without attempting or claiming to do justice to the social issues raised, would implicitly suggest that I advocate a narrowly technocratic or unilateral approach, which is not my intention. By focusing on technology, I don’t mean to detract from the importance of the social and policy aspects.

The technological issues are worth studying on their own, since they constrain what’s possible. For example: to draw down as much CO2 as human civilization is emitting now, with trees their peak growth phase and their carbon stored permanently, could be done by covering the whole USA with such trees.

2 Responses to Climate Technology Primer (Part 2)

  1. Bob says:

    One source questions whether the majority of heat is being absorbed now by the oceans while the atmosphere has become thermally saturated (?). As the oceans warm up, thermal pollution will prevent gases such as oxygen from remaining dissolved in the sea water. Saturation depends on the phase, the temperature,..? The algebras used in chemistry can be amusing (and error prone?): px+py < p(x+y).

    CO2 sequestration by carbonation of olivine: a new process for optimal separation of the solids produced

    “Most of direct processes were found to have an overall cost far larger than the CO 2 removal tax, because of incomplete carbonation and insufficient properties of the reaction products. …”


    Project Vesta

    “The accelerated weathering of olivine is the only method we are aware of to remove CO2 from the atmosphere that is viable with today’s technology, can be done at a reasonable price, and that is scalable to the gigaton level.”


    Catastrophic Perturbations to the Earth’s Deep Carbon Cycle

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