Thursday, December 28, 2006

Climate Sinks - Yes Please

Absorbed in the matter of carbon sinks - the question of fixing atmospheric CO2 by planting forests and fertilising the oceans. This is heterodox for a true green. We are supposed to spurn carbon sinks in favour of reducing CO2 output. Me, I cannot see an either-or choice here; the situation is so dire we need to do everything that helps. Up to now I have concentrated on forests because oceans are very difficult and specialised, but now I find a review of the subject here:
Oceanfertilization.pdf (application/pdf Object) which is written from an anti-fertilisation point of view, but is informative, if lengthy (74 pages).

Ocean fertilisation could fix mega amounts of CO2. One atom of iron causes 100,000 atoms of carbon to be converted into plankton, and depending where in the ocean it is done, about 10% of them are sunk good and proper, to ocean sediment. The problem is that we do not know much about potential side effects. the link above takes an campaigning (anti) stance against fertilisation, and I suspect that many of my fellow greens will take the same stance. I think the right stance is to go at it very carefully, monitoring for unwanted effects as we go. The reason - non-linear changes in climate. Feedback loops. Climate change causing things to happen which accelerate the rate of change. So - yes, we need to come off fossil fuels big time, but also we need to sink atmospheric CO2 AS WELL.

No comments: