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Plan to Slow Global Warming By Dumping Iron Sulphate into Oceans

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the time-to-feed-the-algae dept.

Earth 407

ananyo writes "In the search for methods of geoengineering to limit global warming, it seems that stimulating the growth of algae in the oceans might be an efficient way of removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere after all. Despite attracting controversy and a UN moratorium, as well as previous studies suggesting that this approach was ineffective, a recent analysis of an ocean-fertilization experiment eight years ago in the Southern Ocean indicates that encouraging algal blooms to grow can soak up carbon that is then deposited in the deep ocean as the algae die. Each atom of added iron pulled at least 13,000 atoms of carbon out of the atmosphere by encouraging algal growth which, through photosynthesis, captures carbon. The team reports that much of the captured carbon was transported to the deep ocean, where it will remain sequestered for centuries — a 'carbon sink' (abstract)."

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407 comments

Happy Friday from the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707661)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Friday from the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707807)

It's confidant, not cosmonaut, dumbshit.

It doesn't even make sense....

This will turn into (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#40707903)

Hey! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708021)

Based on a theory with NO confirming experimental evidence, and with NO idea what the side effects will be, let's fill the oceans with a huge algae bloom!

Because THAT could never have unintended consequences!

Re:Happy Friday from the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708075)

Hey faggots. 4chan just got hacked. How iron is is that?

There's a much simpler method (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707667)

It involves vast bowls of hot grits!

Re:There's a much simpler method (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707839)

Get off the interwebs, kid.

You do not know what you are doing.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707677)

Right....lets do random crap to solve a problem that may not exist.

This is NOT SCIENCE!

This is a RELIGIOUS CULT!

Re:You do not know what you are doing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707719)

But you're quite certain that the problem doesn't exist, right?

Just as sure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707737)

as you are that a problem does exist. Really does it? Ready to turn the world's economy on it's head to to fix this supposed problem? Of course you are, because you are SURE.

--

Re:Just as sure (2)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#40707823)

There is only one way to be sure, but unfortunately it isn't available to us. Outer Space Treaty prohibits deployment of nuclear weapons in orbit. But the scientific evidence seems to at least strongly imply that the problem exists and may not be entirely harmless.

Re:Just as sure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707855)

You are understanding that people are ready to spend massive (earth altering amounts) to solve this not-so-sure problem? Is it too much to ask that we be SURE about the problem and be SURE about the solution?

Probably.

Re:Just as sure (4, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#40707955)

It is a risk management issue. We know there is a risk of global warming. We know it can potentially bring massive (earth altering amounts) losses if unmitigated. The question is do we wait uninsured, or do we consider an insurance policy of some sort.

To give you a car analogy, the situation is a bit like driving in a thick fog with high speed. You know that there may be obstacles ahead of you. You know it will be deadly if you hit one. You know you'll have a very short time to react when you clearly see one. What is smarter to do, slow down until the fog clears, or keep pressing the accelerator just because you enjoy high speed?

Re:Just as sure (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708007)

It was good up until that part where people "enjoy high speed". It is more that they don't want to slow down because they are being chased by something possibly deadly.

This is so common it is like a meme. You have arbitrarily set the cost of global warming to infinity, and the cost of "fixing it" near zero, thus leading to a useless cost-benefit analysis. Meanwhile you think you are more informed and intelligent than the "deniers". Read the IPCC AR4, they do a pretty good one.

Re:Just as sure (4, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#40708063)

It is more that they don't want to slow down because they are being chased by something possibly deadly.

What is this deadly thing that is chasing humanity and necessitates the environmental destruction of the past 100-150 years?

You have arbitrarily set the cost of global warming to infinity, and the cost of "fixing it" near zero, thus leading to a useless cost-benefit analysis.

No, it is you who arbitrarily sets the cost of the consequences of global warming to zero and the costs of mitigation policies to infinity. I am ready to admit the outcomes are uncertain, but I also think the risk estimates we have do necessitate a mitigation strategy of some sort.

Unlike mine, your attitude is not constructive.

Re:Just as sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708065)

By *what* is the car being chased. The economy?

Effin' idiot.

Re:Just as sure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708067)

Your analogy is flawed. Slowing down would be limiting carbon emissions. Screwing with the ecosystem is more like creating a smoke screen in the fog to reduce visibility even further and hope that that will scare people into slowing down.

Re:Just as sure (2)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#40708087)

I am not seriously considering the solution in the article. I think there was already an experiment that showed quite conclusively it isn't going to work

Actually, I don't believe I've heard of any other engineering solution that has a good enough probability to work.

Re:Just as sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708009)

The cost of it being true and it being ignored would be WAY higher. What'd Dutch style dikes/flood controls on ALL coasts cost? Or giving up existing cities/ports and rebuilding on the new shoreline, plus loss of land? It's basically insurance - pay some now rather than risk paying much more later...

Re:Just as sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707849)

SO the economy is more important than the environment?

Re:Just as sure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707999)

When moon swallowed sun, the priests became scared and ordered many sacrifices. This appeared to appease the gods because moon soon shat out sun. To prevent this from happening again the priests enslaved many and had them build an enormous pyramid from which the gods could see them sacrifice people easier. All this useless activity took a toll on the city's population and economy, but what the hell, there wasn't any serious competition. The neighboring cities were all much weaker and didn't have an enormous pyramid from which to behead people. And guess what. The moon never ate the sun again....because the Europeans came and slaughtered them before it could. After all this waste, they were incapable of repelling the Europeans who believed they were evil because of their enormous slaughtery pyramid.

So, the point is... the source of the warming is the phenomenon which you don't understand. Filling the oceans with rust is the pyramid building. All the decomposing bodies are the economy afterward. And the European invasion is the lynch mob that comes after all you idiots who killed all the fish in the ocean.

Re:Just as sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708015)

Glib of you to say...but yes it really is. You DON'T sign contracts you can't afford to fulfill, period.

Re:Just as sure (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#40708001)

It won't harm the world economy, and could even stimulate it. And it's not about sure, it's about probabilities and consequences.

Re:Just as sure (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#40708107)

Ready to turn the world's economy on it's head to to fix this supposed problem?

Economic alarmisim makes even less sense than the other kind.

Re:You do not know what you are doing....- (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about 2 years ago | (#40707751)

This needs a quote. " You don't know what you are doing!", " This whole place him, you, everything is gone, you are the one living the dream sullian!, It happens!" T2 Sarah connor..

Re:You do not know what you are doing.... (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 2 years ago | (#40707825)

Right....lets do random crap to solve a problem that may not exist.

This is NOT SCIENCE!

This is a RELIGIOUS CULT!

Science tends to include a lot of trial and error in the quest for a better understanding.

Re:You do not know what you are doing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707869)

98% of scientists are involved in a science-devoid religious cult?

Go the fuck back to Free Republic.

Missing tag (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707681)

Where's the good-luck-with-that what-could-possibly-go-wrong tag?

The Risks of Iron Fertilization (5, Informative)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 2 years ago | (#40708073)

I took a course on oceanography a few years ago, and we actually studied this. I'll summarize my professor's powerpoint notes as best I can.

Iron is a limiting nutrient in phytoplankton growth. This is not in dispute. However if we are to add iron to the ocean in order to increase phytoplankton counts, and thus to increase CO2 uptake then we must consider several things. Firstly, how much CO2 will be semi-permanently transported to the ocean floor. In terms of percentages, if increased phytoplankton counts caused a CO2 flux in the surface layer of 50 Gt Carbon / year, the corresponding CO2 flux to the ocean floor would be about 0.7 Gt Carbon / year. This is due to the fact that the mechanisms of carbon transport from the surface to the sea floor (the "biological pump") is quite inefficient. Thus the increase in phytoplankton at the surface would have to be HUGE to transport meaningful amounts of CO2 to the sea floor.

Secondly, there may be dire unintended or undesired consequences of increasing the surface phytoplankton counts. Imagine we put significant amounts of iron in the ocean and imagine that surface phytoplankton counts increased significantly. At the surface we could get increased CO2 uptake and O2 production. But what happens when those phytoplankton die? They sink. And when they sink to deeper layers, other organisms would decompose them. Those decomposers would be oxygen breathers and would consume oxygen at the deeper layer. If their numbers increased due to increased dead phytoplankton, the decomposers could deplete the O2 levels in that level, creating anoxic zones at deeper levels in the ocean. In addition, some of these decomposers might be methane producing bacteria, especially in the absence of oxygen. That methane might make its way into the ocean. The worry is that the imbalanced increase in phytoplankton might result in an anoxic jellyfish ocean that would be rather unfriendly to fish like salmon, tuna, and the other common species that currently exist.

Unless the above arguments have been refuted, I don't know why iron fertilization is still being pushed as a realistic option. It seems to me that many decision makers are nearly completely illiterate in science.

prost fist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707685)

Algae in my pool, bad.

algae in the ocean, good.

whatever.

Ending badly? (5, Insightful)

eisonlyme (1877576) | about 2 years ago | (#40707689)

I always worry about these ideas, they seem good in theory, but in reality you can just end up with a cane toad problem..i.e. when the algae has covered all the oceans we have no pollution...but also no fish....
anywho...maybe we can just set fire to the algae if it gets out of control...

Re:Ending badly? (1, Flamebait)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | about 2 years ago | (#40707729)

I wouldn't worry about algal carbon sequestering leading to no fish, the acidification of the oceans from current atmospheric carbon levels will take care of that.

Re:Ending badly? (-1, Flamebait)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#40707739)

These ideas always sicken me, we will be paying corporations out of our tax dollars for the air we breathe, hmm, that's going to work out well, 'NOT'.

Re:Ending badly? (5, Funny)

saxoholic (992773) | about 2 years ago | (#40707821)

These ideas always sicken me, we will be paying corporations out of our tax dollars for the air we breathe, hmm, that's going to work out well, 'NOT'.

Quick! Someone trademark the brand name Perri-Air

Re:Ending badly? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707745)

No, what we need is gorillas. They'll kill the snakes, then die off in the Winter.

Problem solved.

Re:Ending badly? (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40707759)

.. maybe we can just set fire to the algae if it gets out of control...

Or we can try this on a trial basis, and scale it up if it seems to be working. When the algae sinks, carrying the carbon to the bottom of the ocean, it takes the iron with it. So when we stop putting the iron in, the amount of algae returns to normal, so it is unlikely to "get out of control." Sure, there might be some side effects, but there will probably be even bigger side effects if we do nothing. And the side effects are not all bad: it should increase the amount of fish that can be sustainably harvested.

Re:Ending badly? (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#40707859)

And the side effects are not all bad: it should increase the amount of fish that can be sustainably harvested.

Indeed, it could overall be a GOOD thing for the overall biosphere.

As you said, I'd suggest trying it in a small region first, and if no negatives are found, try it in a slightly larger area.

Re:Ending badly? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707917)

And the side effects are not all bad: it should increase the amount of fish that can be sustainably harvested.

The 2 side effects mentioned in the article both kill fish. Toxic algal blooms poison fish, either causing them to grow abnormally or death. Depleted oxygen levels does the same thing to the fish as it does to you, suffocation.

On the plus side, most algal blooms produce fish (2)

robbak (775424) | about 2 years ago | (#40708085)

In many places of the world, nutrient-rich deep-ocean water rising to the surface causes natural algal blooms. Algae eating fish like sardines flock to them and breed up in huge numbers, and form the basis for many of the world's fisheries.
Indeed, practically all fish either eat algae, or eat marine life that eats algae.
So fertilising the oceans is just as likely to produce schools of fish and new rich fisheries to harvest as fish kills. In reality, it would probably cause both: overpopulation of fish that then die as food or oxygen dries up. But that is part of the solution: Algae feeding a massive bloom that collapses, and the bodies of all that marine life gets all the way to the bottom because they are not consumed by other life, as the water is oxygen-deprived.

Re:Ending badly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707969)

Until the algae depletes the oxygen and creates a new dead zone.

Re:Ending badly? (5, Interesting)

aXis100 (690904) | about 2 years ago | (#40707783)

It's not a new thing - iron dust has been blowing into the oceans for millenia.

Recent urban development around our coastlines have significantly reduced this natural nutrient source, so projects like this are really just restoring balance.

Re:Ending badly? (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40707785)

I always worry about these ideas, they seem good in theory, but in reality you can just end up with a cane toad problem..i.e. when the algae has covered all the oceans we have no pollution...but also no fish....

anywho...maybe we can just set fire to the algae if it gets out of control...

The underlying problem is, people are willing to consider anything - except addressing the cause of the problem.

Re:Ending badly? (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#40707901)

The underlying problem is, people are willing to consider anything - except addressing the cause of the problem.

The underlying problem is too hard to solve with current technology. According to Hansen et al, we need to get the CO2 levels down to 350ppm if we want to be safe. This means, not only must we immediately stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere, we also need to remove some of it.

So think of all the things you do that add CO2 to the atmosphere (of course breathing doesn't count because it is net neutral). That is pretty near everything. Imagine if we stopped all that immediately. Not only would we have to switch over to nuclear, we'd also have to stop driving. And flying. Good luck at that, it would be economic suicide.

No one is willing to do that, so the only proposals are things like Kyoto, which did little, or Copenhagen, which would have done nothing.

Re:Ending badly? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708111)

Mod as troll, flamebait, or whatever... it is true, and you know it.

Current technology would allow a bunch of fat ( http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/AdultObesity/LatestFindings.html [cdc.gov] ) Americans to stop driving SUVs. A VW lupo engined car gets 78Mpg (no hybrid BS, just a reasonable sized engine in a reasonable sized car [5 occupants]) http://www.usatoday.com/money/consumer/autos/mareview/mauto497.htm [usatoday.com] . With giant SUVs with their single (as big as a house) occupant getting what, 10Mpg?!

It would also allow a bunch of fat Americans to stop turning every light on in their houses.

It would allow fat Americans to insulate their homes, and stop running their air conditioners non-stop in the summer, and heaters non-stop in the winter.

It would also allow folks to use efficient lighting if a bunch of fat American Republicans would stop trying to "protect the right" of fat Americans to waste energy on incandescent light bulbs.

It would also allow the US military to stop wasting more petroleum than any other entity in the world. Wasted by fat wasteful, mostly white (those in charge, not the cannon fodder), Americans to kill poor, non-wasteful, thin, mostly brown "others" all around the globe in a quest for global dominance of all remaining petroleum reserves.

"The DoD uses 360,000 barrels of oil each day. This amount makes the DoD the single largest oil consumer in the world. There are only 35 countries in the world consuming more oil than DoD."

http://www.dailyenergyreport.com/2011/01/how-much-energy-does-the-u-s-military-consume/ [dailyenergyreport.com]

Really, if fat wasteful Americans would just conserve (no real sacrifice needed, since the majority of U.S. "use" is really waste), we (the world) would be in much better shape.

Re:Ending badly? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707791)

The basic problem I can see is that the ocean is a complex set of currents that moves nutrients around. Dumping a compound into the ocean at one point to encourage algae blooms may sequester carbon in that location but it also locks up other nutrients as well that would have normally travelled to another part of the ocean. Now maybe such an action will disturb the proliferation of jellyfish somewhere but it's more likely that the missing nutrients will simply impede the growth of algae in another location where, instead of simply dying and sequestering carbon at the bottom of the ocean (from which it will eventually bubble up as methane at some future time) the algae would have provided the base of some local food chain. SO, in short, we lock up both carbon and nutrients in some normally unused part of the ocean while starving another part of the ocean for nutrients.

Yeah, terraforming is an interesting science but it's a risky one when you only have one test case and every bit of life you know of in the universe lives in that single test case.

But, I did see reports of the earlier test case and the motivation behind it. It wasn't really all about saving the planet as much as it was about creating a measurable amount of carbon credits that had a solid monetary value. That was the real motive, creating a way to manufacture carbon credits for sale. The test was done to see if they could find the ratio of carbon sequestered per ton of iron compound dumped into the ocean. That way they could dump a known amount of iron in the ocean and then sell a calculated amount of carbon credits on the carbon credit exchange.

Re:Ending badly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707885)

...and this is why IT Managers and Java coders are not brought in to work on complex environmental problems.

Re:Ending badly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708027)

"you can just end up with a cane toad problem"

The real problem is that you aren't thinking of a solution to the solution. Eat cane toads. Seriously, what's the BFD?

Mod me troll, but...

Re:Ending badly? (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40708143)

"I always worry about these ideas, they seem good in theory, but in reality you can just end up with a cane toad problem..."

Mod parent up.

Without any doubt. FAR more study would have to be done, over a LONG period of time, before any direct messing with the ecology should be attempted.

I live near a lake that was once called, by National Geographic, one of the 12 most beautiful lakes in the world (and it is a rather large lake, as such things go). And there were wonderful fish in the lake; salmonids, plentiful and tasty.

Local businesses, recognizing that fishing was a major tourist attraction, pressured the state Fish & Wildlife Commission to "improve" the fishery.

I could go on for a long time. But suffice it to say that they did one thing that was well-intended, and supposed to help the fish population. But it had unintended consequences. Then they fooled with the ecology again, to try to fix their first fuckup, but THAT had unintended consequences. Then they did it AGAIN, to fix that one, and THAT had unintended consequences.

The long and short of it is: they averted total disaster from their first mistakes, but the fishery is nowhere near as healthy and strong and plentiful as when they first tried to intervene. And yes, it is all directly attributable to their actions.

BE VERY CAREFUL BEFORE YOU FUCK WITH THE ECOLOGY. THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES IS LIKELY TO BITE YOU IN THE ASS.

We have seen this in so many different ways. These people should have their heads examined if they propose to do it anytime soon. Long-term study is needed, even if things get bad. Anyone who tries it before thorough long-term studies are done is probably deserving of being taken out and shot.

LIA (-1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40707711)

Sounds like a terrorist weapon. Temperatures are likely headed lower according to some solar physicists, due to the sun's rapidly declining magnetic field, a precursor of the Little Ice Age.

Re:LIA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707747)

(Haruchai posting as AC due to previous mod)
Sorry. Not bloody likely.

The denialist throw a lot of bullshit at the theories and observations of global warming, one of which is how little we know because we only have reliable info for ( pick one ) 20, 30, 50, 70, 100 years.

And then, they dream up a bunch of half-baked, cockamamie predictions based on scanty data, weak facts, implausible records, oh, and simplified models ( that's a good one, considering how much they think climate models are unreliable) of stuff that happened centuries ago.

Hope you're not putting too much faith in Piers Corbyn

Re:LIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707843)

It is their game plan. Come up with doubts or tell people that it will cost them money (even if it saves them money). Attack any little thing and get the media to show that scientists are the evil conspirators... The tobacco companies didn't do so well, but this new group is very cunning.

What about the oil companies making billions, polluting the air, and causing financial problems for countries and individuals? Why isn't the media investigating them, exposing their e-mails, and showing how much their operations damage the environment around the world? Why don't they ever come out with models or predictions that if found to not happen would make them change their minds and spend a few billion on renewable energy?

Re:LIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708083)

No one needs to investigate the oil companies and the pollution that using oil and gasoline cause because it's all out in the open and easy to see on any smoggy day. You're not going to get the oil companies to really do much work in researching alternative energies as long as they have oil to sell and you're not going to get much public support for alternatives until they are as energy dense and as convenient as plain old oil or gasoline. Once you can create a battery that is as energy dense as gasoline and as quickly recharged as filling a gas tank then you'll get some real support for the electric vehicle.

BUT, you also have to look at the cost of upgrading the electric infrastructure too supply all that extra electricity to charge people's batteries in their garage or at the service station and you're going to have to increase the electric power generating capacity to replace all the energy that used to come from gasoline and now has to come from electric generating plants. Solar isn't going to do it. Wind farms aren't going to do it. if you want to supply all that electricity to replace the gasoline energy used and not create more greenhouse gases doing it then you're likely going to have to build more nuclear reactors. Oh wait, nuclear is as bad as carbon.

Okay, no solution. We'll just have to drop our life style to the lowest possible level and not use more electricity than we can generate by pedalling our stationary bikes.

Re:LIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707931)

Re:LIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708119)

The Denialists are oil company shills in the eyes of the AGW faithful but what of the AGW faithful.

The IPCC was not created to determine IF there is an AGW. It was created with the express purpose to PROVE there was AGW. The researchers that promote AGW are backed by companies that sell products to combat or otherwise deal with AGW so they are just as biased in their positions. THE IPCC and AGW are necessary to create a single threat that will bring the world together into a single world government. Left to themselves people will always be divisive. Only a threat to all will create the need to create a single response by all and that becomes the starting point for a single world government.

I rather it did not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707717)

If it works, it would be used by GW deniers as proof that there was no problem to begin with.

Re:I rather it did not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707831)

If you had any idea what you were talking about besides being a troll, you'd know there's really no way to know conclusively either way.

Re:I rather it did not work (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40707937)

Being current with real s/e degrees from "good schools" is trolling at SlashDot? From an A/C, hah!

Here's the National Solar Observatory in case you missed it: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/03sep_sunspots/ [nasa.gov]

Re:I rather it did not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708117)

Posted anonymously so I could mod. And WTF are you talking about? Doesn't seem related to original A/C or reply.

Far-fetched (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#40707727)

Seems no more far-fetched than the current plan, which is assuming world leaders of developed and developing nations can all agree to limit the economic function and development of their respective countries, and not fall into a prisoner's dilemma.

Re:Far-fetched (1)

chebucto (992517) | about 2 years ago | (#40707811)

Sad but true.

Kyoto etc. might have worked if there was a crash research program into viable clean sources of power (eg fusion) and battery tech back in the 90s. As it is, there wasn't, we have no reasonable way of both (1) keeping our lifestyle and (2) meeting Kyoto targets.

_Something_ has to be done; if the idea in TFA is based on sound science, why not give it a go. Start slow, maybe, but at least try.

Re:Far-fetched (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#40707919)

The sad thing is, even if we'd met Kyoto, it would have made little difference to the overall human CO2 emissions. Kyoto wasn't anywhere near enough to turn things around, and anything more would have caused economic damage.

Re:Far-fetched (1)

asa (33102) | about 2 years ago | (#40707871)

The current plan seems to be "do nothing big enough to stop a massive extinction event, but do lots of little things around the edges that make people feel better while we all slip past the point of no return."

I'm not enthusiastic about most of the geoengineering ideas floating around today, but I suspect we're going to end up needing some of them. In that light, lots of experiments now to understand as much as we can before we're forced to use one or more of them seems prudent.

We won't do the right thing. We're simply not courageous enough a species. But maybe we'll get lucky and some crazy geoengineering stunt will save this planet from catastrophe.

Re:Far-fetched (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | about 2 years ago | (#40708031)

I don't understand this. If you believe that the consequences of AGW are on the scale of catastrophic mass extinction events then you should be very enthusiastic about geoengineering. If the entire species is going to die, I'd be pretty enthusiastic about anything that might help.

What I guess I'm saying is that there is a disconnect (or at least I perceive one) between the urgency of AGW when it comes to pleas for emissions reductions on the one hand, and the tepid response to these sorts of projects. I do believe AGW is an immediate problem for our species, which is why I don't think it's fair to bandy about the dire consequences with respect to one set of solutions but not another -- the gravity of the situation ought not to turn on the nature of the solution proposed but on the expected timeline of the consequences.

What a load of claptrap... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707735)

It must take a lot of guile to fool hoi polloi into buying into this global warming nonsense.

WTF (-1)

Mike (1172) | about 2 years ago | (#40707749)

Why spend time and resources changing what is a natural cyclical phenomena? Such an exercise can only end badly.

-Mike

P.S. to moderators: this is only a troll to the politically-motivated.

Re:WTF (4, Insightful)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 2 years ago | (#40707769)

How about the fact that we don't want to all die? Global extinction is a natural phenomenon, but I'd rather not witness it.

Re:WTF (1)

Mike (1172) | about 2 years ago | (#40707793)

Global extinction is farther from reality than the human could possibly fathom. Beyond that, however, you'll have to face it: we're all going to die.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708047)

Global extinction is farther from reality than the human could possibly fathom.

Why is that supposed to be hard to fathom? Just picture Earth becoming more like Mars, or totally like Mars if obliteration of all life on Earth was somehow possible. I don't think we're capable of making all life extinct, before we ourselves become extinct. So some life on Earth would probably survive us, no matter what we do.

And everybody dies, unless cryogenically frozen, or they have their immortal cancer cells live on in petri dishes, or [insert future tech here].

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707847)

Die from gradually rising oceans? Not likely.

Re:WTF (-1, Flamebait)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40707951)

How about CAGW is a fascist-statist money and power grab for Al Gore type "science majors" and con job that makes the Piltdown Man swindle look submicroscopic.

Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707755)

Of course, because the greenhouse gasses are still building up, it takes more and more iron sulphate each time, thus solving the problem once and for all.

Only a matter of time... (1)

corychristison (951993) | about 2 years ago | (#40707771)

Before we have to drop giant blocks of ice in the ocean...

Re:Only a matter of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707809)

It's not the ice I am worried about but the giant genetically modified slices of lemon...

Re:Only a matter of time... (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about 2 years ago | (#40707873)

Before we have to drop giant blocks of ice in the ocean...

Done [go.com] . Too soon to see if this one will help. The previous, and larger ones didn't seem to change much.

Re:Only a matter of time... (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 2 years ago | (#40707965)

This is genius! Want to team up and cash in selling snowcones in support of project "iceage"? :)

I, for one, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707803)

...welcome our new algae overlords.

Nobody listens. You're all children with bazookas (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40707813)

Don't do it. Global warming is a nuisance at worst (and probably a boon as-is.)

But accidentally overshooting and inducing an ice age, which may come on in as little as a year or two, will indeed kill billions.

Don't do it.

Re:Nobody listens. You're all children with bazook (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40707881)

not being able to order cheap hard drives from Thailand is more than a nuisance! Florida sinking into the ocean is a nuisance but don't touch my hard drives, damn it.

Re:Nobody listens. You're all children with bazook (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40707907)

Do you people understand what I'm saying?

If I were a corporate shill, I'd be like, "Ya, do it. Dump away baby!"

Don't fucking do it.

Re:Nobody listens. You're all children with bazook (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40707913)

Having to move back from the ocean over the course of a century or three is indeed just a nuisance to a powerful economy.

Having an ice ace lock up most of the plantable land in permafrost will lead to the deaths of billions.

Can and should are not the same (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about 2 years ago | (#40707819)

We could find a way to trigger a super volcano. This would also help to curb global warming.
We could create a nuclear winter by setting of several giant nuclear weapons over the countries of choice. This would also reverse global warming.
There are lots of things which we could do, but doesnt mean we should.
Considering that we do not know the extent of the oceans impact on global weather patterns, we may do well enough to leave them alone until we do.

Just in time for L.A. 2017 :-/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707845)

"[...] He describes how mankind has been underground since 1989, when the atmosphere grew “toxic” after the growth of poisonous algae in the Indian Ocean. Because “science and government stood by while everything died,” the business community of the United States took over control of the country, drafting a “Corporate Constitution” that gave all surviving citizens shares in America, Inc. [...]"

http://johnkennethmuir.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/cult-tv-flashback-130-the-name-of-the-game-l-a-2017/

(cf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.A._2017)

I always point out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707867)

that in a few billion years the sun will reach the end of its life span and incinerate the Earth.
So if we don't leave between now and then, there won't be any humans left to argue about a few degrees and higher water levels.

I'm calling it right now (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40707875)

Since everything we do destroys something on the planet, I'm gonna go ahead and call this one right now. Algea blocks sunlight below, kills seabed plants in shallow areas and kills...I dunno, Nemo or something in deep water by lowering the temperature, making automatic frozen fishsticks.
This did sound like one of the better theories for fixing the problem extremely quickly and cheaply when I heard about it on TV though.

Algae Blooms (4, Insightful)

Albinoman (584294) | about 2 years ago | (#40707967)

Yes, let's try to create massive worldwide algae blooms, cause the one's were getting already have been fantastic.

Once and for all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707971)

We should just drop a big ice cube in the ocean once in a while...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2taViFH_6_Y

But will it really be safe down there? (2)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#40707975)

The team reports that much of the captured carbon was transported to the deep ocean, where it will remain sequestered for centuries — a 'carbon sink'

This line reminded me of plans to store radioactive waste in remote areas, keeping us safe from it for centuries.

Nobody seems to have a lot of faith in those plans I notice.

panic driven fucktards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40707983)

This is one good reason NOT to support CAGW. Even if it were true (it's not), the cost of doing nothing is less than what the panic driven fucktards with a hero complex will do to "save us".

Convert CO2 to methane (3, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | about 2 years ago | (#40707991)

Let's convert carbon dioxide to methane,that's sure to help...
Excessive growth of algae (influenced by global warming and fertilizers washed down to the sea from farmlands) is a part of the problem, not the solution.

The problem with algae is that while, true, they convert CO2 to oxygen, they do so, by growing - building their own mass.
There's only so much of ocean surface where they can grow by absorbing light. The excess algae not receiving enough light die and rot. And they produce methane by rotting.

I'm pretty sure as greenhouse effect gas, methane is quite a bit stronger than carbon dioxide...

This plan will not be tried because (0)

louzer (1006689) | about 2 years ago | (#40708029)

I'd like to make a prediction: This plan will not be tried.

This is because the premises of environmentalism are:

  1. Human Beings are evil because they exist. a.k.a Original Sin
  2. The ideal is the natural. And the natural is everything except the human being

The second premise leads to the conclusion, that all human manipulations of reality is evil. And adding iron sulphate to the oceans is very manipulative. The only plans against global warming that will tried are those plans which limit human manipulation of world to suit his existence and happiness. All kinds of restrictions and obligations which limit human well being will be implemented. And we will be asked to accept the sacrifices for the ideal: i.e. a world were we do not exist. A more anti-human philosophy cannot be imagined.

Great idea throw it away (1)

scdeimos (632778) | about 2 years ago | (#40708037)

Yep, lock up our atmospheric carbon at the bottom of the oceans where we can't get to it. Wouldn't it be better to find a way to directly capture it from the air (through electrolytic deposition or something) so that it can be used by the impending graphene and carbon nanotube industries?

Sheer Volume (2)

robbak (775424) | about 2 years ago | (#40708141)

See those mountains of coal that get shovelled into our power stations every day? Can you use that much carbon nanotubes and graphine?

This is unbelievable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40708123)

I can't believe presumably intelligent people are this stupid.

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