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Comment Geoengineering (Score 1) 355

Others have pointed out that geoengineering is not new, and they are right. We started geoengineering on a global scale when we started removing vast quantities of carbon that had been sequestered in the earth, oxidizing it, and releasing it into the atmosphere.

And the energy community is already geoengineering how to get this released carbon back into the ground through carbon sequestration techniques. They are pumping carbon dioxide into oil bearing formations to increase well production. They are creating zero emission oil platforms that burn natural gas for energy, capture the CO2, and pump it back into the ground.

There are other, more complex, less studied ways to sequester carbon, such as seeding small parts of the ocean with iron, which will increase plankton production, which will draw down CO2 as they incorporate the carbon into their shells, which will sink and become part of the seafloor, effectively sequestering the carbon. Or by simply pumping liquid CO2 into places where it can't escape (basalt formations, subseafloor sediments, etc).

TFA states that pumping particulates into the atmosphere is a rather extreme solution, but sadly many other active sequestration techniques were not discussed. There are a lot of other, much more benign, better studied methods of geoengineering, it is a shame the article only discussed two relatively unstudied methods.

As another commentor noted, this stuff is confusing. And particulate pollutants are not the same type of pollutants that cause the greenhouse effect. Particulate pollutants are the reason why we see a decrease in global temperatures after a major volcanic eruption, the simply reflect sunlight back into space. But these pollutants are heavy and do not last long in our atmosphere. Greenhouse gases however can have a much longer residence time in the atmosphere, and operate on an entirely different principle than particulate pollutants.

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