In spite of the grand promises new technologies may offer in helping us reach 100% global green energy generation faster, there are critical warnings about any rushed or desperate implementation of new and unproven technologies...
A myriad of unsolved problems attend the proposed “geoengineering” technologies, not the least of which is they are still in the “theoretical drawing board stage,” have no economically proven working models, they cannot be scaled to draw down carbon as modeled, and much more. Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs) are particularly troublesome, and they are built into many international IPCC models. One overwhelming reason they are not feasible any time soon is that they require growing carbon crops on land the size of India, each and every year for decades. The world does not have anything close to this amount of land to lend to a carbon capture scheme, because the land is already being used for food crops for human use and consumption. When the choice is starving hundreds of millions of people to grow carbon-capture crops to remediate what humans did in the past, then we must say that this plan is non-sense and look for other technologies. And as Professor Kevin Anderson explains in his 2 page paper, that nonsense is just what many of the international IPCC models now suggest.
The key warnings about planning new, undemonstrated and economically unproven technologies to resolve the global warming emergency are:
We cannot allow new, undemonstrated and economically unproven technologies to lull us into a false sense of comfort that we can continue to pour more carbon and methane pollution into our atmosphere—or preserve the dying fossil fuel energy generation business model. The emphasis on the development of these new technologies must always be to move past the fossil fuel energy generation age. There can be no turning back! We have entered the age of green energy generation, and we need to go forward full speed to get us out of the existing escalating global warming emergency.
Before demonstrations at scale with proven economic viability, we cannot expect that “theoretically drawing board” of geoengineering technologies will save us from what is coming. Relying heavily on miraculous and non existent new technologies to save us is a dangerous strategy and should never replace the primary focus of doing the most in-harmony-with-nature actions and the other systemic actions recommended in the Job One Plan to End Global Warming. These actions do not carry the potential disastrous side effects of many new technologies employed as last chance solutions suggested in the most desperate of times and situations.
We must never forget that almost all new technology is based on mechanical, three-dimensional engineering principles that are far simpler than the principles of complex adaptable systems like the biological and climate systems of our precious planet. Engineering is generally a simple and linear three-dimensional set of cause-and-effect actions. Biology and the climate are complex adaptable systems with nonlinear, self-organizing, and unpredictable spontaneously emergent qualities. They should be seen as having many more non-cause-and-effect “dimensions.” They also have far more unknown and complex tipping points, interconnectivities, and interdependencies than are found within the limited mechanical rules and solutions characteristic of the nonliving, mechanical world. Frequently,applying mechanical solutions to complex adaptive systems such as our biological and climate systems, results in unpleasant surprises in the form of unintended negative consequences.
We cannot allow our individual or collective hubris about our many great mechanical engineering accomplishments to blind us to the risk of overlooking the possibility that new mechanical technology solutions applied to global warming’s complex adaptable systems may in fact produce equal or even greater damage than the problem they're meant to solve. For example, placing massive amounts of sun-reflecting particles into the complex adaptive system of the atmosphere and global climate is being widely discussed as a mechanical new technology solution to the global warming emergency. What if, as an unintended side effect,those particles blocked the normal rainfall in a nuclear-armed country like China and caused immediate mass starvation and death? With its own population dying before its eyes, where do you think the Chinese government would point its nuclear weapons, or from whom would they demand immediate restitution? The unintended risks could easily and quickly get out of hand, leading to unpredictable and potentially worse consequences if any of the nations harmed have nuclear weapons. Additionally, once our ecological and climate systems have been stressed beyond their respective tipping points and points of no return, it will be far too late to develop or deploy any technologically useful geoengineering repair or cooling mechanism. For additional information on the many problems and dangers of geoengineering solutions to the global warming emergency, see these articles byAndrew Revkin,Chelsea Harvey, and John Vidal.
We cannot expect to extend the use or lifespan of fossil fuels by increasing fossil fuel consumption efficiency. Collective experience and research has repeatedly shown that using technology to increase fossil fuel consumption efficiency or conservation frequently increases overall fossil fuel use rather than reducing it. This is because of the economic savings that increased fossil fuel energy efficiency or conservation provides, acting to create more cash resources to buy or use more things dependent upon using more fossil fuels. This is known as Jevons’s paradox.
We cannot delude ourselves and believe that we can keep living the way we are now and not begin the painful process of radical, costly and immediate cuts to our fossil fuel use --- just because Bill Gates from Microsoft and other technology gurus believe there will be new technology global warming solutions at some point in the future that will allow us to keep using fossil fuels as we are now while still saving us from the global warming emergency. These dangerous delusions keep us from making the hard sacrifices we need to make today and they keep us from acting appropriately using what we know and have right now. These delusions will destroy the future, civilization and humanity.
Please don't get caught in the geo engineering or "new technologies will save us delusion" when it comes to dealing with global warming. Please spread the word about these delusions posing as solutions.
To learn more about the geo engineering and other related "don't worry new technology will save us in the future" delusions, see THE TINKERBELL-EFFECT & BREAKING THE CLIMATE and be sure to read the new Climageddon book.
Also please see from Professor Kevin Anderson, “The Trouble with Negative Emissions.” It explains “the new technology very bad bet,” that is, the amazing amount of carbon that will be needed to be sucked out of the atmosphere, supposedly by the new Negative Emissions Technologies, in order to stabilize the climate at 2◦C warming, after decades of misguided and foolishly prolonged carbon burning.
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