Geo-Engineering – A Big Ridiculous Idea?

In the September 10th 2008 issue of the Economist, there was an article about Geo-engineering, describing the ‘Transactional Analysis’ document from the Royal scientist
In the paper, the idea of planting trees was was ‘alluded to but not discussed’.

A second idea for scrubbing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, alluded to in the Transactions but not much discussed, is to plant more trees. In principle, any old trees would do—although they die and rot, more forest cover would lock up more carbon dioxide. However, genetically modified trees might grow faster. Such trees are being developed to help the lumber, pulp and biofuel industries. But fast-growing forests could also be planted in order to capture carbon dioxide quickly.

Funny, this is the idea that seems doable yet it is not given much attention. Amongst other benefits, trees would help reclaim water catchment areas that are dwindling as we speak, and while we are at, why not encourage planting indigenous trees to enhance plant diversity?

calmly rolling

It warms my heart when right wingers like Pat Robertson can sit with Al Sharpton on a setee by the beach, and proclaim that they see eye to eye on the climate crisis. The ads just point people to visit wecansolveit.org. A website will not a crisis avert. Granted they are are trying to create a community/movement, but that wont do much in my opinion. The ads would have been more effective if they pointed out one demonstrable action that people can take (I’d suggest urging people to plant trees) AND visit wecansolveit.org. Al, I love you, but please find a more practical way, or change ad agencies.

Planting trees; though quite obvious seems to make much more sense to me than giant rotating cylinders that create the ‘magnus effect’. It makes more sense that putting sulphur in jet fuel, flying in high altitudes and polluting the atmosphere so the sulphur crystals can reflect the sun’s rays off the earth. Don’t get me wrong, I would really like to believe that I am open-minded the big ideas put forth in the transactional paper. I do agree that the climate crisis is one big ginormous problem that threatens the future stability of the world, heck my grandma told me climate change is real. What is being done NOW to adapt to climate change? What are we doing to reclaim our rapidly deforested areas? Big questions. Yet, we can start with simple, yet obvious actions like planting trees.

In the quest to make it a cool thing to do (Gardeners and tree huggers are hardly rock stars) perhaps borrowing an idea from Joi Ito, he tags photos on his flickr stream with ‘freesouls’ How about we begin a tag ‘greensouls’ where you take a picture of someone/yourself planting a tree, upload to flickr, tag it and if you can, geo-tag it as ‘greensoul’?

Oh, if you can find a trader who can help monetize the tree planting to carbon credits, I would very much like to assuage my carbon guilt. I seem to have added it to my catholic guilt so now I have much more guilt than I know what to do with. It does not help that some friends keep chiding me about my carbon footprint.

2 thoughts on “Geo-Engineering – A Big Ridiculous Idea?

  1. Truly your carbon footprint is huge in ’08, at least it was earned in 747’s and the likes, not exec jets.

    I’m all for tree planting, but I’d rather companies measure their accomplishement in real world terms – e.g how many trees planted by staff, how many acres of forest cultivated, protected, and nutured to maturity by country/continent. This ‘carbon credit/footprint’ is financial hocus pocus that billions don’t understand

  2. i feel alittle better since the 747’s capacity is really good. Exec Jet?! I am calling dibs on tweeps’ jets though none has taken me up on that offer.

    Financial hocus pocus indeed. This summer I attended a talk in London about the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism – Kyoto) and it was so confusing, I needed an enviro wonk with statistical wizardry to help. I am still looking for that wonk.

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