Techno Utopias


Professor Kevin Anderson on Techno Utopias. The Paris “COP21” agreement is/was not only expecting miracles, it was counting on them.

Y’think climate disruption causes ecosystem disruption: Try geoengineering.

Well the answer was simple. If we choose to continue our love affair with oil, coal and gas, loading the atmosphere with evermore carbon dioxide, then at some later date when sense prevails, we’ll be forced to attempt sucking our carbon back out of the atmosphere. Whilst a plethora of exotic Dr Strangelove options vie for supremacy to deliver on such a grand project, those with the ear of governments have plumped for BECCS (biomass energy carbon capture and storage) as the most promising “negative emission technology”. However these government advisors (Integrated Assessment Modellers – clever folk developing ‘cost-optimised’ solutions to 2°C by combining physics with economic and behavioural modelling) no longer see negative emission technologies as a last ditch Plan B – but rather now promote it as central pivot of the one and only Plan.

So what exactly does BECCS entail? Apportioning huge swathes of the planet’s landmass to the growing of bio-energy crops (from trees to tall grasses) – which, as they grow, absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Periodically these crops are harvested; processed for worldwide travel; shipped all around the globe and finally combusted in thermal powerstations. The carbon dioxide is then stripped from the waste gases; compressed (almost to a liquid); pumped through large pipes over potentially very long distances; and finally stored deep underground in various geological formations (from exhausted oil and gas reservoirs through to saline aquifers) for a millennium or so.

And I think some of my progressive, environmentally-minded friends are laughable, worrying about the ecosystem impacts of flooding from hydropower, when Those In The Know (UNFCCC) are proceeding with plans for geoengineering later this century, and commissioning scientific investigations (IPCC) to more deeply examine them and calibrate exactly how much time humanity has before things get really bad (read that as meaning the wealthy start to lose coastal properties and the like).

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This entry was posted in adaptation, Anthropocene, bollocks, bridge to nowhere, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide capture, carbon dioxide sequestration, civilization, climate, climate change, climate disruption, coastal communities, complex systems, consumption, COP21, corporate supply chains, denial, disingenuity, economics, environment, ethics, evidence, exponential growth, extended supply chains, FEMA, finance, fossil fuels, games of chance, geophysics, glaciers, global warming, greenhouse gases, greenwashing, Hyper Anthropocene, icesheets, ignorance, IPCC, James Hansen, Kevin Anderson, Lenny Smith, liberal climate deniers, living shorelines, MA, meteorology, Neill deGrasse Tyson, oceanography, physics, planning, population biology, rationality, Ray Pierrehumbert, reasonableness, regime shifts, Sankey diagram, science, sea level rise, selfishness, silly tech devices, Techno Utopias, the right to know, the value of financial assets. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Techno Utopias

  1. Pingback: Getting back to 350 ppm CO2: You can’t go home again | Hypergeometric

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