Friday, November 18, 2011

“Putting carbon dioxide in the ocean is a terrible way to deal with climate change. Maybe we should do it”

The World’s Best Bad Idea by Peter Friederici

I read this article about options of carbon sequestration. Scientists argue whether putting carbon dioxide into the ocean, versus under the sea floor, versus just trying to find more eco-friendly fuel options. The article firsts talks about the suggestion to sequester the carbon 1500 meters into the ocean, in which we would see effects within a few centuries, but then discovers putting it 3000 meters would liquefy carbon dioxide, and wouldn’t really start to present a problem until a few thousand years. But what about about sea creatures like sea urchins who need calcium carbonate dissolved in water to make their hard protective shells? “The amount of carbonate in water is a direct function of the concentration of carbon dioxide” (Friederici, 2010). Essentially the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the water makes it more acidic, and calcium carbonate structures can’t persist, and carbon dioxide levels “in the open ocean, directly mirrors that of the air”.

Many scientists think this might be a good idea, for the mean time, but we really should find ways to make and use fuels that will generally reduce our carbon emissions. Meanwhile, other scientists think it might be a great idea, and better still are working on sequestration below the sea floor. In many places this might work, except maybe Japan, who has suffered many earthquakes, and the inconsistent state of the land below sea might cause leakages, which would reduce the effect of sequestration at all.

I agree that it might be a “short” term fix, but we also really should work on reducing our carbon footprint so this will not become something we have to do forever.

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