Author of "Uninhabitable, a case for caution," C.S Goldsmith, Weighs In on the Best Way to Mitigate Climate Change Over the Next Decade

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New technology may give us our last best chance to mitigate dangerous Climate Change.

The U.N and International panel on climate change (IPCC) has indicated that we only have one decade left to change the trajectory of rising Co2 and other green house gas emissions, that left unchecked, will propel us past the 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit limit set by the U.N. This is the point beyond which we will find ourselves living in an unpredictable and dangerous new world. Many scientists believe we will most likely overshoot the 2 degree goal by at least 1 degree Celsius, because the combined pledges of the 180 countries simply will not get us there. That extra 1 degree or 2.9 degrees Celsius or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit will turn the earth into a different planet than we have evolved in over the last 10,000 years. Extremely volatile weather conditions both hot and cold are just one of the problems. The cost of these increasingly more intense storms, hotter heat waves, longer droughts, larger forest fires, stronger hurricanes and more category 4 and 5 tornadoes, cost the US over 500 billion in 2018 alone. That cost could reach 22 trillion by 2050, potentially bankrupting the insurance industry. The one problem that will hit home to everyone on the planet is food production. The drop in the world’s carrying capacity or its ability to grow enough food to feed the world’s population will drop by 15%. The weather is changing much faster than farmers or their crops can adapt to. Coffee grown in special mountainous conditions could become a thing of the past and the hops needed to brew beer will become increasingly difficult to grow; causing beer to cost a whole lot more. Now that’s a problem.

Adding to those problems is our ever increasing population. We are adding a population equivalent of seven Chicago’s or five new London's to the planet each and every year, to an already overcrowded and stressed planet. We already need three and a half planets the size of earth to feed everyone the same diet as the average American.

We are creating conditions perfect for a mass extinction, on a scale not seen on the planet since the Permian period 250 million years ago, when Co2 levels rose rapidly in the atmosphere, due to massive basalt volcanism in the Siberian region of Russia. This eventually triggered a massive disassociation of Methane, a powerful green house gas, which spiked temperatures dramatically in a very short period of time, turning the world’s oceans acidic and almost completely void of marine life. We are currently replicating those same conditions by digging up ancient carbon, that nature in its wisdom had buried deep in the earth, then burning those fossil fuels to power our cars, planes and provide our homes and buildings with electricity.

The latest extinction models predict that we have a 9.5% chance of becoming an extinct species within this century, taking along with us the vast majority of the other 30 million species. The Permian period witnessed the extinction of 95% of both terrestrial and marine life on the entire planet. Our chances of becoming just another species that goes extinct, goes up with each decade that we continue to burn dead carbon in the form of oil, gas and coal. This sends 54 billion tons of Co2 up into our atmosphere every year and like a car with all the windows rolled up, it holds in the heat until all the occupants inside perish. Relentless heat waves cause the plants and crops wither and die. The animals and people that depend on them for food perish. It has occurred no less than five times in the history of our fragile planet. Methane was the culprit in all of these extinction events except for the one, where a meteor impact killed off the dinosaurs. The other four were all caused by increases in Co2 until it triggered Methane disassociations around the world that spiked temperatures up and beyond the thresholds of species to adapt.

They have set several Co2 emission goals that we need to stay under. Starting with the Kyoto treaty in 1997, inevitably we blew right past them and then they set a new higher one. They know that rising temperatures will inevitably lead to pandemics, armed conflicts, crop failures and food shortages for billons of people; all while adding another 265 million people to the planet every year. It’s the perfect recipe for global disaster. And of course, we have invented the perfect weapons to put an end to all these conflicts along with ourselves; nuclear and hydrogen bombs.

What can we do about it? We are all complicit in this modern society we live in. No one alive is without their carbon imprint. Is there a way out of this potentially catastrophic corner that we have painted ourselves into?

Yes, there just may be, if implemented aggressively enough in the crucial next decade. Here’s the plan.

Plan A.
A new technology has been invented by Harvard Professor, Dr. David Fields, who has developed a Co2 extraction plant that can be ramped up to a commercial size that can extract one million tons of Co2 annually right out of the atmosphere and then be sequestered safely back underground. 4,000 of these plants could neutralize the one billion automobiles on the road around the world today. 40,000 of these plants could take our Co2 levels back down below 350 ppm, considered to be the safe amount Co2 in the atmosphere that we as a species developed over the last 10,000 years.

The 4,000 plants would also mitigate the one degree Celsius that the UN wants us to stay under and are in real danger of over shooting. The cost for the 4,000 plants is about 1.3 trillion. The low carbon fuel of the future that these plants are capable of producing, would pay off the entire amount, with a tidy profit in just seven years; while providing the transportation industry with the carbon neutral fuel of the future that is needed to power the transportation, trucking and aviation industry without disruption.

Bill Gates, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and BHP have all invested in this new technology and have agreed buy all the Co2 and low carbon fuel that these new plants can produce.

Neutralizing the effects of Co2 emissions from the transportation industry would be a very big step towards becoming carbon neutral.

However, we need to do a lot more if we want to preserve as much of our planets precious environment as we possibly can for future generations.

We will also need to utilize Princeton’s “Wedge System” for reducing green house gas emissions by one billion tons for each of their seven wedges over the next decade. They have identified 15 potential wedges that could significantly reduce Co2 emissions much further.

We will need to encourage the public to reduce their carbon imprint by implementing a carbon smart media campaign, similar to the water smart campaigns that have been so effective in preserving water in the western United States. This could be implemented across the country to get the population to be as carbon efficient as it possibly can.

And finally, to get Co2 emissions down to where it needs to be, individual states or the feds could initiate a carbon tax to push us across the goal line of being carbon neutral in the next ten years. Of the 116 plans to reduce Co2 levels reviewed by the UN and IPCC in order to mitigate dangerous Climate Change, all but 2, required some kind of Co2 extraction from the atmosphere to keep us below 2 degrees Celsius. The Technology invented at Harvard is now being developed by Carbon Engineering Co. in Squamish, BC, Canada today, This is simply the best option we have available to us right now to back us away from the environmental cliff that we are rapidly approaching at breakneck speed. We will run out of our present environmental road by the end of this decade, in 2030. This is the very last decade that we have to make a difference for all the generations that will come after us.

The odds of us doing what is necessary to avert disaster from a slow moving, invisible menace that is destroying our environment one degree at a time, is unfortunately not in our favor. We are not hard wired to react, to slowly developing threats that ultimately become very dangerous. We are much better at reacting to the barbarians at the wall.

Plan A is an option that will work and is ready to roll out right now.

That’s it, my plan A.

What’s plan B? I suggest giving Elon Musk’s travel agency a call and book the adventure trip of a lifetime to the new unspoiled tourist destination, Mars.

C.S Goldsmith
Author of;” Uninhabitable, a case for caution” Goldstar Publications/Barnes & Noble/Amazon.

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