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Dealing with the Root Cause of Global Warming Calls for New Remedies, Says Expert
The product of a unique collaboration between a pioneering earth scientist and an award winning science writer, Fixing Climate takes an unconventional approach to the vitally important issue of global warming. Wallace S. Broecker, a longtime researcher at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, warned about the possible consequences of global warming decades before the concept entered popular consciousness. Hooked on climate studies since his student days, he has learned, largely through his own findings, that climate changes—naturally, dramatically, and rarely benignly. He also knows from experience that when mankind pushes nature as we are currently doing by dumping some sixty to seventy million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day, climate will change even more dramatically and less benignly. As Broecker points out, if a well-meaning fairy godmother were to turn us all into energysaving paragons at the stroke of midnight tonight, the resulting reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide might lessen but could not turn aside the great warming tide now headed our way. There is, nonetheless, a glimmer of hope in the development of new technologies that are directed not only at the reduction of carbon dioxide output but also at its harmless disposal. Told by skilled science journalist Robert Kunzig, Fixing Climate is a timely and informative story that makes for riveting reading
Despite efforts at producing clean energy, mankind is going to continue burning coal and oil, say environmental sciences professor Broecker and science writer Kunzig. The pair offers a history of the scientific enquiry that solidified global warming theory, tracing the story from the 19th century through the 1957 dawn of the modern era of greenhouse studies when Americans Roger Revelle and Hans Seuss determined that the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide was increasing and predicted the world's climate would be affected. Reducing emissions that cause global warming is commendable, the authors contend, but is too little too late. Their solution? Bury the stuff: extract CO2 from the atmosphere then pack it into deep ocean aquifers or within layers of volcanic basalt. They envisage 80 million small collectors each scrubbing a ton of CO2 daily from the world's atmosphere to balance what is produced by burning coal and oil. In a best-case scenario, these efforts will also stop the acceleration of global warming. Prototypes have already been constructed, but even the authors admit that trying to see that far into the future is crazy.