We can’t remove enough CO2

A new report has confirmed what I’ve been saying for years: you can’t fix the system that makes too much of what’s killing us. I am impressed by the thoroughness and accuracy of this report, and that it looks at a wide range of relevant factors, including the fact that we are in the 6th extinction event of Earth. We are killing nature, and every proposed action needs to be evaluated in terms of whether it is adding to the unravelling of the web of life.

There are technologies for removing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, but the report demonstrates that, on the necessary scale, they simply won’t fix the problem. The only thing we can do is to generate less in the first place.

We can do so using new technologies, but again, the same considerations apply. Making solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars is STILL thrashing the planet. Renewable energy buys us time, but this is useless unless we use that time wisely.

The only action with any hope of survival is a rapid switch to living simply, so we may simply live.

If the people who rule this planet were sane, this is what we’d be doing, on an emergency footing. Here are a few necessary steps:

1. Get rid of the GDP as a measure of economic health. It isn’t, because it can be increased by useless activities like gambling on shares, and harmful activities like war, laundering criminal gains and forest destruction. A far better measure exists: the Genuine Progress Indicator. It excludes harmful money transfers but includes what economists miscall externalities, like plastic in the oceans. While the GDP has been growing, showing increasing replacement of nature with humanity, the GPI has been stagnant since the 1970s, showing this hasn’t been real progress.

2. Apply the many excellent ideas generated by alternative economics such as the Degrowth movement and Buddhist economics.

That’s for the big boys: the politicians and corporations. They are not going to do it.

We can act individually. My action alone won’t make a difference, but millions of us together will. Live simply so you may simply live. Use less. Transform your life to one of contentment by letting go of the illusion that stuff brings happiness.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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8 Responses to We can’t remove enough CO2

  1. Dr Bob Rich says:

    It’s your field of expertise, Sven. I have no training to assess such techniques. However, on general principles, I go with the second report of the Club of Rome: that any one problem can be solved by technological means, but only by making one or more other problems worse.
    Their modelling was borne out 30 years later, and also I can think of dozens of examples.
    So, my recommendation to everyone is: reduce your personal environmental footprint.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. svenaake says:

    As you say, sulphur in the atmosphere is just crazy. Photosynthesis is reduced, and it pollutes.
    As I Write in the article, the classic iron fertilisation was a failure because the extra organic matter produced did not sink to the bottom, but recycled in the ordinary Natural cycles. However, as far as I know, smaller Experiments With marine snow have been successful, but never tried in larger scale. As far as I can see, increasing amounts of marine snow is not harmful to the ecosystems


  3. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Hi Sven, and thank you for contributing. I have read about all the techniques described there, and they have been considered in the report I cited. Sulphur in the atmosphere terrifies me (effects are bad enough when it’s due to volcanic action), and iron “fertilisation” has been rejected by the relevant scientific community.
    Another aspect is ROI (return on investment) when applied to environmental concerns. How much greenhouse gas will be liberated if a given reduction technique is implemented? For example, this rules out Trevor’s suggestion of sucking CO2 from the air and putting it in metal drums under pressure. The amount of metal needed for drums would be huge if the technique was to make a global difference, and smelting (and even recycling) metal is one of the major sources of greenhouse gases.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. svenaake says:

    there might be some additional CO2 sequestration techniques that has not been exploited yet: https://agreenerfutureblog.wordpress.com/6-greener-future/6-1-green-technology/6-1-5-geo-engineering/


  5. Cynthianna says:

    “Live simply so we can simply live.”
    Never truer words written or spoken. We have to first change our attitude toward our world and leave the idea that materialism is the only way to go. Then, we’ll be more than willing to make the changes and sacrifices we need to make in order to save it. — Cindy

    Liked by 2 people

  6. mybooknks1 says:

    Re “we can’t remove enough CO2.”
    1. None of the world’s current societal and environmental problems will be solved unless somehow humankind can find a way to reduce the world’s population. Simple? No, but unless the “big boys”
    commit to solving this problem, I believe mankind is inevitably doomed.
    2. Excess CO2 removal from the atmosphere can be increased significantly by fractionation and compression using time proven technology for obtaining gases for industry. Storage of CO2 in its liquid state, in purpose built cylinders, could account for massive amounts of unwanted CO2 in its gaseous state in the air we all breath. Above ground storage is easy and easily managed. Gaseous sequestration in underground (eg. in worked out oil reserve wells for example) is a complimentary, partial solution only.

    Trevor Tucker.


    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you for your comment, Trev.

      I fully agree about population. I cry inside when seeing all those lovely human puppies around. They are born into guaranteed misery, and I can’t tell their happy parents that.

      Unfortunately, natural processes have already started to “solve” that problem. Gaia has a parasite infestation, and Her immune system is going to kill billions. soon. It’s on the way, clear to see for those not afraid to face the facts.

      Of course, the problem is not the millions of poor people, but us in the rich countries, because impact is number multiplied by footprint. The lovely kids I pass in the street each cause perhaps 100 times the damage done by a poor African subsistence farmer.

      About storage of CO2: the point of the report is that the scale of atmospheric and marine CO2 overload is such that, unless we drastically cut down on making more, removing some cannot save us, regardless of what technology is used.

      The best is still building topsoil and regenerating forests, but in fact both are being destroyed.

      Oh well, when the students burn down this school, let me tell you, there are billions of other schools in the Universe.

      Liked by 1 person

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