The role for an integrated climate restoration strategy; the setting of targets and timescales; the methodologies and funding options (Submitted, 1st April)
- Atmospheric CO2 is already at unsurvivable levels which will lead to sea level rises of up to 30m and catastrophic temperature rises, yet it is still increasing at a rate that is faster than exponential.
- There is an unspoken paradox with climate change; as climate change intensifies then the increasing competitive rivalries between nations that it causes prevents the co-operation needed to agree to the mutual sacrifices needed for a zero carbon economy.
- The coal reefs stated dying and the Arctic polar ice cap started melting in 1980 when CO2 was 336ppm, thus the world then was already well on the way to disaster. So, planning for a 1.5 degC temperature rise is a suicide note; this target needs to be replaced with a new target, which is that the maximum temperate rises should not exceed 0.5deg C over the pre-industrial baseline.
- ANY temperature rise will lead to catastrophic heating due to the interacting nature of the amplifying effects such as methane, sea ice melt and increased water vapour content, so if the temperature increases to 1.5degC (which is where we most likely are today) it will lead to unstoppable temperature increases. It also means that even the more radical 0.5degC target that we propose could be too high.
- NO measurable levels of CO2 have been sequestered by natural processes since the start of the industrial revolution and natural processes will take approximately 250,000 years to return the planet to an upper CO2 threshold of stability (approx 300ppm), and even at this level of CO2, then sea levels would be at least 10 meters higher than today. So even the emergence of a zero-carbon economy tomorrow would not help due to the persistence of legacy CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans.
- There is a very high level of hysteresis (irreversibility) in the climate system caused by ocean heat content and ice albedo loss, but in particular due to the logarithmic relationship between CO2 and radiative forcing. The implications of this have been completely ignored by policy makers.
- Proposed methods for CO2 removal from the atmosphere that the COP temperature projections are based on, such as BECCS and DAC are so fundamentally flawed, they are likely to add more CO2 to the atmosphere than they will take out.
- The only way of removing CO2 is through bio enhancement, such as increasing carbon content in soils and biomass in the oceans, but natural limits means this will most likely take thousands of years to remove sufficient CO2 for a return to stability.
- To survive we must immediately start a solar radiation management program, and marine cloud brightening is probably the only option, in as much that it is scalable, controllable and sustainable over long periods. The scale of the cooling needed will increase at least exponentially with delay, and as we will soon be at the point where the climatic changes under way will be irreversible then there is a moral imperative to make an immediate start.
- The techniques that we develop now for climate restoration (cooling and bio enabled CO2 sequestration) must be capable of continued operation by future societies that have become dysfunctional due to the pressures imposed on them by climate change.
- There is no evidence that a carbon tax will be agreed by governments to either curtail emissions or raise funds for a climate restoration program that can either be guaranteed in the long term or done in time. We thus propose that this issue is handed to the insurance and reinsurance markets, whereby a climate change premium is imposed on fossil fuel extraction and can be set by normal actuarial processes