Could CO2 Density Go Down Soon? No!

There is too much inertia in the system for CO2 to go down, barring masive intervention with tech we do not have (yet). CO2 effects have barely started… At the present level… Let alone the higher one we will get very soon. Real level, all GHG counted, is above 600 ppm. In Earth’s full history 2,000 ppm was reached, but then there were palm trees at the poles… As palms try to migrate, Putins will bomb.

I am reading, among many other things, The Ministry of The Future (MotF), a sci-fi book recommended by no less than Obama, the did-nothing-much except getting personally wealthy president, my untrustable friend. The book, one of many books hijacking the CO2 crisis, is very interesting, especially for its flaws, all of them mainstay of the dominant fossil fuel propaganda. A solution is around the corner, just regulate! Carbon coins (whatever that is). Carbon credits (to enrich the rich), Electric cars costing twice more than median income, even if made thanks to Chinese slaves!

One glaring flaw originated in no less than domineering scientific circles. I denounced it long ago, and thus burned some of my bridges in academia: friends faded away, as it looks as if I turned into a danger for “funding” and general good repute.

As early as 2016, distinguished gentleman Bill Collins from Berkeley was seen preaching to the public that the climate catastrophe can stop on a dime… Perfect say the fossil fuel plutocrats: we will stop on a dime whenever we want. 

But here I am still camping on my positions. In MotF CO2 starts suddenly to come down at 5ppm a year (the rate at which it is augmenting now), thanks to “reforestation” and a “super depression”. 

This is of course impossible. We are adding roughly 50 gigatons of CO2 a year right now, from primary energy production, making cement, deforestation, and now even massive fires (the third producer of CO2 behind China and the USA).


Most of these 50 gigatons are going into the ocean, acidifying and killing it. However, ultimately, they will come out. And the warmer and more agitated oceans get, the more they will come out. So not only are the atmospheric ppm augmenting from things like peat fires in Indonesia or Siberia, or melting permafrost, but humongous quantities of CO2 are now traveling within gigantic deep ocean currents… on their way out, some time, or another.


Reforestation is a must. However the mood is still at deforestation. This is clear in California, where authorities, while talking one way, do their best to stealthily act the opposite. I have a glaring example next to me: there was a little fire in a precious forest of immense ecological value and authorities react by paying private contractors by cutting a maximum number of trees, including endangered species…

Reforestation cannot work very well, because large trees are those absorbing the most CO2. Once they are cut, it will take a century for them to become significant that way again. 


To reduce CO2, only direct carbon capture will work for sure (using CO2 capturing bacteria to produce fuel has been suggested; however a modicum of thinking shows that this, far from being a panacea, does NOT reduce CO2 ppm, as the CO2 is reconstituted when the fuel is burned). 


Direct carbon capture will require quasi infinite energy, namely cheap thermonuclear fusion (and that’s still in a potential future). Thermonuclear fusion that will have to be so cheap we could freeze CO2 out and inject it in appropriate basalt rocks… Yes we could pay Iceland to do it… But, considering the cubic kilometers of liquid CO2 which would have to be injected, geological problems are bound to require geographical dispersal (to avoid quakes, or just rock coagulation preventing further injections).


Conclusion? There is no easy fix. Books such as MotF, or authorities, worldwide, have been talking, for decades, as if there was an easy fix: fixing the CO2 crisis was a few regulations and gimmicks away. Most of the measures implemented were carefully crafted to make the wealthiest wealthier (surprise!) But the impact on the deterioration of the atmosphere and the oceans of these wealthy tricks has been nil. 


The present rate of CO2 increase is hundreds of times greater than those of the most dramatic and lethal augmentation of CO2 in Earth’s history (with the possible exception of an asteroid impact, 66 million years ago, which occurred in an area which would have released vast amounts of CO2… besides the forest fires it caused). 


To mitigate this lethal increase requires the massive deployment of new technologies: a country such as France is at the world average of CO2 emissions (4 tons per capita). But France accomplished this with great cost to its per capita GDP, comfort, and thanks to massive de-industrialization, and decrease of influence (whereas the greater the polluters, the greater the influence). 


Even then, French CO2 production scaled up, corresponds to 50 gigatons… Worse: the real French CO2 production, after factoring in offshorization, is more like 11 tons per capita… That is, scaled up, around 135 gigatons of CO2.   


As I have pleaded, some existing techs exist and have to be deployed (mostly nuclear, hydrogen… besides “renewables”). Also a new religion should be called upon: all large trees should be considered sacred, and protected. Reforestation and rewilding should be a must.


However the most important notions are these: there is no fix compatible with present civilization. That means war, and actually, war has started: the invasion of Ukraine is a lot about capturing Ukrainian fossil fuels and incredibly productive and irrigated Russian lands. Brazil expects a war with… France, about saving the Amazon. So says his president, and ordered the Brazilian military accordingly.


There is also already a catastrophe in the pipeline: the CO2 levels we have had for a few decades are the highest in three million years… And that reflects only partially how much CO2 has been pumped into the biosphere. Ergo most ice will melt outside of its core fortress in Antarctica.


Humanity has always found technological solutions. Now it, and the biosphere, need them more than ever.

Patrice Ayme 

Nature is not just wonderful, it’s us… California landscape with Monterrey cypresses

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2 Responses to “Could CO2 Density Go Down Soon? No!”

  1. ianmillerblog Says:

    As it happens, my current blog is about the same subject. Slightly different perspective but essentially the same conclusions

    Liked by 1 person

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