Authors: Derek Paul and Metta Spencer

This planet is gradually warming, mainly because of the burning of fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to Earth’s atmosphere. The increased temperature changes the climate in other ways too, including the rise in sea levels; ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in the times when flowers bloom; and extreme weather events.

Life on Earth is dependent on a layer of gases, primarily water vapor, in the lower atmosphere that trap heat from the sun, while radiating some of it back and keeping our planet at a temperature capable of supporting life.

The sunlight that remains trapped is our source of energy and is used by plants in photosynthesis, whereas the remainder is reflected as heat or light back into space. Climate forcing (or “radiative forcing”) is the differential between the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth and the amount of energy radiated back to space.

Several factors determine the size and direction of this forcing; for example light surfaces are more reflective than dark ones, so geographical regions covered by ice and snow reflect back more than areas covered by dark water or dark forests; this variable is called the “albedo effect.”

Read more


Prev 1 of 4 Next
Prev 1 of 4 Next



How to Post a Comment 

1. Give your comment a title in ALL CAPS. If you are commenting on a forum or Peace Magazine title, please identify it in your title.

2. Please select your title and click “B” to boldface it. 

You can:

• Italicize words by selecting and clicking “I”. 

• Indent or add hyperlinks (with the chain symbol).

• Attach a photo by copying it from another website and pasting it into your comment.

• Share an external article by copying and pasting it – or just post its link. 

We will keep your email address secure and invisible to other users. If you “reply” to any comment, the owner will be notified, providing they have subscribed. To be informed, please subscribe. 

** If you are referring to a talk show, please mention the number

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

It seems to be conservatives who don’t mind polluting the planet most liberally.
The world — including Western nations like ours — desperately needs to behave smarter with vehicular fuel consumption; therefore, we need to forgo purchasing the most gratuitously environmentally hazardous of vehicles.
Yet, many drivers of superfluously huge and over-powered thus gas-guzzling vehicles, especially here in the far West, seem to consider this a basic human right. It may scare them to even contemplate a world in which they can no longer readily fuel that ‘right’, especially since much quieter electric cars are no substitute.
Meanwhile, I’ll see parked vehicles idling for many minutes in moderate weather temperatures. There’ll also be the odd choking-thick-exhaust-spewing vanity vehicle, a metallic beast with the signature gratuitously very large body and wheels that don’t at all appear intended for work or family transport. They appear as though they might get 25 gallons to the mile.
They’re the same gratuitously huge monsters that when parked roadside hazardously block the view of short-car operators turning or crossing through stop-signed intersections.
Inside each is the operator, typically staring down into their lap, probably their smartphones. They may be some of the people posting protestations onto various social-media platforms about a possible gas price increase, however comparatively small.
In Canada, our carbon tax manages to induce some the shrillest complaints — even though it’s more than recouped (except for very-high-income earners) via federal government rebate. And once again the disturbing mass addiction to fossil fuel products by the larger public is exposed.

I need to make a correction: when discussing the involvement of scientists on ocean fertilization experiments, I misidentified who leads this effort at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. This effort is lead by Dr. Ken Buesseler and not by Dr. Dennis McGillicuddy Jr., even though both can be considered as experts in the role of biology in the sequestration of carbon in the ocean. See:

Metta, I thought some members of the group might enjoy this journal issue, which is open access. the kety: shared prosperity, not growth.


(He made up the numbers).

Fixing Climate.png

Also, there are the ugly external politics of polarization, perhaps in part for its own sake.
Particularly with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, current and past, one can observe widespread ideological/political partisanship via news and commentary. Within social media the polarized views are especially amplified, including, if not especially, those of non-Jews and non-Palestinians. 
While the conflict can and does arouse a spectator sport effect or mentality, many contemptible news trolls residing outside the region actively decide which ‘side’ they hate less thus ‘support’ via politicized commentary posts. I anticipate many actually keep track of the bloody match by checking the day’s-end death-toll score, however lopsided the numbers.

comment image

The COP process is not successful, and perhaps never has been. I have for years thought that I would never get involved, because of the corrupted nature of it. And because the climate situation is already too bad to be spending time in useless conferences.

This is what I thought, until I realized it is even worse than I had thought. That is, until I understood we must explore climate interventions, including SRM. SRM must be brought up on the agenda, not just of governmental talks but on the agenda of NGO’s, movements, science funding organizations, etc. This is what we are trying to do. 

I really appreciate your support a lot. It means a lot to us. I’m also grateful to Hugh and all the other colleagues we got to work with in COP. 

What really struck me in this (my first) COP is the level and extent of climate delusion. So many, certainly a majority, including but not limited to anti-SRM groups, are still repeating the old narrative: “we must reduce emissions to keep 1.5 °C alive and avoid the worst”. Even many scientists said this, and some were upset when we said publicly in our events that 1.5 is gone. It almost seems like a semi-religious mindset in which people confidently state something they already know is not true, only to not shatter the common illusion. Reasons for this lying are of course varied. Some lie for strategic reasons (like some negotiators, they’ve told us), in fears that the truth would endanger the ambitions for reducing emissions. Others lie perhaps because they want to believe in it. They decide to ignore the fact that, even in the IPCC, there is no pathway to 1.5 without overshoot. And that even those to 1.5 with overshoot are complete phantasy, assuming no tipping points, assuming stable C-uptake throughout the century, assuming gigatons of carbon removal, assuming unrealistically small aerosol cooling. 

What I learned in COP is that the SRM discussion is still a very sensitive one. Vast majority still views SRM as an outlandish, super radical, and dangerous idea. Most people in the NGO’s and movement do not seem to share the same “climate situation awareness” as people in e.g. this email chain. This means, we should approach SRM discussions with humility, trying to listen and empathize with concerns, and enter the discussion with the active choice of being open to change one’s own mind. What I’ve seen is that being very sure about your own case does not help in persuading someone to rethink their own views. This allows for better encounters. Also what I learned is that the moral hazard hypothesis was the most prominent concern for people, generally. 

Although the anti-SRM-research movement seems strong, the pro-research movement seems also to be emerging. What we can do is to keep with the facts. What I see might become the weakness of the anti-movement is their copious use of ad hominem arguments and claims with no source. E.g. SRM non-use agreement people repeatedly said that SRM research advocates are funded by the fossil fuel industry. No evidence for that. At least, when I look around and see my youth colleagues from various groups. I think we should stay positive and concentrate on positive movement building. 

John Nissen claims that the most powerful cooling technology available is stratospheric aerosol and mentions support for this view in the 2009 Royal Society of London report from 14 years ago. Another factor might have been that two of the people working on stratospheric sulphur were both on the Royal Society committee while it had nobody from marine cloud brightening even though one from the Royal Society of Edinburgh might have been available. I did write the attached reply to the Royal Society attached but it did not get a wide circulation.
We should also ask if ‘the most powerful’ is preferable rather to something ‘powerful enough’.
Spray from fleets of spray vessels can be stopped with a single mouse click. The cooling effect lasts only a few days until aerosol is washed out by rain or snow. But stratospheric aerosol stays aloft for months or even years. Repeats of Pinatubo are statistically certain. A repeat of Tambora is possible. Neither be welcome in a world cooled to the optimum temperature with stratospheric aerosol.
The Chernobyl experiment, ozone holes and a glance at the velocity and direction of the jet stream support the suggestion that everything gets everywhere at least in the same hemisphere. The accuracy of short term forecasts of wind velocity and direction is now good and certain to improve. The short life of tropospheric aerosol and the high speed of hydrofoil vessels offer the chance of good control of where, when and how much cooling is optimal.


Observers of trends of conflict between the most powerful authoritarian states, Russia, and China, have largely ignored the surprising degree of resistance to the rulers of these regimes, over garbage. While in Russia, protests have exploded over landfills, in China, what has brought people onto the streets in violent clashes with authorities are incinerators.

Scholars have generally accepted that democratization goes hand in hand with popular movements for the protection of the environment. One vivid example of this is Taiwan, where resistance against one party rule by the Kuomintang, was sparked by opposition to pollution from a Dupont chemical factory in 1986.

The vivid success in achieving zero waste goals has come in democratic states through popular mobilizations. Such communities are quite diverse, ranging from Kamikatsu, Japan, to Cappanori, Italy, to Halifax and Vancouver in Canada. One of the most successful communities in Asia, is the capital of Kerla, India, Thiruvananthapuram. It has subsidized organic composting and has banned single use plastic, which in India, kills cows, which provided street sanitation for thousands of years.

Although Taiwan (Republic of China)  has some incineration, since 2003 it has become a world leader in the movement towards zero waste. In 2003 only 18 percent of waste was reduced through waste reduction programs, now this has risen to fifty percent. The most dramatic success in Taiwan has come in organic waste, seventy-five per cent of which is now diverted to farms for fertilizer.  

Garbage protests have been a vivid form of popular resistance in Russia. The Arkhangelsk region was the scene of massive mobilization of eco-activists against what was planned to be Europe’s largest garbage dump between 2018 and 2020. The rail line, which was planned to move Moscow’s waste, 1,200 kilometers away, was blocked through occupation with tents. The dump was planned to be constructed in a boreal forest peat swamp, which is a sink for greenhouse gasses. The forest was treasured in the region for berry picking.

While the Arkhangelsk dump was cancelled in 2020, protests around waste continue to explode in other areas of Russia. On November 25, 2023, 1,000 protestors rallied over a waste plan in the Siberian community of Pavlovsk. The protestors united under a banner that read “We want an Environmental Assessment.”

The idea of popular resistance over the slogan of environmental assessment underscores the peculiar conditions that have made garbage the forefront of popular resistance to dictatorship in both Russia and China. Through my work with the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS), and southern Ontario based environmental protection group, I have become familiar with this process.

The environmental assessment process is rather gruesome and tedious. Participation in them has back disturbing memories of the stormy debates of which eventually resulted in my being awarded a doctoral degree in history. However, in Russia and China, it has become the focal point of popular resistance to brutal dictatorships, since expertise is a barrier to decisions based on corruption that destroy cherished forests.

The centrality of environmental assessments in the eco-politics of Russia and China is tragically highlighted in the tragic death of the  29-year-old Chinese environmental researcher and activist, Lee Wang in 2016. Wang at the age of 25 received a degree of Master of Environmental Studies, from Renmin University, considered the most prestigious in China. After graduation he worked for an environmental protection organization. He was beaten to death in police custody, allegedly, while visiting a brothel.

 After protests at Renmin University following a lawsuit by Lee Wang’s widow and brother, the five police involved in the beating were fired, one of whom, was expelled from the Communist Party of China. His widow and brother received substantial compensation from the Chinese government. Wang’s death sparked splits in China’s ruling elite causing a figure in its Communist training school to go into exile.

Garbage is a surprising fracture point for the world’s  most powerful dictatorships. The contrast with how it is treated in tyrannies and democracies is epitomized by the different response in the mainland People’s Republic of China, and the democratic island of the Republic of China. (Taiwan). Where Lee on the mainland has become an environmental martyr against the dictatorship, people like him employed in Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency are shaping its transition to a zero-waste economy. The slogans of subjecting waste plans to environmental assessments are a revealing marker for the path to democracy in our times.

Garbage Protests in Siberia,png.png

The political line in Professor Johann Rockstrom’s recent TB Macaulay Lecture is cause for dismay and deserves strong challenge.

From a perspective of global risks, the political vacuity of Rockstrom’s analysis is simply stunning. His failure to engage on the main practical climate solution, higher albedo, reflects a delusional misunderstanding of what is possible. Like his colleague Tim Lenton, Rockstrom brilliantly presents all the data on climate tipping points but then fails to join the dots about how to mitigate these dangerous cascading risks. Taking all measures necessary to slow temperature rise should be the top priority, but Rockstrom completely ignores this urgent problem. 
His call for world economic transformation in a context of war, tension and economic fragility is completely unrealistic. His assertion that renewable energy could see exponential growth to anything near net zero is farcical in view of the limited available time, resources, funds, support and skills. If you doubt this, please watch this recent lecture from Simon Michaux to the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland. I get the impression the whole decarbonisation movement would prefer engineers like Michaux should just shut up and go away. This recent interview by Nate Hagens with Arthur Berman is another of many examples of a completely conflicting narrative about the feasibility of cutting emissions. 
The political and economic reality is that governments are not going to cut emissions. Relying on carbon action is too small, slow, contested and expensive to be a viable primary climate strategy. Albedo increase has to become the main interim response to stabilise the climate. It is a scandal that Rockstrom et al do not even deign to mention the cooling power of higher albedo. Nor do they seem to consider that the political turmoil that would result from concerted efforts to achieve net zero emissions makes it a non-feasible option. 
Read more

Without cooling technology, all we have to deal with climate change are lip service and the destructive fantasy responses now seen in countries such as Australia. Decarbonising faces massive economic and technical barriers and inertia, whereas the only thing standing in the way of higher albedo is political will.
Scenario planning should include the option of allowing emissions to continue to be driven by market forces while aggressively cutting temperature with higher albedo. The absence of this direct cooling scenario from public consideration reflects the intensely polarised distortion of climate policy. Brightening the planet to cut temperature would deliver far better outcomes across a range of fronts than anything carbon policy can offer, for global stability, security, peace, cooperation, biodiversity, extreme weather, prosperity, food, water, equality, etc. Behind all these looming crises stands the systemic collapse threatened by tipping elements. Net zero heating should replace net zero emissions as the primary climate goal. 
The main carbon problems are about temperature, acidification and pollution. Of these, temperature is by far the most serious, as Rockstrom’s work proves. It will be far easier, quicker, cheaper and safer to mitigate temperature rise by brightening the planet than by any carbon action. The policy sequence should be reversed from the current IPCC strategy, to instead make albedo increase the most urgent task. Fixing carbon should proceed on a century time scale, and should not continue to obstruct action to stop warming.  
Climate funding should be allocated on the basis of cooling return on investment. David Keith and colleagues have explained that investment of $2 billion in solar geoengineering research could prevent climate damage estimated to cost $10 trillion. That is a benefit cost ratio of 5000 to 1. Rockstrom, Lenton and the whole UN policy consensus remain wilfully oblivious to this basic science. They are standing in the way of the only practical climate policy. Their albedo denial amounts to a crime against humanity and against the planet, preventing action that could forestall suffering and collapse on vast scale.
Robert Tulip


A consistent SRM story line from our groups:
Below is an imaginary conversation with an eminent politician or thought leader where we explain our reasoning for refreezing the Arctic using SRM.  Comments welcome. 
Don’t we have to accept that climate change is inevitable?
No. Climate change can probably be reversed if we act quickly.
Where is climate change the most critical?
The Arctic!
Can’t we reverse climate change in the Arctic by drastic emissions reduction?
No!  Any cooling from emissions reduction will come too little and decades too late to halt Arctic warming.  The Arctic is currently warming about four times faster than the global average. 
So how can we reverse climate change in the Arctic and refreeze it?
By the application of cooling intervention techniques, also known as Solar Radiation Management (SRM).
But aren’t these highly dangerous?
The risks associated with all the proposed SRM techniques are minimal compared to the risks from allowing the Arctic meltdown to continue.
Isn’t Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) particularly dangerous?
The risks from SAI have been studied.  One conclusion is that the application to refreezing the Arctic is less risky than the application for global cooling.  The main risk from either is ozone depletion and increasing the ozone hole over the Arctic.  But experts who have studied this problem say that this risk would certainly be manageable for subpolar SAI.
Suppose the experts are wrong?  Suppose there are serious unintended consequences?
SAI would be ramped up over several years, allowing early detection of problems.  Subpolar SO2 injection ensures a limited lifetime for the aerosol, so the SAI effects could be eliminated within a few months simply by stopping the injection.
What about public opinion against SRM and SAI in particular?
This may be the main barrier to SRM deployment – not anything physical.  The risks from SRM have been hyped up ever since it was first suggested for tackling global warming.  The anti-SRM lobby is well organised and well-funded.  And scientists working on the emissions reduction strategy, promoted by the IPCC, have been against SRM as “letting the fossil fuel industry off the hook”.  This is known as the “moral hazard” argument, and it is still being used against SRM.
Is the fossil fuel industry pro or anti SRM?
The fossil fuel industry wants to preserve the status quo.  While climate protestors are focussed on emissions reduction, the fossil fuel industry knows it can win the fight, as it has been for the past forty years: the COP meetings have made no dent in the curve of increasing emissions and the curve of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.  Having an oil executive leading COP28 ensures that emissions will be sustained.  The International Energy Agency forecasts only a slight reduction in emissions by 2050.  The only conceivable way to achieve net zero (CO2e) by 2050 is by removing a trillion tons or more of CO2 from the atmosphere and suppressing other greenhouse gases on a similarly massive scale.  
What does the fossil fuel industry think about the use of SRM for refreezing the Arctic?
They have not been asked!  However it is clear that the fossil fuel industry is keen to exploit a low-ice Arctic for its material resources: oil, natural gas and minerals.  Furthermore some governments would like to exploit the sea routes opening up as the sea ice retreats.  There is even competition between governments to exploit the Arctic.  Thus, though never admitted, there must be huge financial and political pressure against refreezing the Arctic, despite the Arctic being central to the climate crisis.
Who is supporting the refreezing of the Arctic?
Other than ourselves, the main group we know of is the Centre for Climate Repair in Cambridge under the former government chief scientific adviser, Sir David King. 
Isn’t the moral hazard argument against SRM still valid?
No.  The moral hazard is that we leave the application of SRM too late to be able to reverse climate change, thereby leaving civilisation with the prospect of an ever worsening situation as regards climate, extreme temperatures, sea level rise and extreme flooding events.  Climate activists seem oblivious to this point and continue to denigrate SRM.
What about ecosystems and biodiversity?
Refreezing the Arctic would not only restore the Arctic ecosystem with its natural biodiversity but also help to restore ecosystems and biodiversity elsewhere.  Weather extremes are damaging to plants and animals as well as to humans.   
Isn’t the strategy of emissions reduction and adaptation enough to deal with this worsening situation?
No.  Emissions reduction can only make the situation worsen a bit slower over the coming decades.  Adaptation to an ever worsening situation means that you are always running to catch up.  The wealthiest people may feel themselves safe and able to cope: “I’m all right, Jack!”  But the strain on international relations, both from the unequal effects of this worsening situation on different countries and from the starvation and mass migration it would trigger or exacerbate, means that conflict could rise to the world war level, affecting everyone on the planet.  This is an existential risk for our very civilisation.
What about the governance of SRM?  
Cloud techniques such as Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB) pose a governance problem, because they cannot be confined to a single country.  There may be benefits for one country and adverse effects for another.  Subpolar SAI does not have this problem since the aerosol quickly spreads round the planet as it spirals towards the pole, driven rapidly eastward by high level winds and slowly northward by the Brewer-Dobson circulation.  Thus SAI necessarily produces a blanket cooling effect. Any country can do the injection: the cooling effect will be the same and everyone will benefit.
Would cooling the Arctic have an immediate effect on the climate crisis?
We believe it would have an immediate effect on the trend towards ever increasing extremes of weather and climate, because the Arctic would be cooled relative to global warming.  This would increase the temperature gradient between pole and tropics.  The gradient has been decreasing due to rapid Arctic warming, and this has disrupted jet stream behaviour, causing it to get stuck in blocking patterns which give us the persistent weather which amplifies the effects of that weather, hence the observed extremes.
How soon could the trend be halted and reversed?
The SRM would be ramped up until a fall in Arctic temperature was detected.  This could take as little as five years with determined effort. A few more years and a decrease in extreme weather events might be detected.
What about Arctic methane?
Methane emissions from terrestrial and subsea permafrost have grown over the past few decades as the permafrost thaws.  Continued thawing risks a massive outburst at the gigatonne level.  This could be enough to boost global warming and take the planet into a hot-house state, according to some researchers.  Refreezing the Arctic would avoid this risk.  
What about sea level rise (SLR)?
Continued global warming this century could cause a metre of SLR by 2100 through ocean expansion alone.  Far more serious is the accelerated SLR caused by melting and glacier discharge from Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets.  The Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) is of particular concern, since it is contributing an accelerating amount of meltwater and glacier discharge, already amounting to hundreds of gigatonnes of water (a cubic kilometre of water weighs a gigatonne), and overtaking the SLR caused by ocean expansion.
Isn’t Antarctica even more dangerous?
Yes, in terms of potential SLR.  There is mutually reinforcing feedback between the Arctic and Antarctica.  When GIS melts, the local sea level is not affected nearly as much as in Antarctica, and vice versa.  This is due to gravitation and planetary dynamics.  The SLR in Antarctica which GIS produces has the effect of raising the termination of Antarctic glaciers, thus accelerating their discharge.  Thus by cooling the GIS and slowing its glacier discharge, we can improve the situation in Antarctica as well as slowing SLR more generally.
Is there any hope for climate restoration?  
Yes indeed.  Everyone we know who supports SRM also supports climate restoration.  But we also believe that refreezing the Arctic is an essential precursor to climate restoration.  However, using SRM of some kind for global cooling is also essential on a slightly longer timescale.  And greenhouse gas suppression and/or removal will be essential for long-term sustainability and to allow SRM to be phased out after a few decades.
What should we work towards?
The planet needs to be in a state with zero net warming and a slow rate of SLR.  It is conceivable that the planet could be restored close to such a state within 50 years, i.e. by 2073, given determined and focussed international effort.  This could prove a major force for peace.



Cost-Effectiveness of Carbon-Dioxide Removal Methods

Costs determine scalability, and costs vary by a factor of 30,000 

Peter Fiekowsky and Carole Douglis, June 2023


Humanity has a moral obligation to future generations to restore a safe climate  that humans have actually survived long term.  
Carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) has two uses: to provide carbon offsets to emitters, and to restore the climate for future generations.
Government and industry are investing billions in CDR methods that today cost $500 – $1,000 to remove a ton of CO2. These “carbontech” methods provide the carbon offsets sought by carbon-intensive companies as society tries to reduce emissions. Although intended to be climate solutions, offsets cannot actually reduce CO2 levels because each ton removed is traded for and replaced by an extra ton emitted.
Restoring the pre-industrial climate will require lowering CO2 levels from today’s 420 parts per million (ppm) to below 300 ppm. Nature performs massive carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) –130 ppm– before ice ages, and occasionally at very rapid rates. We know how to do the same thing, at a cost of pennies per ton of CO2 removed.
Concerned individuals are starting to invest in climate-restoration solutions that cost thousands of times less than carbontech—a few cents per ton of CO2. These solutions, based on natural processes, have the potential to scale sufficiently to actually restore pre-industrial greenhouse-gas (GHG) levels and temperatures.  
Intermediate solutions such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and synthetic limestone have an important role in reducing future CO2 levels as well. (Solar PV avoids emissions, while synthetic limestone sequesters CO2.) These are both self-financing and can help achieve net-zero emissions 100 times faster per dollar invested than new tech CDR. 
Climate restoration could be funded by compassionate grandparents and future grandparents for whom a liveable planet is paramount—while carbon offsets and subsidies continue to fund expensive CDR projects.


The Mt. Pinatubo Eruption Preceded Removal of 20 Gt of Atmospheric CO2 in One Year—Supporting the Feasibility of Climate Restoration through Ocean Fertilization

The Mt. Pinatubo Eruption Preceded Removal of 20 Gt of Atmospheric CO2 in One Year—Supporting the Feasibility of Climate Restoration through Ocean Fertilization

  • 20 Gt of CO2 (2.3 ppm) appears to be permanently removed following the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
  • Carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) through ocean fertilization— similar to what precedes ice ages— is the most plausible explanation because of the duration of the removal.
  • This rate of removal is five times higher than the 3.7 Gt / year limit for CDR  ocean fertilization posited by some researchers.
  •  Data suggests that optimized interventions could produce the needed 60 Gt per year removal to restore pre-industrial CO2 levels by 2050. These would affect roughly 1% of the ocean surface.


Climate restoration—reducing CO2 levels below 300 ppm by 2050—requires net removal of 60 Gt CO2 per year from 2030 to 2050, almost twice current CO2 emissions. This goal restores levels actually proven safe for humans and significantly exceeds “net-zero by 2050,” which would leave CO2 more than 50% higher than humans have survived long-term.

The aftermath of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo demonstrates that this scale of carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) restoration may be feasible through intentional biomimicry of natural processes. Measurements at Mauna Loa show a rapid decrease of 20 gigatons (Gt) in CO2 levels following the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. This 2.3 parts per million (ppm) reduction appears permanent, and is separate from the global cooling of roughly 0.5C that occurred due to reflective sulfate aerosols injected into the stratosphere. The aerosol-related cooling lasted about 18 months, while the CO2 removal appears to be essentially permanent.

The only hypothesis proposed that can explain the long-term reduction in CO2 levels is that iron in the volcanic dust led to healthy phytoplankton blooms. Such “iron fertilization” has been shown to be the major mechanism at work in rapid CO2 decreases leading to ice ages. Other hypotheses—relating to land-based photosynthesis and increased solubility of CO2 in cooler oceans—do not fit the magnitude or duration of the observed CO2 removal.
While some researchers conclude that ocean iron fertilization (OIF) could remove at most 3.7 Gt of CO2 a year, the trend following Mt. Pinatubo suggests otherwise. If CO2 were restored to proven safe levels below 300 ppm by 2050, the mechanism would most likely be optimized ocean iron fertilization, due to its speed, low cost and ease of implementation. 

The next best financially viable option, synthetic limestone, costs 67 times more per ton of CO2 and would take many decades to scale up [See CDR Comparison paper, not yet published]. Popular CDR methods such as Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement and Direct Air Capture are more than 10,000 times more expensive per ton of CO2 removed. Thus rapid testing and scale-up of OIF appears today to be the best way to ensure the survival of future generations.

According to the iron hypothesis, one ton of iron promotes photosynthesis that removes as much as a million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and transports it into the ocean depths as the green plants, grazers, and other sea life die and sink.  Therefore removing 60 Gt CO2 per year, 3 times more than following the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, would require application of 60,000 tons of iron, likely in the form of iron sulfate. The cost of iron sulfate would total $5 million per year. Early, unoptimized OIF studies suggested that 10 – 100 times more iron might be required, increasing material costs to $50 or $500 million—still many thousands of times lower than estimated costs of carbontech CDR methods.
We conclude that through intentional biomimicry, ocean iron fertilization can plausibly withdraw 60 Gt of CO2 a year and restore CO2 levels below 300 ppm by 2050.


EP:554, Russians Who Left Russia

Hello. My name is Vladimir.

I’d like to thank everyone who took part in this episode. All of your stories are unique and really sad because nobody should be in the situation like we’ve got, especially good and intelligent people. And I totally understand your feelings, because I’m a “forced immigrant” too, unfortunately. Due to my position against Russian aggression there’s no way to be safe in Russia anymore.
My wife and I left the country last year and we live in Kazakhstan. But we cannot be sure of our safety because we’re too close to Russia. So we applied for a Canadian visa and we’ve been waiting for an answer for 6 months yet, but there’s no guarantee of success.

RE: 553 In light of the time sensitivity of this proposed research, has there been an exploration of the requirements and time frame for environmental impact reviews for any of these options?

Of course, Metta, given the stage and complexity of what you are doing. I am mainly suggesting that which proposal could get through such a process quickly might be a factor to consider.

Re: 553

Hello All,

Here is the YouTube chat transcript from the March 2023 Global Town Hall:

Jerome Thibodeau​Abrupt Cimate Change…, I’m certain we fit the bill…, a pole goes ice free within 100years, it’s considered, abrupt, I didn’t make the rules, and once the ice is gone, then, it really gets abrupt.
Jerome Thibodeau​: Dig Your Own Hole…, pick and shovel, some mortar and empty bottles…, that’s the only advise, I can give people at this point…
here hold this will ya​: Zelensky did not cause this war.
here hold this will ya: ​what the hell is this guy talking about. bomb me so I can have a war non sense!!
here hold this will ya​yea, if you come in my house, I’m going to fight you. but I have never fought anyone in my life here hold this will ya​tell him Metta
Environmental Coffeehouse​: Hi Paul!

Environmental Coffeehouse: ​Hi Metta
here hold this will ya​; Holy kaka. 40% shortage in just over 5 years

Environmental Coffeehouse: ​Great analogy Paul!
Environmental Coffeehouse​: Oh Peter is here. I thought I changed the show on my phone by accident. Hello Peter.

Environmental Coffeehouse​: They also blame it on sun, cycles, and things like that. Solar movements ofthe sun, or determine climate change.

Yo Mama​well: over the wind that does happen. but in those cases the temperature changes before the co2 levels change as I understand it
Environmental Coffeehouse: ​Well, this one person is really pushing me and I don't have the time to learn
what he wants me to learn: But he causes climate alarmist, and that bothers me.

Yo Mama​it: all very complex and then the misinfo purveyors make it that much worse
Environmental Coffeehouse: ​Agree Yo Mama
Yo Mama​over: the eons
here hold this will ya​: I just wanna be half as bright as Metta when I grow up

Environmental Coffeehouse: ​Good for you, Metta
here hold this will ya: ​I am
Environmental Coffeehouse: ​So why is he putting nukes in Belarus?
Environmental Coffeehouse: ​What defense does Vladimir Putin have to put nuclear weapons in Belarus?
What’s the point?
Sacco and Vanzetti​: The US does it too
Sacco and Vanzettti: and he’s not wrong
Environmental Coffeehouse: I hate war . Period!!!!!
Sacco and Vanzetti: ​yeah

Hello All,

Here is the Zoom chat transcript for the March 2023 Global Town Hall:

14:03:51 From Marilyn Krieger, CCBC to Everyone:
Metta, is it possible to turn the closed caption function on? Thank you!

14:05:06 From Glen Anderson to Everyone:
I’ve been receiving positive feedback on my March 2023 TV program, which
you can watch online. The title is “Smart Strategies to Organize for Peace
and No Nuclear Weapons.” CLICK THIS LINK to watch the video and/or
read the transcript:

14:05:37 From Marilyn Krieger, CCBC to Everyone:
Congratulations Glen!

14:15:17 From Glen Anderson to Everyone:
The song “Universal Soldier” came out more than half a century ago. Buffy
Sainte-Marie wrote it. It says soldiering on ALL sides keeps wars going. You
can hear her perform it in 3 minutes at this link: I quoted part of it in
my application for Conscientious Objector status in 1972.

14:32:25 From Glen Anderson to Everyone:

14:48:55 From Glen Anderson to Everyone:
I agree with Alberto. The U.S.’s military weapons manufacturers FUND THE
CAMPAIGNS of U.S. politicians. Today I posted this to my blog:
congresss-armed-services-committees POLITICIANS ARE ADDICTED to


14:51:23 From Glen Anderson to Everyone:
Brainless support for military violence makes problems worse. When
Bush/Cheney were urging the U.S. to make war on Iraq, Senator Joe Biden
said the U.S. should bomb Iraq into democracy. This shows how brainless he
is — and little he understands what democracy is about.

14:54:11 From Leda Raptis to Everyone:
In Ukraine’s case, we can start by stopping NATO expansion. This was what
started the war, on paper at least. Lots of mainstreams, not just peace groups
in Europe know that.

14:55:14 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:

14:57:31 From Leda Raptis to Everyone:
About supporting dissidents: Putin had trouble recruiting, there were
protests etc. We should support them, and the Ukrainian dissidents too. But
Biden’s statement, that we must eliminate Russia, goes against our efforts!

Putin says, the NATO wants us eliminated, so there goes the defence of the
homeland and patriotism…

15:03:46 From kathrin winkler to Everyone:
Whatever it is that we have to do it is not buying 88 new fighter jets with
stealth and nuclear capabilities – we have the answers but the war profiteers
and extraction guzzlers aren’t on board

15:07:36 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
even if there were no war profiteers, the poor workers who help build all the
military vehicles, explosives, missiles, etc, MUST be paid their salaries every

15:10:40 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
this is why politicians MUST organize, against thr weill of populations, the
bloody wars we have to endure.

15:13:47 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
this is why I call the UN International Wat Club. All wars in the world are
concocted, nrgotiated and produced by UN member countries, un der the
supervision of the War Supremo, the UN obedient Secretary General

15:14:45 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
The Security Council is the Executive War Committee

15:14:56 From Alastair (he, him) Farrugia to Everyone:
I’ll be leavingthis call. I might join you for next month’s call.

15:17:47 From to Everyone:
So Alberto, can we all be thankful that the nuclear threat is much less since it
is presumably not allowed (against the rules) in the pre-arranged game of

15:19:36 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
Nuclear weapons are the best excuse to develop conventional weapons of
almost as much lethal power as their nuclear cousins.

15:21:12 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
Politicians are too greedy and too egoistic to be working for their own

15:21:30 From Glen Anderson to Everyone:
Long ago when we were discussing the IPCC reports, I raised my hand, but
Metta never called on me, so I’m putting my comment in the chat. The IPCC
reports REPEATEDLY said the climate crisis is serious AND it’s getting
worse. But governments PERSISTENTLY FAILED to take necessary actions.
As a result the climate crisis seemed like “old news,” so mainstream media
failed to report meaningful on the urgent crisis. This made it easier for
governments to PERSIST IN FAILING to act. The remedy is WE NEED A
MOVEMENT to solve the problem! In the absence of this, the oil companies
and other polluters are promoting SCAMS that FAIL to solve the problems
but further empower and enrich themselves with high-tech schemes.

15:25:27 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:

Please join me! help me create HUFUD in Canada. Look at the website and the programme of yesterdasy’s Peace Conference

15:27:45 From Bruno Uganda to Everyone:
Hufud is doing great campaigns in Pacifying African continent

15:31:28 From Barbara Birkett to Everyone:
Can Franz post any of his research papers for us to read?

15:36:17 From kathrin winkler to Everyone:
This isn’t an argument about who is right and wrong is it? Or if it is we can
bury another generation of young soldiers under that hill – can we come
together to talk about ending the imperialistic and militaristic approaches to
solving international conflict?

15:40:21 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
Churchill said to Truman ‘of course we could have avoided this war (WWII)
but we didn’t want to’

15:41:49 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
 ́the war, Churchill confessed, was not about ending Fascism or Nazism, but
a way of conquering new markets

15:43:54 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
whilst people keep talking about the ‘Defense’ industy instead of the ‘Attack
industry’ or full name, ‘War industry’, nothing will change

15:45:03 From Alberto Portugheis to Everyone:
and politicians will keep sending our children on killing missions and to die.

15:50:20 From kathrin winkler to Everyone:
THank you to all for this conversation – and yes, peace!

15:51:17 From to Everyone:
Thanks everyone. I’ll have to go at 4 pm…

15:57:11 From Alexey Prokhorenko to Everyone:
Nikolay Partrushev

Re episode 544 on urban forests. For reference I point readers to the R Drever et al. paper on natural climate solutions (NCS), and panelist H. Akbari’s papers (mentioned in Drever, above) on urban tree planting impacts:

R Drever et al. 2021 Natural climate solutions for Canada

H. Akbari, S. Konopacki, Energy effects of heat-island reduction strategies in Toronto, Canada. Energy. 29, 191–210 (2004).
H. Akbari, H. Taha, The impact of trees and white surfaces on residential heating and cooling energy use in four Canadian cities. Energy. 17, 141–149 (1992).

Re: Episode 538 Urban Trees – there are limitations, such as application for permits for specific locations. One topic not discussed is that trees produce shade (more as they grow ever bigger).
Another use of urban space would be to grow vegetables, requiring open space and sunlight. This too would save GHG [reduction for transportation and energy for standard agricultural production.]
In other words, urban tree planting requires considerable examination of the potential site(s) before going ahead

Dear Pugwash community,

Please consider making a contribution at our website or becoming a member on Patreon to support our work. We are a very modestly funded organization working with 20-30 volunteers many of whom are graduate students and researchers.

We have a rock dust primer and a research database, and our most current article is a Crash Course on Enhanced Weathering for Carbon Removal. We also have an educational project called Let’s Remineralize! Science Ed K-12 for teachers and students.

Thank you for your support!


Thank you for this very interesting subject for discussion! I have become obsessed with soil quality since I moved to a ground floor flat that has a small garden that had what could only be described as dead soil. It has been a fascinating journey and I can now say that I have success because there are worms everywhere. Composting is also another interesting subject because we all waste such valuable product that can be used!!

In an international zoom call today Jan 19, members of the CBD Alliance from five different continents largely agreed with the assessment copied below, of COP15 by Simone Lovera (Global Forest Coalition m. from Uruguay). We particularly emphasize her concerns about lack of real action under the treaty to stop destruction of “all our relations” in lands, waters and oceans; failure of governments to act or aid poor nations, indigenes, peasants, fishers, despite repeated empty promises; that many of the new Targets were deliberately rewritten to preserve existing systems of industrial agriculture, fishing, and resource extraction; and that corporate capture has been built into false privatized solutions (as opposed to public AfD) such as NbS, so-called “nature positive finance” which generates offsets that increase pollution and continues BAU. NGOs and faith groups must be watchdogs of implementation “mechanisms”, targets and indicators, and particularly of human rights for gender/youth/UNDRIP/UNDROP – where there have been egregious abuses and land-grabs in the name of “conservation”. These are the real dangers hidden by corporate (and official UN) buzzwords such as “nature positive”, “30×30” and “net zero”. Without ecojustice there can be no peace — so we hope North American peace networks can work together with us.

David Millar

Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) rep to CBD and COP15

510-1530 av du Dr Penfield, Montreal QC H3G1C1 Canada

tel 514 386-8421

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything — Mark Twain\

Read more

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Historical Deal for Biodiversity

By Simone Lovera, published 29 December 2022 by Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung

In German – Auf Deutsch lesen / In Russian – Читать на русском

It was an awkward incident: right at the moment that the Chinese environment minister serving as chairman of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD COP15) wanted to adopt what has been touted as the “Paris Agreement of biodiversity”, the representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) asked for the floor and stated that the agreement was unacceptable because it did not include a new independent Global Biodiversity Fund. It seems his words, spoken in French, were lost in translation for Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu. He looked confused, quickly consulted the CBD Secretariat, and then lowered the hammer saying that the agreement was adopted as nobody had “objected”. 

It was an ugly blemish on an otherwise impressive exercise of international diplomacy by the Chinese presidency of COP15, which took place in Montreal from December 7 to 19, 2022. After four long years of painstaking negotiations, they succeeded in crafting, through intense consultations with nearly every country at the conference, an impressive package of six compromise deals including a Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), a monitoring system and interim resource mobilization strategy for the GBF, and an agreement to share the benefits of digital sequence information systems. 

The package was subsequently presented to the plenary as a “take-it-or-leave-it” deal, a strategy that reminded some of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, where Barack Obama tried to push through a similar last-minute compromise negotiated behind closed doors. Obama’s deal was rejected in the final plenary, while the Chinese package deal at CBD COP15, which was still subject to dozens of profound disagreements only two days earlier, was surprisingly accepted by each and every country except for, initially, DRC. And even this last blemish was rapidly brushed away: at the next day’s closing session, DRC opened the meeting by publicly changing its objection to the package to a mere “reservation” about it in the footnote. 

Of course, one might wonder whether the sudden reversal had something to do with the fact that the DRC is one of the African countries that receive the most Chinese investments. But the often very smart compromises in the final package also displayed the power of Chinese diplomacy, which throughout the process had focused on trying to bridge the differences between countries rather than imposing its own views on them. Meanwhile, the host country Canada had been crystal clear about its own agenda. On top of the package, the conference agreed on no less than 56 decisions (including 37 related to the CBD itself), although it failed to agree on a new Bureau due to a nasty last-minute fight between the Russian Federation and the EU and its allies, which means COP15 was formally not closed but suspended.

The Bad

No comprehensive technology horizon scanning

Regretfully, the fact that they were smart did not mean that these compromises were also strong. In particular, a lot of the more progressive proposals that directly or indirectly touched on corporate interests were ruthlessly deleted in the final compromise package. The final package of decisions was genuinely disappointing for activists that were hoping for strong texts on, for example, a horizon scanning mechanism for new technologies, or measures to reduce the risks of synthetic biology, genetically modified organisms, false climate solutions like Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Sequestration or the privatization and commercialization of genetic information through digital sequence information systems. Some initial steps were made to start horizon scanning related to synthetic biology in a separate decision, but the proposal is absent from the GBF itself. On a more positive note, attempts to include geoengineering (technologies to manipulate the climate on a massive scale) in the GBF were prevented as well.

No legally binding corporate accountability

Similarly, important proposals that would hold corporations legally accountable for damage caused to biodiversity were ruthlessly deleted from the final GBF text. The targets dealing with the role and accountability of the private sector and consumers were watered down to weak and hollow phrases about the need to “encourage” and “enable” businesses to monitor their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity and “provide information” about this to consumers so that they can make sustainable choices. Such self-reporting has been prominent in certification and other green marketing schemes, which are broadly seen to have failed as the institutions that were supposed to control these claims were often financially dependent on the very corporations they were asked to verify – if there was any verification at all. The proposals also assume consumers would be in a position to choose, while most people on this planet are simply too poor to choose.

No recognition of the role of unsustainable diets and food systems

Deleted from the text were references to the need to change diets and/or food systems in general to reduce the impact of, in particular, unsustainable livestock farming, which is a primary cause of biodiversity loss and climate change. These were replaced by a repetition of an already existing target to reduce global food waste by half. And while it was celebrated that a related target on sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries specifically mentions the need for a substantial increase in agroecological practices, this reference is now accompanied by a reference to “sustainable intensification”, a term which is often used by industry to promote even more intensive forms of livestock farming, or the use of genetically modified organisms to ‘intensify’ agricultural production.

Weak implementation mechanisms

On top of that, the monitoring framework and implementation mechanisms that were agreed upon provide no guarantee that the lofty recommendations in the GBF will actually lead to concrete action on the ground. Similar to the climate regime, there are global goals, but it is up to countries what share of those goals they will take upon them. The indicators that were developed to help countries with their reporting process are glaringly insufficient, in some cases astonishingly inadequate (such as using controversial forest certification schemes as indicators for sustainable forest management) and ignore virtually all gender, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity policy. No binding reporting or other compliance mechanisms were agreed upon, so whether the GBF and associated decisions will actually be implemented is very much left up to the political will of the Parties to the CBD.

The Good

Recognition of Indigenous and women’s rights

While many NGOs were deploring the final GBF text, the atmosphere was quite the opposite in rightsholder caucuses like the CBD Women’s Caucus and the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB). The IIFB in particular was almost jubilant about the final GBF text. And with good reason, as the GBF reflects a hard-won paradigm shift in the field of biodiversity conservation. Instead of the old ‘fortress’ model where biodiversity conservation was mainly seen as a matter of establishing national parks to protect biodiversity against people, the GBF that was adopted in Montreal includes more than a dozen strong references to the need to respect not only the rights, but also the role, knowledge, collective action and other contributions of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women in the field of biodiversity conservation. This includes an important recognition of “indigenous territories” in the most visible target of the GBF: the target to ensure that at least 30% of the planet is covered through formal protected areas or other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) by 2030 – often abbreviated as the “30×30” target. 

Recognition of Indigenous territories

And while part of the conservation community celebrated the 30% target, the main victory is actually that Indigenous territories are NOT included in that target, but recognized as a separate third pathway. This clearly reconfirms the rights of Indigenous Peoples to autonomously decide, in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and quite a number of national laws and constitutions, if and especially how these territories will contribute to conservation. These areas will therefore not fall under the authority of national parks agencies, which is something many Indigenous Peoples had feared. But if they choose to do so, Indigenous Peoples are also free to classify their own territories as Indigenous Protected Areas, as ICCAs (Indigenous territories and community conserved areas) or as OECMs. And to emphasize this autonomy, it is reiterated at the end of the target that all actions should be in line with “recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories”.

Equitable governance and effective conservation

Meanwhile, in a comical discussion during the very last days of COP15, it became clear that the 30% target itself is actually a farce as several Parties, including the EU, suddenly realized that if one really includes not only formal protected areas but also all OECMs, the total area of land that is already covered by such measures is probably significantly higher than 30%. This means the implementation focus of the target has to shift from the expansion of protected areas to the qualitative aspects of the target, including the important conditions that such areas should be “equitably governed” and “effectively conserved”. This is definitely not yet the case for the majority of these areas. So the GBF primarily mandates governments to significantly improve the governance of existing conserved areas, including by ensuring they respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and by ensuring anything that is called sustainable use should contribute to biodiversity conservation – the latter might prevent the current practice of allowing large-scale logging or other destructive activities in “protected” areas.

Recognizing community conservation

The rights and contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities were also respected in many other elements of the GBF, including the targets on spatial planning (target 1), customary use (targets 5 and 9), and traditional and other knowledge (target 21). Moreover, community conservation initiatives and other “collective actions” of Indigenous Peoples and local communities were recognized as a form of resource mobilization in target 19.

Recognizing women’s rights and contributions

The CBD Women’s Caucus celebrated the final GBF as well, as they succeeded after a long uphill battle to include a free-standing target on gender (target 23) that not only urges governments to take a gender-responsive approach to the GBF and ensure women’s participation, but also explicitly recognizes the equal rights of women to land and natural resources. On top of that, a Gender Plan of Action was adopted that forms a comprehensive set of guidelines to mainstream gender in all biodiversity-related decisions and implementation mechanisms. Sadly, subtle references to non-binary people and the need to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation were ruthlessly deleted from the Gender Plan of Action during the last days of COP15. Moreover, the CBD Women’s Caucus failed to secure gender-differentiated indicators in the monitoring framework – except for the indicators related to the gender target itself – or to integrate references to gender dimensions in most of the other GBF targets. This means there is a serious risk that gender will once again become a separate pillar in the GBF and its implementation mechanisms, rather than something that will be genuinely integrated, despite the lofty words in the Gender Plan of Action.

Defending environmental defenders and human rights

A noteworthy exception is what is perhaps the most promising target of the GBF, target 22, which solidly anchors the rights-based approach in the framework. The explicit references to full, equitable, inclusive and gender-responsive participation; access to justice, rights over lands, territories, resources and traditional knowledge; and the protection of environmental human rights defenders in this target can all be seen as major victories for the rightsholder groups and NGOs who fought tirelessly for the past four years for a truly rights-based GBF.

The Ugly

Corporate capture through private sector financing

Despite this good news, a snake lurks in the grass, as the GBF also opened the doors to “all sources of finance” to support its implementation, including in particular private sector financial support. And while the ambitious figure of mobilizing 200 billion USD per year in biodiversity finance was incorporated in the GBF, the text also specifies that only 20 to 30 billion will actually consist of official development aid.

This throws the door open for greenwashing (and potentially even whitewashing, as even illegally acquired money seems to be welcome) practices. It means public biodiversity policy will become even more dependent upon the financial support – and thus the whims and wishes – of business and industry. You do not bite the hand that feeds you, so the increasing dependence on private sector financing means governments will be less likely to adopt regulations that harm their business “partners”. And while it is welcome the GBF includes a target to reduce perverse incentives with 500 billion USD per year by 2030, research has found that the corporate capture of policy-making through blended finance is a major obstacle to reforming perverse incentives on the ground.

Biodiversity offsets and credits

Even more ugly was the late-night inclusion of “biodiversity offsets and credits” as an “innovative scheme” of financing in the GBF. Biodiversity offsets, which are far from innovative, do not work in practice because one cannot simply replace a destroyed ecosystem with another ecosystem. For the local women and men that depend on the ecosystem that is destroyed, a compensation project in another location provides no benefits. In fact, biodiversity offsets not only create an incentive for biodiversity agencies to allow harmful projects, they also create an incentive for the very old-style fortress conservation models that other parts of the GBF aim to overcome because they need to deliver guaranteed conservation outcomes. The fact that the term “nature positive”, which was seen by many as a broad-scale approach to offsetting, was removed from the GBF was a meager bandage in this respect. Additionally, the fact that the words “with environmental and social safeguards” were added after a last-minute fierce campaign by NGOs and rightsholder groups against biodiversity offsets is only marginally helpful.

Nature-based solutions (NBS)

Another battle that was lost at the very last moment was the long struggle of many NGOs and rightsholder groups against the inclusion of the term “nature-based solutions” (NBS) in the GBF. That this battle would likely be lost was clear from the start, as NBS had not only been embraced and defined by the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) in March 2022, but also by several other UN meetings including the 27th Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention, which took place only a few weeks before COP15. And it is precisely the climate regime that is likely to become the main victim of the use of this term. While the UNEA resolution formally limits NBS to actions that contribute positively to biodiversity only, the overwhelming majority of NBS is already formed by forest and other carbon offset projects – even whales could be included in the voluntary carbon market these days. The UNEA resolution actually recognized that the possible impact of these often fraudulent schemes on the climate regime should be analyzed. But it was clear from the many NBS side events organized by the private sector and many conservation organizations during COP15 that they see no problem with welcoming a source of funding that undermines efforts to halt one of the main causes of biodiversity loss: global warming. 

No direct funding for Indigenous Peoples and local communities?

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether the new Global Biodiversity Fund that has been proposed, initially as a trust fund under the Global Environment Facility (GEF), will be more selective as far as accepting sources of funding is concerned. It is also uncertain whether it will provide direct access to funding for Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women, as many rightsholders have demanded. The GEF itself includes a modest small grants program that does directly support rightsholders on the ground. Experience with the Green Climate Fund, which was established as an alternative to the GEF, suggests that new funds will not necessarily include similar direct access facilities – in fact, the Green Climate Fund has ended up being even more dominated by corporate interests than the GEF.

The Way Forward 

Preventing harm through divesting from biodiversity destruction 

Not all financial news at COP15 was ugly, though. Aside from the recognition of Indigenous rights, one of the most positive elements of the GBF is target 14, which mandates governments to align all activities and fiscal and financial flows with the GBF. This commitment to divest from all those projects and sectors that destroy biodiversity, like unsustainable livestock farminglarge-scale bioenergy production, and extractive industries, is an important recognition of the fact that it makes little sense to pump 30 billion USD into biodiversity conservation when 3.1 trillion USD is spent annually on biodiversity destruction. Target 14 is explicitly directed to all levels of government, thus making it clear that it is governments who should ensure that both public and private financial institutions withdraw their money from such harmful activities.

Turning promises into reality by resisting corporate capture of the GBF

As with all GBF targets, turning these positive proposals into a reality will require steadfast campaigning to consistently remind governments of the commitments they made in December 2022. Continued campaigns against the corporate capture of policy-making through blended finance and other “partnerships” are needed to ensure that governments will free themselves of conflicts of interest and truly embrace the spirit of the GBF. Promises are there, on paper. Now it is up to us all to ensure that they do not become paper tigers again.

For some background on the scale of air conditioning and electricity use that might be modified by urban tree planting:


Science & technology | Biocement
Adding bacteria can make concrete greener
They offer ways to produce cement without releasing carbon dioxide
Concrete is one of the world’s most important materials. But making the cement that binds it generates about 8% of anthropogenic carbon-dioxide emissions.
This is not just because of the heat involved. That could, in principle, be supplied in environmentally friendly ways. It is, rather, embedded in the very chemistry of the process. The heat is applied to limestone, to break up its principal constituent, calcium carbonate, into calcium oxide (cement’s crucial ingredient) and CO2.
In a warming world, this CO2 should be disposed of in a manner which keeps it out of the atmosphere. That is tricky. Better, then, not to generate it in the first place, by remodelling the way the aggregates that are concrete’s other ingredient are bound together. Intriguingly, this may be an area where microbes can come to the rescue.
One proposal, literally as well as metaphorically green, is to recruit the services of chlorophyll-laden, photosynthesising organisms called cyanobacteria. That has allowed Prometheus Materials, a firm in Colorado, to develop a cement-making process in which the energy comes not from heat but light—something easily generated from electricity that has, in turn, been provided by renewable sources. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, photosynthesis subtracts CO2 from the atmosphere rather than adding it.
Grow-your-own concrete
Prometheus raises its bacteria in water-filled “bioreactors” surrounded by light-emitting diodes, to allow the bugs to photosynthesise. The water contains inorganic nutrients the bacteria need, and is perfused by streams of air bubbles which provide the CO2. It also has calcium ions dissolved in it—for the purpose of the exercise is to encourage the bacteria to generate from the ingredients provided crystals of calcium carbonate a few microns across—a process called biomineralisation.
The number of bacteria in the bioreactors would double every four to six hours if permitted to do so. Instead, quantities of them are transferred regularly to another tank. Here, they are plied with a proprietary stimulant that accelerates biomineralisation and then allowed to sit for an hour or so to mature. When the crystal-rich gloop that results is mixed with an aggregate, the product is “bioconcrete”.
Bioconcrete actually comes in many varieties, depending on the aggregate employed. For the moment, Prometheus is pinning its hopes on mixing the gloop with sand, together with a so-called hydrogel (think jelly deserts for children’s parties, only more industrial), which further helps to bind the sand grains together.
To reduce the space between the grains in the mixture, and thereby strengthen the resulting material, the company first pours the mix into casts that will shape it into breeze blocks, and then uses machinery which compresses and, for about ten seconds, “vibrates the heck out of it”, says Loren Burnett, Prometheus’s boss. The resulting blocks then take about eight days to cure, compared with 28 days for conventionally produced breeze blocks.
Prometheus says making concrete this way emits a tenth of the CO2 generated by conventional concrete-making. Mr Burnett hopes that will permit the firm to charge a “green premium”—because one thing which the new blocks are not, is cheaper than the conventional variety. He will not, though, be relying on the construction industry’s goodwill for this to happen. Many jurisdictions, including the states of California, Oregon and Washington, are bringing forward regulations that will favour “reduced-carbon” concrete.
How much the premium will need to be to permit a profit is not yet clear, but it should be once Prometheus has shifted production from its laboratory to a pilot manufacturing facility nearby—a move it expects to complete early next year. That said, the firm does hope to bring costs down eventually to a point where it competes with conventional cement-makers on price as well.
One unknown is how permeable to water the new material will prove. But the stuff is certainly strong. Recent batches have withstood pressures of 380kg per square centimetre—more than some conventional concretes can tolerate. Sales of breeze blocks, and also of bricks for sound barriers to dampen traffic noise (an application based on the belief that the hydrogel will dissipate sound better than conventional concrete) should start early next year. Bringing precast bridge segments to market will take a bit longer, as more rigorous certification is involved.
Prometheus says its new plant will be able to turn out nearly 21,000 breeze blocks a month. But, because shipping heavy products long distances is expensive, it is also working on a process that air-dries both the bacteria and the crystals. The idea, says Mr Burnett, is to produce a “just-add-water” biocement mixture that would be lighter than a conventional cement mix, and could thus be shipped more cheaply.
Building on organic growth
Another biocement firm, Biomason, of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, uses a similar approach, except that its bacteria, Sporosarcina pasteurii, do not photosynthesise, so have to be fed organic nutrients, in the form of sugar and amino acids, as well as inorganic ones. According to Ginger Krieg Dosier, the firm’s boss, the result is better than conventional cement at binding fine particles together. This lets Biomason substitute things like mine tailings for part of the sand that would otherwise be used. Biomason’s first products are wall and floor tiles branded “Biolith”.
Applications for biocement extend beyond conventional construction, too. America’s Department of Defence, for one, has shown interest. Its aim is to be able to build things in remote areas without having to hump in cement and other materials. That would be doubly valuable if the territory through which the humping would otherwise be happening were hostile. Indeed, it was the defence department that catalysed the formation of Prometheus, by awarding the team at the University of Colorado which later founded the firm a grant of $1.8m back in 2017.
The department is also, in the guise of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (darpa) and the Air Force Research Laboratory, collaborating with Biomason to develop biocement sprays that can turn sand or loose soil into runways. Michael Dosier, Biomason’s chief technologist (and the boss’s husband), says the hardening involved could require less than 72 hours.
Even wilder uses are on the cards. In a talk given in August to darpa Forward, a technology conference in Fort Collins, Colorado, Kathleen Hicks, America’s deputy secretary of defence, outlined a goal that is literally out of this world: an ability to spray a bacterial liquid on lunar or Martian regolith, in order to “grow a landing pad”.
Back on Earth, biocements are already being used to consolidate loose ground for reasons other than runway-making. Some concocted in Singapore by researchers at Nanyang Technological University (ntu) are intended to slow coastal erosion.
To do this, ntu’s civil and environmental engineering department is formulating recipes that mix seawater, calcium chloride, urea and an enzyme from soyabeans. For some batches, the calcium chloride and urea have been successfully substituted, respectively, by carbide sludge, an industrial waste, and human urine.
ntu’s biocements are conveniently watery and, once set in concrete as it were, colourless. This means, says Chu Jian, the department’s chairman, that, “you just need to pour the solution on top of the beach”. Singapore’s National Parks Board is testing ntu’s biocements at two beaches that are being worn away by the waves—one fringing the island state’s south coast, the other in a group of offshore islets.
Filling in the cracks
Another ingenious bacterial concoction intended for the construction industry is produced by Basilisk, a firm in the Netherlands. In 2017 it launched a product that heals cracks in concrete.
Basilisk Healing Agent consists of tiny pellets that hold dried spores from a range of bacteria belonging to the genera PlanococcusBacillus and Sporosarcina, together with nutrients including polylactic acid. Construction workers pour the pellets into conventional cement when mixing it with water and aggregate. The high alkalinity of uncured cement stops the moisture activating the spores. That alkalinity drops, however, as the concrete cures. This means that, if a crack appears and water gets in, the spores in the embedded pellets are primed to spring into action and generate calcium carbonate. This fills in fissures up to a millimetre across, nipping potentially dangerous cracks in the bud.
Not only does that lower maintenance costs, it also means the concrete concerned need contain less reinforcing steel, since the quantity of such “rebar” used in conventional concrete anticipates the extra strength which will be needed as cracks inevitably form. A cubic metre of typical concrete thus requires 100-120kg of rebar, at a cost of around a dollar a kilogram. According to Bart van der Woerd, Basilisk’s boss, adding 5kg of Basilisk’s pellets can halve that requirement for some projects, and will set you back only €37 ($37).
Not only does that save money, it also saves CO2 emissions—because making steel from iron ore is another process that releases this gas for fundamental-chemical rather than mere energy-generating reasons. (The ore is iron oxide, and the oxygen is plucked from this to leave metallic iron by its reaction with the carbon in coke.) Less steel equals less CO2. Sometimes then, and luckily, it is the road to heaven, not that to hell, which is paved with good intentions. ■
Curious about the world? To enjoy our mind-expanding science coverage, sign up to Simply Science, our weekly subscriber-only newsletter.
This article appeared in the Science & technology section of the print edition under the headline “Building with bacteria” .Science and Technology, November 25, 2022.

That biocement stuff sounds great — but there’s another important way to reduce the global warming effect of concrete: the creation of carbon-negative aggregate. At the moment they make it from demolished concrete, mixing it with CO2 from an industrial site. The aggregate is so great at containing the carbon dioxide permanently that it offsets the current emissions from the manufacture of Portland cement. Now if we can just combine these two approaches (and why not?) we would have a stupendously carbon-absorbing concrete. We could suck the greenhouse gas out of the air and lock it away in structures that we need to create anyway.

How fast can they test this stuff and get factories made to produce it? We need it NOW!

The Catastrophic Threat of Thawing Permafrost Hangs Over Us All
As the Arctic heats up, sinking buildings and roads are the least of our problems: When carbon locked in the ground ends up in the air, warming could get worse for everyone

Oct 28, 2022

Richard Littlemore is a Vancouver-based journalist, consultant, speechwriter, and co-author of Climate Cover-up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming.
The Klondike capital of Dawson City is one of the best places in Canada to contemplate the catastrophic consequences of thawing permafrost. Or, if you’d rather, it might be a place to ignore the implications entirely, and with confidence that you are not alone in doing so. It depends on how closely you want to look – or how desperately you want to look away.

Most of Dawson – like 30 per cent to 50 per cent of Canada – is underlain by permafrost, which scientists define as ground that has remained frozen, winter and summer, for at least two years. The notion may seem chilly, even forbidding, in the south, but many northerners call permafrost “our concrete.” They use it as a base for roads and bridges, as the foundation for homes, churches and businesses. In the words of Steve Kokelj, a Carleton University geographer and one of the deans of the Canadian permafrost community, it’s “the glue that holds the northern landscape together.”
But if the promising prefix “perma-” suggests that this essential base is going to remain frozen forever, you might be disappointed. Thanks to climate warming, which a recent study by the Finnish Meteorological Institute showed is advancing in the North at up to seven times the global average, permafrost is thawing at an accelerating rate.
Which means that stuff is starting to break. The Northwest Territories Association of Communities said in 2017 that its annual bill for permafrost-related repairs was already $51-million – a big additional tax for a small population (44,800). And it’s going to get worse. A January study in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment predicted that permafrost-related damage will affect 30 per cent to 50 per cent of all northern infrastructure by 2050.
That’s obviously bad news for everyone who lives in one of the houses that is riding a permafrost thaw slump into the sea. But there is an even greater threat that hangs over us all.

Read more


The New Democrat Bill is Good for Climate
Best guess says that the bill that Joe Manchin has agreed to will allow the US to ALMOST reach the greenhouse gas target that it pledged in the Paris agreement. This is progress. Not enough, but something to celebrate — if it passes Congress. Promote it vigorously, please friends.

NO planet B.png

Basalt is Good Too
Another great possibility is to spread crushed rock (especially basalt) on the soil. It grabs and holds onto carbon from the atmosphere, and it does good to the fertility of soil The question is, how much energy does it require to smash and transport the rock? That all depends.


Reindeer as Ecosystem Engineers?

“On the Yamal Peninsula in West Siberia, the nomadic Nenets people have a long tradition of herding reindeer on the Arctic tundra. In recent decades, however, the tundra has been changing, and so are the ways that reindeer interact with it.

The Yamal Peninsula is shown above in a natural-color image acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on July 8, 2021. At that time of year, Nenets herders likely were making their summer migration to the north.

In the Arctic, temperatures have been rising faster than anywhere else in the world. Climate change has been altering the plant communities in tundra and taiga (boreal) ecosystems. As growing seasons become longer and warmer, plant growth has increased—an effect called Arctic greening. Additionally, the tundra grasses and small plants that normally grow here are being replaced by taller, woodier shrubs and trees—a change called shrubification. These changes in vegetation affect the tundra ecosystem, including its carbon cycle, human and wildlife habitat, and susceptibility to wildfire.

But the changes have not been uniform across the Arctic. For example, research supported by NASA’s Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) found that instead of greening, some colder, drier areas have experienced browning. The map below is based on Landsat satellite observations between 2000 and 2020 that show about 27 percent of the Arctic became greener while 8 percent became browner.

Read more

Read More:

Last edited 2 years ago by Project Save The World

Time for Expansion: The Arctic Council at the Crossroad of Heightened Strategic Tensions and Climate Change

Nima Khorrami | The Arctic Institute: Centre for Circumpolar Security Studies | 12 October 2021

Thanks to its resources, its potential as a maritime shortcut between global trading hubs in Asia, Europe and North America, technological developments, and, above all, climate change, strategic competition is set to keep reaching new heights in the Arctic. Although the current situation is not as fragile as it once was during the Cold War, the anticipated intensification in the Sino-American strategic rivalry, Moscow’s newly acquired habit of violating international legal system, and increased commercial and military activities of both Arctic and non-Arctic nations herald the beginning of a new era; one that is already heavily marred in zero-sum thinking and therefore is considerably more prone to friction.

Given this anticipated state of affairs as well as the commonly acknowledged inadequacy of the existing defence and security arrangements in the region, the need for a well-thought out long term strategy for the region is now, more than ever before, apparent. To this end, the future trajectory of the Arctic Council and its institutional development is of paramount importance. Some scholars claim that regional institutions risk becoming irrelevant should they “fail to respond to the rate of change” while others warn of unsuitability of retaining exclusivity on the Arctic governance based on geographical proximity and simultaneously highlight the urgent need for either reforming the current “Arctic-oriented international organisations” or establishing new ones.

By taking its lead from these works and their findings, this article seeks to make the case for a reformed Arctic Council and the widening of its mandate; one that includes defence and security related issues. Its main argument is that reforming the Council, or more accurately expanding its mandate, does not represent a deviation from its initial purpose but in fact is a vital prerequisite if it is to be able to fulfil its key objectives of environmental protection and sustainable development. Concurring that insistence on exclusivity is bound to failure, moreover, this paper also contends that the Council, thanks to its large number of observer states, is the most suitable and/or natural venue for not only defence related discussions but also the wider issue of Arctic governance.

Read more


Last edited 2 years ago by Adam Wynne

Recently, Greta Thunberg aptly described the global-warming (non)efforts of faux or neo-environmentalist politicos as just more “blah, blah, blah”.
To me, she was also saying that, while bone-dry-vegetation world regions uncontrollably burn, mass addiction to fossil fuel products undoubtedly helps keep the average consumer quiet about the planet’s greatest polluter, lest they feel and/or be publicly deemed hypocritical. Meanwhile, (neo)liberals and conservatives remain overly preoccupied with vocally criticizing one another for their relatively trivial politics and diverting attention away from some of the planet’s greatest polluters, where it should and needs to be sharply focused.
Industry and fossil-fuel friendly governments can tell when a very large portion of the populace is too tired and worried about feeding/housing themselves or their family, and the virus-variant devastation still being left in COVID-19’s wake — all while on insufficient income — to criticise them for whatever environmental damage their policies cause/allow, particularly when not immediately observable. In fact, until recently, I had not heard Greta’s name in the mainstream corporate news-media since COVID-19 hit the world.

Conclusions of the paper “Ocean stratification and sea-ice cover in Barents and

Kara seas modulate sea-air methane flux: satellite data” by


Igor POLYAKOV & Hong ZHANG ( are

(subjective likelihoods are in brackets):

a) CH4 flux in winter prevails over that in summer (99%)

a1) This is due to a change in mixing (90%)

b) for the winter open-water sea a positive trend of the flux is negligible (70%). More accurate measurements are needed to prove its importance. 

b1) A competition between positive seabed temp-re and negative mixing trends dumps the flux from the Barents sea (50%). 

b2) for a partially ice-covered sea the winter trend is very high (90%)

b3) this is due to degradation of the ice cover (70%) or to growing flux from the seabed (30%)

This is the only satellite investigation of Arctic methane.

As a lifelong resident of southwestern B.C. (Canada), the unprecedented heatwave here in late June, described by meteorologists as more of a ‘stalling heat dome’, left me feeling I could never again complain about the weather being too cold. …

After 54 years of life, I find collective human existence has for too long been analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line. Many of them further fight over to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie and how much they should have to pay for it — all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined, owned and operated by (besides the wealthiest passengers) the fossil fuel industry, is on fire and toxifying at locations not normally investigated.  

Clearly there has been discouragingly insufficient political courage and will to properly act upon the cause-and-effect of manmade global warming and climate change. Neo-liberals and conservatives are overly preoccupied with vociferously criticizing one another for their politics and beliefs thus diverting attention away from the planet’s greatest polluters, where it should and needs to be sharply focused. (Although, it seems to be the ‘conservatives’ who do not mind polluting the planet most liberally.)

But there’s still some hope for spaceship Earth and therefor humankind due to environmentally conscious and active young people, especially those who are approaching/reaching voting age. In contrast, the dinosaur electorate who have been voting into high office consecutive mass-pollution promoting or complicit/complacent governments for decades are gradually dying off and making way for voters who fully support a healthy Earth thus populace. 

Last edited 2 years ago by Frank Sterle Jr.


A Massive Methane Reservoir Is Lurking Beneath The Sea

Fanni Daniella Szakal | EOS | 27 April 2021

“Methane bubbles regularly reach the surface of the Laptev Sea in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean (ESAO), each of them a small blow to our efforts to mitigate climate change. The source of the methane used to be a mystery, but a joint Swedish-Russian-U.S. investigation recently discovered that an ancient gas reservoir is responsible for the bubbly leaks.
Methane in the Laptev Sea is stored in reservoirs below the sea’s submarine permafrost or in the form of methane hydrates—solid ice-like structures that trap the gas inside. It is also produced by microbes in the thawing permafrost itself. Not all of these sources are created equal: Whereas microbial methane is released in a slow, gradual process, disintegrating hydrates and reservoirs can lead to sudden, eruptive releases.
Methane is escaping as the Laptev’s submarine permafrost is thawed by the relative warmth of overlying seawater. With an even stronger greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide, methane releases into the atmosphere could substantially amplify global warming.
“To anticipate how these methane releases will develop over the coming decades or centuries, we need to understand what reservoirs of methane the releases are coming from,” said Örjan Gustafsson, leader of the research group that conducted the investigation.”

Read more


One astonishing new discovery about these leaks of methane is that they vary in intensity with the phases of the moon! Why so? Because the amount of weight above the seabed determines how much they are firmly held down. And the tides are influenced by the moon, so when there’s a high tide, the greater amount of water in the column above tends to hold the methane down so there are fewer plumes of gas escaping to the surface!

One astonishing new discovery about these leaks of methane is that they vary in intensity with the phases of the moon! Why so? Because the amount of weight above the seabed determines how much they are firmly held down. And the tides are influenced by the moon, so when there’s a high tide, the greater amount of water in the column above tends to hold the methane down so there are fewer plumes of gas escaping to the surface!

Brazil’s Climate Overture to Biden: Pay Us Not to Raze Amazon

Paulo Trevisani and Timothy Puko | The Wall Street Journal | 21 April 2021

“Brazil’s government, widely criticized by environmental groups as a negligent steward of the Amazon rainforest, has made an audacious offer to the Biden administration: Provide $1 billion and President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration will reduce deforestation by 40%.
The proposal was made as the Brazilian president prepares for a virtual environmental summit with roughly 40 heads of state hosted Thursday and Friday by President Biden, who has made battling climate change a centerpiece of his administration. European governments and activists have publicly expressed misgivings with Mr. Bolsonaro’s proposals on the environment because he has trimmed funds for environmental protection agencies amid an increase in deforestation.
But supported by some influential scholars and Amazon dwellers, Mr. Bolsonaro argues that the only way to save the jungle is through carbon credits and by financing sustainable economic activities so people can make a living from fish farming, cacao production and other activities that don’t require the razing of trees. The theme has been central to talks Brazil’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles, said he has had in recent weeks with Biden administration climate officials.
The request is likely just among the first of many similar to follow as developing nations start to negotiate with industrialized countries about who pays for costly programs to address climate change. This fall, the nations of the world are to set new, more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and developing countries want their richer peers to make good on pledges from the original Paris climate negotiations to mobilize $100 billion a year in public and private financing for them.”

Read more


New Climate Satellite Spotted Giant Methane Leak as It Happened

Naureen S. Malik | Bloomberg Green | 12 February 2021

“Methane leaks from at least eight natural gas pipelines and unlit flares in central Turkmenistan earlier this month released as much as 10,000 kilograms per hour of the supercharged greenhouse gas, according to imagery produced by a new satellite capable of detecting emissions from individual sites.

“That amount of methane would have the planet-warming impact of driving 250,000 internal-combustion cars running for a similar amount of time, said Stephane Germain, president of GHGSat Inc., the company that picked up on the leak. The company first spotted the eight plumes of greenhouse gas on February 1. “It’s reasonable to say this happened for several hours,” he said in an interview.

The pixelated snapshot showing the eight simultaneous leaks within just 20 square miles is an alarming harbinger of what could be revealed now that satellite technology is capable of pinpointing emissions from specific wells, pipelines, and mines. GHGSat launched its first satellite in 2016, but it wasn’t until last September that it had one in orbit capable of picking out individual wells. In the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, Germain said, it detected hundreds of leaks.”

Read More Here:

Yes! More trees in the city! The best place is where you have a lawn. Grass lawns are environmentally horrible. Dig them up and plant a thicket of trees. Everyone will be happier.

Okay, I don’t like being held for ransom, but I would certainly rather pay it than have the world continue heating up. Maybe Bolsonaro is right. He is a nasty guy, but it is possible that the people in Brazilian rainforest really don’t have many other options. So why not pay up, and get on with it?

Absolutely right — but not quite! They did point out the dangers of these hydrofluorocarbons, but they only PARTLY reduced them They are not going to ban them entirely, as they shouled.

I am shocked but not surprised. We have had plenty of warning that this kind of thing will be increasing, and we are ignoring it. At least the politicians are ignoring it and even the scientists are not all keeping up to date about what each other are finding out.

There’s an invisible climate threat seeping from grocery store freezers. Biden wants to change that.

New undercover survey suggests leaks of powerful planet-warming gases pervade many supermarkets

By Juliet Eilperin and Desmond Butler |Feb. 15, 2021 at 9:29 p.m. EST

Some of the climate impacts of a grocery store trip are obvious, like the fuel it takes to get there and the electricity that keeps its lights glowing, conveyor belts moving and scanners beeping. But then there are the invisible gases seeping out into the atmosphere when you reach for your ice cream of choice.

In nearly every supermarket in America, a network of pipes transports compressed refrigerants that keep perishable goods cold. Most of these chemicals are hydrofluorocarbons — greenhouse gases thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide — which often escape through cracks or systems that were not properly installed. Once they leak, they are destined to pollute the atmosphere.

The Biden administration now sees eliminating these chemicals from the nation’s refrigerators as low-hanging fruit in its broader effort to rein in climate pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency issued a public call last week for companies to report production and import data on HFCs.

Read more

The Washington Post, Feb. 15, 2021

Suggestion Box: More Trees in the City!

Here’s a proposal: “Trees in the City” is an integral part of the Society’s “Trees for Life” centennial program. This will be an informative and enlightening opportunity for you to develop a more significant appreciation, and become more deeply aware of trees where we live and move and have our essential being provincially and municipally. Please forward this link onto others in your circle of influence. What better way to begin a new year 2021 than with trees. DAS President, Royal Commonwealth Society Vancouver Island (RCS VI)”

Hi, Commonwealth Society! We love trees too! If you want to post more comments, we will be glad to hear from you, and we hope you’ll post your upcoming events in the Events Listings. Sorry we missed getting one of your events up in time, but if you post them yourself, it will go up immediately.

This is something we can do while the pandemic is keeping us from traveling this year. We should have ceremonies to thank the trees along our street. Everyone could come out and get some fresh air, honoring the trees.

I agree. But it is true that this would just encourage every other tin-pot dictator to try to extort money from the richer countries as payment for complying with the Paris Agreement. I wonder whether there might be a better, more judicious way of collecting money to be distributed to the poorer countries that need help in fulfilling their commitments?

Eeeek! Turkmenistan now? I hadn’t heard about any permafrost there. Is it from pipelines or what?

Suggestion Box: Stop Traveling!

Brian Beaton has posted this idea in the suggestion box:
“Finding effective ways to stay in our communities doing the work required to support each other, our families, our neighbours to grow in all ways locally while respecting mother earth and Indigenous traditional teachings and ceremonies honouring the earth, the land, the air, the water and all our relations.”
Interesting proposal, Brian! The possibilities are being shown by the decrease in carbon emissions during pandemic lockdowns. If you have further thoughts on this, please share them here in this comment column. I imagine it may create quite a significant discussion.

Stanford Designer is Making Bricks Out of Fast-Growing Mushrooms That Are Stronger than Concrete

Andy Corbley | Good News Network | 10 December 2020

While there aren’t any species of mushroom large enough to live in, one Bay-area designer thinks he can make one if he only cranks out enough of his patented “mushroom bricks.”

In fact, he knows he can do it, because he’s already build a showpiece called “Mycotecture”—a 6×6 mushroom brick arch from Ganoderma lucidum or reishi mushrooms.

Phil Ross doesn’t use the mushroom, or fruiting body of the reishi; he uses mycelium, the fast-growing fibrous roots that make up the vast majority of fungus lifeforms.

Mycelium grows fast, and is incredibly durable, waterproof, non-toxic, fire-resistant, and biodegradable.

Ross uses it to build bricks by growing mycelium in bags of delicious (to mushrooms) sawdust, before drying them out and cutting them with extremely heavy-duty steel blades.

This works because mushrooms digest cellulose in the sawdust, converting it into chitin, the same fiber that insect exoskeletons are made from.

“The bricks have the feel of a composite material with a core of spongy cross grained pulp that becomes progressively denser towards its outer skin,” explained Discover Magazine. “The skin itself is incredibly hard, shatter resistant, and can handle enormous amounts of compression.”

One design/architecture website described these mushroom bricks as “stronger than concrete,” while another quotes Ross in an interview suggesting that it could replace all manner of plastic polymer building materials.

Indeed, designers have already used mycelium to make cloth hats, sea-worthy canoes, and eco-friendly coffins. Ross’ next plan, according to the same interview, is to build an entire house for 12-20 people out of reishi mycelium.”


Somehow I don’t think this is going to become a major industry. Nice idea, but ….

Trias of carbon, silicon and water – silicate weathering and “stone eating microbes”

1) Important is the trias of carbon, silicon and water. Silicon as biochar increase soil water capacity. Plant and soil need silicates, which are produced by continues weathering. Weathering of one molecule silicate, e.g. MgSiO4 consumes 4 molecules of CO2: “Mg2SiO4 + 4 CO2 + 4 H2O ⇌ 2 Mg2+ + 4 HCO3− + H4SiO4 [H4SiO4 = Si(OH)4]. 

2) So silicates work as antacids/liming agents, without liberating CO2 (opposite to usual liming agents). Silicate weathering is promoted by “stone eating microbes, especially mycorrhizaea” [Koele N, Hildebrand EE (2008) ]

3) Plants consume silicates the same amounts as main cations and decrease the plant available silicon. Recycling is important, but usually cannot replace the losses. The space science could show the importance of silicon by astronauts. On the earth – possibly in oceans – the losses of silicon can be balanced by silicon amendments, e.g. by fine stone meal.
(Reference: Hensel J (1894) Bread from Stones: A New and Rational System of Land Fertilization and Physical Regeneration.

4) Space science should build one or several “laboratory community/ies” on the earth for studying and improving the methods for managing recycling and silicate-carbonate cycle.

Capture it in the Smokestack

The IEA (International Energy Agency) says that Carbon Capture, Sequestration and Storage (CCUS) is an important part of the mix in moving forward on mitigating climate change, so the article below is good news.

Carbon capture and storage pipeline grows by 10 large scale facilities globally 8th June 2020

8 June 2020, Washington, DC – The Global CCS Institute, an international think tank, has added 10 carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities to its global database, bringing the total number of CCS facilities in various stages of development to 59 with a capture capacity of more than 127 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). There are now 21 facilities in operation, three under construction, and 35 in various stages of development.

“Our recent CO2RE Database update shows that despite the current CV-19 crisis we are observing a significant increase in CCS facilities in the pipeline which demonstrates continued progress towards meeting climate targets, and will also result in significant job creation and economic growth”, said Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page.

In a recent flagship report on the value of CCS, the Global CCS Institute found that CCS deployment in line with the Paris Agreement and energy-related Sustainable Development Goals could create some 100,000 jobs in the industry by 2050.
Read more

Shockingly Simple!

How Farmland Could Absorb an Extra 2 Billion Tonnes of CO2 From the Atmosphere Each Year
Adding crushed rock dust to farmland could draw down up to two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air per year and help meet key global climate targets, according to a major new study led by the University of Sheffield.

Major new study shows adding rock dust to farmland could remove carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent to more than the current total emissions from global aviation and shipping combined — or around half of Europe’s current total emissions
Research identifies the nation-by-nation potential for CO2 drawdown, as well as the costs and the engineering challenges involved
Findings reveal the world’s highest emitters (China, India and the US) also have the greatest potential to remove CO2 from the atmosphere using this method
Scientists suggest unused materials from mining and the construction industry could be used to help soils remove CO2 from the atmosphere

Adding crushed rock dust to farmland could draw down up to two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air per year and help meet key global climate targets, according to a major new study led by the University of Sheffield.

Read more


Thanks for the article and references

Stop cutting down trees for biomass. . .STOP WOODY BIOMASS!

“According to Earth Institute, burning wood biomass emits as much, if not more, air pollution than burning fossil fuels — particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, mercury, and other hazardous air pollutants — which can cause cancer or reproductive effects.” Have other folks heard similar claims?


That should be a bumper sticker on every vehicle in America and around the world as easy-to-read bumper stickers are more effective than many forms of advertising.

According to LSA — University of Colorado/Boulder, wood accounts for 79% of biomass production and accounts for 3.2% of energy production. Wood dominates the worldwide biomass industry.

For perspective purposes, a paid lobbyist on behalf of trees could rightfully claim: (1) Trees cool and moisten our air and fill it with oxygen. (2) They calm the winds and shade the land from sunlight. (3) They shelter countless species, anchor the soil, and slow the movement of water. (4) They provide food, fuel, medicines, and building materials for human activity. (5) They also help balance Earth’s carbon budget. Name another organism with credentials like that!

Meanwhile, the worldwide woody biomass industry consumes forests, gobbling up trees by the minute. But, it’s a wayward ruse to classify woody biomass as “carbon neutral.” It is not carbon neutral. It’s a carbon emitter, the antithesis of clean renewable energy.

A 1,000-kilowatt-hour wood-pellet power plant, enough to power 1,000 homes, emits a total of 1,275 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. That’s according to Dr. Puneet Dwivedi, a research professor at the University of Georgia. By way of comparison, a 1,000-kilowatt-hour coal plant emits 1,048 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour. The net result is that coal produces 227 grams less CO2 than the biomass plant. Hmm. (Source: A Burning Question: Throw Wood on the Fire for 21st-Century Electricity? CNBC, Sept. 15, 2017)
Read more

Stopping Deforestation Can Prevent Pandemics

By the Editors of Scientific American, June 1, 2020

“SARS, Ebola and now SARS-CoV-2: all three of these highly infectious viruses have caused global panic since 2002—and all three of them jumped to humans from wild animals that live in dense tropical forests.

Three quarters of the emerging pathogens that infect humans leaped from animals, many of them creatures in the forest habitats that we are slashing and burning to create land for crops, including biofuel plants, and for mining and housing. The more we clear, the more we come into contact with wildlife that carries microbes well suited to kill us—and the more we concentrate those animals in smaller areas where they can swap infectious microbes, raising the chances of novel strains. Clearing land also reduces biodiversity, and the species that survive are more likely to host illnesses that can be transferred to humans. All these factors will lead to more spillover of animal pathogens into people.

Stopping deforestation will not only reduce our exposure to new disasters but also tamp down the spread of a long list of other vicious diseases that have come from rain forest habitats — Zika, Nipah, malaria, cholera and HIV among them. A 2019 study found that a 10 percent increase in deforestation would raise malaria cases by 3.3 percent; that would be 7.4 million people worldwide. Yet despite years of global outcry, deforestation still runs rampant. An average of 28 million hectares of forest have been cut down annually since 2016, and there is no sign of a slowdown.

Read more

Sweden shuts down coal power two years early!

Great news from Sweden in that Sweden shut down their last coal-fired power plant 2 years ahead of schedule!

“It seems like a lot of countries are falling behind on their climate goals lately, and Sweden is currently putting them all to shame — and that’s not only because the Nordic country produced Greta Thunberg. Sweden just shut down its last remaining coal-fired power plant, two years before it was scheduled to close.

The coal-fired cogeneration plant KVV6 at Värtaverket, located in Hjorthagen in eastern Stockholm, has been in operation since 1989, according to Stockholm Exergi, the local energy company that owns the plant. Stockholm Exergi is equally owned by the municipality of Stockholm and Fortum, a Finnish energy company that operates across Europe and Asia.

As Stockholm Exergi explained, before the winter of 2019-2020, the company shut down one of KVV6’s two boilers, and converted the other to a power reserve. Because the winter wound up being mild, Stockholm Exergi did not need to use energy from the reserves, meaning the company was able to close the plant down this month, rather than in 2022 as planned.

Additionally, there is a chance that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Sweden’s recent energy use. For example, Britain just beat its personal record of going more than 18 days without using coal-powered electricity, thanks in part to the recent mild weather, but more interestingly, due to people needing less power during the coronavirus pandemic. With many areas on lockdown, people are using less electricity and driving cars less, reducing dependence on fuel overall.

“Our goal is for all our production to come from renewable or recycled Exergi,” Anders Egelrud, CEO of Stockholm Exergi, said in a translated statement. “This plant has provided the Stockholmers with heat and electricity for a long time, today we know that we must stop using all fossil fuels, therefore the coal needs to be phased out and we do so several years before the original plan.”

“Since Stockholm was almost totally fossil-dependent 30-40 years ago, we have made enormous changes and now we are taking the step away from carbon dependency and continuing the journey towards an energy system entirely based on renewable and recycled energy,” Egelrud added.

In 2018, 54.6 percent of the energy used in Sweden came from renewable sources, according to the Swedish Energy Agency. While that is still pretty far from the country’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy, Sweden is far ahead of many other countries. For example, in 2018, renewable energy sources only accounted for 11 percent of U.S. energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

As reported by The Independent, Sweden is the third country in Europe to cut off its reliance on coal. Belgium closed its last coal power plant in 2016, according to Climate Change News, and Austria said Auf Wiedersehen to its last remaining coal-fired power station earlier this April, as per CNBC. Hopefully now that three European countries no longer have coal-fired power plants, other nations across Europe — and all over the world — will ramp up efforts to do the same.”

Why the Most Environmental Building is the Building We’ve Already Built

About one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. That’s why we should be retro-fitting our houses and workplaces. But watch out for the demolition that precedes rebuilding. Half of the residue winds up in landfills. But retrofitting is almost always more energy efficient–especially if we reduce the amount of waste.

By Emily Badger
Reusing an old building pretty much always has less of an impact on the environment than tearing it down, trashing the debris, clearing the site, crafting new materials and putting up a replacement from scratch. This makes some basic sense, even without looking at the numbers.

But what if the new building is super energy-efficient? How do the two alternatives compare over a lifetime, across generations of use?

“We often come up against this argument that, ‘Oh well, the existing building could never compete with the new building in terms of energy efficiency,’” says Patrice Frey, the director of sustainability for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We wanted to model that.”

Read more

Crisis in the Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean is changing faster than any other body of water on Earth. In some cases, elements of the ecosystems and environments appear to be changing quicker than studies can be conducted – and many undiscovered species are thought to exist in the region.

Article Excerpt(s):
“The top of the world is turning upside down, says the first overall assessment of Canada’s Arctic Ocean.

The assessment, the result of work by dozens of federal scientists and Inuit observers, describes a vast ecosystem in unprecedented flux: from ocean currents to the habits and types of animals that swim in it.
Read more

Each cherry tree can absorb 20 pounds of greenhouse gas!

By Aila Slisco

This is an excerpt of an article on research from South Korea on the potential of cherry trees as carbon sinks.

A study from South Korea’s Forest Research Institute indicated that each 25-year-old cherry tree can absorb about 20 pounds of emissions each, according to a Tuesday report from UPI.

The country’s cherry trees are said to be capable of absorbing about 2.4 tons of carbon, roughly equivalent to the emissions of 6,000 cars per year. Thee emissions of a single car can be absorbed by 250 mature trees.
Read more

Mutant Enzymes feed on Plastic

Party time!

I have heard a number of reports of microorganisms or microorganism-derived compounds which have been discovered to have potential to decompose plastic. Most of the time it appears as if these are studied, though subsequently have limited applications outside of laboratories and test sites. Has anyone heard of large-scale applications of these microorganisms that eat plastic?

Regardless, I would like to share this interesting article with readers of Plank 9 – as it bears relevance to the subject. This article specifically discusses an enzyme – discovered in a compost pile – which breaks the plastic down to building blocks that facilitate recycling of the material into high quality (and food quality) products. Notably, the enzyme can be derived from specific types of fungi.

Read more

These stickers have always irritated me. Now I know why!

I am shocked!

I am shocked there is not a separate section on this site for invasive species management – particularly as these are linked to ecological decline.

Icy Road Ahead!

With Global Warming, Arctic Ice Road Season Grows Shorter
By Sarah Kennedy
Article Excerpt:
“Many people avoid driving on icy roads. But in Northern Canada’s Arctic tundra, some roads are made of ice.

A network of seasonal roads on frozen rivers and lakes allows trucks to reach remote areas. Many of these places are otherwise accessible only by boat or plane. But as the climate warms, the ice road season is getting shorter.

Xiao Yang of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill analyzed more than three decades of satellite images of rivers around the globe. He looked at which rivers were frozen and when.

“We detect widespread decline in river ice in the past 34 years,” he says. “In general, we have later freeze-up of the river surface and we have earlier breakup of the river surface. … And that has consequences for … when you can actually be on these ice roads.”

Yang also studied what is likely to happen to river ice if global carbon pollution and temperatures continue to rise. He found that by 2100, some rivers could be ice-free for weeks longer than they are now.
Read more