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Climate Change Solutions

There are 3 types of climate change solutions: Emissions Reductions, Natural Climate Solutions and Technical Climate Solutions. Two types of technical climate solution are often discussed. However, only one of these is really a solution to the climate crisis.

There are 3 types of climate change solutions.

  1. Emissions Reductions
  2. Natural Climate Solutions
  3. Technical Climate Solutions

Technical Climate Solutions

Technical climate solutions need to stand for 10% of the solution to the climate crisis.

Two types of technical climate solution are often discussed. However, only one of these is really a solution to the climate crisis.

Solar Engineering

The first type of technical climate solution is sometimes called solar engineering. This refers to various technical ways of increasing Earth’s albedo (how well a surface reflects solar energy). This could be by releasing reflective particles in the upper atmosphere or placing giant mirrors in space. Neither of these so-called “solutions” will help solve the climate crisis. This type of solution might make the Earth temporarily cooler, but it does nothing to fix the problem which causes global warming, namely greenhouse gas emissions. Solar engineering does no more than temporarily hide the true cause of global warming.

Carbon Dioxide Removal

The second type of technical climate solution is called carbon dioxide removal by the IPCC. This refers to various ways of capturing carbon dioxide either from an emissions source (e.g. a factory) or from the atmosphere itself.

Once captured, carbon dioxide can be stored in geological formations, either as a liquid in porous sedimentary rocks or as a solid in reactive volcanic rocks.

The technology for carbon dioxide removal is currently in its infancy and it cannot be relied upon as a major solution to the climate crisis. An interesting example is Orca. Once built, Orca will be able to remove 4000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. This sounds impressive (and it is). But it only equates to emissions from 250 average US citizens. Over 1 300 000 such plants would need to be built to remove emissions from the US alone. This is why, while we should encourage technical advances, we must also recognize that we are almost entirely dependent on emissions reductions and natural climate solutions to solve the climate crisis.

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