Removing CO2 from the Atmosphere Wouldn’t Stop Global Warming

In an article by Maria Temming, she talks about how removing the CO2 by geoengineering wouldn’t reverse or stop the effects of global warming. Geoengineering is a process of removing CO2 from the air or limiting sunlight reaching the earth to reduce the levels of CO2. It was found that even if we go to extreme measures to remove the CO2 from the environment, we don’t have any way to rehabilitate the oceans environment. We have created a problem that cannot be covered up or fixed.

The Nature Publishing Group has been a huge part of these experiments to determine this information. Using experiments focused on carbon dioxide removal (CDR), they found that even if we planted a huge amount of CO2-consuming trees and burn materials more environmentally, the oceans will still be overly acidic from the CO2 emmisions.

Another experiment that focused more on the large-scale idea of the problem was run by Sabine Mathesius, an environmental scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. She used a computer model to find the effects of removing CO2 from the atmosphere on seawater. Mathesius ran two stimulations. The first tested whether it would be possible to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere back to the amount it was during the Industrial Revolution. It found that if we reduced 18 billion tons of CO2 per year from the environment it would reduce the atmospheric CO2, but wouldn’t have any effect on the acidity of the oceans. Then they tested the same factors but instead they “removed” 90 billion tons of CO2 a year from the atmosphere. Again the acidity of the ocean remained unchanged. So, this goes to show, that even if we reduce the output of CO2 emissions, there is no way to erase the past and restore the oceans acidity levels. Donald Penman, a geophysicist from Yale University, stated, “It is clear that rather than trying to clean up a mess, it would be wiser to simply not create the mess in the first place.”

Written by Kelby Johnson, ESLLC 2015-2016


“What Is Geoengineering?” TheGuardian. Creative Commons, 18 Feb. 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Temming, Maria. “Sucking CO2 from the Air Would Not Halt Effects of Global Warming.” Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., 12 Aug. 2015s. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

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