Monday, July 13th, 2009 | Author:  | 9,498 views - starting Aug 9/09
an abacus

an abacus

human creativity knows no bounds … i think archaic and modern technology are impressive reflections of our ability to solve problems, adapt to our environment, and model new tools based on observations of nature … modifying and finding novel applications for existing technologies is equally august …

thorstein veblen (1857 – 1929), US economist & social philosopher, said “necessity is the mother of all invention” … for the past few decades, necessity has put technological solutions to climate change at the forefront of industry research, political agendas, and media attention …

however, technology is not a (let alone the) solution to climate change …

for example, carbon capture and storage technology may mitigate the rate at which the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increase and, subsequently, decrease the rate at which global temperatures rise, glaciers melt, desertification advances, and extreme weather patterns decimate ecosystems …

nevertheless, such forms of technology are simply temporary patches obscuring the fundamental factors that effect climate change in the first place … technology cannot be used as a crutch or as a saving grace in lieu of changing patterns in global resource consumption … technology must be regarded and treated as an adjunct, not a primary, resolution to addressing environmental calamities …

what is most alarming about relying on technology to “solve” climate change issues is that, most often:

1. the short- and long-term implications of almost all of these technologies have not been adequately tested;

2. the environmental consequences are poorly understood, if even considered;

3. the geological ramifications are assumed to be negligible;

4. the potential impacts to human health are overlooked; and

5. industry and governments largely assume that the only (relevant) threats posed by these technologies are merely mechanical, logistic, and circumstantial (in that accidents and normal wear-and-tear of equipment would present the greatest perils) …

furthermore, capturing and storing CO2 does nothing to abate the production and release of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) … CO2 production and release is, of course, inevitable because CO2 is a naturally occurring gas by-product of physiological metabolism and geological processes … without CO2, extant plants would suffocate and life on Earth, as we know it, would not exist …

simple schematic of the carbon cycle

simple schematic of the carbon cycle

however, the disproportionately rapid rise in atmospheric CO2 gas concentrations must be checked to preclude future ecological disasters … the rationale behind CO2 capture and storage technology is to remove as much CO2 gas from the atmosphere as possible to allay the cumulative damage generated by the vast amounts of CO2 continuously released from burning fossil fuels …

in the next few posts, i’ll cover some of the climate change ‘solution’ technologies that either have been already implemented or are being considered for use in various parts of the world, and examine their pros and cons …

learning about what potential projects are planned for your region is very important … as much as possible, research and keep abreast of industrial and political developments that may impact your local environment and personal health …

in my post on wednesday, july 15, i will cover CO2 gas capture and storage …

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5 Responses

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