Very sciencey

“We’re in a climate crisis,” she tells me. “Mitigation isn’t going fast enough. Adaptation needs far more support than it’s getting. It’s clear that we need to remove some amount of carbon from the atmosphere.”

How much? “Hundreds of billions of gigatons,” Buck says.

Greenhouse gases are measured in ‘carbon dioxide-equivalents’ (CO2e). Today, we collectively emit around 50 billion tonnes of CO2e each year.

Total greenhouse gas emissions – Our World in Data

Hundreds of billions of tonnes, perhaps. Hundreds of billions of gigatonnes not so much then.

This is the question posed by Holly Jean Buck in her 2019 book After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, and Restoration. Zooming with me from Buffalo, New York, where she’s a professor of environment at the University of Buffalo, Buck is blunt in her assessment.

She’s a scientist you know.

It would also mean that the United States and other capitalist countries would have to reorient themselves to a more centrally planned economy,

You’re surprised, right?

16 thoughts on “Very sciencey”

  1. They never tell you what the optimum CO2 level is, nor what the optimum ‘global average’ temperature is, nor how many completely different climates might attain the clumsy global average, because it’s an entirely notional concept, and not measured at all. They NEVER tell me what my world will be like after they take away all the energy and freedom.

    I’d like it warmer and my plants like a lot of CO2.

  2. One thing is certain, if you managed to remove virtually all the CO2 from the atmosphere, the planet would die.

  3. Assuming that the problem is too much CO2 and that we remove CO2 from the atmosphere then we would have solved the problem right? So wouldn’t need any other measures? So could go back to aircon, burning coal, driving pickups, etc?

  4. The earth is getting greener. Satellite images show it. The two principal reasons for this is increased rainfall and increased CO2. The increase in rainfall is debatable due to the absence of long term measurements. CO2 has been measured more accurately for longer.
    Less CO2 will mean less greenery – some of which is useful crops and grazing – and will impoverish large parts of the third world.

    They warn us of mass migration if the world gets hotter by 1.5 degrees, but they don’t mention the risk of mass migration if the third world doesn’t have enough to eat.

  5. Current CO2 is about 420 parts per million.
    Down around 170 parts per million the only things that survive are grasses and possibly insects.
    Highest CO2 in the geologic record is about 7000 parts per million.

    We are nearer extinction due to too little CO2 rather than too much. These people know this but saying so doesn’t get the grant money.

  6. “Hundreds of billions of gigatonnes”
    Ah, now I understand how they think they can power a 50GW national electricity grid from a few windmills and a car battery.

    Numbers really cause them a problem, don’t they.
    How dare reality be so uncooperative!
    Look for someone to start claiming arithmetic is racist or summat…

  7. Given that it’s a reporter writing up a quote, I’m betting it’s the reporter who is innumerate and got the quote wrong, not the scientist.

  8. From wiki “The atmosphere has a mass of about 5.15 × 10 18 kg”
    That’s about 5.15 * 10 6 Gigatonnes
    Or about 5.15 million Gigatonnes.
    The beech Buck wants to remove one hundred billion Gigatonnes from the atmosphere. She wants to go zero atmos. Well that will certainly stop humans affecting the environment.
    Or have I missed something.

  9. Climate Crisis, a term that is vague enough to make it impossible to refute. Back when it was called Global Warming it became a problem when reality failed to conform to the constant doomsday predictions. Anyone who uses the words climate crisis can be easily identified as a charlatan.

  10. @Richard Gadsden
    I think we can be confident that a “professor of environment” is not a scientist. In the same way that a professor of political economics is not, in any way, an economist.

  11. Holly Jean Buck:
    “Prior to her academic life, she has worked as a foreign affairs analyst, a geospatial technician for a remote sensing company, and a creative writing teacher. She holds a doctorate in Development Sociology from Cornell University and a MSc in Human Ecology from Lund University, Sweden.”

    Not. A. Scientist.

    “scientific” “publications”:

    Not. A. Scientist.

    Typical profesional campaigner: Yes. But. Not. A. Scientist.

  12. @ Bongo
    No, she wants to go to atmosphere -19x rather than zero
    As you say that will certainly stop humans affecting anything

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