Dealing with the Unanticipated and Extreme Impacts

Unexpected and Rapid Change:
Direct scrubbing of CO2 from the atmosphere: At the rate the world is going, it is looking increasingly unlikely that we will be able to stabilize CO2 at an acceptable level simply be controlling emissions. This has prompted a number of groups to begin to think seriously about scrubbing CO2 directly from the atmosphere. Under previous NSF support, David Keith’s and Greg Lowry’s Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. student, Joshuah Stolaroff, did a first technical and economic assessment of air capture technology and also built a prototype air-contactor. Since then Keith has continued in Calgary with other support to explore and demonstrate this technology [+more]

Planetary-scale albedo modification:
Concerns that abatement of GHG emissions may be too slow in coming, or that the planet might experience a serious “climate surprise,” have led to renewed dialogue within the scientific community regarding potential strategies for counteracting global warming through geoengineering. Using geoengineering is not a new idea. However, despite years of discussion around the edges of the climate science community, little is known about the character and magnitude of the direct and indirect impacts of plausible geoengineering activities. Nor is there any international framework for the governance of geoengineering [+more]