Carole Douglis authors and co-authors books and other key publications to boost the effectiveness of thought leaders and cause-driven organizations. Her writing focuses on climate, environment, and global health.
The Only Future that Will Sustain the Human Race
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People around the world recognize the dire threat posed by climate change. Governments, businesses, and individuals are making commitments to shift to renewable energy sources, trim consumption, and otherwise reduce their carbon footprints.
But what if these well-intentioned steps are likely to be woefully inadequate to ensure the future health—or even the survival—of the human race? What if the most popular goal being pursued by today’s climate activists—net zero carbon emissions—is actually a recipe for human disaster?
That’s the dramatic warning sounded by scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur Peter Fiekowsky and co-author Carole Douglis. . . along with an urgent call to refocus our rescue efforts on a much bigger, bolder, yet fully achievable goal. That goal is to restore the climate to its pre-industrial state, which we know will allow human beings to thrive.
What Will It Take to Restore Our Climate?
Today, CO2 levels are around 420 ppm and rising about 2.5 ppm each year. Meeting the goal of net zero emissions will leave us with a level of about 460 parts per million, more than 50 percent higher than human beings have ever experienced. This is not good enough. We need to go much further—to return the world to atmospheric and climate conditions that we know are safe and healthy for humans.
As Fiekowsky and Douglis explain in Climate Restoration, this will require removing a trillion tons—that is, 1,000 billion tons—of excess CO2 from the atmosphere. The good news is that this task, while enormous and technically challenging, is eminently feasible.
Scientists and engineers have developed four major technologies for carbon removal and storage:
Ocean pasture restoration uses biomimicry—the imitation of natural processes, such as iron-rich dust storms—to stimulate photosynthesis and cause phytoplankton to multiply. This helps many types of sea life to flourish, while capturing a huge amount of excess atmospheric CO2.
Synthetic limestone manufacture uses captured CO2 to produce synthetic limestone—high-quality rock that can be used to make roadbeds and concrete while further reducing atmospheric carbon.
Seaweed permaculture produces “ocean forests” of kelp that is useful in making dozens of consumer products, from cakes to toothpaste—and that also capture huge amounts of atmospheric CO2.
Methane oxidation adds a fine mist of iron chloride molecules to those that are continually forming naturally over the ocean. Then the sea air becomes a sponge soaking up methane—another greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming.