The fact that we are not paying attention to termination shocks, does not mean 
that not heeding this risk is a good idea. We actually should worry about the 
termination shock on fertilizer and other infrastructure issues.  The risk of 
termination shocks directly plays into the climate change debate.  One way of 
looking at the challenge of rapid mitigation is that if we end up pushing hard 
on CO2 reductions and forcing dramatic changes in the energy infrastructure, we 
are pushing the resilience of the energy infrastructure to its limits.  If the 
energy infrastructure fails, it removes our ability to provide life-critical 
energy services, including the production of fertilizer.  This risk is usually 
ignored in the climate debate.  I don’t think climate mitigation is pushing 
against these limits right now, because we essentially refuse to act, but if we 
were to follow some of the more aggressive CO2 reductions scenario we might be 
exposed to a severe risk of an accidental failure and thus termination of 
energy services.  Just like for SRM termination risks, war and/or economic 
collapse could also cause such failures, which in turn could set off a downward 
spiral.  In short modern societies are exposed to severe termination risks, 
understanding them, guarding against them, not introducing unnecessary ones, 
seems to be prudent policy.


From: <> on behalf of Stephen Romaniello 
Reply-To: "" <>
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 7:58 AM
To: geoengineering <>
Subject: Re: [geo] Re: [CDR] SRM and CDR - The risk of termination shock from 
solar geoengineering

Hi All,

I think it's important to realize that we live in a world where the risk of 
"termination shock" is omnipresent in terms of dozens of technologies including 
transportation, energy, agriculture, and to a less apocalyptic extent 

Fertilizer production might be one of the best examples. We are 
globally-dependent on the fertilizer industry to pump out many metric tons of 
nitrogen and phosphate each year. If this supply were to fail, billions of 
people would likely starve in a few years as agricultural yields dropped and 
food prices climbed. This is an activity which I imagine is roughly equivalent 
to the scale of activity required for SRM. These are large industrial 
facilities and mining operation with global economic and strategic importance, 
they are dominated by three major countries (China, Morocco, USA). Yet the 
system hums along just fine. We don't worry about fertilizer termination shock, 
at least not very much. It's an imperfect system where we have shortage and 
excess, but it gets the job done and has been working like this for nearly 50 

We could argue about the merits of any potential comparison, but the point is 
that there are dozens of similar industrial examples, many of which come down 
to the production of critical products in just a few facilities globally. We 
live in this world each day without worry or fear. I think the risk of SRM 
termination shock is oversold. It requires basic contingency planning or a 
market-based supply/demand system, but not a whole lot more than that. The 
value in the termination shock concept was in identifying this as a potential 
issue, but now that this knowledge is widespread, I think the concept has 
outlived its useful life.

Stephen Romaniello
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