Poster's note: decent summary, albeit with a clear political agenda

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From: Geoengineering Monitor <>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2020, 11:00
Subject: March: Congress, Microsoft Moves, Why Carbon Capture is Harmful, &
To: Andrew Lockley <>

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We hope this update finds you safe during this global health crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis echoes the climate crisis in important ways, within a
much shorter time frame. Movements are already mobilizing to prevent
multi-trillion-dollar bailouts from focusing solely on asset funds and
transnational corporations; the usual beneficiaries of crisis situations.
Workers, migrants and the most vulnerable – the victims of an agenda of
deep cuts to welfare states and globalization of supply chains as well as
of the COVID-19 pandemic – are left out of the bailout largesse.

Geoengineering plays a similar role with the climate crisis. After years of
industry-funded climate denial and delays, geoengineering is the option
that will keep the fossil fuel extractors in business, by allowing them to
keep extracting.

As governments come to terms with the scale of the climate crisis, the
pathway out of climate chaos is still being debated and contested.
Geoengineers are busy building a panic button that will keep fossil fuel
extraction going, through the false promise of technologies that could
theoretically cool the planet by blocking the sun or sucking carbon out of
the atmosphere.

The United States Congress recently passed a bill
that includes $1.47 billion for large-scale Carbon Capture and Storage
(CCS) projects and $367 million for Direct Air Capture research. Most
alarmingly, $4 million was allocated to activities including solar
geoengineering experiments

Following in US footsteps, the United Kingdom’s parliament allocated
£800 million for two CCS “clusters”.

Corporations are also investing in CCS. Microsoft recently committed
to offsetting
all of the company’s carbon emissions
since its founding in 1975 through a mix of measures including CCS. Even BP
has declared its intention to go “net zero” (though analysis casts doubts
on the company’s sincerity). Meanwhile the CEO of BlackRock, which holds
$7.4 trillion in assets and has invested in carbon capture boondoggle Drax
said in a letter
that “governments and the private sector must work together,” to lower
emissions, though remained vague on specific measures.

*Carbon Capture is Ineffective and Harmful at Scale*

Because Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is quickly gaining funding and
corporate backing, we put together a list of seven key reasons why CCS is
not a solution to the climate crisis

   1. Carbon capture buys time for fossil fuel companies to continue
   2. Carbon often ends up back into the atmosphere, or creates new
   3. It’s an expensive use for money that’s better spent reducing
   emissions at the source
   4. It diverts renewable energy to keep the fossil fuel treadmill going
   5. Carbon capture increases the power and profits of the fossil fuel
   6. Carbon capture paves the way for dangerous solar geoengineering
   7. The global opportunity for a different path

Read the whole thing here

*From Carbon Suck to Sun Block: SCoPEx inches forward*

SCoPEx, the main attempt to create facts on the ground for solar
geoengineering, is run by David Keith, who is also an entrepreneur in
Direct Air Capture, a type of Carbon Dioxide Removal geoengineering. SCoPEx
has been quiet since it recruited an advisory board aimed at legitimizing
its efforts, which violate international moratoria on geoengineering

However, Keith has continued to promote his plans to test solar
geoengineering, probably somewhere in the American southwest. He recently posed
with a propeller
from the self-propelling gondola that they plan to use to spray various
substances into the upper atmosphere, and taking time to argue about
the environmental effects of solar geoengineering for Canada’s national

In August, 31 civil society groups from five continents wrote to the
advisory committee, asking them to respect the international moratoria
currently in place. So far, none have said they will do so.

*New Doubts on Ocean Fertilization*

New research from MIT suggests
that iron levels in oceans globally have been fine-tuned by evolution to be
at optimal levels to support life, and draws the conclusion that ocean
fertilization might not actually result in any carbon being stored. The
report’s lead author said that according to their framework, “iron
fertilization cannot have a significant overall effect on the amount of
carbon in the ocean because the total amount of iron that microbes need is
already just right.”

Previous critiques
have suggested that ocean fertilization could simply rob nutrients from
plankton growth that would normally have happened down-current, and that
the process could create deoxygenated “dead zones” that could be dangerous
for sea life and the ocean food web.

*Is California Flirting with Geoengineering, or Going Steady?*

Last fall, leaked documents revealed that the ISO standards organization
was working on a new standard for “radiative forcing
– altering the amount of heat retained by the atmosphere – which appeared
to imply the potential for a market that could incentivize some forms of

Concurrently, legislation covering radiative
forcing was proposed in the California State legislature. The early draft
of the legislation made explicit reference to the ISO’s then-secret
proposal. In any case, the bill stalled in committee early this year, and
is likely to expire.

Another bill up for debate soon in California this year sneaks in
encouragement of so-named “Carbon Dioxide Removal” technologies under
legislation that is nominally about expanding forests.

Meanwhile, the chair of the SCoPEx advisory committee is a California State
employee who reports to the governor.

We will be keeping an eye on the state government as California gets ready
to reveal the official status of its relationship to geoengineering.

*DAC Infrastructure Requires Subsidies*

A recent article
supportive of Direct Air Capture, suggests that vast subsidies for new
infrastructure will be required. Writing for the Breakthrough Institute,
the author explains that for DAC efforts to scale up would require a vast
network of pipelines, up to 23,000 additional miles, to move the CO2

It goes on to conclude that vast subsidies and government planning will be
needed to set up this infrastructure:

“Although the need for new CO2 infrastructure can be reduced somewhat — by
developing DAC facilities near either storage basins or other sources of
captured carbon such major industrial centers — it can’t be eliminated. And
as with all large infrastructure systems, building it will require
considerable government funding and planning.”

(See also our summary of recent DAC plans

*Biochar Record Still Mixed*

After their 2011 evaluation of the much-hyped, subsidy-seeking biochar
proposals, our colleagues at BioFuelWatch reviewed the last nine years of
scientific literature
on the would-be geoengineering technology.

Their findings remained much the same: results of even short-term studies
of mixing biochar in soil found widely variable results when it comes to
sequestering carbon. Results appear to be dependent on specific soil
conditions, which are not necessarily well-understood.

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