As the realities of global climate change become ever more alarming, advocates of technological approaches to “geoengineer” the planet’s climate are gaining a following.
But the technologies that are promoted – from spraying sulphate particles into the stratosphere, to dumping iron particles into the ocean, to stimulate carbon absorbing plankton, to burning millions of trees and burying the char in soils – are all fraught with clear and obvious risks, and are most likely only going to make matters worse.
The connection between the tar sands industry and geoengineering advocates is perhaps not immediately obvious, but it makes perfect, ugly sense. Tar sands investors and their allies have long realized that geoengineering could provide them an extended lease on life – and a convenient means to avoid the shuttering of their industry, which many consider the single most destructive and climat – damaging form of energy extraction.
Hence, it isn’t surprising that tar sands magnate Murray Edwards, director of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, actually fact funds a geoengineering company that works on techniques for capturing CO2 from the air called Carbon Engineering.
Carbon Engineering’s president, David Keith, is one of the most vocal and best funded advocates of geoengineering. Carbon Dioxide air capture is often viewed as benign or “soft” geoengineering. After all, what could possibly be wrong with removing carbon dioxide from the overloaded atmosphere?