Further to Andy Kroll's blog post on artificial trees... that report from the UK's Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IOME) argues that without geoengineering it will be impossible to avoid dangerous climate change. The report includes a 100-year roadmap to decarbonize the global economy and suggests implementing three geoengineering projects based on low-carbon technologies:
- Algae-coated buildings: The engineers envision attaching transparent containers filled with strips of algae to the outside of buildings and since algae naturally absorb CO2 in the course of photosynthesis, the strips could be harvested periodically from the surfaces and used as biofuels.
- Reflective buildings: The report suggests reducing the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the earth’s climate and, hopefully, cooling the planet. This could be achieved simply and quickly by making building surfaces more reflective. Some of us have've written here about the potential for cooling in white roofs and better highways.
- Artificial trees: Engineers say a forest of 100,000 artificial trees could be deployed within 10 to 20 years to help soak up the world's carbon emissions. The BBC reports that a prototype is already in the works. Blythe Copeland blogs about a cool design coming out of Columbia U. The IOME report suggests the artificial tree technology be developed in conjunction with carbon storage infrastructure. Well, that's the tricky part.
The IOME report forecasts 1 to 2 million new green jobs in the UK by 2050 based on these three initiatives alone. So many good ideas. So few implemented. Let's change that.