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66 Ways absorb Carbon

and the to

Improve earths refleCtIvIty

From Reasonable Options to Mad Scientist Solutions

Risto Isomki

66 Ways absorb Carbon

and the to

Improve earths refleCtIvIty

From Reasonable Options to Mad Scientist Solutions

Risto Isomki

Copyright Risto Isomki, 2009 Also available as an e-book (ePub and MOBI) and as a free PDF file at Available in WRT widget format at Last updated 24 April, 2011 Published in 2009 by

Into Publishing Hmeentie 48, 00500 Helsinki Finland Cover Eliza Karmasalo Layout Ville Sutinen Printed in Finland by Bookwell Oy, Vaajakoski. ISBN: 978-952-264-102-1 E-kirja: 978-952-264-103-8

This volume is an updated and expanded edition of an earlier book called 34 Ways to Prevent the Overheating of the Planet, which was first published in 2007 by SADED (South Asian Dialogues for Ecological Democracy) in Delhi, India. Most parts of the text are the same or roughly similar, but the list of possible solutions has become more extensive. When people start thinking outside a closed mindset, many new ideas tend to emerge. The authors royalties and a progressively growing percentage of the main publishers profits from this volume will go to environmental organizations working to prevent a climate catastrophe.

Preface: Welcome to the World of the Runaway Greenhouse Effect

During the last ten years or so, all kinds of ices that still remain on our planet, have started to melt. We have suddenly lost many mountain glaciers and ice shelves that had existed without interruption since the last Ice Age. Vast ancient permafrost areas in Siberia and Alaska have started to melt, and all three ice sheets - Greenland, West Antarctic and East Antarctic - are now losing more ice than what is being generated by snow fall. The average volume of floating ice in the Arctic Ocean has declined from 25,000 cubic kilometres in 1994 to less than 5,000 cubic kilometres. Even submarine permafrost areas and some of the offshore methane clathrate fields have started to thaw and release methane and carbon dioxide into the air. It is now almost certain that these melting processes can no longer stop by themselves. The extra greenhouse gases that have already heated the planet by 0.8 degrees Celsius still remain in the atmosphere, and their capacity to absorb heat has not diminished. According to the current best estimate of climate scientists, our planet would still keep on heating by a further 0.6 or 0.8 degrees, even if we stabilized atmospheres greenhouse gas concentrations at their present levels. Besides, the reflectivity of the Arctic regions, including the Arctic Ocean and the permafrost areas, has already been greatly reduced. This should accelerate the melting, because while snow and ice reflect most of the solar radiation straight back to space, open water and dark soil absorb sunlight like a sponge, or like an efficient solar collector. The more melt water lakes there are

and the larger they become, the more heat the open water surfaces will absorb. The Russian permafrost researcher Sergei Kirpotin has commented that the thawing of the permafrost is like an ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and that is undoubtedly connected to climate warming. According to another permafrost expert, Katey Walter of the University of Alaska, we would need to have major cooling for the melting of the permafrost to stop. In other words: it may be that we are no longer dealing with an ordinary, gradual and benign man-induced strengthening of the greenhouse effect, but with the dreaded runaway greenhouse effect. Global warming that has started to feed itself. In October 2008 the most well-known climate scientist in the world, Dr James Hansen of NASA, and his colleagues published an updated analysis about what seems to be happening to our climate. According to the new calculations we should reduce the atmospheres carbon dioxide content back to 350 parts per million, from the present level of 383 parts per million, if we want to prevent a global warming amounting to six full degrees Celsius. In summer 2009 Rajendra Pachauri, then still the chairman of IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) admitted that Hansen was probably right in what he had said. For example the official climate policy of the European Union has been based on the assumption, that if we can keep the atmospheres carbon dioxide content below 560 parts per million, we can limit global warming to two degrees. We have thought that it is enough if we can cut the global carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent before 2050. In other words, we have assumed that we can still keep on increasing the atmospheres carbon dioxide content for forty more years. According to Hansens updated calculations our climate appears less stable than we assumed. It seems that we have already pushed our climatic system over a limit, after which it can only proceed towards a warmer state of equilibrium. Hansen and his co-workers have proposed, that the new equilibrium might be reached after the Earth has heated by six degrees, but in reality there is no guarantee that the warming would halt at this point. Various natural cleaning systems, especially oceans, still absorb a couple of billion tons of carbon out of the atmosphere, every

year. However, even if we reduced, almost immediately, our carbon dioxide emissions below the level these cleaning systems can currently manage, there is no certainty that the oceans would still be able to absorb so much carbon that the atmospheric concentrations would begin to decline. Much smaller emissions in the 1800s already led to increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so we do not know how the situation would develop. It now seems that for instance the marine carbon sinks are becoming less effective. This means that they might soon reach their limits because of global warming and the acidification of the oceans. Besides, we are not even close to achieving an immediate 60 or 80 per cent cut in the global emissions. Many Southern countries think, with more than a little bit of legitimacy, that greenhouse gas emissions should be calculated on a per capita basis. This is a just and righteous point, but the contradiction between North and South has blocked real progress in climate negotiations for two decades and threatens to do so also in the near future. Lets face the facts. We obviously have to cut the emissions, but in the present situation it is also imperative to absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Otherwise we just wont make it. We might, soon, even be forced to do something to improve the Earths reflectivity, its capacity to reflect sunlight back to space. There are numerous different ways to absorb carbon and to improve the Earths reflectivity, but many of the methods that have been proposed are dangerous and might actually lead to the end of the world as we know it. This is why it is important to initiate a serious discussion about the various possible emergency measures or geoengineering solutions. The debate has to start now, so that we can analyse the pros and cons of each alternative and experiment with the most promising options. During the last fifteen years I have combed the Earths surface and its various natural and artificial landscapes, both in the field and through the literature, looking for ways to improve our planets reflectivity and for ways to remove carbon dioxide from the air. In the following pages I have described what I have discovered, this far: 26 ways to sequester carbon, and 40 ways to improve our planets reflectivity.

I have included in my narrative all the proposals and logical possibilities that might actually work. Some of the schemes are utterly crazy, some are just slightly mad, others might or might not be feasible and at least twenty make perfect sense. I have also included a short list of ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, because this is still important, even though it is no longer enough to solve the problem. I have put all the reasonable and not-so-reasonable ideas into the same bag of apples, and I have included both things that every one of us can do and things that would require large, governmental or inter-governmental programs. This is deliberate. I have aimed at a somewhat wild mixture of ideas to provoke a mental prison break. Even the craziest ideas can be useful in breaking our old and fixed patterns of thinking, and an absurd proposal can prompt us to come up with something better. And the truly mad ideas, of course, make my own proposals look more sensible! It is crucial to acknowledge, that measures improving the Earths reflectivity do not constitute a solution to the carbon dioxide problem. Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contribute to global warming, but they also threaten to make oceans so acid that corals and the species of plankton with calcium carbonate shells will be wiped out. Moreover, if we double the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, cassava plants will produce smaller roots and more leaves, and their leaves become poisonous for humans. Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide would also reduce the nutritional value (protein, fat, vitamin and trace mineral contents) of most other food crops. In other words, problems caused by carbon dioxide can only be solved by reducing carbon emissions and by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. However, we could counter the heating impacts of soot, jet plane condensation trails, man-made cirrus clouds and short-living greenhouse gases like ozone and methane by improving the reflectivity of our home planet. The same means could also be used to combat the reduced reflectivity of northern areas, caused by the loss of snow and ice cover, by soot and dust on snow and by the extensive planting of coniferous forests. I have systematically emphasized solutions that would make sense and improve our lives even without any global warming. It is

of course better to solve a problem with means that produce positive side-effects than with solutions that produce negative sideeffects. Besides, we have a large number of people who still are in a state of denial, and their number could increase when the threat of global warming becomes more undeniable, more threatening and more acute. When faced with something truly frightening, some people will react rationally, but many others will do the opposite. Many people will never admit that global warming has something to do with the real world. The only way to convince them is to emphasize the other benefits of the proposed measures. If we only focus on limiting our emissions, nobody can do the right thing, because it is next to impossible for any of us to lead our lives without producing any greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, if we want to solve the problem by cutting emissions, only, every government, company and individual has to participate. It is next to impossible to achieve something like this, even if we had more time. In other words, if we remain stuck with the notion that the greenhouse problem can only be tackled by reducing emissions, we may become extinct, as a species. But if we also think in terms of absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, those of us who are aware of the problem, can do much more than what would have been our own share of the burden. One seriously concerned person can eliminate the emissions of a hundred indifferent people. A rich person with a lot of resources can easily absorb from the atmosphere as much carbon dioxide as ten thousand middle-class people are currently producing. This is not fair, but the world has never been fair. The ignorant, the arrogant and those who have given up will always be with us. The important thing is to find out, how we can save the world even if only a minority of the worlds people will participate in the effort. In Helsinki, 12th February, 2010 Risto Isomki

The Contents

PREFACE: WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF THE RuNAWAy GREENHOuSE EFFECT ...................................................... 4 THE MELTING OF THE ARCTIC........................................................................ 13 A BRIEF INTRODuCTION: WHAT IS GLOBAL WARMING? ............................. 20 WHy GLOBAL WARMING AND CARBON ARE SERIOuS ISSuES ................... 23 CAN THE ATMOSPHERE BECOME POISONOuS FOR HuMANS? .................... 32 REMOVING THE ExTRA CARBON FROM THE ATMOSPHERE ........................ 38 1. Storing Carbon in Old Oil and Gas Wells ........................................................... 40 2. Storing Carbon in Seawater............................................................................. 41 3. Converting Carbon Dioxide to Solids ................................................................ 43 4. Sequestering Carbon Dioxide in Geothermal Power Stations ............................ 46 5. Converting Carbon Dioxide to Oil with Sunlight................................................ 47 6. Burying Wood or Other Biomass ...................................................................... 49 7. Storing Carbon in Wooden Buildings ................................................................ 50 8. Storing Carbon in Living Trees ......................................................................... 51 9. Sequestering Carbon with Artificial Trees (Sodium Hydroxide) ..................................................................................... 62 10. Storing Carbon in Piles of Wood and Branches ............................................... 62 11. Storing Carbon in Anthills.............................................................................. 63 12. Storing Carbon in Sea Salt ............................................................................ 69 13. Storing Carbon in Peatlands .......................................................................... 71 14. Storing Carbon in the Soil ............................................................................. 74 15. Storing Carbon in the Amazonian Way the Terra Preta System .............................................................................. 76 16. Composting with Thermophilic Bacteria ......................................................... 79 17. Regenerating the Mangrove Forests .............................................................. 84 18. Spreading Mangroves to New Areas .............................................................. 86 19. Increasing the Amount of Coral Reefs ............................................................ 86 20. Adding Limestone into the Oceans ................................................................. 88 21. Greening the Oceans...................................................................................... 88 22. Greening the Deserts ..................................................................................... 90


23. Storing Carbon in Clay (the Cat Litter Method) ......................................... 92 24. Storing Carbon in Ice .................................................................................... 92 25. Dont be a Bio-Indicator Stop Eating Meat! ................................................ 94 26. Consuming Less Wood-Based Paper and Eating Less Rice ............................ 102 REMOVING OTHER GREENHOuSE GASES FROM THE AIR ......................... 112 HALTING THE ALBEDO CHANGES ................................................................. 114 27. Adding Sulphur, Ash and Dust to the Air ....................................................... 121 28. Controlling Wildfires ................................................................................... 127 29. Reducing Soot Emissions ............................................................................. 127 30. Making Clouds Whiter ................................................................................. 133 31. Spreading Out the Shipping Routes .............................................................. 135 32. Reflecting Substances in Low-Earth Orbits .................................................. 136 33. Moon Dust in Space .................................................................................... 137 34. Blowing a Comet (or an Asteroid) to Space Dust .......................................... 138 35. A Giant Reflector in Space .......................................................................... 138 36. Fifty Thousand Smaller Reflectors in Space ................................................. 138 37. Sixteen Billion Even Smaller Reflectors in Space ........................................ 139 38. Favouring Broad-leaved Trees, Larches and Sparse Forests at High Latitudes 139 39. Stone Mulching with Highly Reflecting Materials......................................... 143 40. Mulching with Other Reflecting Materials .................................................... 144 41. Reflecting Plankton ..................................................................................... 145 42. Highly Reflecting Films on Water Surfaces .................................................. 146 43. Favouring Plants with Efficiently Reflecting Leaves ..................................... 147 44. Giant Solar Chimneys as a Global Air-Conditioning System........................... 149 45. Creating New Salt Deserts or Washing the Existing Ones........................ 152 46. Painting the Walls and Rooftops White ........................................................ 153 47. Sending Messages to ETs ............................................................................ 154 48. Wind-powered Ice Sprinklers ....................................................................... 156 49. Gravity-powered Ice Sprinklers ................................................................... 161 50. Dropping Winter Clouds by Kites or Balloons ............................................... 163 51. Dropping Winter Clouds with Rockets or Grenades ....................................... 166 52. Rethinking the Jet Plane Routes, Schedules and Flight Altitudes .................................................................... 167 53. Reducing Wintertime Cloud Cover by Mountaintop Sprinklers ......................................................................... 172 54. Towing Icebergs to the Beaufort Gyre and Blowing them to Pieces ..................................................................... 173 55. Blowing Icebergs to Pieces without Towing them to the Beaufort Gyre ...... 175 56. Catalyzing Ice Formation by Floating Booms ............................................... 176


57. using Shallow Bays as Ice Nurseries ........................................................... 177 58. Providing Northern Lakes with Better and Higher Wind-Breaks ................... 178 59. Dropping Winter Clouds with Bacteria ......................................................... 178 60. Snow Cannons on Board! ............................................................................. 179 61. Long Lines of Strengthened Ice on the Sea ................................................. 180 62. using Large Icebergs as Drift Anchors ......................................................... 182 63. Scattering the Drifts of Fresh Snow ............................................................. 183 64. Flooding the Northern Peatlands in Winter .................................................. 183 65. Increasing the Amount of DMS-producing Plankton ..................................... 184 66. Establishing Arctic Pleistocene Parks .......................................................... 186 REDuCING THE GREENHOuSE GAS EMISSIONS ........................................ 188 Passive solar energy.......................................................................................... 189 Saving Energy: Houses ...................................................................................... 189 Saving Energy: Washing .................................................................................... 192 Saving Energy: Lighting .................................................................................... 192 Saving Energy: Cars .......................................................................................... 193 Saving Energy: Food ......................................................................................... 195 Saving Energy: Food Negawatts ........................................................................ 197 Saving Energy: Reducing Food Waste ................................................................ 197 Saving Energy: Cooking .................................................................................... 199 Saving Energy: Consumption ............................................................................. 199 Saving Energy: Recycling .................................................................................. 199 Saving Energy: Children .................................................................................... 200 International Travel ........................................................................................... 201 Halting Tropical Deforestation ........................................................................... 208 Industrial Process Emissions: Cement and Steel ................................................ 208 Solar Heat Collectors ........................................................................................ 210 Thin-film Photovoltaics ..................................................................................... 211 Concentrating Solar .......................................................................................... 213 Concentrating Photovoltaics .............................................................................. 214 Low-Concentration Photovoltaics ...................................................................... 215 Solar CHP (Combined Heat and Power) and solar CCP (Combined Cooling and Power) ............................................ 215 Fuelwood .......................................................................................................... 216 Other Biofuels ................................................................................................... 217 Ordinary Wind Power ........................................................................................ 223 Kite Power ....................................................................................................... 225 Hydroelectric Power ......................................................................................... 227 Modern Thermoelectric Cells............................................................................. 228


Geothermal Energy ........................................................................................... 229 Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) ........................................................ 229 The Problem with the Back-up .......................................................................... 230 Saving the World by Burning the Peat? .............................................................. 232 Nuclear Power and Global Warming .................................................................. 236 Ordinary Nuclear Reactors ................................................................................ 242 Pebble-Bed Modular Reactors (PBMRs) ........................................................... 248 Fast Breeder Reactors ...................................................................................... 249 Thorium reactors .............................................................................................. 250 Deuterium-Tritium Fusion Power Plants ............................................................ 251 Helium 3 Fusion Power Plants .......................................................................... 253 Deuterium-Deuterium Fusion Power Plants ....................................................... 253 The Hydrogen Economy .................................................................................... 254 THE TOP TEN WAyS TO STERILIzE THE PLANET: ....................................... 256 THE TOP TEN WAyS TO PREVENT THE OVERHEATING OF THE PLANET: .......................................................... 258 THE TEN MOST IMPORTANT THINGS EVERyONE OF uS CAN DO .............. 260


The Melting of the Arctic

The world we are living in has changed profoundly in the last five years. It is as if we had walked from our routine and relatively safe world into a bad science fiction movie. A little bit more than fifty years ago, on 3rd August, 1958, the US nuclear submarine Nautilus became the first submarine to reach North Pole. The captain of Nautilus, commander William R. Anderson, wrote a book about the journey, called Nautilus 90 North. I read it when I was young, and I was fascinated by the fact that according to the submarines sonar, Nautilus had been under surprisingly sturdy polar ice throughout the journey. The thickness of the ice had varied between two and a half and twenty-five metres. Here and there the keels of higher pressure ridges had penetrated to the depth of forty or fifty metres. In 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, USA released, due to the influence of Vice-President Al Gore, data which had been collected by military submarines about the average thickness of the Arctic marine ice. According to this assessment sea ice had thinned by 40 per cent or so, and it was predicted, that it might melt completely in summertime by about 2100. However, the assessment did not really fit with Commander Andersons description about the Arctic ice pack. I wondered whether the later estimates had used a wrong baseline, and ignored earlier data, because it had been too patchy. I was so worried about this possibility that I wrote a science fiction novel,

Herminen (The Awakening), in which the Arctic Ocean lost its whole summertime ice cap already by the year 2013. In the book loss of sea ice led, by 2038, to rapid heating of seawater, so that the submarine and terrestrial permafrost areas started to melt and the so called methane clathrates, mysterious submarine sediments consisting of ice and methane gas trapped inside it, became destabilized. Unfortunately, what was science fiction at the late 1990s, is now quickly becoming science fact. In 2006 the official prediction was that summertime sea ice would not disappear from the Arctic Ocean before 2070 or 2080, even if the climate were to continue to warm up in line with the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But in summer 2007 the National Ice and Snow Data Center (NISDC) of the USA announced, that the whole Arctic Ocean could actually become ice-free in 2020 during the height of the melting season, fifty or sixty years before the official schedule. The reason for this drastic revision was simple: the extent of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean had diminished very rapidly in just a few years. In 2007 the extent of the area covered by marine ice was only half of what it had been in the 1950s, and the remaining ice masses were much thinner than before. During 2008 the extent of the Arctic marine ice did not shrink further, because the summer was cool and the skies cloudy. But the amount of multi-year ice in the Arctic Ocean at the end of September 2008 was only half of what it had been a year earlier. The average thickness of the ice pack was somewhere between a metre and two metres, in stark contrast to the situation in August 1958. Many scientists now predicted, that the Arctic Ocean might soon lose the rest of its multi-year marine ice and become totally icefree already at the end of the summer by 2012 or 2013. In September 2009 a team of Canadian researchers, led by David Barber, no longer found any multi-year ice from the Arctic Ocean. They met none of it even at the Beaufort Sea, north of Canadas Arctic archipelago. The team only encountered thin and fragile ice, with an average thickness of half a metre. Such a thin membrane of ice could vanish in a few weeks, during the next abnormally warm Arctic summer. According to satellite data the

amount of multi-year ice had again been halved during a single melting season, but there was still some larger patches of it, left. However, the field observations contradicted the satellite data. It seemed that the half-melted ice landscape was producing forms whose radiometric and scattering characteristics were almost identical to those of multi-year ice, so that satellites could no longer see the difference. In 1994 there had still been about 25,000 cubic kilometres of floating ice in the Arctic Ocean, if we the annual average that takes into account both the summer and winter months. At the moment the average could be somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000 cubic kilometres. In other words, we seem to have lost at least 80 per cent or more of the Arctic pack ice in sixteen years, and a much larger percentage after the year 1958. In 2005, Russian scientists reported that the whole West Siberian permafrost region had suddenly started to melt. According to Sergei Kirpotin and his co-workers, the whole one million square kilometre permafrost area had abruptly become full of small, round lakes which since then have grown a little bit larger, every year. Many of the lakes no longer freeze during winter because methane bubbling from the permafrost keeps them ice-free. According to Katey Walter, a researcher in the University of Alaska, the combined area covered by the meltwater lakes increased five-fold during the years 20062009. In many areas there is already much more water than frozen ground. Winter 20072008 was also the first time in recorded history when the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia did not freeze at all during the winter, not even in February and March. There was some ice in the northernmost part of the Gulf of Bothnia, but it only stretched about 30 or 40 kilometres south from the town of Kemi. At the same time the forest line has been creeping further North and higher up in the hills of the northern tundra. Billions of small, young spruce and pine trees are raising their heads in once barren cold deserts, in places that have had no coniferous trees for eons. The snow line on land, meaning the edge of the area that is under snow cover, has often been hundreds of kilometres further north than what would have been the statistical average.

Shortening winters and melting ices mean that the snow and ice cover on the northern land and water areas has drastically diminished. Thousands of millions of hectares of land and water have been covered by snow and ice for a much shorter period than what used to be the case. All this may have profound consequences for the climate of our planet, because snow and ice are very good at reflecting sunlight back to outer space. They typically have a reflectivity (an albedo) of 70 to 90 per cent. In extreme cases fresh-fallen, purewhite snow can reflect 98 per cent of solar radiation straight back to space. Even melting snow and ice still have an albedo of 5060 per cent. Open water only reflects 410 per cent of the sunlight back, depending on the angle of the coming solar radiation. In other words, watery surfaces absorb 9096 per cent of the solar energy falling on them. Dark soils and dark coniferous forests also have a very low albedo, typically less than 10 per cent. The drastic reduction of snow and ice cover on the northern areas threatens to accelerate the overheating of our planet. The Indian-American climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan, who was the first to measure the radiative forcing of the new greenhouse gases like freons, has calculated that a 3 percentage point reduction in the Earths average reflectivity would heat the planet as much as a five-fold increase in the atmospheres carbon dioxide content. The melting process now taking place in the worlds polar regions might finally reduce the Earths reflectivity by more than 3 percentage points. If Ramanathans calculation is correct, these changes in the planets reflectivity could be equivalent to adding three or four thousand billion tons of extra carbon into the atmosphere a few centuries worth of emissions. During the early Eocene period, 55 million years ago, the Earth was perhaps 13 degrees warmer than now. The average temperature at the North Pole, however, was a staggering 43 degrees higher than at present, plus 20 Celsius instead of minus 23, largely because the region had lost its entire, effectively reflecting snow and ice cover. During our own time, extreme heating of the Arctic would be

even more dangerous than 55 million years ago, because the present Arctic has literally thousands of millions of hectares of land and water areas with huge frozen or semi-frozen reservoirs of organic carbon and methane. Many of these greenhouse gas reservoirs have been frozen without interruption for a very long time, sometimes for more than a million years. Northern forest soils and the vast northern peatland areas contain huge amounts of organic matter, and new studies have estimated that there is at least 1,500 billion tons of carbon stored in the terrestrial permafrost areas. Most of this has been frozen into the so-called yedoma or wet permafrost. In yedoma the permafrost and its carbon become covered with water when the ground starts to melt. Therefore, most of the carbon in the permafrost is released as methane, and not as carbon dioxide. The difference is important, because as long as methane stays in the atmosphere, it is about one hundred times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methanes relative global warming potential becomes smaller if we posit calculations on a longer perspective, because it breaks down in the atmosphere relatively quickly. In other words, large eruptions of methane are the more dangerous the faster they occur. This is, admittedly, somewhat frightening, because we are now heating the Arctic much more forcefully than it could ever heat in any natural conditions. We are, at the same time, increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases, adding more cirrus clouds on the sky and producing a lot of soot and dust that falls down on the Arctic ices. There is more methane under the permafrost, in sediments known as methane clathrates or methane hydrates. In the clathrate deposits methane gas has been trapped inside small molecularlevel cages of ordinary ice. The first methane clathrates were discovered by Russian scientists already in the 1960s, but we still have only a vague idea of the size of these reserves. According to one regularly quoted estimate there could be at least 400 billion tons of methane in the clathrate stores beneath the terrestrial permafrost. The methane clathrate deposits on the continental slopes are even larger. According to best current estimates they might contain about 10,000 billion tons of methane, part of this inside the

ice and the rest in gas pockets under the clathrate bed. These formations may be the greatest threat to our future survival, because they are only stable under a high pressure and when the temperature of the surrounding water is close to the freezing point of water. Clathrates in the Arctic Ocean can exist much closer to surface than in other oceans, because the water is very cold. Surface water in the Arctic Ocean always stays between minus two and zero degrees Celsius. The warmest water, more than 0.5 degrees Celsius, can be found at depths of 200500 metres. Furthermore, roughly one half of the bottom of the Arctic Ocean consists of submerged continental shelves, which are covered with permafrost. In other words there is many times more yedoma under the water than above the water. There are not even educated guesses on how much organic carbon these submarine permafrost areas might contain. Even though we do not know this for certain, it is likely that there are large amounts of methane clathrates also under the submarine permafrost and under the continental glaciers (ice sheets). The closer to North Pole a methane eruption takes place, the more dangerous it is, especially if it happens during early autumn, at the end of the melting season, just before Arctic winter. Hydroxyl radicals, responsible for cleaning the atmosphere of methane, are in short supply when there is very little sunlight. This means that in the polar areas a larger percentage of the methane can remain in the atmosphere for a long time. Methane heats the planet by acting as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Moreover, methane molecules often break down only when they have risen to relatively high altitudes in the atmosphere. This produces cirrus clouds, tiny ice crystals floating high in the air. Cirrus clouds have a weak cooling impact during the day and a much stronger heating impact during the night. It is thus very important that we halt the thawing of the Arctic before all these stores of organic carbon and methane begin to erupt into the atmosphere. Clathrate deposits will become destabilized if the surrounding water heats too much, or if the melting of ice reduces the weight of the various Arctic glaciers so much that violent earthquakes are generated. Even a relatively small earthquake could split a clathrate bed so that the underlying gas pockets are ruptured.

The Greenland ice sheet is, of course, by far the greatest glacier in the Arctic region, but also the smaller glaciers on the Ellesmere and Devon islands, on Franz Josef Land, on Novaja Zemlja and Severnaja Zemlja, on Spitsbergen and on the Axel Heibergs island might constitute a danger for the nearby clathrate fields. In summer 2008 Canadian, Swedish and Russian scientists reported, that on many sites large amounts of methane had started to bubble to the surface from submarine permafrost. The Swedes remarked, that practically all the methane seemed to be entering the atmosphere, raising the local concentrations of the gas by one hundred or, on some localities, by a thousand times. People living at Greenlands western coast told British and Canadian researchers about large explosions in the sea, and about dead whales that had subsequently floated to the surface. It has not been possible to confirm these reports, but a breakdown of a clathrate bed would produce eruptions with a resemblance to depth charge (water bomb) explosions. And then, in August 2009 a team of the University of Southampton discovered, around the Arctic archipelago known as Spitzbergen, 250 sites on which the submarine methane clathrate fields had started to melt and release methane. The melting clathrates were at depths of 150400 metres. All the methane released from its icy prisons dissolved into sea water as carbonic acid before it reached the surface, but this could change, very soon.


A Brief Introduction: What is Global Warming?

According to measurements conducted by NASA, planet Earth now radiates back to space a little less energy than it receives from the Sun. The result is a small imbalance, amounting to 0.85 watts, plus or minus 0.15 watts, for every square metre of our planets surface (all 500,000 billion of them). In this book I have used the round figure of one watt per square metre, Instead of 0.85 watts, for the sake of simplicity, in order to make the related calculations easier to follow, and because the situation is likely to keep on changing in the future. If the heat imbalance has, after ten years, increased for instance to 1.4 watts per square metre, you will get the new figures simply by multiplying my numbers by 1.4. In any case the Earth is now like a house that is being heated so efficiently that the production of new heat is more than the amount escaping through the windows, walls and roof. Sooner or later a new balance will be reached and the amount of escaping energy will again equal the production of heat. But until this new equilibrium is reached, our planet will keep on heating. Where does this approximately 500,000-gigawatt imbalance in our energy budget come from? One reason are the so called greenhouse gases, water vapour, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, tropospheric ozone, freons (or chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs) and some of the compounds which have now largely replaced them. Greenhouse gases are gaseous substances whose molecules consist of more than two atoms. Such molecules begin to shiver,

shake and wobble in a very complex way when they are hit by infrared radiation coming from the ocean or from the ground. Such a nervous shaking of molecules is called heat. In other words greenhouse gases are able to catch infrared or heat radiation before it escapes back to space from the surface of our planet. Human activities are increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and thus heating the planet. The so called black aerosols, small soot particles and tar balls that are produced when something is burned, also contribute to the warming. They do not stay in the atmosphere for a very long time, but they absorb sunlight efficiently as long as they remain in the air. Most scientists think that between 0.1 and 0.2 degrees of the 0.8 degree warming that has already taken place has probably been due to small changes in the Suns activity. Suns output fluctuates a little, and during the last millennium solar minimums and solar maximums caused a number of warm periods and little ice ages. However, we passed the highest peak of the present solar maximum already some time ago, so the Sun should no longer be contributing much to global warming. On the contrary, the slight diminishing of the Suns activity should now help us a little in our efforts to prevent the overheating of our home planet. Our planet is now overheating also because its albedo its capacity to reflect sunlight directly back to space is decreasing. Open water surfaces, dark coniferous forests, asphalt and dark soils absorb most of the sunlight falling on them like a sponge. When the ice and snow cover retreats the surface of our planet becomes darker. Condensation trails left behind by jet planes and artificial cirrus clouds forming from them also have a heating impact. The combined heating impact of all these factors is currently at least four watts for each square metre of our planets surface. However, our sulphur and dust emissions and the land-use practises that increase the Earths reflectivity cool the planet. This probably compensates for three quarters of the warming. Because of these cooling impacts our current planetary heat imbalance is only one watt, or a little bit less than one watt, instead of four watts per square metre.

The warming process, of course, does not proceed in a linear, systematic and straightforward way. Exceptionally warm years will, every now and then, be followed by much colder seasons. When this happens, many people immediately start to think that perhaps the global warming has stopped. The problem is that we do not have a very long memory, and the mental yardstick we are using to estimate what a certain winter was like changes very quickly, much faster than the climate. We should keep in mind that during the coldest winters Europe has seen during the last three hundred years temperatures in Paris have sometimes dropped below minus fifteen Celsius for more than ten days in a row. Nowadays a Parisian winter is cold, if the temperature does drop below zero during the coldest day of the year.


Why Global Warming and Carbon are Serious Issues

In this book I will repeat one point over and over again, because it is almost always forgotten in the climate discussions. Carbon dioxide does heat the planet and it does contribute to global warming. There is absolutely no uncertainty about these basic facts. The debate is only on how quickly and strongly our weather systems will react to such impacts. However, even if the connection of carbon dioxide and global warming was a gigantic conspiracy between environmental organizations, governments, conscious objectors, feminists, transnational corporations, communists, rightist radicals, scientists, animal right activists and gays (as some people have imagined) it would still be of utmost importance to limit the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Much of the carbon dioxide we are now producing dissolves in sea water and makes carbonic acid. In other words, the more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, the more acid the oceans become. We have already made the surface layer of the oceans about 30 per cent more acid, and if we double or triple the atmospheric carbon dioxide contents, coral and plankton animals can no longer form their shells and the marine food chains probably collapse. From the viewpoint of the whole biosphere this is an even more serious issue than global warming. Actually, we should perhaps concentrate on this, and start talking about the acidification of the oceans more than we talk about global warming. Moreover, if the carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmo24

sphere double, our food crops can produce their carbohydrates more easily. This sounds nice but it also means that our food plants become less nutritious, in terms of fats, proteins, trace minerals and vitamins. In other words, we would have to eat more carbohydrates and food fibres, in order to acquire everything we need. World hunger no longer means calorific malnutrition, but insufficient intake of certain key proteins and dietary fats. Besides this, at least four billion people suffer from a lack of vitamins and important trace minerals. If we add too much carbon dioxide into the air, our food crops will no longer meet our real nutritional needs and dietary requirements as well as now. Cassava merits special attention. It is the most important food crop to 600 million people, and an important crop to more than one billion. Many of the cassava-dependent people belong to the poorest of the poor. The importance of cassava is likely to increase in the future, because most of the still expected population growth will take place in the worlds cassava zone. For instance in many parts of Central Africa, where cassava is especially important, population might still double or triple. We should also keep in mind that agricultural production has recently been increasing in an extensive way, meaning that more food is produced simply because hundreds of millions of people have cleared new land for farming. Because good farmland has already been taken, the expansion of agriculture means cultivating poorer and drier soils, which are not suitable for rice or wheat, but on which cassava can be grown. Without the carbon dioxide problem we might have two or three billion people dependent on cassava by 2100. But according to laboratory studies the doubling of the atmospheres carbon dioxide content would induce cassava plants to grow more leaves and less roots, and double the hydrogen cyanide (glycoside) content of their leaves. In practise this would make cassava poisonous to people, because even now for example 9 per cent of Nigerians suffer some form of cyanide poisoning from eating cassava. In the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan, Kalimantan Tengah, the air contains an anomalous amount of carbon dioxide, because the slow oxidation of peat on vast ditched peatland areas releases huge amounts of the gas. For instance in the

so called Mega-Rice Project area people say that cassava does not produce any roots, even on good mineral soils. Even the production of leaves is often insignificant. The extra carbon seems to have channeled the growth of the cassava plants into their stems. I have never, In any other place, seen cassava grow like that, producing stems four or five metres high, each stem having only a small round of leaves at the end. It is important to realize, that these problems have nothing to do with the warming. They are caused by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. If we add more carbon into the air, all this will happen even if the Earth cooled down by several centrigrades, at the same time. Which, of course, is not going to happen. However, if the climate does heat by a couple of degrees centigrade, what is more likely, the heating will most probably bring with it a different but equally frightening set of problems. For instance, the average strength of hurricanes and typhoons should increase by 50 per cent or so. This would make them much more destructive. If the warming skyrockets to 6 or 10 degrees, the fiercest cyclones will become almost unimaginably destructive. The worlds rice crop is highly sensitive to rising temperatures. If temperature rises above 35 degrees Celsius for more than an hour while rice is flowering, heat sterilizes the pollen so that no rice grains can be produced. According to International Rice Research Institute, we might lose 15 per cent of the worlds rice crop with every degree of global warming. It has been estimated that a 3 degree warming would increase rainfall, because more water will evaporate from the oceans. However, the evaporation of water from soils, freshwater lakes and rivers would increase even more, so according to the climate models most of the tropical and subtropical regions would actually become drier than now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that up to five billion people might soon suffer from an acute lack of irrigation water. Dr James Hansen, perhaps the leading climate scientist in the USA, has said that sea level rise will most probably be the important issue of the 21st century. In the 19th century sea level was rising by only 0.1 millimetres per year. In 1950s the speed started

to accelerate, and was estimated to be 2 millimetres in the 1990s. In 2007 the rate of sea level rise was probably somewhere around 3.7 millimetres per year, even though there is some variation in the results. The present rate might be close to 5 millimetres a year, which corresponds with 50 centimetres in a century. A few years ago glaciologists still thought that even if the climate would become significantly warmer, it would take thousands of years before this extra heat would reach the bottom of the glaciers. It was thought that two kilometres of ice would act like a two-kilometre thick bed of effective insulation material. The basis of these old models describing how continental glaciers melt has since then been completely debunked by empirical evidence. In the beginning of the new millennium it was still unclear, whether the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets were in balance, or whether they were already losing more ice than what was being created by snow fall. In any case it was clear, that the huge East Antarctic ice sheet was still growing. However, during the next few years both Greenland and West Antarctic suddenly started to lose so much ice, that their ice budgets went, for the first time, clearly on the minus, and the speed by which they were losing ice multiplied in an astonishingly short period of time. In the East Antarctic snow fall was still able, until the year 2006, to produce more new ice than what was lost with the ice bergs. But in 2006 even the East Antarctic started to lose mass, according to measurements made by two satellites, flying close to each other. In other words: all the three ice sheets started to melt during the first decade of the new millennium. Surface melting on the Greenland ice sheet has, during the warmest years, achieved unprecedented proportions. The number of turquoise meltwater ponds and lakes (glacier lakes) forming on the ice sheets has increased. Glacier lakes have started to form even in the North, and the highest ones now form at 1,400 metres. Because water has a higher density than ice, meltwater lakes act as wedges that produce deep cracks into the ice sheet. Ice has a relatively strong compressive strength but hardly any tensile strength. Because of this a 10- or 15-metre-deep meltwater pond can crack open a 1,500-metre-deep crevice that reaches through

the whole ice sheet, all the way to the bedrock. Whole small rivers of melt-water have started to disappear inside the glaciers through cracks in the ice. Water surging into a crevice eats deep and round holes in the ice, known as moulins or glacier wells. The scientists watching the process in awe suddenly realized, that heat can actually reach the bottom of a glacier in thirty seconds rather than thousands of years, in the form of waterfalls created by the surface melting. The melt water pooling under the glaciers acts like a lubricant which accelerates the speed by which the glaciers flow towards the ocean. At the same time sea water is gradually eating its way from the edges deeper and deeper under certain sectors of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, including the huge Pine Island Glacier, in the West Antarctic. According to many glaciologists the process should be as irreversible as the thawing of the permafrost: it will not stop unless climate becomes colder again. The destruction of many ice shelves, floating tongues of ice that stretch far into the ocean, has accelerated the melting of many glaciers. It seems that ice shelves act as barriers or like corks in a bottle that slow down the movement of the glaciers. They also seem to insulate the actual ice sheets from the impact of the heating sea water. In 2002 an ice shelf known as Larsen B suddenly broke to thousands of icebergs and floated away. Larsen B was about the size of Luxembourg, and it had existed without interruption at least for 12,000 years. After the ice shelf s demise, the glacier behind Larsen B started streaming towards the sea eight times faster than before. The glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula are relatively small, and even if they would melt totally they would only raise the sea level by half a metre. But glaciologists are now more than a little bit afraid that Larsen C will be the next to go, and that even the massive Ronne ice shelf might soon be in danger. This would accelerate the melting of the whole West Antarctic ice sheet. Some scientists have started to fear that the whole complex of glaciers streaming to Pine Island Bay in the West Antarctic may already be doomed for rapid destruction unless the climate cools down. Pine Island Bay is the soft underbelly of the West Antarc28

tic. If the two gigantic glaciers streaming to the bay, the Pine Island Glacier and the Thwaites Glacier, will melt, sea level will rise by two metres. Dr Hansen wrote in July 2007 that in the light of these recent observations a five-metre raise in the sea level before 2007 is a much more probable scenario than the official, much lower prediction of the IPCC. The well-known US glaciologist Richard Alley has noted that we can no longer, after the observations made during the summer of 2005, exclude even the possibility that a large chunk of the Greenland ice sheet would disintegrate in a couple of decades. 14,500 years ago there was a period of 400 years during which sea levels rose by 20 metres, and it is possible that 13.5 metres of this 20-metre rise took place in a very short period of time, within a few decades. The only plausible explanation for this is that some large, continental ice sheets which were anchored below the sea level suddenly broke to pieces and floated away. Could something similar happen in our own time? Unfortunately the possibility cannot be excluded. Almost the entire West Antarctic ice sheet is anchored 500-2,400 metres below the sea level. Also a large part of the Greenland ice sheet lies on ground that has been depressed below the current sea level, as well as some relatively large chunks of the massive East Antarctic ice sheet, especially the Cook and Totten Glaciers and parts of the so called Ingrid Christensen Coast. One further factor which has not yet been properly tabulated into the models are the small soot particles, tar balls and dust from Sahara that have been raining down on top of the continental glaciers for centuries. The algae growing on the surface of the ice have also become buried under the snow. When surface melting of a glacier reaches a certain rate, the melting begins to uncover more and more solid particles, especially if a growing proportion of the ice starts to disappear through sublimation, through a process in which ice Is transformed directly to water vapour, without first melting to form water. This should make the ice darker and decrease its albedo. If the ice is able to reflect less sunlight back to space, melting will accelerate. This will again reduce the reflectivity because more soot, dust

and dead algae will emerge from the ice into the surface. Thus the combined impact of water and sand on ice might one day lead to very rapid destruction of some of our continental glaciers. The melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet would add 56 metres and the melting of Greenland 78 metres to the sea level, while heat expansion of the sea water would add a further 4 metres for each 3-degree centigrade rise in global temperatures. Almost three-quarters of the humanity live on coastal areas that may be in danger, and most of our fertile farmlands are on the same coastal lowlands. Large tsunamis triggered by the warming may also become a serious issue. There are at least five different mechanisms through which global warming can cause giant tsunamis. The most immediate problem has to do with the melting of the continental glaciers, especially in Southern Greenland, where the speed of the melting has increased at least threefold in ten years. An ice sheet is so heavy that the Earths crust below it may be depressed by almost a kilometre. As the glaciers melt their weight is reduced and the crust starts to bounce back. This is already happening in Greenland, although still in a very minor way. When a glacier surges, the weight on bedrock becomes less and the rocks beneath have to shake a bit. During the years 1993 - 2005 the number of earthquakes larger than 4.6 on the Richter scale in Greenland increased more than sixfold. There were, altogether, 136 of them during this period. The melting of the Fennoscandian ice sheet, which lay over Finland, Sweden and Norway during the last Ice Age, took thousands of years. In spite of this the melting created a few very strong and innumerable smaller earthquakes. The largest earthquakes in Sweden had a magnitude of at least 8.5 or 8.7 on the Richter scale, and possibly more. They caused at least 13 large tsunamis at the Baltic Sea, many of which were 20 metres high and some even larger. If an ice sheet loses much of its weight in for example two hundred years, the resulting earthquakes should be more violent than when the same process takes place in 4,000 years. In the worst case scenario a gigantic chunk of an ice sheet anchored below the sea level might suddenly slide into the ocean and just float away.

This is the most serious possibility, because the weight depressing the crust would be lifted almost in an instant. This may sound far-fetched but we actually know that something like this has happened, in several different occasions. In 1988 the German marine scientist Hartmut Heinrich, then still a graduate student, discovered thick sediment layers which had been deposited at the bottom of the Atlantic by immense fleets of vast icebergs, which had suddenly been launched by the ice sheets. Since then six or seven separate Heinrich events have been identified. In 2001 and 2002 Australian scientists found traces of huge tsunami waves that had hit Australias coast roughly once in 1,000 or 500 years, and which had been strong enough to lift car-sized boulders over 130-metre high cliffs. In Madagascar one of these waves left behind a chevron, a wall of sediment, as tall as the Chrysler Building. The Australians first assumed that the megatsunamis had been caused by asteroids or comet fragments hitting the Earth. However, the estimated number of the megatsunami events is at least one hundred times larger than the estimated frequency of cosmic strikes large enough to cause a megatsunami. Therefore it seems much more likely that the Australian megatsunamis, or at least most of them, have been caused by major submarine earthquakes triggered by the melting of the Antarctic ice sheets at the end of the Ice Age. During the Ice Age the Antarctic was surrounded by large marine ice sheets that were anchored below the sea level. The demise of some of these marine ice sheets may have been frighteningly rapid. The future risks are aggravated by the fact, that on Greenlands continental shelves and slopes there are huge deposits of loose sediments that could be destabilized by even relatively small earthquakes. The risk could be the most imminent at Greenlands East Coast, where the edge of the ice sheet has remained remarkably stable for tens of thousands of years. In 1929 Newfoundland was hit by a tsunami created when a Richter 7 earthquake triggered a 200-cubic-kilometre underwater landslide. The tsunami was seven metres high on large stretches of coastline and rose to 27 metres at bays which concentrated its energy. The wave did not do any damage in Europe or further South because its power was broken by shallow waters. But the

Southern tip of Greenland is actually relatively close to Europe, and a slightly larger underwater landslide could cause a very dangerous tsunami surging towards Europe with the speed of a jet plane. If melting accelerates further, so that hundreds of thousands or millions of cubic kilometres of ice will melt, the process will, sooner or later, produce truly major rebound earthquake tsunamis. Another problem is that in many places the sediments on continental slopes are kept together by methane clathrates. The famous Geomar institute in Kiel, perhaps the worlds leading centre for methane hydrate studies, warned already a decade ago that if the oceans heat too much some of the hydrate fields may become more fragile. This could both release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and cause giant tsunamis. 7,900 years ago, between 4 and 8 billion tons of methane was suddenly released at the coast of Norway, enough to heat the planet temporarily by several degrees. The destabilization of the hydrate field also triggered a large submarine landslide known as Storegga, or the Great Wall. The 1,700-cubic-kilometre slide did cause a big tsunami, and there will be similar events in surprising places if we allow the global warming to proceed too far. It is urgent and of utmost importance to improve the sea defences of the already existing coastal nuclear power plants, nuclear fuel recycling facilities and the cooling ponds storing used nuclear fuel before anything like this happens. The easiest and fastest way to do this may often be to use large blocks of concrete and pile them on top of each other so that they make a high wall capable of breaking a tsunami. Moreover, there shouldnt be any further construction of nuclear facilities on coastal areas. The so called fourth-generation nuclear power plants (breeder reactors) would be particularly vulnerable to floods, hurricane storm surges and tsunamis.


Can the Atmosphere Become Poisonous for Humans?

In the science fiction novel Herminen (the Awakening) I wrote about people suffocating to death when methane clathrates started to break down and erupt and the atmosphere became poisonous for humans. At the time I thought that the idea was only science fiction, and that it would have no relevance in the real world. But now I am no longer so sure about this. The present oxygen content of the atmosphere is 21 per cent, which means roughly one and a half million gigatons (1 gigaton = one thousand million tonnes) of free oxygen. When methane (CH4) erupts into the atmosphere four tons of oxygen are lost for each ton of methane, except when carbon monoxide is produced. This is very simple secondary school chemistry. Both the methane molecules carbon atom and its four hydrogen atoms react with oxygen. One oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms make water, and one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms form a carbon dioxide molecule. The atomic weight of oxygen is 16, the atomic weight of carbon 12 and the atomic weight of hydrogen 1, so a methane molecule with an atomic weight of 16 consumes two O2 molecules with a combined atomic weight of 64. These reactions happen when methane is broken down in the atmosphere by the hydroxyl radical (OH-). Similarly, when something containing carbon like oil or peat burns, each ton of carbon consumes 2.7 tons of oxygen. How much methane and carbon can be released into the atmosphere before we start having serious problems with breath33

ing? Some of us get pulmonary embolism even below the altitude of 2,500 metres from the sea level, even though most humans are capable of spending short times at an altitude of 7,000 metres without any extra oxygen. But no known mammal is able to reproduce above the altitude of 4,000 metres. The weak spot of the mammals is the placental system. A human foetus also gets its oxygen through the placenta, and placental blood is always a mixture of the mothers well-oxygenated and poorly-oxygenated blood. Does this mean that our practical survival level as a species is the oxygen content currently existing at the altitude of 4,000 metres? Not quite. Scientists have exposed different mammal species for lowered contents of atmospheric oxygen in differing temperatures. These experiments have shown beyond any reasonable doubt that high temperatures greatly increase the stress level caused for mammals by lowered oxygen concentrations. The phenomenon is poorly understood but it is very real. In other words, some mammals are currently able to reproduce at 4,000 metres partly because the temperatures at that height are about 20 degrees centigrade lower than at the sea level. 55 million years ago most of the methane which was then stored in the methane clathrate deposits, was probably released into the atmosphere. Global temperatures increased by 8 degrees Celsius and the oxygen content of the atmosphere dropped by 2 percentage points, according to the best estimates currently available. This seems to have been enough to kill off many, if not the majority of all larger mammal species. This is a sobering scenario because it might mean that even for us the extinction level could be around the same 2 percentage points, if such a drop in oxygen concentrations were accompanied with significant global warming. If 10,000 gigatons of methane were released from the clathrates 40,000 gigatons of oxygen would be consumed and the oxygen concentrations might drop by 0.5 percentage points. As a species, we should be able to survive this. But what if the methane clathrate deposits are larger than the scientists most often cited guess has led us to believe? If for example 40,000 gigatons of methane were released from the clathrates, atmospheric oxygen would be reduced by 2 percentage points. It is more than likely that the

methane clathrate deposits are now significantly larger than 55 million years ago, when the world was 5 degrees warmer (before it heated by a further 8 degrees and became 13 degrees warmer than now). We might or might not be able to survive a 2-percentage point drop in the atmospheres oxygen levels. Unfortunately, the most serious danger might consist of carbon monoxide, water vapour and hydrogen sulphide. When methane is broken down in the atmosphere it first reacts with one hydroxyl radical, and becomes carbon monoxide. Then the carbon monoxide molecule again reacts with another hydroxyl radical, captures another oxygen atom and is thus transformed to carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide is much more eager to react with a hydroxyl radical than a methane molecule. However, there is only a limited amount of hydroxyl radicals in the atmosphere, and they are not evenly distributed. The concentrations in the tropics are the highest because of the intensive ultraviolet radiation, but in the Arctic the amount of hydroxyl radicals in the air can be extremely small, especially during the late autumn and winter, when there is very little sunlight. What if there were large and rapid eruptions of methane, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from the permafrost or from the offshore methane hydrates at high Arctic latitudes, just before the winter? When our air contains 1 per cent of carbon monoxide we die in about one hour, after 50 per cent of the haemoglobin molecules in our red blood cells have lost their ability to transport oxygen inside our bodies. Even much smaller amounts of carbon monoxide in the air will be lethal, if we have the patience to wait for longer than one hour. A long exposure to a carbon monoxide concentration of only 75 parts per million will disable about 30 per cent of our haemoglobin and cause serious and gradually accumulating health problems for us. Roughly 600 gigatons of methane suddenly breaking down to carbon monoxide would theoretically be enough to raise the carbon monoxide content of the whole atmosphere from the present average of 0.5 parts per million (ppm) to the above mentioned level, 75 parts per million. If the carbon monoxide concentrates at the lowest layers of the atmosphere, much

smaller amounts would be needed to poison us. These figures are more than a little disquieting, bearing in mind that the overall quantity of methane in the offshore hydrate deposits may well exceed the often quoted figure of 10,000 gigatons. Another worrying possibility was, to my knowledge, first proposed by the Finnish science writer and journalist Pasi Toiviainen. Toiviainen asked NASAs James Kasting and the Hadley Centers Peter Cox to calculate, whether large eruptions of methane from the clathrates could produce a moist greenhouse effect, a situation in which the oceans start releasing so much water vapour that the Earth finally becomes a new Venus. Toiviainen pointed out, that the so call tropical warm pool, lying east and north-east from Indonesia, is already very close to the temperatures required for such a vicious circle. At first Kasting and Cox did not take Toiviainens idea very seriously, but when they did the calculations, they were shocked to realize, that even if the melting of the clathrates would take thousands of years, the extra methane should be able to produce a moist greenhouse effect. According to the maths, the Earth was actually surprisingly close to becoming a new Venus. However, we are still here. There have been vast methane eruptions from the clathrates, before, for instance at the end of the Eocene period, 55 million years ago. At that time the world was perhaps five degrees warmer than now, to begin with. So it seems that there was a factor that prevented the moist greenhouse effect or a runaway greenhouse effect of becoming the reality. It now seems that the missing factor is the so-called Green Sky scenario, or the hydrogen sulphide bacteria. They dominate the sea bottom in places where the conditions are totally anoxic, meaning that there is almost no dissolved oxygen in the sea water. If the temperatures rise significantly the oceans capacity to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere drops. At the same time, the warming might shut off the so called global conveyor belt of ocean currents and halt the efficient formation of cold, deep water in the Arctic and Antarctic waters. This should lead to a stronger stratification of the water masses, because there would be less richly-oxygenated, cold water sinking to the sea bottom. The depths would become anoxic, like the bottom of the Black Sea today. Hydro36

gen sulphide is one of the most toxic substances that exist in the nature, one full breath is enough to kill an adult human being. The first whiff of hydrogen sulphide destroys the sense of smell, and its toxicity increases steeply with the temperature. It seems that the hydrogen sulphide bacteria are the biospheres last defence line against a serious overheating of our planet. Peter D. Ward has remarked, that Gaia seems to have an evil sister, Medea. There is a growing amount of geological evidence to support the notion that every time our planet has been in danger of becoming another Venus, hydrogen sulphide bacteria have saved it, but with a great cost to other species and to the planets biodiversity. The poisonous hydrogen sulphide emissions from the oceans to the atmosphere have occasionally risen to 2,000 times their present levels, because of naturally occurring global warming. If the same happened again, sky would turn green and the atmosphere would become poisonous for humans. According to the worst-case scenario, runaway heating in the Arctic might finally release so much methane and carbon dioxide, and heat the planet so much, that Medea will be released. Therefore, we can no longer exclude the possibility that atmospheric changes could lead to the extinction of Homo sapiens as a species. Actually, far more could be at stake. The Earth might lose the whole magnificent diversity of fauna that has developed during the last 65 million years. Not just humans but also sperm whales, probably the largest predators which have ever existed. Blue whales, the largest and most majestic animals our planet has ever seen. The gentle, curious and absolutely magnificent grey whales. Humpback whales and pilot whales and belugas. Narwhals and spotted dolphins and grey dolphins and orcas. Horses, dogs and wolves. Bushbucks and greater kudus and impalas and white-tailed deer. Lions, tigers, bears, jaguars. Indian elephants, African savannah elephants and African forest elephants. Asian water buffaloes, the most gentle and endearing creatures on this planet. Southern black whales and fin whales and sei whales. Fur seals, sea lions and leopard seals. Botos and susus or the river dolphins of the Amazon and the Indus. Manatees and dugongs. Rock hyraxes and waterbucks and springboks and sable antilopes and mongooses. Foxes and badgers

and rabbits. Mice, moose and beavers. The world would most probably be inherited by animals equipped with a more efficient respiratory system: birds and the cephalopods (squids, octopuses and nautiloids). In a way this would, of course, be nothing new because in reality this is a planet of the squids. 70 per cent of the Earth is covered by water and cephalopods were, for 450 million years, the dominant predators in the oceans. Even in the era of the mammals they have never been insignificant, and they will quickly regain their former status if mammals decide to leave the scene. However, I would personally like to vote against leaving the job to hydrogen sulphide bacteria. This book is about finding out what other options might still be available for us.


Removing the extra carbon from the atmosphere

To remove part of the carbon dioxide we have already released into the atmosphere sounds very difficult. However, this is actually cheaper and simpler than reducing our carbon dioxide emissions. Besides, to reduce the atmospheres carbon dioxide content from the present 383 ppm to the level of 350 ppm Dr Hansen is talking about, we only have to remove about 70 billion tons of carbon from the air. The atmosphere may have originally contained about 300,000 times more carbon than the present 800 billion tons. In addition, volcanic eruptions have occasionally added large quantities of carbon dioxide into the air. On the other hand, different chemical, biochemical and biological processes have, during the history of our planet, removed from the atmosphere roughly a million times more carbon than its present quantity in the air. We are now annually emitting about 8 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and by producing cement and steel. If we also include the emissions from the destruction of tropical rainforests, from decaying mangrove swamps and from agricultural and forest soils, the total probably exceeds 10 billion tons. The various natural cleaning mechanisms are still able to handle a substantial part of this. Because oceans still absorb two or three billion tons of carbon and forests, individual trees and peatlands a roughly equal amount, only about four billion tons of carbon is annually added to the atmosphere, and the carbon dioxide concentrations only increase by 2 ppm, each year.

But many scientists fear that a steadily growing percentage of our carbon dioxide emissions might soon stay in the atmosphere. About 200 billion tons of carbon is annually converted to carbohydrates by single- and multi-celled plants. Only a tiny fraction of this is buried and taken permanently out from the atmosphere, the rest is quickly released back through the plants own respiration or through the decomposition of organic matter. If we can find a way to store three per cent of the present biological production of our planet in a more or less permanent way, we will eliminate our annual carbon dioxide emissions and absorb about two billion tons of carbon per year from the atmosphere. This can be done in many different ways. All the possibilities I have mentioned in this book are complementary. They do not exclude each other. It is not necessary or desirable to remove all the extra carbon by one method alone, even if it was theoretically possible. Moreover: we should remember that most of our ecosystems are severely degraded and that their biological productivity is now only a small fraction of what it once was and what it might once again become. By regenerating and revitalizing the various key ecosystems we can easily achieve a much higher biological carbon flux than the mentioned 200 billion tons per year. We only have to pick the methods that are the most beneficial, which bring with them the largest economic savings and the greatest variety of differing fringe benefits for the people. As mentioned above, carbon dioxide is only one of the reasons for the overheating of our planet. The other greenhouse gases, artificial cirrus clouds and soot emissions also contribute to global warming. However, it is easier to sequester carbon dioxide than to absorb other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Therefore we might want to consider reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere even below the pre-industrial levels, at least temporarily. If things get seriously out of hand, this might be the easiest, the safest and the most rapid way to eliminate also the heating impact of the other greenhouse gases, soot, condensation trails and man-made cirrus clouds. This may sound far-fetched, but the idea is not exactly new. Already in 1896 two Swedish scientists, Svante Arrhenius and

Arvid Hgbom, calculated that halving the atmospheres carbon dioxide content should cool the planet by five degrees Celsius. In 1896 there was about 600 billion tons of carbon in the atmosphere. After that we have added about 200 billion tons into this. If it becomes necessary to do so, we could probably reduce the atmospheres carbon content to 300 billion tons, to the level that was prevalent at the height of the last Ice Age, without endangering our planets tree and plant life.

1. Storing Carbon in Old Oil and Gas Wells

The Norwegian environmental organization Bellona and many scientists working for oil and gas industries have proposed that carbon dioxide would be captured in thermal power plants when coal is burned. It could then be transported and stored in empty oil and gas wells or saline aquifers. The method is known as CCS, carbon capture and storage. It is quite unlikely that the carbon dioxide stored this way would be able to seep through into the atmosphere. If the soil layers have been so impenetrable that natural gas has become trapped under them, it should be possible to trap and store also carbon dioxide in the same way. Besides, under a high pressure carbon dioxide becomes supercritical and starts to behave more like a liquid than like a gas. With a carbon capture and storage system, a power station burning fossil fuels could produce almost carbon-free energy. Oras Tynkkynen, a Green member of the Finnish Parliament, has proposed an interesting further improvement into the approach. Tynkkynen has suggested that if a power plant equipped with a carbon capture and storage system were to use biomass instead of fossil fuels, it would actually sequester a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide carbon-negative energy. The method can only be applied to carbon emissions from large coal-fired or biomass-fired thermal power plants and to some industrial facilities. It does not make sense to develop CCS systems for cars or individual households. This limitation could be overcome by producing electricity with biomass and then using it to power electric cars as well as heat pumps that can provide from

three to six times more heating energy for houses than the electricity that is needed for running them. The potential of the CCS approach, however, is seriously reduced by the fact that most large concentrations of thermal power stations are a bit far from the nearest suitable saline aquifers or oil and gas wells. Also, the Department of Trade and Industry of the United Kingdom has calculated, that by 2020 the method might cost between 460 and 560 pounds sterling for each stored ton of carbon even when the aquifer would be relatively close to the thermal power plant, and the cost would rise as the distance becomes longer. When the pumping of carbon dioxide into the oil wells is done so that it brings some of the remaining heavy oil to surface, costs can be covered by the value of the oil. The approach is known as CCS enhanced oil recovery. However, when the oil is burned it of course again produces carbon dioxide. When the oil coming up contains more carbon than the carbon dioxide going down, the net effect is less than zero. Besides, it seems that carbon dioxide injected in aquifers can reactivate faults and trigger earthquakes and tsunamis. Even storage sites far from human settlement could be dangerous.
Recommendation: Not really recommended. CCS is too expensive, and it is not the safest way of storing carbon. More research is needed about the earthquake and tsunami risks related to the method.

2. Storing Carbon in Seawater

Scientists working for oil and gas industries have suggested that the flue gases of thermal power plants could just be pumped to ocean depths. If the carbon dioxide were produced by burning biomass, the method would reduce atmospheres carbon dioxide content. However, the amount of gases that can be absorbed by the oceans depends on the temperature of the water. If oceans heat up, their gas absorption capacity will be reduced and the carbon diox42

ide begins to bubble back to air. Besides, carbon dioxide molecules have a nasty habit of reacting with a water molecule to form carbonic acid. Carbonic acid then reacts with a carbonate ion (CO3), to form two bicarbonate ions (HCO3). The process removes carbon dioxide from surface water. In a way this is good, because when carbon dioxide becomes converted to bicarbonate ions, oceans can again absorb more carbon dioxide from the air. Unfortunately, the more carbon is absorbed from the air, the more acid the sea water becomes. The acidity, or the effective concentration of active hydrogen ions in the water, has already increased by more than 30 per cent in the mixed surface layer of the oceans. On the pH scale this means that the pH of ocean water (in the crucial surface layer) has dropped from 8.16 to 8.05. If the pH drops further to 7.8, which might happen by 2100 if we keep on burning fossil fuels with the present speed, the calcium carbonate shells of plankton and the corals begin to dissolve in seawater. In the Arctic and Southern Oceans the critical threshold could be reached much sooner, perhaps already in 2050. This is because these two oceans contain lower concentrations of aragonite, which is the crucial form of calcium carbonate, used by corals and plankton. If we keep on burning fossil fuels with the present rate, the oceans pH could finally fall by 0.7 of a unit. This would be the largest change of acidity the world ocean has seen during the last 55 million years, and it would take place, geologically speaking, during a blink of an eye. According to laboratory experiments and computer models based on them for example the populations of coccolithophorid plankton will crash if the atmospheres carbon dioxide content increases from 387 to 1,000 parts per million. Coccolithophorids are responsible for most of the dimethyl sulphide (DMS) emissions of plankton. What we consider the smell of the ocean comes from DMS, but the tiny DMS droplets also act as cloud condensation nuclei. Most natural clouds over the oceans (clouds which have not been produced by ships sulphur emissions) only exist because of the DMS emitted by coccolithophorids and coral polyps as a by-product of their metabolism. Because the low

clouds over the oceans cool the planet by 10 degrees Celsius, we will be in a lot of trouble if we lose the corals and the coccolithophorids, even though most of us have probably never heard of the latter. Oceans still absorb up to 35 per cent of our carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, but if plankton populations crash and carbonate ion concentrations become seriously depleted, they can no longer sequester such huge quantities of carbon. At a later stage, the acidification of ocean depths would also reduce the amount of carbon which can annually become sequestered in the black oozes or mud (containing a lot of organic matter) on the ocean floor. According to one study, there may be 10-100 million different animal species living on the seabed, roughly equivalent to the amount of biodiversity currently found in tropical rainforests. Another study has estimated, that 98 per cent of the worlds coral reefs could die off before 2050 because of the combined effect of ocean acidification and global warming. Coral reefs are very important marine ecosystems and five hundred million people are economically dependent on them, through fishing or tourism.
Recommendation: Please forget this one!

3. Converting Carbon Dioxide to Solids

The erosion of magnesium and calcium silicates and other minerals that tend to form carbonates, salts of carbonic acid, has removed huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the long history of our planet. The German physicist Klaus Lackner has remarked, that if we expose a larger amount of such minerals to air and to the carbon dioxide it contains, we could sequester all the extra carbon out of the atmosphere. The weathering of all basaltic rocks removes some carbon dioxide from the air, but according to Lackner it would be most convenient and effective to use the so called ultramafic rocks, peridotite and serpentinite. Peridotite and serpentinite are much richer with magnesium silicates than basaltic rocks, and magnesium silicates react more

readily with carbon dioxide than calcium silicates. The idea may sound crazy, but there is absolutely no doubt that carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere, this way, and there is plenty of suitable rock. One exceptionally large deposit of ultramafic rock in Oman could theoretically absorb all the carbon dioxide we can ever produce by burning fossil fuels. However, we should speed up the chemical reactions with suitable acids. In practise the cost of mineral sequestration might amount, according to the IPCC, to USD 320 for each ton of carbon, which is, once again, a bit too much. Damned. But could mineral sequestration be achieved in a way that would simultaneously produce something useful, so that the costs or at least part of them could be recovered by the value of the production? The chemical reactions between carbon dioxide and calcium silicate (or magnesium silicate) release heat. Would it be possible to develop thermal power stations producing electricity and district heating by chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide to carbonates? Well to be honest, this does not sound very practical to me. At the moment most of the concrete produced on our planet Is based on Portland cement. Portland cement is made of a mixture of clay and limestone (calcium carbonate) that is heated to 1,450 degrees Celsius. The heating of the mixture consumes a lot of energy, produced by fossil fuels. The burning of these fossil fuels emits about 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide for each ton of Portland cement. Moreover, the process converts limestone to chalk, and this chemical reaction also produces a lot of carbon dioxide, 500 kilograms for each ton of cement. When both the emissions from the energy use and the process emissions (from chemical reactions) are counted, the production of Portland cement is responsible for 710 per cent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions. This is a concern, because the production of Portland cement is still expected to double in a decade. If Portland cement was replaced by magnesium cements, the making of concrete could actually absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, instead of producing vast quantities of the same stuff. However, this would only happen, if the magne45

sium carbonate in the cement was manufactured by mining magnesium silicates and by inducing them to react with atmospheric carbon dioxide. In other words, the original chemical reactions, the making of the magnesium carbonate, would absorb carbon from the air. The manufacturing of the cement would the release a large part of the same carbon back to air, after which some of it would again become re-absorbed by the various concrete structures. Magnesium cements are more expensive than Portland cement, but in the present situation they might still become an important option. We could also convert the chalk in Portland cement back to calcium carbonate when concrete structures are demolished. In most concrete structures the surface layer quickly absorbs some carbon dioxide from the air and is thus re-carbonated back to limestone. However, the process grinds to a halt when the small holes inside the concrete become blocked. For this reason it could take 30,000 years before a large slab of concrete has become fully carbonated. Moreover, when blocks of flats and other structures made of concrete are demolished, the old concrete is often buried under the ground in landfills or in garbage dumps, or used as crushed stone in road construction. This can slow down the carbonating process. It would be better to break the dismantled concrete blocks to smaller pieces and to store them in large above-ground piles for 2030 years before they are buried. This should absorb 500 kilograms of carbon dioxide for each ton of cement. Or actually could we start constructing our garbage dumps so, that they would also act as important carbon sinks, instead of being major sources of greenhouse gas emissions? At the moment garbage dumps are a big problem, because food waste, paper and on a long run even wood produce a lot of methane when they decompose in airless, anaerobic conditions and in wet soil. In aerobic conditions the decomposition of these materials produces only carbon dioxide, and if there is not enough moisture, paper and wood do not decompose at all. What if we constructed much higher, better drained and better ventilated landfills? Would it be possible to construct artificial mountains in which food waste only produced carbon dioxide and

in which paper and wood could not decompose at all, so that the carbon in them would be stored for a prolonged period of time? Landfills in which the blocks of concrete would become fully carbonated, relatively quickly? In this kind of conditions also the carbon in the plastics made of wood or other types of biomass would be safely stored. Above all, there would be less long-term leakage of heavy metals and all kinds of poisonous chemicals into the ground water.
Recommendation: Recommended as a partial solution.

4. Sequestering Carbon Dioxide in Geothermal Power Stations

Donald Brown, a researcher at the USAs Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, proposed already in the 1990s that water vapour should be replaced with supercritical carbon dioxide in geothermal power plants. This would increase the power production by about 50 per cent, because supercritical carbon dioxide is more fluid and fast-moving than water vapour. The supercritical carbon dioxide would gradually be absorbed by the bedrock. It would react with the minerals in the bedrock to make carbonates (salts of carbonic acid). According to calculations conducted in the Los Alamos National Laboratory such a geothermal plant would sequester 900 kilograms of carbon for each megawatt-hour that it produces. A modern coal-power plant produces around 200 kilograms of carbon for each megawatt-hour. In other words, 1,000 megawatts of geothermal power using supercritical carbon dioxide could absorb all the carbon from 4,500 megawatts of coal power. If a geothermal power plant used carbon dioxide produced by burning biomass, it would sequester a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce highly carbon-negative electricity. Buying such power would be a fantastic bargain for environmentally conscious consumers. Every kilowatt-hour of carbon-negative geothermal power could remove 3.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, instead of producing 0.8 kilograms of the same stuff. The cost of carbon sequestration would most probably

be negative, meaning less than zero. Carbon dioxide becomes a supercritical fluid in a temperature of 31.4 degrees Celsius and in the pressure of 72 atmospheres. Water vapour reaches the same stage at 374 Celsius and 218 atmospheres. Therefore it is much easier to utilize supercritical carbon dioxide than supercritical water in a geothermal power plant. Even when the heat gradients (the speed by which the ground heats up when we get down) are not sufficient for economically profitable production of electricity, geothermal power plants can often produce large amounts of heat with a very affordable price. According to a major new study by the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) between 1,200 and 12,000 gigawatts of geothermal power could be produced by new, enhanced geothermal systems, including the use of supercritical carbon dioxide. MIT says that enhanced geothermal power systems should be able to produce power with 3.9 US cents per kilowatt-hour, which is less than the price of electricity from coal-fired power stations. This means that it would be theoretically possible to sequester all the carbon dioxide emissions from our biomass-fired and fossil fuelfired thermal power plants in geothermal power stations. However, because of the high transportation costs of carbon dioxide, other methods are likely to be cheaper in areas that are not suitable for the construction of geothermal power plants.

Strongly recommended as a partial solution. However, the possibility of triggering major earthquakes should be investigated, and large projects should be situated far from towns and villages. Sites where a possible earthquake could travel far along an existing fault should be avoided.

5. Converting Carbon Dioxide to Oil with Sunlight

During the Second World War, when there was an acute shortage of oil, Germany produced petrol from gasified coal. The method they used was invented already in 1920s and it is known as the Fischer-Tropsch process. In Fischer-Tropsch you first produce carbon monoxide and then convert it to more complex hydrocarbons,

or, in essence, to oil. It is also possible to convert carbon dioxide produced in a factory or in a coal-fired power plant to carbon monoxide, and then use the carbon monoxide to make hydrocarbons (oil). This sounds weird but the process probably makes much more economic sense than breaking water into hydrogen and oxygen with the help of electricity. Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have developed a system known as CR5 (meaning: counter-rotating ring receiver reactor recuperator), which uses solar heat to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide. The required temperature is about 1,500 degrees Celsius. Sandia first wanted to use the method to produce hydrogen, but they then realized that they were able to convert a larger percentage (approximately 10 per cent) of the Suns energy into a useful fuel by making carbon monoxide instead of hydrogen. Sandia is currently constructing a prototype reactor that should be able to produce 100 litres of carbon monoxide per hour. This means that it would be theoretically possible to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide to oil and to pump this oil into old oil and gas wells or into saline aquifers. If the carbon dioxide would come from a biomass-powered plant, a lot of carbon would be sequestered. But this is only a thought experiment. In practise something like this will most probably never be done, because the cost would be a bit high. A more realistic approach would be to use the CR5 system to produce fuel for aeroplanes and cars. Governments could also establish large national safety stores of oil. Violent and unpredictable hikes and drops in oil prices cause much social instability and are a problem for governments, companies and people. If every government would use the CR5 method to produce large national oil storages from biomass, sufficient to last for twenty years or so, fuel prices could be stabilized and something like 100 billion tons of carbon would be sequestered into these stores. Even stores lasting for five years would play a part in preventing a greenhouse catastrophe.
Recommendation: The idea is worth investigating further.


6. Burying Wood or Other Biomass

Numerous different people have commented, that we could absorb carbon simply by growing trees and then storing them in freshwater lakes, peatlands, mines or deserts. Wood is well preserved in such conditions. About 50 per cent of the dry weight of wood is carbon, so if we sink one cubic metre of wood into a freshwater lake or into a peatland we have sequestered about 250 kilograms of carbon out of the atmosphere. The Baltic Sea could also be used as a carbon sink because it is brackish, having such a low salt content that the shipworms (Tercedo navalis) cannot survive there. Wooden shipwrecks that sunk in the Baltic a thousand years ago still exist, in the oceans most of the wood will be eaten relatively quickly unless it becomes covered by something which prevents the activities of the shipworms. The Arctic Ocean and the Black Sea could also act as depositories, the Arctic Ocean because it is very cold, and the Black Sea because it is totally anoxic below the halocline (oxycline), at the depth of 150 to 200 metres. Then we have hyperarid deserts and mines. Indian scientists discovered, in 1915, a huge wooden palisade that had surrounded the ancient metropolis of Pataliputra. Pataliputra was, at the height of the Mauryan dynasty, probably the largest city on Earth. When the palisade was discovered it was 2,280 years old, but it had been perfectly preserved under the sand. For exmple in the Saharan desert the wood would be even more safely stored. If we can produce the wood, there is no practical limit to how much of it we can store in peatlands, deserts, mines, freshwater lakes or in the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Arctic Ocean. In deserts we could even use other forms of biomass that normally decompose much faster than wood. In China most of the ancient town walls are rammed earth walls, made of earth tamped between wooden planks or other layered biomass. The biomass inside such rammed earth walls is preserved surprisingly well, especially in dry conditions. The Chinese scholar Li Chi estimated, in the 1920s, that of the 748 town walls constructed this way in China between 2,700 and 2,200 years ago, 84 were still in use. British writer John Man has described 2,000-year-old rammed earth walls, inside

which the layers of straw have been perfectly preserved. In other words for instance the older parts of Chinas Great Wall and Chinas thousands of ancient town walls should also be seen as a way of storing substantial amounts of organic carbon. During our own day town walls are no longer useful or necessary for defense. But rammed earth walls could be used for many other purposes. In India tens of thousands of villages have already started to revitalize old water harvesting and storing practices. Among the most popular methods are earth dams or embankments which facilitate the recharge of groundwater reserves and reduce the percentage of water running straight to rivers during the monsoon period. If the rammed earth method would be used in such small dams, a lot of carbon would be sequestered and the dams would last a longer time without any maintenance work. Rammed earth walls could also be constructed along highways to reduce traffic noise.
Recommendation: The described methods are technically easy to implement and quite safe. However, with the exception of the rammed earth walls constructed for water harvesting or for some other useful purposes, they would be an expensive way to solve the problem. The costs would be lower than with some other options, but still somewhat high.

7. Storing Carbon in Wooden Buildings

In areas where there are no wood-eating termites, it is easy to sequester a lot of carbon dioxide out from the atmosphere simply by constructing wooden houses, or by using wood in at least some of the structures of the concrete buildings. A middle-sized wooden house can store at least 50 tons of carbon in wood. If it is well-made, its roof maintained, and it does not burn down or get demolished, the house and its carbon store can last for centuries or for a millennium. One option is to construct a non-heated and non-air-conditioned wooden annex or wing to an existing building. Such an annex can both store a significant amount of carbon and provide a couple of new layers of extra insulation for the older part of the house (from one side of it).


Recommendation: Recommended as a partial solution, but solving the whole problem this way would require a lot of wood, and people would have to build vast houses.

8. Storing Carbon in Living Trees

Road traffic is still increasing. The carbon emissions from air traffic threaten to double in fourteen years. The amount of carbon dioxide entering into the atmosphere from cement factories is likely to double in twenty years. The use of fossil fuels in energy production and in manufacturing, as well as the methane, nitrous oxide and carbon emissions from agricultural production, are still climbing up. And so on. During the last decades there has been a lot of talk about reducing the production of carbon dioxide in all these areas, but in reality the use of fossil fuels has been rising more rapidly than before, in almost every sector we can thinkof. In 1990s the annual growth rate of the humanitys carbon dioxide emissions was 1.1 per cent. Between the years 2000 and 2004 it was more than 3 per cent, three times more, in spite of all the climate negotiations. One of the main reasons for this has been the economic globalization. A growing percentage of the worlds industrial production has shifted to countries where manufacturing is less energy-efficient and largely based on coal, which produces larger carbon dioxide emissions than natural gas or oil. There is only one exception from this main rule, one bright ray of hope in the middle of a bleak sea of despair. There is one area of human activity where we have actually made very major progress in our fight against the global warming. I am, of course, talking about the planting and growing of trees. Trees and forests absorb staggering amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels or biomass consumes oxygen and produces carbon dioxide. When carbon dioxide is absorbed by vegetation, the oxygen is returned to the air. However, when carbon dioxide dissolves into the sea as carbonic acid, no oxygen is fed back. Because we know how much carbon dioxide has been

added into the atmosphere and how much oxygen has been lost from it, we also know, how much carbon has been absorbed by trees and other plants, including plankton. It seems that trees currently remove from the air all the carbon dioxide produced by the destruction of tropical forests, peatlands and mangrove forests, plus perhaps 15 per cent of the carbon coming from the fossil fuels. We can be relatively confident that this calculation is roughly correct, because we know that 50 per cent of our fossil fuel emissions currently enter the atmosphere, and that about 35 per cent are absorbed by the oceans. But how can the trees absorb so much carbon? First, there is a growing amount of protected forests. The combined area of the worlds national parks, nature reserves and other protected areas grew from 100,000,000 to 1,800,000,000 hectares between 1948 and 2002, and this includes a lot of forest. In the protected forests, even trees large enough to provide pulp or timber can keep on growing. The average age and girth of the trees growing in a forest influences the size of the carbon store much more than the combined area of land with some tree cover. For instance, in Finland the forests contain on average 80 cubic metres of roundwood per hectare, which is approximately one per cent of the volume of wood in a single, very large sierra redwood or baobab tree. Second, there are extensive areas of tropical rainforests that have not been protected, but that the forest companies have not been able to reach, yet. Most of these virgin rainforests are not very old. For example the rainforests of Congo are mostly three hundred and those of the Amazonas a little bit more than five hundred years old. This means that the long-living trees in these vast rainforest areas are still growing and absorbing huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Third, people in the different Asian, African and Latin American countries have planted tens of billions of trees on their own lands or on communal lands during the last few decades. A significant part of all these trees have probably been fruit trees or other food-producing species. This means that vast tracts of pasture and conventional farmlands are being transformed to multistorey home gardens, or garden forests, which already dominate

densely populated areas like Java and South-West Nigeria, and which were the dominant form of agriculture in the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans. According to the World Agroforestry Centre, in Nairobi, almost one half of the worlds 22 million square kilometres of farmed land now has at least 10 per cent tree cover. About 7 per cent of the worlds fields have more than 50 per cent tree cover. Fourth, the carbon stores in Europes and North Americas commercial forests are regenerating. The consumption of paper has declined in the North. There is less pressure on many forested areas. Besides this, millions of forest-owners have become aware of global warming and manage their forests differently, in order to sequester carbon from the air. There is also a growing number of trees in the residential areas, most of which are still relatively young. Fifth, while the world as a whole has heated by less than one degree, the Arctic has heated much more than this average. The extra warmth has already speeded up the growth of northern forests on vast tracts of land. In some regions the impact has been dramatic. Many scientists have speculated that there could also be a sixth factor at work. It is possible, that the increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the air are fertilizing the forests. This is a logical possibility, and according to some laboratory and greenhouse experiments it might be real. However, because the first five factors are definitely real, the sixth one may not be needed to explain what is happening around the world. The issue has more than an academic interest, because the sixth factor should be only temporary, unlike the five first. Scientists that have studied the carbon fertilization effect by making computer models about it tend to say that we should not try to absorb carbon in trees. The outdoor types, on the other hand, emphasize the other factors because they see them happening, every day, with their own eyes. For instance in Finland the paper industries rapid decline has had a most dramatic impact. Finnish forests are now producing more than one hundred million cubic metres of roundwood a year, but logging only amounts to about 60 million cubic metres. The difference, 40 million cubic metres of roundwood, is equivalent to

10 million tons of carbon, a little bit more than one half of Finlands annual carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. If also the carbon that goes into the branches, crowns, stumps, roots, abovethe-ground litter and under-the-ground litter (fine roots) is taken into account, the amount probably exceeds Finlands fossil fuel carbon emissions. It is, of course, almost forbidden to say this in Finland, because Finnish paper industries are still very influential, a state within a state, and they still dream about using all this extra wood and releasing all the carbon back to the atmosphere. According to a recently published study, based on monitoring the girth of 70,000 trees growing in different parts of Africa for a decade, the intact African forests are still absorbing about 0.6 tons of carbon per hectare per year. Scientists monitoring the air over the Amazonas have estimated that Amazonian rainforests are taking in even more carbon, roughly one ton per hectare per year. This would amount to 600 million tons for the whole of Amazonas. According to one recent estimate tropical rainforests annually absorb at least 1.2 billion tons of carbon. When we also count the tens of billions of individual trees recently planted on farmlands and pastures, the carbon absorbed by the soils on the pasture and farmlands that have become forests or garden forests, and the 300 or 400 million tons of carbon annually absorbed by mangrove forests, the total figure becomes even larger. Nobody really knows, but we might be talking about two or two and a half billion tons per year. African farmers are probably making the most significant contribution, because they have really been planting a lot of trees during the last thirty years, in different parts of the continent. Besides this, the northern forests are probably absorbing between 0.8 and 1.2 billion tons of carbon a year. But we know exactly how much carbon dioxide is annually added to the atmosphere, and we have a rather good idea of how much carbon goes into the oceans. Thus the carbon sinks provided by the forests can only be substantially larger than we have assumed, if there are also major carbon dioxide emissions that have not yet been included in the official statistics. The sides of the equation must be in balance. This, however, is not a complication,

but actually solves another problem. According to steadily accumulating research data and anecdotal evidence different agricultural and forestry practises do influence the amount of carbon stored in the worlds soils. For example the ditching and aggressive manipulation of forest soils seem to have released huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. According to a number of studies the gradual break-down of deforested mangrove swamps does the same, and the soils of tropical, temperate and northern forests cleared for farmland or pasture some time ago are still be losing large amounts of organic carbon. In Britain land cleared for agriculture typically loses only 0.6 per cent of its carbon store during one year. In the subtropical and tropical regions the process should be more rapid, but even the Brazilian cerrado has this far only lost between 30 and 50 per cent of its underground store of organic carbon, so the cerrado soils should still keep on producing large additional emissions for at least a few more decades. The carbon dioxide coming from the ground in different heavily managed agricultural and forestry ecosystems has, this far, been excluded from the official statistics. So the equation of carbon sinks, sources of carbon and what remains in the atmosphere actually balances itself neatly, even if we take all the new research results at face value. If we have been able to reduce the amount of carbon annually accumulating in the atmosphere by billions of tons even with our present, somewhat half-hearted tree-planting and forest conservation efforts, we should perhaps pay more attention to this sector. We still have 1.1 billion hectares of farmland with no trees and the almost one billion hectares which have at least 10 per cent but less than 50 per cent tree cover. Not to say anything about the various lands only used for grazing. Our present commercial forests can easily burn in forest fires because they typically contain a large number of small trees. The best way to store large amounts of carbon in trees is to grow only a relatively small number of very large trees on each hectare. In other words, if we store more carbon in the trees we reduce the risk that a forests carbon store would be released into the atmosphere in a major forest fire. Many tree species quickly become resistant to fire. For example baobabs cannot burn in any kind of

forest fires, even when surrounded by a thick growth of smaller trees. We should mainly use species that can also tolerate considerably hotter and drier conditions than those now prevailing. Forests do not automatically die and release their carbon even if the world would become a few degrees warmer. Much depends on the species we use and on how we manage the forests and their soils. Litter, humus layer and topsoil in many tropical forests contain large amounts of organic carbon, in spite of the high temperatures. It is imperative that the schemes are strongly supported by the local people. If they are opposed by the people, carbon in the trees will not be safely stored, because young trees are easy to kill or burn. Programs must be beneficial to local people and they must add to their resource base. Also, the existence of the benefits must be perceived, acknowledged and appreciated by the people. The species have to be chosen so that people consider the trees useful and that they will have a very strong incentive not to cut their main trunks, ever, for timber or firewood. In practise this means trees that attain a large size and produce large quantities of food or raw material for bioenergy as long as they remain standing. There are numerous possible species and a myriad different ways to grow several species together. I have written two full books about the subject, one alone and one together with Maneka Gandhi, so I cannot list all the interesting possibilities, here. I will mostly concentrate on one example, the African baobab (Adansonia digitata), the wooden elephant. Please interrupt me if I start lecturing about baobabs in length. And please stop me if I begin to talk about the evolutionary impact of elephants, horses and dinosaurs on important fruit tree species. The African baobab could be the worlds supreme carbon storage tree. It is no ordinary tree. Baobabs cannot burn in any kind of forest fires, they do not even notice them. Carbon stored in a baobab is, therefore, carbon safely stored. On dry and hot areas baobabs reach a much larger size than any other tree species. They are able to become giants where nothing else grows well! Young baobabs grow much faster than any other trees that attain a substan57

tial size and have a long life-span. A 70-year-old baobab planted on good soil may already be three metres in diameter. Baobabs grow astonishingly fast for 270 years or so. Then the growth slows down, but the trees can already be a bit large, at that time. The largest specimen which has ever been measured had a diameter of 18 metres. African baobabs are in many countries considered the most useful of all trees. Fruits are large and the fruit flesh and seeds highly nutritious. The fruit pulp makes a healthy and refreshing drink when mixed with water. The numerous large seeds can be eaten raw or roasted, or processed into flour or oil. Leaves are edible and have a nutritional value comparable to spinach. They contain large concentrations of vitamin A. This is important because it seems that a sufficient amount of vitamin A significantly reduces illness and mortality caused by diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases as well as malaria among children. It also prevents xerophtalmia, which used to blind half a million children a year. The young roots are edible. The bark is an excellent raw material for mats, cloth fibres, water-proof roof tiles, water-proof hats, ropes, nets, baskets, insulation material and paper. The bark grows back quickly. The fruit shells are wooden and water-proof and are often used as containers or to make cups, plates, saucers and other utensils. During colonial times, when giant baobabs were much more common, large trees were used as offices, restaurants, cafes or bars. They would also make nice schools, libraries and book shops! African baobabs do not even compete with other land uses to the extent most other trees do. They do not kill the undergrowth under their canopies, their style is relaxed, African, live and let live. Annual food crops, including maize, can be grown very close to giant baobabs, so close that some of the plants touch the main trunk. The partial shade provided by baobabs and the fertilizing effect of their leaves may even be beneficial for surrounding crops. The massive roots, of course, can destroy buildings that have been constructed too close. Baobabs could be planted on a vast range covering almost two thirds of Africa, much of Australia, South India, Indonesia, tropical South and Central America, the Caribbean and even some

parts of the United States (Florida). Lets assume, as a thought experiment, that we would plant 6.5 billion baobabs, one for every woman, man and child on the planet. This would not take long if many people cooperated, because baobabs grow easily from the large seeds. After planting they need some protection against cattle and elephants, but will soon be able to manage by themselves. 6.5 billion surviving baobabs should, in half a century, absorb from the atmosphere at least 100 billion but possibly 200 billion tons of carbon, when also the carbon in the roots, fine roots, litter and humus is taken into account. The idea is not to say that we should only plant baobabs, or that we should plant exactly 6.5 billion of them. There are thousands of other beautiful and magnificent tree species, and many different food-producing trees should definitely be planted. The point of the example is to show that the often repeated claim that it is not really possible to absorb much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by planting trees simply does not hold water. If we think in terms of pulp plantations with a short rotating cycle, the possibilities are limited. But if we take a closer look on the various land-use systems and ecosystems and on all the tree species available, the picture changes, in a most dramatic way. In the most densely populated areas of Nigeria field farming has already been largely replaced with multi-storey home gardens in which annual plants are being grown together with food-producing trees of differing sizes. Such tropical home gardens are typically five or ten times more productive (per hectare) than conventional farms. When field farming is replaced by multi-storey home gardens a lot of carbon dioxide is always sequestered, because such agroforestry systems produce a much larger store of organic carbon on each hectare than the lands used for ordinary farming or pasture. Robert K. Dixon, the director of the US Support for Country Studies to Address Climate Change, has estimated that using sustainable forest and agroforestry management practises on 500800 million hectares could annually sequester and conserve 0.5 1.5 billion tons of terrestrial carbon. If the same practises were used on five or eight billion hectares, ten times more carbon dioxide could be absorbed from the air.

Specific attention should perhaps be given to trees which attain a large size and which are especially good producers of biofuels. For example selected varieties of the African marula trees (Sclerocarya spp) could produce an annual hectare yield of 20 tons of fruit flesh, 12 tons of highly nutritious, edible kernels and about 20 tons of very hard nut shells with an energy value closer to that of coal than that of softwood. Marula shells are so hard that they do not burn well in small stoves, but they could be burned in somewhat larger local power plants. Individual marula trees can produce hundreds of kilograms of fruit, and in the best specimens half of this consists of edible fruit flesh and edible kernels. There is a very large marula tree in Namibia that has been reported to produce eight and a half tons of fruit during the record year. I am not certain whether this can be correct, but the tree has obviously produced quite many bucketfuls of fruit. Actually, marulas phenomenal food-producing capacity is somewhat of a mystery. It is in a class of its own among the wild, food-producing dryland trees. Selective breeding of more productive marula trees is difficult, because male and female flowers are in different trees. However, people in South Africa, Botswana and in other Southern African countries seem to be convinced, that elephants like to eat partially fermented marula fruits in order to get drunk. If this is true, the present, surprisingly productive marula trees may have been bred by African elephants during the last ten million years or so, through their reckless consumption of psychoactive drugs. It is possible that elephants have memorized the trees that produce the best fruits, and deliberately gone to them to get wasted. We should perhaps be concerned. How can we warn elephants about the dangers of alcohol abuse? Similarly, it is possible that the domestic apple was originally created by a long-term selective breeding programme carried out by horses and by European brown bears in Kazakhstan and in the other Central Asian countries. People in Kazakhstan say that even today mother bears often force their puppies to climb, whining with fear, on the highest branches of the apple trees that bear the largest and sweetest fruits, to drop the fruits down. Which clearly amounts to illegal and inappropriate use of forced child labour. The West African safou (Dacryoides edulis) is a relatively large

tree that could become an even more productive oil tree than the oil palms if some effort were devoted to its selective breeding. Even with the commercial forests producing raw materials for forest industries carbon-storing possibilities are more significant than what is often admitted. In Finland the largest standing stocks of wood found in natural reserves or other more or less untouched natural forests are around 800 fast cubic metres of trunk wood per hectare, even though these forests are only a couple of hundreds of years old. However, planted and managed spruce forests can, on good soils, reach a standing stock of 600 fast cubic metres per hectare in 70 years. On the Punkaharju ridge a planted larch forest reached 1,200 cubic metres per hectare in 110 years, and the bestgrowing part of another larch forest in Raivola (which is now on the Russian side of the border) contained 2,000 fast cubic metres of trunk wood per hectare when it was 257 yearsold. In other words, planted commercial forests may be able to grow even larger carbon storages than protected, natural forests, if their growing cycles are lengthened so that a little bit less pulp wood and a little bit more timber will be grown in them. The average carbon store of the commercial forests in Finland is, of course, very low because the normal growing and cutting cycles are so short. On average there is less than 80 fast cubic metres of standing roundwood in a Finnish forest, which is a very low figure. Besides carbon dioxide, trees also absorb nitrous oxide, ozone and black aerosols from the air. According to recent research, the six million trees growing in Sacramento County, in the USA, annually remove 665 tons of ozone, 164 tons of nitrous oxide and 748 tons of small particulate matter from the air. Both nitrous oxide and ozone are strong greenhouse gases. Above all, trees and other vegetation annually produce about a billion tons of bioaerosols, tiny organic detritus, which reflects sunlight back to space, contributes to cloud formation and increases the reflectivity of clouds by making them whiter. According to latest estimates 25 per cent of all atmospheric particles consist of bioaerosols. However, trees that produce a lot of chemicals known as terpenes should be avoided on heavily polluted areas, because terpenes can catalyze the reactions that convert nitrogen oxides to ozone.

In his old age, Mahatma Gandhi decided to start eating only food that was produced by trees. Besides this, he also drank some goat milk. Another giant of human history, the Buddha, also emphasized the importance of food produced by trees. Buddha instructed his followers to plant five trees every year and to ensure that they remained alive. In human history, the ordering of the construction of large palaces and cathedrals or pyramids that have sometimes been preserved for hundreds, if not thousands of years has been the privilege of a very small and select group of emperors, sultans and kings. However, if we want to, every one of us can, on a personal or community basis, plant forests that are much larger, tremendously more beautiful and much more useful than all the palaces in the world put together. Or we can contribute to the preservation and protection of the already existing larger trees, and ensure that they will be given the chance to die as slowly as they have lived. This way, we could make the world a much more wonderful and beautiful place, a place where every square kilometre would, after a few thousand years, be full of great wonders and the splendour provided by the trunks, branches and leaves of ancient giants.

Highly recommended, but only when the programmes are strongly supported by the majority of the local people, and when they are implemented so that they appropriate further resources into the hands of local communities, instead of appropriating the resources of the local communities into the hands of large companies or wealthy individuals. If this rule is not observed, the carbon will not be safely locked away, because young forests burn easily. Food-producing tree species which attain a large scale and which can easily survive forest fires should be preferred. When climate change is combated by planting food-producing trees, the resulting fringe benefits may be larger than with any other option mentioned in this book. In arid regions and northern lands growing only a small number of very big trees on each hectare is also a good way to improve the Earths reflectivity (see chapter 38). It might be possible to accelerate the growth of trees by adding some fine-grained charcoal into the soil (see chapter 15).


9. Sequestering Carbon with Artificial Trees (Sodium Hydroxide)

Professor Klaus Lackner of the University of Columbia, New York, whom we have already met, has also proposed the construction of artificial trees, in which pumps draw air through a sodium hydroxide (lye) solution. The process would remove most of the carbon dioxide in the air passing through the solution. Carbon dioxide would react with the sodium hydroxide and form a liquid sodium carbonate solution. The original idea came from Lackners daughter, and was based on a school project of hers. Lackner has calculated that each artificial tree could annually remove about 90,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. He says that the captured carbon dioxide could then be sequestered for example in the deep rock layers at the bottom of the sea.

The method would probably work, but it is far too expensive to be recommended. Complex artificial trees are much more expensive to plant than ordinary trees, and managing huge lakes of lye, drilling holes at the sea bottom and transporting the captured carbon would not be cheap, either.

10. Storing Carbon in Piles of Wood and Branches

In the northern areas, which have no termites or other insects that consume dry wood, the carbon stored in wood or in other kinds of biomass will not decompose as long as its moisture content is kept below 15 per cent. In practise even keeping the moisture content below 20 per cent is enough. This means that in such northern, non-termitic climate zones absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere is very easy, indeed. Split logs or logs from which the bark has been removed, tree branches and crowns, stumps or any other biomass just has to be collected to large piles resembling huge anthills. The piles have to be so large that the rain falling on them will not be able to maintain a higher than 20 per cent moisture level. The piles have

to be established on rocks to prevent the wood from seeping moisture from the ground. And the piles must not be so large that they become too compressed and the wind can no longer pass through them and dry the wood. Any amount of wood and biomass can be stored this way. It cannot be preserved for ever, but this does not matter if new biomass is added in the same pile, every now and then. The average store of carbon on each hectare will keep on growing as long as the decomposition of the existing matter is less than the addition of new material. One option is to expand the households stores of firewood. If each rural house increased its store of firewood so that it would be enough to last for five or ten years, instead of the normal two or three years, a lot of carbon could be taken out from the atmosphere.
Recommendation: Field trials conducted by the author in Tammisaari, Asikkala and Pelkosenniemi (three municipalities of Finland) have been promising. However, it may not be advisable to give a very prominent role for this method, because such piles of dry wood can easily burn in a forest fire.

11. Storing Carbon in Anthills

But what if we want to preserve the carbon in very small pieces of biomass? Like leaves, leafstalks, needles and tiny bits of small branches? Organizing such matter so that it will not decompose and release its carbon content into the air as carbon dioxide requires a lot of labour. And I mean REALLY a lot. This is clearly impossible for us. We need help, here! We have to turn to the ants. There are a lot of ants in the world. Perhaps not a billion billion, as some people have claimed, but quite a few anyway. And the ants are really tough guys, a fact that is self-evident for every child who has watched them. If you do not believe me, just take a tree trunk that has a diameter equivalent to your own body and which is a couple of times longer than you, and then carry it for twenty

kilometres before the sunset, without the assistance of any technical equipment like winches or trucks. If you cannot carry the timber for this long, or if you will not be able to move it even a tiny bit, youll understand what I mean when I say that it is worth treating ants with some respect. It seems that ants have been seriously concerned about the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect for at least ninety million years, because all this time they have been struggling to reduce the methane and carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere. Without ants there might be a ten-fold number of constantly flatulating (farting) termites, which really do produce a lot of methane. For instance tropical rainforests would be filled with termites. Ants have replaced the termites on vast tracts of land, and they only produce carbon dioxide in their digestive systems, instead of methane. Unlike termites, ants cannot eat wood. By eradicating termites from the northern areas and from the high mountain ranges ants have essentially protected and preserved vast masses of carbon stored in dead wood and plant matter in these regions. At the same time, they have also protected our wooden buildings and books from termites, and thus enabled the development of our civilization. Moreover, many ant species spend a major part of their time in a systematic effort to sequester more carbon dioxide in their mounds. If we compare the ants achievements with what our own governments have this far done in the fight against global warming, we soon realize that our importance in the struggle has been minuscule. Our own programmes are totally dwarfed by what the ants have done. Not to mention the teeny-tiny almost meaningless but still somewhat awkward fact that we have been the actual cause of the present climatic crises. From this perspective it is more than a little unfair that the currently existing research literature only remarks that the mounds of northern red wood ants do not have much significance as carbon stores. What an outrage! All right, it is true that according to the few studies which have been conducted about the subject, red wood ant mounds typically contain less than one ton of carbon per hectare of forest. However, we should also ask why there are, nowa65

days, so few larger mounds in our forests. The red wood ant societies are very impressive, they can consist of hundreds or even thousands of separate mounds linked to each other by a network of highways, and the number of individuals belonging to the same empire can amount to hundreds of millions. Very large individual mounds can have a population of two million. Because each large mound contains hundreds of different queens, it can exist for hundreds or theoretically even thousands of years. If the ant societies will be left in peace for hund-reds of years the mounds can grow very large. In the Auttikngs forest conservation area in Southern Lapland there is an old red wood ant mound which is about three and a half metres high and six or seven metres wide. Only the very top of the mound is alive with ants but there is a giant pile of partly decomposed organic matter under it. Red wood ants can preserve in their mounds many kinds of organic stuff which would otherwise decompose quickly, like pine and spruce needles and tiny pieces of wood, moss and plant leaves. This happens because ants regulate the humidity of the nest. They keep the cover of the mound almost completely water-tight so that the moisture content inside the mound is typically less than five per cent, much lower than what the various organisms decomposing litter would require. However, red wood ants have many dangerous enemies. Badgers, raccoon dogs, wild boars, domesticated dogs and several different woodpecker species often attack the mounds and cause immense damage. A brown bear can sometimes destroy a whole empire, strolling from one mound to the next, levelling the mounds with its enormously powerful paws, like the horror film monster Godzilla always does in Tokyo. And then we have the ants worst enemy, a species known as Homo non-sapiens, or as the non-thinking human. We tend to manage most of our remaining forest lands as commercial forests, which means removing the trees immediately after they have grown a little bit. When a forest is clear-cut the ants lose their most important source of food, the excreta of the aphids the cows of the ants living in the trees. Also, the soil often becomes too dry during summer. Alternatively, water level in the ground can rise

too much during autumn or winter. In any case: clear-cutting the forest destroys the ant colonies. The very young forests, on the other hand, are then a bit too thick for the ants, the mounds do not get enough sunlight and warmth. The mounds really start to grow well only after the forest has been thinned a couple of times, but then they only have a few decades left before the rest of the trees will be clear-cut and the mounds are once again destroyed. For this reason there only is about one ton of carbon stored in the red wood ant mounds on each hectare of forest, instead of fifty tonnes or more. It might be unrealistic to propose a total ban on all commercial logging to protect the red wood ants, but it would be possible to choose lets say ten anthills per hectare for protection, and leave at least one spruce tree standing near each of them. The shade and food (aphid herds) provided by even a single standing tree might be sufficient to keep the mound alive over the most difficult period. Such an arrangement could finally produce a relatively large additional store of carbon, perhaps 50 tons per hectare. There are a few thousand million hectares of northern lands with red wood ants that construct large mounds, so a lot could be done just by enacting laws that required the forest owners and loggers to ensure the protection of a certain number of red wood ant mounds for each forest hectare (when logging is done in an area which belongs to a major ant colony). I have personally initiated about a thousand field experiments in which both large, coarse litter (stumps, large branches, small branches, cones etc) and fine litter (needles, leaves etc) have been deposited on top of red forest ant mounds by a human actor. A human can make a big pile of loose branches in half an hour and collect a substantial amount of pine or spruce needles with a rake in a couple of minutes. The organizing and arranging of the millions of needles so that they will not decompose requires, from a human viewpoint, too much labour, but ants are very good and efficient in this kind of work. According to these field trials the hundreds of thousands of workers of a red wood ant colony are capable of organizing a surprisingly large amount of needles and integrating them into the structures of their nest mound in a single day if the stuff is loaded

on top of the nest or very close to it. This kind of human help can be clearly beneficial for the colony, if too much stuff will not be dumped at the southern side of the mound at once. One 30-centimeter-high and 60-centimeter-wide anthill became a 1.5-metrehigh and 2.5-metre-wide mound in two years when it got a little bit help from human friends. The population of the mound grew dramatically, the highways stretching out from the nest became longer and the density of traffic was greatly increased. There were also a number of new highways intercity 1, intercity 2, intercity 3 and intercity 4 linking the mound with other, nearby metropolitan areas. I have been planning to expand this research programme still a little bit more, because I have become intrigued by the notion of having a thousand million small research assistants in a serious carbon sequestration research programme. At the moment I still have somewhat less staff, but the project is already employing many more research assistants than the combined human staff in all of the worlds universities. Also my wife has by now realized that when I say that I am leaving for the construction site with the boys, this is not a code for going out boozing. The ant population of our planet weighs about as much as humanity, and many of the red wood ant individuals spend most of their lives in an effort to store organic matter (carbon) into their mounds, away from the atmosphere. On a weight-by-weight basis the ants are much more efficient than humans, as we cannot run fast carrying thick ten-metre-long logs on our backs. So perhaps we should pay some attention to whether it would be possible to fight global warming through different types of human-ant-partnerships. If there are, in any case, about one hundred million billion guys who are already doing their utmost to sequester some carbon out of the atmosphere, why shouldnt we join our hands with them, even if they are a bit smaller than ourselves? It is also possible to use a red wood ant mound as a dumping ground for all kinds of organic stuff. What the ants will not eat they will preserve and integrate into the structures of the nest, so that the carbon stays out from the atmosphere. There are important fringe benefits. A single red wood ant

mound with half a million ants consumes about 100,000 caterpillars and other insects in a day. Because of this red wood ant colonies protect the forests, very efficiently, against damage done by various insects. The effect has real economic significance, because a surprisingly large percentage of the wood crop in a forest is often destroyed by insects. For this reason German and Polish foresters have often protected large ant mounds from woodpeckers and wild boars by placing wire meshes or wooden grids on top of them. The same result can be achieved also by placing a few large tree branches on top of the mound. According to the experience of the author, a few branches are normally enough to discourage badgers, racoon dogs and woodpeckers from doing any major damage. However, a badger only weighs about ten kilograms. To discourage a 200-kilogram bear it is necessary to use a much larger amount of branches. It seems that the red wood ants are also very effective in controlling ticks. The yard of our house belongs to a vast red wood ant empire consisting of a few hundred mounds and perhaps a few tens of millions of individuals. During some seasons the yard is visited by roe deer, white-tailed deer, badgers, foxes and hare almost every night and often even in full daylight. In Southern Finland a deer typically carries between a few hundred and one thousand adult ticks, each of which lays about 2,000 eggs. However, during the years 19932008 none of the children or domestic animals playing in the yard ever picked a tick from the grass. I have not found any ticks even by dragging a white towel in the hay. The only possible explanation I can think of is that the ants are doing something for the ticks. Books and articles say that the armour of the ticks is too much for the ants, but I doubt whether this is true when the ants are around in large enough numbers. Or it might be that the ants just consume the eggs, larvae and the nymphs of the ticks. Anyway, the effect seems to be the same: no ticks. This observation could be more than a curiosity, because after mosquitoes ticks are the most important vectors of human illness. They carry for example Lymes disease, a serious illness caused by spirochetes (syphilis-related cork-screw-shaped bacteria). According to new research Lymes

disease probably is an important cause of schizophrenia, clinical depression and bi-polar disorder.

The idea should be investigated further. It might have real significance, if a few million people became excited about it. The human-ant-partnership rules! Humans have so far only domesticated two insect species: the silkworm and the honey bee. Perhaps we could also domesticate some of the red wood ant species, so that after a thousand years some sub-species can only live in the carbon storage mounds which have been co-constructed by humans and ants.

12. Storing Carbon in Sea Salt

A small newspaper in Saltzburg, Austria, published the following news report in 1666: In the year 1573, on the 13th of the winter month, a shocking comet-star appeared in the sky, and on the 26th of this month a man, 9 hand spans in length, with flesh, legs, hair, beard and clothing in a state of non-decay, although somewhat flattened, the skin a smoky brown color, yellow and hard like codfish, was dug out of the Turemberg mountain 6,300 shoe lengths deep and was laid out in front of the church for all to see. After a while, however, the body began to rot and was laid to rest. The human body is largely made of carbon. Normally the carbon stored in our tissues will rapidly decompose after we die and then becomes quickly released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. But if you happen to die in a salt mine and remain there, the carbon will not be released. The Celt salt miner mentioned by the Saltzburg Chronicle story in 1666 had died about 2,400 years earlier, but his body was perfectly preserved. I have personally observed dead birds and insects that have become preserved as stone-hard mummies at the surface of salt deserts. This is not to say that we ought to start fighting global warming by burying our dead in salt mines. However, we could store something else in salt. With salt, any kind of biomass can be preserved practically for ever. If even meat, which normally does not keep very well, can be stored for thousands of years, there is no reason to believe that plant biomass could not be maintained in the same way.

Perhaps the most convenient way to do this might be to grow single-celled algae in a mixture of seawater and urban wastewater, and then store the algal growth in the salt that remains when the seawater evaporates. This would be a very cheap way to sequester huge quantities of carbon from the atmosphere. Actually, the costs could even be negative, much less than zero. If the method replaced modern wastewater treatment facilities, which are extremely expensive to build and maintain, it would save a lot of money for governments and municipalities. It would also be possible to produce brickets and biodiesel from the single-celled algae, in which case only the remnants from the biodiesel production could be stored in salt. Algal biodiesel is the most complex proposition, because only some species of algae have a high oil content, and it is somewhat difficult to maintain the purity of algal cultures. If you only want to grow something that can be dried and then burned instead of coal, it does not really matter how many different species of algae the birds drop into your ponds. However, according to experiments which were conducted in the US in the 1970s it is possible to annually produce 70200 tons of biodiesel on a hectare of waste-water-fertilized algal ponds. At that time the production was not yet economical, but the present oil prices are higher. Moreover, if the algal ponds replace an expensive wastewater treatment facility, part of the savings could be used to subsidize the biodiesel, biogas or bricket production. For instance in India only an estimated 13 per cent of sewage is currently treated. This is one of the main reasons for why approximately one thousand children die of diarrhoeal infections in India, every day. Water and shore birds would love these kinds of programmes! At Lake Nakuru in Kenya there can often be more than two million flamingos and hundreds of thousands of other birds at the same time. The spectacle is largely based on Nakuru citys wastewater, running into the lake, and on single-celled algae feeding on the nutrients it provides.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. Seawater ponds could sequester 100200 tons of carbon per hectare per year in a way that would


save a lot of money for governments, municipalities and individual households. Improved waste-water management is also important to protect the coral reefs and other marine and freshwater ecosystems.

13. Storing Carbon in Peatlands

The worlds peatlands have been estimated to contain between 500 and 1,000 billion tons of carbon. This is probably more than the amount of carbon stored in the worlds remaining oil reserves. The still existing northern peatlands still absorb 50-70 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, every year, and the tropical peatlands, especially the peatland rainforests, probably more than this. But the overall amount of carbon stored in peatlands has been greatly reduced, over the centuries, because of the draining of peatlands for agriculture, forestry and peat production. The greatest emissions come from Indonesia, where the slow decomposition of peat and the large peat fires on ten million hectares of ditched and deforested peatlands release 500 or 800 million tons of carbon per year into the atmosphere. During the worst year, 1997-1998, the emissions may have amounted to 2.8 billion tons. It is often said that Indonesias peatlands might altogether contain something like 50 or 54 billion tons of carbon, but these figures seem to be serious underestimations. Tropical peat is made by trees, and it contains tree branches and roots, as well as numerous whole tree trunks preserved inside the highly acidic peat. When a core drill hit a tree trunk in the earlier mappings researchers often thought that they had reached the bottom of the peat layer. Whenever more thorough investigations have been made, figures have risen. Earlier it was thought that for instance Merang Kepayang, the last significant peatland rainforest in Southern Sumatra, might contain 100 million or 200 million tons of carbon. However, when the environmental foundation Wahana Bumi Hijau made a more profound study, together with Indonesian and foreign researchers, the estimate was raised to almost 600 million tons. According to the pulp and paper company April the vast peat

massive of the Kampar Peninsula would only contain 275 million tons of carbon. A study made by the University of Delft concluded that if the average depth of the peat was 10 metres and the average carbon content 60 kilograms per cubic metre, there would be roughly 5 billion tons of carbon in Kampar. This was already much more than Aprils figure. However, in the relatively well-researched Sebangau peat dome the average depth of peat is 7.8 metres and the maximum depth 13 metres. In Kampar the maximum peat depth is, according to unpublished coring experiments, at least 23 metres. When the depth of the peat increases, it becomes more compressed and its carbon density tends to increase. If we assume an average depth of 15 metres and an average carbon content of 90 kilograms per cubic metre, the assumed carbon store in the peat massive on Kampar rises to 11.8 billion tons, 43 times more than the figure used by April. Kampar is an extreme case, but it seems reasonable to assume, that peat fires and the slow oxidation of peat could, according to worst-case-scenarios, release considerably more than the often quoted 50 billion tons of carbon from the Indonesian peatlands during the next 30 or 50 years. The peatlands of my own country, Finland, contain an estimated 5.7 billion tons of carbon. More than one half of Finnish peatlands have been ditched for farming, forestry or for peat production. Finlands 700,000 hectares of peatland fields produce major greenhouse gas emissions (up to eight tons of carbon per hectare per year, plus a lot of nitrous oxide). In the peatlands drained for forestry the average net emissions have this far been notably smaller, because part of the carbon dioxide produced by the decomposition of peat has been absorbed by the improved growth of trees. Unfortunately, if the climate heats up, also the forested peatlands of Finland should start producing very large and steadily growing amounts of carbon. However, it is also possible to increase the amount of carbon stored in the worlds peatlands. My forest scientist uncle, Antti Isomki, first brought this possibility to my attention, already at the beginning of 1990s. In the northern areas there are innumerable sites where it would be easy to raise the surface of the peatlands, little by little, with the same speed as the sphagnum mosses

can grow, by constructing small dams in strategic spots. When the surface of the peatland has been raised by two metres, about 1,000 tons of carbon has been stored on each hectare. Something similar could also be done in Indonesia and in other tropical countries. If the recently drained peatland areas in Indonesia, amounting to nine or ten million hectares, would be restored to peatland rainforests, they would probably begin to absorb something like 4-10 tons of carbon per hectare per year from the atmosphere. This process of carbon sequestration could be maintained for a very long time. Some of Indonesias peatland rainforests have produced up to 23 metres of peat in 5,000 - 10,000 years. Even assuming that the peat in the deeper layers has a similar carbon density than the shallow peat, 23 metres of peat means up to 20,000 tons of carbon per hectare. If the deeper layers have been compressed so that their carbon density is higher, which should be the case, the actual store could be still larger. If the ditches and channels on peatlands were blocked and the drained peatlands converted back to peatland rainforests, reforested areas could be used for hunting and fishing, as well as for timber, small timber and fuelwood production on a sustainable basis. There are a number of valuable dipterocarp trees that grow well on deep tropical peatlands and produce highly priced timber. It would be easy to produce good crops valuable tropical hardwood in the regenerated peatland rainforests in an ecologically sustainable way, without causing large carbon dioxide emissions. The important things are to use selective logging, so that there will always a good, protective tree cover, and to transport the logs away by constructing wooden rails into the forest, instead of digging channels for the same purpose. Besides the timber species, certain indigenous fruit trees could be grown on the highly acidic and oligotrophic tropical peatlands. The combined income from timber, small timber, fuelwood, fruit, hunting and fishing should be enough to justify the regeneration of large areas of peatland rainforests, especially if people also received some income from the carbon dioxide that would be sequestered by the restored peatland rainforests. According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia may originally have had two times more tropical peatland rainforests than the

present 22.5 million hectares, roughly half of which has recently been ditched and deforested.
This may be a real possibility but especially the northern programmes ought to be implemented very carefully and no large projects should be initiated before a number of small-scale pilot trials lasting at least for a few years have been carried out. If the dams make the peatlands too wet there is a danger of increased methane emissions. In tropical peatlands the production of methane and the risks related to it seem to be much smaller.

14. Storing Carbon in the Soil

The worlds soils contain a lot of carbon. It is possible to influence the size of this sub-surface carbon store on all kinds of lands. In the climate debate it has often been assumed, that the carbon store in the soil will diminish more or less automatically, if the world becomes a few degrees warmer. The reality is much more complex. For instance, the Amazonian rainforests stretch from the Equator roughly ten degrees both to the North and to the South, and most of the region is only a little bit above the sea level. It cannot get much hotter or more tropical than this, and the area is not exactly dry, either. In spite of all this, even the Amazonas is a patchwork of areas with 500 tons carbon per hectare in the soil and areas with hardly any organic matter in the ground. These differences have been produced by different human management practises (see chapter 15). This means that humans can, in a very significant way, influence the amount of carbon stored in the soil, from the northern areas to the tropics. Deep ploughing of farmland tends to reduce the carbon content of the soil. The more often the soil is ploughed, the more important the effect becomes. In Britain it has been estimated, that farming and grazing lands lose about 0.6 per cent of their carbon, every year. Especially fields that have been cleared on peatlands can be significant sources of carbon dioxide emissions. In Southern United States a hectare of effectively drained peatland can produce 17 tons of carbon per year, in the tropics the emissions can be

even larger. On the other hand, if a field is not ploughed at all, the soils carbon content tends to increase with cultivation. According to some studies, minimum-tillage or no-tillage cultivation methods can absorb 500 - 700 kilograms of carbon per hectare per year. Natural grasslands dominated by strong, perennial grasses often produce deep black soils known as mollisols. It seems to be possible to transform even an ordinary field growing annual crops to a kind of artificial mollisol. The effect is probably the most significant when strong perennial grasses like switchgrass are grown. The carbon content of the forest soils can also be manipulated by land-use practises. Old-growth forests tend to have very large organic carbon stores in the coarse and small litter, humus layer and topsoil. In younger forests the amount of carbon is much smaller. Clear-cutting reduces the carbon stores In the ground because the soil becomes exposed to direct sunlight. Warmer temperatures accelerate the decomposition of litter and humus, while there are no longer trees producing new litter. The ploughing of the forest soil probably has a very strong carbon-store-diminishing impact, but there is very little research data about this. Russian forest soils contain, on average, 127 tons of carbon per hectare, but the current average for the more roughly treated and generally younger Finnish forests is much smaller. In the United States P.D. Turner and his co-workers have used a model, in which topsoil, litter and humus consist 70 per cent of the carbon store of the North American forests and living tree roots an additional 10 per cent. According to their opinion the above-the-ground biomass of living trees only makes about 20 per cent of a forests carbon store. The only precise long-term study concerning the carbon store in a forest soil which I have ever heard of has been carried out in Broadbalk and Geescroft conservation forests in Britain, by the Rothamstead Research Center. The initial soil carbon content in these areas was 37 and 26 tons per hectare to a depth of 23 centimetres in the years 1881 and 1883, when the research was initiated. Following natural woodland regeneration, this rose to 81 and 82 tons per hectare in 1985, an average accumulation of 0.5 tons

of organic carbon per hectare per year. The above-the-ground biomass grew even more, by 123 and 81 tons of carbon per hectare.
No-tillage or minimum-tillage farming might play a role in removing carbon from the air. Even better results could be achieved by creating artificial mollisols through cultivating strong perennial grasses for energy or paper production or for animal feed. In the long run it might even be a good idea to do some selective breeding on promising perennial grass species and to develop them as new food plants which might partially replace the presently cultivated, annual grains. From the viewpoint of carbon sequestration the best option might be to develop land-use systems in a sense resembling the West African parklands, in which pastures and fields are dotted with useful trees, including baobabs.

15. Storing Carbon in the Amazonian Way the Terra Preta System

Everybody knows that it is impossible to cultivate the tropical rainforests in a sustainable way. All the nutrients are tied in the vegetation. If trees are removed and the land cleared for farming or pasture, rain will soon wash nutrients into the deeper soil layers where the roots of the plants can no longer reach them. This has been the generally accepted wisdom endlessly repeated in innumerable authoritative books and articles. However, there is a problem with this view. For example, in the Amazonas there are large areas which were successfully cultivated by the Pre-Columbian peoples for thousands of years. The milpas of the Mayas in the Central American rainforests also maintained their fertility for prolonged periods of time. All this has been amply documented, and the facts go against the conventional wisdom. In the Amazonas there are patches of deep, dark, fertile lands which can contain up to two metres of soil rich in nutrients, humus and organic carbon. They are artificial creations known as terra preta do Indio, the black soil of the Indians, or as the Amazonian dark earth. According to Brazilian, German, Japanese and US scientists who have studied the terra preta soils, Amazonian peo77

ples used to mix charcoal and all kinds of waste matter into the ground. Nutrients stuck to the small charcoal particles and were not washed away or into the deeper soil layers by the heavy rains. This resulted in enriched bacterial and fungal growth in the soil and in a gradual accumulation of humus which, in turn, increased the soils moisture-holding capacity. According to studies carried out by Wenceslau Teixeira of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Enterprise and by Bruno Glaser, Wolfgang Zech and Christoph Steiner of the University of Bayreuth, Germany, terra preta is an efficient way to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. In the trials the plots that received both fine-grained charcoal (or biochar) and fertilizer yielded nine times larger crops than the patches which were only treated with a similar dose of fertilizer. Such a difference is phenomenal and the result only applies to tropical rainforest conditions in which there is a lavish supply of rainwater and sunlight, and where the lack of nutrients is the main factor inhibiting the growth of the crops. But also in field trials conducted in China biochar reduced the need for fertilizer two or three times. This is a highly significant finding, because the production of chemical fertilizers consumes a lot of energy and causes large carbon dioxide emissions. Above all, nitrogen fertilizers are responsible for at least 80 per cent of the anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is a very strong greenhouse gas, and it might even become the most difficult part of the whole greenhouse problem (about the importance of nitrous oxide, see chapter 25). According to Jim Amonette of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (of the US), the application of biochar can cut nitrous oxide emissions in several different ways. Biochar ties nitrogen in a stable pool. When manure and other potential sources of nitrous oxide emissions are converted to biochar, they will not produce nitrous oxide. Increased air-filled porosity of the soil reduces both methane and nitrous oxide emissions, and if plants are able to use nitrogen and other nutrients more efficiently, less fertilizer will be needed. According to yet unpublished and still ongoing studies of other US scientists, it now looks that it might be possible to reduce the nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils by up to 90 per

cent by adding biochar on the fields. Terra preta fields gradually accumulate a very large store of organic carbon. According to studies conducted by Bruno Glaser, the first metre of an Amazonian terra preta patch typically contains from 16 to 120 tons of black carbon (charcoal) per hectare. The total carbon store is larger, because the humus also contains a lot of carbon. Many aspects of terra preta cultivation are still poorly understood, but it seems that the system could easily absorb at least 500 tons of carbon per hectare in the soil, in the long run probably even more. Only a fraction of the carbon needs to be charcoal. It could be assumed that the finer the pieces of charcoal, the less charcoal is needed to prevent the nutrients from escaping. All these reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the sequestration of carbon would most probably come with significant negative costs. A small amount of charcoal costs much less than a heavy dose of fertilizer, so terra preta cultivation can perhaps save the planet in a way that also saves a lot of money for farmers and consumers. The method should assist efforts to reduce nutrient loads and other pollution entering lakes, rivers and seas. It might be useful in both small- and large-scale wastewater treatment. It might convert many kinds of wastewater treatment facilities to new carbon sinks. It might even be an important means to improve the quality of water produced by different types of dugwells. Charcoal could be buried in the soil near the wells so that it would sieve the various pathogens and pollutants off the drinking water. Charcoal is, in practise, non-biodegradable so it will, in most cases, stay in the soil almost forever. Also the carbon store In humus seems to be rather permanent, because some of the Amazonian terra preta patches are at least 4,700 years old. Each year the Earth produces hundreds of billions of tons of organic biomass straw, grass, leaves, needles, wood, cones, nutshells, single-celled algae some of which could be converted to charcoal. Anything biological can be used as a raw material for charcoal (or biochar), wood is only one possibility. For instance in India it has been estimated that between 80 and 250 million tons of biomass is annually burned on the fields. The global estimate for

annual biomass burning is at least 7,000 million tons, and possibly 12,000 million, much of which is just wasted. Why not burn part of this biomass in a less complete way, so that it becomes finegrained charcoal that can be added to the soil? In this context it is important to repeat, that the total amount of long-term carbon sequestration in terra preta soils could be from 5 to 30 times more than the amount of carbon added into the soil in the from of charcoal. Of course, the carbon stored in the earth as charcoal is more safely locked off than the carbon in the thickening humus layer, in bacteria and in fungal roots.
recommended. Terra preta is definitely one of the most promising and exciting ways of absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. About three billion people, half of humanity, still live in small farmer families and every farmer would like to increase her crops in a way that would simultaneously reduce the production costs. If a kilogram of charcoal (which is cheap) can replace many kilograms of chemical fertilizer (which is expensive), the method might become very popular and spread like wildfire on billions of hectares of farmland, pasture and forest.
Recommendation: Strongly

16. Composting with Thermophilic Bacteria

The Valley of Mexico is relatively dry. As agricultural land it is a far cry from coastal plains or fertile river valleys. In spite of this, it gave birth to Teotihuacan, which was one of the worlds largest cities during the height of its power, 1,500 years ago. A thousand years later Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Triple Alliance, may have been the largest city on our planet. There were about 300,000 people living on small islands, in the middle of Lake Texcoco, and more than a million people at the shores of the lake. The people living in the Valley of Mexico constructed floating gardens known as Chinampas, meaning a garden of flowers. They raised fertile mud from the bottom of the lake, and piled it on top of floating reed beds. According to old eye-witness reports the floating gardens produced from six to eight crops per year. They were able to feed one and a half million local people and a

vast imperial army with a very small area of land. Since then Lake Texcoco has been drained, and only a small remnant of the Chinampas gardens remains in Xochimilco, at the southern outskirts of Ciudad de Mexico. The Mexican architect Josefina Mena Abraham wondered why the chinampas did not spread dangerous diarrhoeal bacteria and parasites more effectively, even though the channels between the floating gardens were also used as sewers for toilet waste. She also wondered why the channels did not seem to produce large quantities of methane and nitrous oxide. It was one of her students who found the answer. There was a strange, thermophilic or heat-loving bacterium that grew in the mud, at the bottom of the lake. It was very aggressive in its prime temperature range, killing both the methane-producing bacteria and human pathogens. Besides this, it was very effective in binding nitrogen, which prevented the production of nitrous oxide. Josefina Mena Abraham and her co-workers established an organization called Grupo de Tecnologia Alternativa, which started to develop composting equipment, dry toilets and wastewater treatment systems based on the Chinampas or Chinampera (both names are used) bacterium. Their toilets and composters provide obvious and important benefits over the older models. The Chinampas bacterium makes it easier to recycle the nitrogen in human toilet waste, in cow dung and in other organic waste matter. In normal composting most of the nitrogen is released into the atmosphere. The nitrogen-fixing Chinampas bacterium largely prevents this loss, which reduces the need for chemical fertilizer, if the composted matter is spread on the fields. This, in turn, reduces nitrous oxide emissions from the soil. At the same time, the bacterium reduces the risk of diarrhoeal diseases or parasite infections. This is a very important benefit, because diarrhoeal diseases are still the main reason for at least two million and a contributing reason for four million infant and child deaths per year. Composting with the Chinampas bacterium might also be a new means of absorbing huge quantities of carbon from the atmosphere. If you go to Xochimilco today, to see the remaining chinampas

gardens, the first thing you will notice is that the floating gardens are no longer floating. The small artificial islands have become so thick and heavy that they have sunk deeper, and most of them now touch the bottom of the lake. Moreover, the surface of the islands is often two or three metres higher than the surface of the lake, even though they are artificial creations that consist of halfdecomposed organic matter, only. In other words: it seems that the islands have accumulated several metres of dense, black soil in only a couple of centuries. The chinampas of Xochimilco obviously contain a phenomenal amount of organic carbon on each hectare. Buthow is all this possible? How can a cultivated field accumulate organic matter with such a phenomenal speed? We do not really know the answer, yet. But some of the people living in Xochimilco still use the traditional way of cultivating the chinampas. They collect all kinds of crop waste like straw and leaves and other organic matter, and then add some mud from the bottom of the channels on top of the pile. Later they again add a layer of crop waste, and then a new layer of mud. It is possible that the thermophilic bacteria eat most of this biomass and convert it to innumerable new copies of themselves. The result should be a strange type of humus, much of which consists of living, hibernating or dead thermophilic bacteria. A bacterium that can survive 120 degrees Celsius must be a tough beast with a rather hard cover. It cannot be expected to decompose quickly in the soil. Besides, the Chinampas bacterium goes to sleep when the temperature falls below the range that it favours. It becomes deactivated and begins to hibernate, but it does not necessarily die. Experiments have shown that it can be dried and woken up even after a long period of time. Perhaps we should start using the same bacterium in composting toilets and composters all over the world, and not only in Mexico. This might lead to an accelerated build-up of organic matter in the soils of our fields, gardens, pastures and forests. The half-decomposed matter from toilets or composters using the Chinampas bacterium is, according to the experiences from Mexico, an excellent bio-fertilizer, so people would probably use it to fertilize their crops, wherever this is not prevented by powerful cultural taboos.

In the northern and mountain areas composters and dry toilets could also provide a major part of the houses heating energy during the colder seasons. We have been using fire for a million years or so. Because we have been watching the flame for a very long time, we have perhaps become slightly hypnotized by it. We are very fixed with the idea that we have to burn wood or other biomass with a flame, if we want to produce heating energy. However, when we burn wood or other biomass with a flame, most of the energy content is often lost with the gases that evaporate from the biomass without burning, or with the hot air streaming out via the chimney. Burning biomass with a flame also produces soot particles that contribute to global warming and other small particles that are very detrimental to our health. Besides this, wood needs to be split and dried before it can be burned, and cutting and splitting and storing wood is a lot of work. Why couldnt we heat our houses by burning biomass with slow heat, with the help of bacteria, the same way our own bodies produce their internal heating energy? The aggressive Chinampera bacterium that loves high temperatures and burns all kinds of biomass quickly, would be an ideal component for such systems. Even replacing wet toilets with composting dry toilets, installed inside a house, would already provide some heating. But we could also build much larger composters in the cellar, and use them to burn both the households food waste and a much larger quantity of other biomass like tree leaves, grass, hay or wood. Such a system would also produce excellent bio-fertilizer for forests, fields and gardens. This may sound crazy, but think of all the benefits such a change would bring! In northern areas houses lose a lot of heat with the water used to flush toilets. Toilets are in bathrooms, and in winter bathrooms are often kept warmer than many other rooms, for obvious reasons. Therefore the water used to flush toilets is, even during winter, relatively warm, typically around 20 degrees Celsius. Most of the water going down the drain in our cities has been flushed into sewers from wet toilets. For example Helsinki, a city of 500,000 people, produces 260,000 cubic metres of waste water

in one day. This means that during winter the households in Helsinki might together lose something like 200 megawatts of their heating energy, perhaps 20 per cent of the total, with the flush water of their toilets! Another estimate has put the total to 26 per cent, but this includes the water used for showers, baths and washing the dishes. Our present wastewater treatment facilities also require a lot of power. In the United Kingdom, one quarter of the electricity produced by the countrys largest coal power station is used by wastewater treatment plants. If we stick with our present approach, we soon need to invest a lot of money to re-build our sewerage systems. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated, that by 2020 one half of the sewer pipes in the USA will be crumbling to pieces and dangerous, because investments in their maintenance have been seriously neglected for decades. This means that for example the United States will soon have to spend at least ten thousand billion dollars into the rebuilding of its sewerage systems, and at the time this money has to be invested, the federal debt has already reached truly serious proportions. Why not avoid most of this bill by doing things in a more intelligent way? In any case, we have to replace our wet toilets with dry toilets, sooner or later, because we are quickly running out of rich phosphorus deposits. Phosphorus is one of the three most important plant nutrients, together with potassium and nitrogen. We could soon be in trouble if we keep on wasting our phosphorus. The most important culprit are wet toilets: after phosphorus in human waste has been flushed down to a sewer, it can no longer be used for agricultural purposes, because it has become part of a poisonous sludge that contains high concentrations of heavy metals and other toxins. There is one more issue that needs to be discussed. What if the Chinampas bacterium eats the whole world if we spread it around, like in those bad science fiction movies? Luckily, we do not live in a bad science fiction movie. Even if the reality now resembles science fiction, it only resembles hard science fiction, meaning a sub-genre in which the Universe still behaves and obeys the laws of physics. We must remember that we are talking about a thermo84

philic bacterium. A thermophilic bacterium is not likely to cause an environmental disaster even if we would spread it around the globe, because it can only compete with other bacteria when the temperatures are abnormally high, between 50 and 80 degrees Celsius. The Chinampas bacterium cannot spread easily without a lot of help from humans. The bacterium must have existed at the bottom of Lake Texcoco for thousands of years, possibly much longer. Before the Spaniards dried most of the lake and before the American bird populations were decimated, hundreds of millions of water and shorebirds must have visited the lake every year, during their annual migrations. Every single one of those birds must have carried a sample of the bacteria living in the mud in their feet and feathers, and spread these samples around. So we really do know that the Chinampas bacterium cannot eat the world. However, we cannot fully exclude the possibility that the terra preta/terra negra soils of the Amazonas, Yucatan and Chiapas (see the preceding chapter) had something to do with all this. What if these soils are, in essence, a mixture of charcoal and compost treated with very tough thermophilic bacteria? The extent of the terra preta soils roughly matches with the area that might have been covered by the water and shore bird migrations via Lake Texcoco. I admit this is a bit far-fetched, and I do not really believe in this theory. But I do think that we absolutely must start experimenting with a mixture of biochar and biomass half-decomposed by the Chinampas bacterium
Recommendation: We urgently need more research on this! Many of the above mentioned possibilities might or might not be wishful thinking. We really cannot say without taking a closer look.

17. Regenerating the Mangrove Forests

The world still has about 24 million hectares of mangrove forests, but there used to be much more of them. According to one estimate, Africa has lost at least 55 per cent and Asia at least 58 per

cent of its mangroves. Many of the existing mangroves are seriously threatened. Mangroves are cut for charcoal and cleared for prawn farming. This has had devastating consequences for the fish catches because many commercially valuable fish species spend one or more periods of their life cycles in the mangrove swamps and are thus totally dependent on them. In Thailand it has been estimated that the clearing of 100,000 hectares of mangrove forests for prawn farming has caused an annual loss of 800,000 tons of fish. Mangroves also form very efficient natural breakers against hurricanes, typhoons and tsunamis. Even more important is the fact that mangrove forests are very, very efficient carbon sinks. The remaining mangroves may annually remove around 300 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere and store it on vast mud flats which may finally become coastal peatlands. According to one estimate each hectare of mangrove forests removes, every day, about 110 kilograms of carbon from the atmosphere, roughly one third of which is quickly released back to the air as carbon dioxide. One third becomes more or less permanently stored in the mud and the remaining one third is dissolved into the ocean as relatively long-lived organic compounds which might last in the sea for a couple of decades or for a century. If this estimate is correct, the regeneration of the perhaps 30 million hectares of mangrove forests which once existed but which have since then been destroyed might annually absorb something like 400 million tons of carbon out from the atmosphere, even if we only count the carbon stored in the mudflats and not the carbon compounds dissolved in the sea water. The dominant plant in many natural mangrove forests of Asia is a strange, ancient palm: the nipa (Nypa fruticans). The nipa palm is a very productive biofuel species. It can annually yield 11,000 litres of alcohol per hectare, twice as much as sugar cane. It can be cultivated on regenerated mangrove swamps without changing the habitat in any major way. Cultivation is easy because nipa grows like a weed and because it does not require chemical fertilizers. Practically no nutrients are lost with the sap and a mangrove swamp is anyway richly fertilized by sea water. Thus a hectare of regenerated mangrove forest could both annually sequester

13 tons of carbon and produce 11 tons of fuel alcohol, which could prevent 7 tons of new fossil fuel carbon emissions.
Whole-heartedly and strongly recommended. This would be a very cost-effective way to produce biofuels, sequester huge amounts of carbon, increase the fish stocks, preserve marine biodiversity, protect many endangered bird, turtle and reptile species, reduce the silt loads threatening coral reefs and provide protection against tsunamis, hurricanes and typhoons; everything in the same package which comes with a very low cost. Absolutely one of the best deals available.

18. Spreading Mangroves to New Areas

Besides regenerating the mangrove forests that have been destroyed we could perhaps also introduce mangroves to areas where they have not grown before. Mangroves need tropical or subtropical temperatures and water, but the water can be salty seawater. There are a lot of hot deserts in the world, so if we can find costeffective ways of transporting seawater to these areas, we could transform them to artificial mangrove swamps. One option would be to use gigantic, wind-powered seawater sprinklers (see chapter 22). Another would be to construct large pipelines or tunnels to transport vast quantities of seawater to inland depressions, areas that lie deeper than the present sea level. The largest depression in the world is the Caspian Sea and its surrounding regions, but for example the Qattara Depression in Egypt is also a major structure.
Recommendation: Not

really recommended. The situation is not quite

this desperate, yet.

19. Increasing the Amount of Coral Reefs

Some branched corals are very productive. They can grow sixteen centimetres in a year and make six kilograms of limestone for each square metre in the same time. And we still have about 250,000

square kilometres or 250,000,000,000 square metres of coral reefs. Even though most corals are less productive than the recordholders, nobody can deny that corals have created rather amazing structures. Some of the still growing coral reefs are millions of years old and several kilometres thick. And then we have other, fossilized reefs which have been lifted up by plate tectonic movements. For example, the three kilometres high limestone peak of El Capitan in the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas is an ancient coral reef. All this limestone contains a vast amount of carbon. Therefore it has always been assumed, that coral reefs are important carbon sinks. However, more recently many scientists have claimed, that coral reefs are, actually, significant sources of carbon dioxide. They have even measured how much carbon the reefs in a certain area are currently producing. When the limestone in a coral reef is produced from bicarbonate ions, one bicarbonate molecule is converted to carbonic acid and further to carbon dioxide for each bicarbonate molecule that is converted to limestone (calcium carbonate). So the sea releases as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as will be stored in the limestone. In other words, the formation of the coral reefs does release some of the carbon which had been stored in sea water in the form of bicarbonate ions. This part is undeniable, but we should also look at the wider picture, and consider where has all the carbon in the bicarbonate ions originally come from. A large percentage of the bicarbonate ions have obviously come from carbon dioxide, water and carbonate ions. When a carbon dioxide molecule reacts with a water molecule, it first forms carbonic acid, and then again reacts with a carbonate ion, forming two bicarbonate ions. If the same reaction then happens to the opposite direction, and bicarbonate ions are converted to calcium carbonate and carbon dioxide, we are back to zero. No carbon has been sequestered nor produced. However, this is not the only way to make calcium carbonate and carbonate ions. When calcium oxide is leached from the rocks into the ocean, plankton, corals and other shell-forming organisms can make calcium carbonate from calcium oxide and carbon dioxide. This chemical reaction consumes carbon dioxide. When we

count all these reactions together, the end result is that plankton blooms and coral reefs are, after all, a net sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide. We should perhaps construct platforms that would be shallow enough for the corals to grow on them. This would be a way to increase the combined area of coral reefs in the oceans. Actually, it would be equally right to classify protecting and cultivating corals as a way to improve the Earths reflectivity. Just like plankton, corals produce huge amounts of dimethylsulphide (DMS), which assists the formation of marine clouds that cool the planet (see chapter 65).
Recommendation: Coral reefs are important for marine biodiversity, but it is difficult to say whether making more of them could be a cost-effective way of absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

20. Adding Limestone into the Oceans

Many scientists have noted that dissolving large amounts of pulverized limestone (calcium carbonate) in the sea water would increase their ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Limestone produces carbonate ions, and we already know that each carbonate ion can react with a carbon dioxide molecule and a water molecule to make two bicarbonate ions. So in practise each calcium carbonate (CaCo3) molecule producing a carbonate ion can remove one carbon dioxide molecule from the air.
Recommendation: The proposed scheme is theoretically possible, but it would be a rather expensive way to deal with the problem.

21. Greening the Oceans

The US ocean scientist John Martin calculated in the 1980s that plankton uses at most one atom of iron for every 10,000 atoms of carbon, 1,500 atoms of nitrogen and 100 atoms of phosphorus when they assemble their cells.

Martin claimed, that because even small particles containing iron tend to sink quickly, iron probably is the factor limiting the growth of marine plankton. Martin proposed, that it should therefore be possible to absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere just by fertilizing the oceans with iron. Martin died in 1993, but later experiments conducted by his successors Moss Landing, Kenneth Coale, Kenneth Johnson and others seemed to prove that the idea might actually work. In one experiment half a ton of iron increased the amount of plankton so much, that about 3,000 tons of carbon was removed from the atmosphere. Other researchers have suggested that oceans should be fertilized with urea, because the nitrogen-deficient areas are much larger than the iron-deficient regions. Many oceanologists have been horrified by these ideas. They have emphasized, that it is uncertain, how much carbon would be removed from the atmosphere, this way. According to some recent experiments, only a small percentage of the carbon falling down as marine snow (dead plankton) will be safely stored. Another objection against urea fertilization is that it might increase the amount of nitrous oxide produced by the plankton. Personally, I believe that iron fertilization would probably work relatively well, but nitrogen fertilization might be risky. My opinion is partly based on correspondence with professor Lars Franzen, working in the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Franzen has taken core samples from ancient peatlands, and counted the number of micrometeorites, small dust particles that have fallen on the Earth from space, in each layer of peatland. According to Franzens studies, a large amount of space dust seems to correlate with abnormally cold temperatures. Personally, I think that it might be a good idea to conduct further trials with iron fertilization. If the amount of plankton becomes larger, fish stocks and perhaps even whale and dolphin populations might also increase. In numerous areas dolphins and whales are already competing over the remaining squid and fish with commercial fishing fleets or with traditional fishermen, and the problem could become much worse in the future, because of rampant overfishing.

If we were successful in our iron fertilization programmes, there might be both more fish and more whales in tomorrows oceans.
Recommendation: Further trials should be conducted before any largescale programmes are implemented. The cheapest way to distribute the iron might be to produce pellets consisting of fine iron dust and something organic which would make the pellets float for a couple of months, and to release the pellets in the ocean currents. The so called Conveyor Belt of the ocean currents and its innumerable subgyres would then take care of the heavy distribution work. The method might be the most effective in the Arctic Ocean, where there are large nutrient-poor areas, but where the water is so cold that most of the carbon sequestered by the plankton is likely to become stored at the sea bottom, instead of only a few per cent of it.

22. Greening the Deserts

In 1991, German professor Ludwig Elsbett, the inventor of turboDiesel and Elsbett engine, and two of his sons, Klaus and Gunther, proposed an inventive new solution to global warming and to the worlds water and energy problems. The Elsbetts suggested that seawater could be sprayed into the air as fine mist in the fringes of Sahara, with large sprinklers powered with vegetable oil. In 2002 Scottish engineer Stephen Salter, the inventor of the first modern wave power station, revived Elsbetts idea and developed it further. Salters proposal was based on vertical-axis windmills known as Darrieus rotors, installed on floating platforms. Perhaps 90 per cent of the water sprayed into the air would evaporate. The salt in the sea water would be captured inside the remaining 10 per cent of the water. If the sprinklers were situated near the sea in a place where the coast is fringed with mountains, the heavy, salty water droplets would fall down on the slopes, so that the mountains would soon be covered with a thick layer of salt. The salt could then be collected and utilised for different purposes. A small part of it could be used as food salt for humans

and animals: sea salt does not raise blood pressure quite as much as the ordinary table salt partly because it is a more complex mixture of different salts but above all because it has a stronger flavour and is therefore used in smaller quantities. The magnesium chloride could be used in de-icing the roads in the northern areas. This would make car-owners happy because magnesium chloride is less corrosive than the usual road salts. Some of the magnesium chloride could be used to make cars lighter, in order to save fuel: magnesium is eight times stronger than steel on a weight-by-weight basis. Potassium chloride could be utilised as fertilizer. But these are only the fringe benefits. The most important thing is that the 90 per cent of the seawater that would be evaporated by the sprinklers would fall down as dew or rain on the other side of the mountains. The price for each extra freshwater tonne produced this way would be thousands of times lower than the cost of freshwater from desalinating plants. Of course it would not be possible to control exactly where the water would fall down as rain. Salter calculated, that if the droplets had an average size of 30 microns, the total amount of water surfaces would increase by a factor of 200,000. This would greatly increase the evaporation of water. The Elsbetts said that the method would make it possible to cultivate vegetable oil and other biofuels in the worlds deserts, where nothing grows at the moment. This way it would be possible to replace fossil fuels with biofuels without any competition with food production. At the same time massive amounts of carbon could be sequestered from the atmosphere in trees and other plants grown in the desert, and in the desert soils that currently contain almost no humus. Because there are about six billion hectares of hyper-arid, arid and semi-arid lands, the theoretical potential of the approach is immense. Similar sprinklers might also be an efficient way to fight forest and peat fires. Especially peat fires are very difficult to put down. A large fire, however, causes a strong upward draught of warm air. This, in turn, creates winds that blow towards the center of the fire. Water sprayed into the air in the form of fine mist in the areas surrounding the fire would be carried towards the fire by these winds.

Recommendation: These important ideas should be investigated further. The proposals by the Elsbetts and by professor Salter are brilliant and inspiring, and may constitute an important partial solution to the worlds freshwater crises, which is a great threat for billions of people. However, it may not be a good idea to install rain-producing sprinklers on floating platforms near the coastal areas because this would increase the salt content of the surface waters so much that they would finally sink down, through colder water. Such formation of deep, warm water can be dangerous because it can destabilize coastal methane hydrate deposits and thus cause both tsunamis and large offshore methane emissions. The greening of Sahara would have a very complex climatic impact. A lot of carbon would be absorbed, but the reflectivity of the desert might be reduced, at least to an extent. This would most probably be more than compensated by the bioaerosol production of the plants, by the much increased cloud cover over the desert and by the clouds drifting from the desert over the ocean and over other land masses, but a better and more detailed assessment of the overall impact would be useful.

23. Storing Carbon in Clay (the Cat Litter Method)

If we take a look at the long history of our planet and at the various mechanisms that have removed carbon from the atmosphere, one of the most significant has been the formation of clay, meaning soil which consists of very small and fine particles. Clay can preserve all kinds of organic matter in a way similar to cat litter.
am at a loss about what to say about this one. I am terribly allergic to cats, so I do not really want to promote cat litter as the main solution to the worlds carbon dioxide problem. But it might be worth experimenting with clay and different types of biomass, including poisonous algal blooms.
Recommendation: I

24. Storing Carbon in Ice

One possibility to preserve all kinds of biomass, from wood and tree leaves to straw and single-celled algae, is to freeze it. Frozen

biomass cannot decompose before it melts! In the northern areas it would be technically simple to produce artificial permafrost, ice containing a lot of organic carbon. The carbon content in natural permafrost is typically rather low, only a few per cent, but we could easily make ice blocks which would contain 10 per cent water (ice) and 90 per cent biomass. Anything biological can be stored like this, for thousands and thousands of years. There is, of course, a tiny little catch with this approach. It is so insignificant, that I am almost inclined to think that it is not even necessary toWell, all right. If the ice melts, the biomass of course begins to decompose. So this may not be the safest imaginable way to store huge quantities of organic carbon. On the other hand man-made ice blocks storing carbon could also act as cheap reflectors sending a lot of sun-light back to space. So this method is, in reality, also a means to improve the Earths reflectivity. Moreover, if we stored biomass in ice we would not be much restricted by the lack of space. We could easily produce artificial ice domes with the height of a few hundred metres or more. If we would, as a thought experiment, level the mountain ranges and liquefy all the gases in the atmosphere, we would get a lake covering the whole planet, but with an average depth of only ten metres. Of the ten metres only 3 millimetres would be liquid carbon dioxide. The extra 200 billion tons of carbon that has, this far, accumulated in the atmosphere because of us would only amount to 0.75 millimetres or 400 grams for each square metre. If we made an artificial ice sheet two kilometres high, and stored 200 kilograms of carbon inside each cubic metre of ice, we would have stored 400 tons of carbon on each square metre, a million times more than the average amount we now need to sequester.
Recommendation: Not recommended as a method for storing carbon. However, the approach might work as a way of increasing the Earths reflectivity. In the northern and mountainous areas crops cannot be grown during the winter, because it is too cold. This means that from the viewpoint of agriculture all the water that runs down the rivers during the winter is more or less wasted. It might make sense to divert


some of this water away when the temperature is below zero, and produce millions of large artificial fields or blocks of ice. In spring and early summer the artificial ice fields and glaciers would reflect a lot of sunlight back to space. When the ice would slowly melt it would provide a lot of cheap irrigation water for the crops, and also feed a lot of water into the ground, and further to wells and rivers.

25. Dont be a Bio-Indicator Stop Eating Meat!

Governments now talk about cutting the human-made greenhouse gas emissions by 60 or 80 per cent before the year 2050. But they are, at the same time, also talking about doubling the food production including the production of meat. It is not possible to fit these two goals together. If we double our food production without simultaneously changing our eating habits, we will increase our greenhouse gas emissions, even if we were simultaneously able to eliminate 100 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions in all other sectors, including air traffic, shipping, road traffic, construction, housing, retailing and chemical, steel and cement industries. We just have to change our eating habits. We have to consume less meat (including fish and prawns), and we might have to reduce our consumption of rice and milk products, as well. Many books and articles have said that domestic animals might be responsible for 20 or 30 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions. These figures are, almost certainly, too low. I calculated already in 2008 that about 50 per cent might be closer to the mark. In 2009 the Worldwatch Institute published an assessment which supported this conclusion. According to the Worldwatch study meat prouction might cause 51 per cent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Domestic animals, especially cattle, certainly account for most of our nitrous oxide emissions. When manure drops in wet soil, it produces nitrous oxide. Above all, a growing percentage of all nitrogen fertilizers are used to produce fodder for animals that are grown for meat. According to an often-quoted estimate nitrogen fertilizers are responsible for roughly 80 per cent of the nitrous

oxide produced by humanity. The Dutch atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen the only climate scientist who has ever won a Nobel prize in science recently estimated that on average four per cent of the nitrogen spread on the soils as chemical fertilizer or as manure will finally be converted to nitrous oxide, instead of the one per cent which has been presumed by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). If Crutzens calculations are correct (they tend to be), a larger than assumed percentage of the atmospheric nitrous oxide has been produced by human activities. Above all, we should expect even larger future emissions from our agricultural soils. It seems possible that the nitrous oxide emissions caused by our present use of nitrogen fertilizers might soon constitute more than 20 per cent of our combined greenhouse gas emissions, instead of only 6 per cent, which is the currently accepted figure. If we keep on increasing our per capita meat consumption while the worlds population rises to nine or ten billion, and if we simultaneously start to grow a lot of biofuels and wood using massive amounts of nitrogen fertilizers, our future production of nitrous oxide (counted in carbon dioxide equivalents) might soon approach the current sum total of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and methane. The problem can be reduced by using biochar, but the perspective still looks a bit depressing if we insist on consuming large amounts of animal meat. The digestive tracts of cattle are directly responsible for 20 per cent of man-made methane emissions, and another 10 per cent or so comes from decomposing manure. Besides this a substantial amount of methane is produced by termites which rapidly conquer the areas cleared for cattle-raising. In tropical areas dense forests are dominated by ants, while open savannah forests and pasture lands belong to termites. Ants cannot digest cellulose or lignin and they only make carbon dioxide, but termites emit large amounts of methane, which is a much stronger greenhouse gas. Termite-dominated lands are often a by-product of cattle-raising, but the methane produced by these termites has not been taken into account when the cattles greenhouse gas emissions have been calculated.

Besides cattle, manure and termites, there are eight other, significant sources of man-made methane emissions: reservoirs, the eutrophication of natural lakes, garbage dumps, rice fields, wastewater from water closets, leaks from gas pipes and leaks from gas and oil fields. A large percentage of the methane emissions from reservoirs and natural lakes has, without doubt, been caused by nutrients from fertilizers and manure, washed into the water by rains. Besides, many reservoirs have been constructed to provide irrigation water for the fields. If we only ate vegetatrian food, we wouldnt need as many reservoirs. The remains of fish and meat dishes are much more likely to end in tightly closed plastic bags than plant matter, because they easily produce a horrible smell. This is an efficient way to convert organic matter to biogas, but the methane annually released straight into the air by all these hundreds of billions of micro-biogas generators even before they are dumped into a landfill, has not been included in our official statistics. Then we have the nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxides can either cool or heat our planet. When exposed to intensive sunlight, they produce ozone. Ozone is a strong greenhouse gas, but it can also cool the planet by destroying methane. In the mid-latitudes, like in Central Europe, the cooling and heating impacts roughly compensate for each other, so the net effect is almost zero. In the tropics sunlight is roughly five times more efficient in converting nitrogen oxides to ozone, and the heating impact probably dominates. Nitrogen oxides are produced when either biomass or fossil fuels are burned in relatively high temperatures. Because there are still relatively few nitrogen oxide-producing cars in the South compared with the West a substantial percentage of the worlds ozone emissions must be produced when forests are cleared by burning or when biomass is burned on the pasturelands and fields in order to destroy weeds. Incomplete combustion of biomass also produces soot, carbon monoxide and free hydrogen, which gives birth to global warming cirrus clouds when it reacts with oxygen, high in the atmosphere. Meat production is directly responsible for most of the destruction of tropical rainforests. Besides this, much of the land

which is cleared for field farming is used to grow fodder for the cattle and other domestic animals, or soon becomes pasture after its initial fertility has been depleted. According to official estimates, the destruction of tropical forests causes 20 or 25 per cent of the humanitys carbon dioxide emissions. However, a growing number of studies have pointed out, that the worlds forests and forest soils seem to absorb from the atmosphere much more carbon than we have thought (see chapter 8). If the carbon sinks are larger than we have assumed, there must also be additional sources of carbon dioxide, which have not been included in the statistics. Most of this missing carbon dioxide probably comes from the decomposition of organic matter in fields and pasture lands. When a forest is cleared for pasture or farmland much of the carbon content of the trees will be released into the atmosphere relatively quickly, but the decomposition of the carbon stored in the soil including the stumps and roots and the humus should take much longer. For example in Britain it has been estimated, that the soils of agricultural lands only lose about 0.6 per cent of their carbon in one year, but that many areas have now cumulatively lost 50-70 per cent of their carbon store since the Industrial Revolution. The vast Brazilian cerrado, mostly used for grazing, has probably lost 30 or 50 per cent of the carbon in its soils. In other words, it is likely that the forest lands cleared for pasture or field farming keep on producing carbon dioxide for a relatively long time even after the trees have been cut. These emissions have not been included in the official statistics, but they should be of the same order of magnitude as the amount of carbon dioxide which is released relatively quickly when the forest is cleared. If we count prawns and fish as meat, we also have to include most of the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the destruction of mangrove forests, and the carbon dioxide emissions from the worlds fishing fleets, amounting to a few per cent of the total. Among the retail outlets, food shops are the most notorious energy guzzlers. In the UK every square metre in a supermarket annually consumes the average of 275 kilowatt-hours of electricity. This is roughly one hundred times more than the normal power

use of individual households for a square metre of living room. The majority of all this electricity (about 64 per cent) is consumed by refrigeration, which is mostly needed for fresh meat and fish products. Bread, food grains, tins, fruits and vegetables can be kept in store even without a fridge. The same applies to homes: individual households mainly need fridges and freezers to preserve meat, fish and milk products. Meat and fish have to be transported quickly or frozen, or frozen and transported quickly, which again produces more greenhouse gas emissions. The making of nitrogen fertilizers causes a few per cent of our carbon dioxide emissions, the heating of cowsheds requires energy, tractors drink oil, and the pumping of water to the surface in order to grow fodder often consumes a lot of power. Most of these emissions enter into the atmosphere because people eat meat. The production of milk and cheese also causes greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions, however, are already significantly smaller, because the animals that are grown for meat are much more numerous than milk cows, and the young, rapidly growing animals require much more food than the milk-producing adults. Thus, if we would get rid of the habit of eating meat we might actually eliminate one half of our greenhouse gas emissions. This is a surprising conclusion, but it must be close to the truth, when all the relevant factors are taken into account. If all the people living on Earth suddenly stopped eating meat, literally thousands of millions of hectares of pasture and rangelands, now used for cattle raising, would suddenly be liberated for other purposes. If for example one half of all this land was converted back to natural forests or to grasslands growing strong, perennial grasses, or managed as multi-storey home gardens, a huge amount of carbon dioxide could be absorbed from the air, and the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere would start to decline, instead of continuing to rise. Tropical rainforests and tens of millions of species could be saved. Besides, meat production is the most important single reason for our present water crises. The UN organizations predict, that two thirds of humanity five billion people will be faced with

serious shortages of irrigation water already by the year 2025. The production of one kilogram of beef consumes between 20,000 and 100,000 kilograms of water. Many people still believe that meat is an essential requirement for a healthy and balanced diet for us, but this does not have anything to do with the scientific facts. Only two persons, Paavo Nurmi and Carl Lewis, have won nine gold medals in the Olympic Games in athletics. Both of them only ate vegetarian food when they were training. Biologically, we are definitely not carnivores, we were originally supposed to eat mostly fruit, nuts and berries. If you do not believe me, please try to kill a cow or even a lamb with your fingernails, toenails or with your teeth. An 80-kilogram-carnivore should actually be capable of killing a Cape buffalo. But a carnivore needs some weaponry, something by which it can kill the animals it hunts. We do not have anything even remotely suitable. Or look at a picture of a carnivores, any carnivores, mouth, and then go to the mirror and look at your own face. Leopards, leopard seals and wolves have huge mouths, they are like great slits that reach far towards the spine on both sides of the head. We have a tiny mouth, more like a small hole than a slit. Our mouth is not meant for biting or suffocating a Cape buffalo to death! Meat is not essential for our health. On the contrary, eating meat tends to have a cumulative lethal impact on us. According to numerous different studies made in the West meat-eaters are two times as likely to die prematurely of cardiovascular disease than vegetarians. Meat-eaters also have 50 per cent higher cancer mortality. These are highly significant findings, because cardiovascular disease and cancer have now become the most common causes of death both in the South and in the North. Meat contains large amounts of unhealthy fats which block our arteries, thus exposing us to coronary heart attacks and strokes. Meat always contains a significant quantity of salt, and more salt needs to be added to preserve it. Historically, we have acquired most of our infectious diseases like AIDS, measles, tuberculosis, influenza, smallpox and polio by hunting wildlife or by keeping domestic animals. Even toxoplasmosis, which might be responsible for a substantial fraction of

schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression and, by prolonging our reaction times, for a major part of traffic deaths and other accidents, is most often acquired by eating semi-cooked or raw meat. Moreover, if we eat a lot of meat and fish, we will become a kind of bio-indicators. We will accumulate in our bodies large quantities of the toxins and poisons that exist in our environment. As a general thumb rule an animal needs ten kilograms of food to increase its own weight by one kilogram. Therefore, by eating a kilogram of meat we will ourselves acquire, on average, ten times more toxins than by eating a kilogram of plant food. If the animals have been fed fish flour or pulverized animal carcasses, the density of toxins can become hundreds of times more than the average in plant food. The so called adult onset diabetes (Diabetes 2) has recently become the worlds most rapidly growing major public health problem. Already 180 million people in the world have diabetes, and the number could increase to 400 or 500 million by 2030. The epidemic is threatening to overwhelm the health care systems of even the rich, western countries. In the USA, alone, treating diabetes cost about USD 174 billion in the year 2007. Adult onset diabetes is also becoming more common in the South. Annual worldwide diabetes mortality, including the deaths caused by the various side-effects of the disease, is now approaching four million, and it might still triple within a few decades. It now seems that this massive increase of diabetes 2 mortality has mainly been caused by environmental toxins known as POPs, persistent organic pollutants. POPs are a varied group of nasty and long-lasting organic compounds, including DDT, aldrin, dieldrin, chlordane, endrin, mirex, heptachlor, toxophene, hexachlorobenzene, PCBs, dioxins and furans. Many POPs have been used or are still used as pesticides or herbicides, others are created as by-products of different industrial production processes or in waste incineration. According to studies first conducted by the Korean scientist Duk-Hee Lee and her co-workers, and later confirmed by many other groups, people who have a lot of DDT in their fat tissue are roughly ten times more likely than the average person to get Dia101

betes 2. A high amount of six different POPs increases the risk of diabetes by 38 times, which is truly a staggering figure and one of the highest known correlations between a disease and an environmental factor. Other researchers have claimed that the correlation could only be an illusion, arising because the body of a diabetic person cannot remove POPs as effectively as the body of a healthy person. However, according to already existing studies it seems that diabetes does not lessen the bodys ability to remove POPs. In other words, it does seem that persistent organic pollutants could well be the main cause of the whole diabetes 2 epidemic. This is a strong further reason for not eating meat or fish that has grown in polluted waters. You can, of course, also acquire enough POPs to get diabetes by eating heavily polluted plant food, but the risk is much smaller. It seems that heavy doses of dioxins can also destroy the protective, hard cover of human teeth, exposing them to dental rot. In Mexico and India regions that have been the heaviest users of pesticides, have also become the most significant national cancer hot spots. So we are already talking about a very large number of human tragedies. It is possible that the cancer epidemics in the birth places of the Green Revolution, the global diabetes 2 pandemic and the dioxinrelated dental rot are still only the tip of an iceberg, and that other health problems will soon emerge and accumulate if we keep on concentrating even larger doses of environmental poisons into our bodies. What comes to POPs the time of unpleasant surprises is probably not over.

Strongly and warm-heartedly recommended. However, for many people eating meat is an integral part of an imaginary carnivorous identity. Is there a realistic way to increase the popularity of vegetarism? Environmental groups should perhaps join their forces with Monsanto and other giants of the chemical industry, in this issue. What if the environmentalists stopped fighting waste incineration, plastic waste and the use of dangerous pesticides and herbicides, PCBs and dioxins? Environmentalists should perhaps start praising the merits of chemical fertilizers (other than those producing nitrous


oxide) and support the legalization of DDT (why not?). They should probably encourage the feeding of fish flour, smashed animal carcasses and poison-rich fodder to cattle (to me that does sound like a reasonable idea). When it comes to controlling different old and new chemicals and the new nanotech materials, true environmentalists should blindly and warm-heartedly support the industry line (surely the companies themselves know what is the best for us, we do not, after all, have all the facts). The dumping of radioactive pollution into the environment should be encouraged, not criticized or opposed. We should demand lead back to petrol. Conforming to the old industry viewpoints would probably be the fastest and the most convenient way to ensure that almost nobody will soon have the courage to eat meat, and to ensure the relatively rapid termination of the humans brave enough to maintain their carnivorous habits. This is, of course, only a joke. You wouldnt think otherwise, would you?

26. Consuming Less Wood-Based Paper and Eating Less Rice

The whole carbon dioxide problem could also be solved by banning rice and paper. This is, of course, not going to happen, because eating rice is a holy thing for hundreds of millions of people, and because paper is a very useful material for many different purposes. But we might be able to solve a part of the problem by consuming less paper, by shifting to ecologically more sustainable forms of pulp and paper production, and by eating less rice. Our whole civilization was, for a long time, based on paper, and we are now producing a staggering amount of the white stuff. In 2005 the worlds paper and cardboard consumption was 365 million tons. According to the Finnish forest consulting company Jaakko Pyry, this should be raised to 494 million tons by 2020. The production of such enormous quantities of paper consumes a lot of wood. Five cubic metres (five wet tons) of soft roundwood are needed for making one ton of chemical pulp or two tons of mechanical pulp. The making of mechanical pulp, while saving wood, requires huge amounts of electricity (roughly 2.5 kilowatt-hours per kilogram of paper), and the actual paper mills consume even more.

Most of this power is usually produced by either coal-fired power plants or by nuclear power stations. For this reason pulp and paper industries have become one of the, if not the most important force pushing for the renewal of nuclear power, including breeder reactors, in the West. But even this is, unfortunately, only the top of an iceberg. When trees are grown to produce pulp, a short or relatively short rotation period is used: the trees are cut and replaced with new trees as soon as they reach a certain size. This means that pulp and paper production reduces the amount of carbon stored in the trees. The problem is relevant at all latitudes. For example in Finland the average standing stock of roundwood in the forests is 80 cubic metres per hectare, only, because of the influence of pulp and paper industries. When trees are grown for timber, much longer rotation periods make perfect economic sense, and the average standing stocks can become vastly larger. According to the existing evidence, the best Finnish forests grown for high-quality timber, only, could finally achieve a standing stock of 2,000 cubic metres of round wood per hectare. The difference is equivalent to 500 tons of carbon per hectare, and this is still only the trunk wood. In Indonesia the establishment of pulp tree plantations on peatlands has caused enormous carbon dioxide emissions. On shallow peatlands pulp production has been one of the three important factors, together with palm oil and shifting cultivation. However, pulp and paper industries are the main threat for Indonesias really deep peatlands, containing the greatest stores of carbon. It is difficult to cultivate oil palms if the peat layer is very deep, but certain pulp tree species can be grown succesfully even on top of fifteen or twenty metres of peat. The litter, the humus layer, the peat and the topsoil of the northern forests also contain vast amounts of carbon. The average on natural forests might be somewhere around 200 or 300 tons per hectare, if we also include the carbon in the stumps and roots. Pulp and paper companies operating in the boreal forest zone have coerced millions of forest-owners to concentrate on conifers, because they produce long-fibred cellulose, unlike the broadleaved trees, which produce short-fibred cellulose.

This is a grave threat for the carbon stores in the forest soils, because the farther North we get, the more difficult it is to establish a new growth of conifer seedlings without deep ploughing or without burning the peat layer. Broad-leaved trees like aspens or birches can produce a new growth of seedlings with ease, but the battle chemicals produced by the perennial shrubs dominating the undergrowth of the northern forests effectively inhibit the germination and growth of conifer seedlings. Unfortunately, the deep ploughing releases most of the carbon in the soil into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. When northern peatlands are drained to produce pulp and paper, the damage for the climate is even larger. Northern peat is not produced by trees but by sphagnum mosses. When a peatland is drained, trees start to grow better, but the peat begins to decompose. Each metre of boreal peat contains approximately 500 tons of carbon per hectare, and the oldest northern peatlands are almost as thick as the deepest tropical peat domes. The decomposition of the peat is, of course, slower than in the tropics, but it could accelerate rapidly if the northern areas keep on warming. In Scotland peatlands drained for pulp and paper production can already produce eight tons of carbon per hectare per year, and in the continental USA emissions amounting to 10-15 tons (per hectare per year) have been recorded. If the northern forests would not be used for pulp and paper production, the forest-owners could concentrate on growing broad-leaved trees for energy or on establishing sparse stands of coniferous trees grown for high-quality timber. No ploughing or burning would be needed, and at least two times more wood could be produced, because in the North broad-leaved trees, like aspens, birches, poplars and willows, grow much faster than the coniferous pines or spruces. The wood grown for energy would replace fossil fuels and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the northern industrialized countries. By replacing broad-leaved trees and sparse old-growth forests with dense conifer stands on hundreds of millions of hectares the pulp and paper industries have also reduced the reflectivity of the northern forests. In the North dense conifer plantations have a much lower albedo than broad-leaved tree stands, natural mixed

forests or sparse forests. The difference is significant even during summer and autumn, and very dramatic during winter and spring (see chapter 38). It probably has major global significance. This is partly because the areas involved are almost mind-bogglingly large, and partly because the heating impact of conifers is not distributed evenly over the whole planet. The whole albedo-reducing impact of the pulp and paper industrys dark coniferous forests concentrates on the same Northern areas, where the heating threatens to launch a number of devastating positive feedback loops, by replacing areas covered with snow and ice with areas covered by open water, dark soils or dark conifers, and by releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide and methane from forest soils, peatlands, terrestrial permafrost, submarine permafrost and offshore clathrate fields. Because the northern forests can only produce, as an average, a few cubic metres of coniferous wood per hectare per year, it does not really make any sense to use them for pulp and paper production. The damage incurred for the humanity via the destabilization of the climate might exceed the economic benefits by several full orders of magnitude. Two more issues should still be mentioned, in this context. If the tree stands are fertilized, serious quantities of nitrous oxide will be produced, whenever the soil is wet. In the tropical and temperate regions these emissions can be reduced, by up to 90 per cent, by adding fine-grained biochar in the soil (see chapter 15). However, it now seems that biochar cannot really solve the problem in the northern areas, because there are no free, nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the ground. Last but not least, we should remember that paper produces methane in the wet and airless conditions of carbage dumps. An estimated 30 - 70 million tons of methane annually enters the atmosphere from landfills. According to numerous studies made in a large number of different countries, more than one half of these emissions probably come from paper. Recycling can reduce the need of virgin pulp, to an extent. Libraries, second-hand bookshops and lending books and magazines to friends and relatives are also excellent partial solutions to the problem. However, in 2005 for example the USA consumed almost 300 kilograms of paper per citizen. If this became the

norm for a future world with nine billion people, 2.7 billion tons of paper and up to 13.5 billion tons of wood would be needed. In practise this means that in order to survive we have to replace at least part of our wood-based paper with other means. The most important and realistic single solution to the problem is to use some of the crop residues of tropical oil palm plantations as raw material for pulp and paper. The African oil palm (Elaies guinensis) has recently acquired a bad reputation because Indonesian companies have established large oil palm plantations in peatland rainforests. However, it is one of our most productive energy plants. New Malaysian varieties yield 12 tons of oil per hectare per year, and this is only 10 per cent of the total production of biomass. It is possible to get a roughly equivalent amount of biogas, as well, and the average production of palm fronds, palm trunks and empty fruit shells amounts to 20 tons of dry matter per hectare per year. In terms of cellulose, this is equivalent to 100 tons of wood, because the woody oil palm biomass contains 80 per cent and wood only 40 per cent cellulose. Palm fronds and trunks and the empty fruit bunches are, as such, excellent raw material for most kinds of paper and cardboard. If the paper or cardboard has to be very strong, it is necessary to add a little bit of long natural fibre or a tiny bit of some artificial fibre made of oil, like nylon, but this is not a real problem. In other words: if the oil palm plantations were established outside peatland areas and natural rainforests, they would most probably provide the best, the most sustainable and the most profitable way known to humanity to produce the raw material for all kinds of paper and cardboard. It is probable, that something like 10 per cent of the land area in the humid tropics will, in any case, be converted to oil palm cultivations within a few decades, to replace mineral oil and natural gas with palm oil and biogas. It is hard to see what could stop this process, because millions of Asian peasants have already become infected by the palm oil fever. 200 million hectares of well managed oil palm cultivations would also provide, as an almost free by-product, a mind-boggling amount of cellulose, equivalent to 20,000 million cubic metres of

wood per year. The power needed for converting a part of this to paper and cardboard could be produced by burning some of these crop residues, or the biogas produced from palm oil effluent. If this is not enough, more power can be produced by solar and geothermal power stations, so that no fossil fuels or nuclear power will be needed. Converting oil palm fronds, trunks and empty fruit shells to paper and cardboard would go far to preserving both the deep peatlands in Indonesia and the peatlands in the northern forest zone from pulp tree plantations. It will no longer be economically feasible to grow pulp trees on northern or tropical peatlands, if even better raw materials will become available from the oil palm cultivations, with a much lower price. The publishers of books, newspapers and magazines, as well as the retail sellers of food and different kinds of equipment should gradually shift to buying environmentally friendly, non-woodbased paper and cardboard from such sources. They should, of course, first ensure that Indonesia and the other tropical countries adopt a strict policy of not allowing the expansion of oil palm plantations to peatlands or natural rainforests. It is also important to influence the process so, that a major part of the cultivation will be in the hands of small farmers, instead of huge corporations or wealthy individuals. Newspapers, magazines and books that are not printed on paper but which can be read by a mobile phone, by an ordinary computer or by a special reading machine like Kindle or Boox, are quickly becoming another partial solution to the above outlined problems. For instance Boox peak requirement of power is approximately 1 watt, but when it is not loading new pages, it consumes much less. One full charge, approximately equivalent to 8 watthours of electricity (I really mean 8 watt-hours, and not 8 kilowatt-hours), is enough for reading about 8,000 pages of text. If we assume, that the average 400-page-book weighs 500 grams, eight thousand pages in the paper form would mean 10 kilos of paper. If we assume that all this paper were made from chemical pulp, we could say that making the 10 kilograms of paper required something like 20 kilowatt-hours of electricity and wasted 125 kilo108

watt-hours of chemical energy (the energy content of 50 litres of wood). If the paper were made of mechanical pulp, it would have consumed 40 or 50 kilowatt-hours of electricity but only 60 kilowatt-hours worth of wood. In other words, e-books that are only read once by a Boox, a Kindle or a mobile phone consume 10,000 - 20,000 times less energy than the making of an equivalent paper book. In the real world the difference could be even more, because many paper book copies will never read by anybody, and their reference and note sections are seldom looked at. On the other hand, the manufacturing of the readers of course consumes some energy and requires rare metals. The difference with electric newspapers and printed newspapers is not as dramatic, but still major. Google says that one internet search now produces 50 milligrams of carbon. In other words, youd have to make 20,000 internet searches to produce a kilogram of carbon and 20,000,000 to emit a ton. Moving bits through the internet is more ecological than moving material stuff around the globe! The emissions caused by server banks are going to decline even further, in the near future, because internet companies are developing passive cooling methods and investing in renewable energies. For instance IBM is developing carbon-neutral data centers and Google has already invested large amounts of money in wind, solar and kite power. 25 per cent of Nokias consumption is green power. In other words: while the pulp and paper industries are stubbornly committed to fossil fuels and nuclear power, the internets increasing power consumption is making a significant contribution to the renewable energy revolution. Shifting the servers to colder locations and utilizing their waste heat for district heating purposes or in greenhouses, might also be an interesting option. Every magazine and newspaper editor in the world already understands that the future is in the internet. Most people in the younger generations no longer read newspapers printed on paper, like their parents and grandparents did. Nobody knows exactly when the economic base of a printed newspaper will collapse, but everybody knows that this has to happen, sooner or later, because a growing share of the advertising income is disappearing into the internet.

In the long run high-quality internet journals and magazines are, of course, a tempting opportunity for publishers, because raw material and distribution costs are zero and do not rise with the number of subscribers. The only problem is that many newspapers originally introduced their internet versions to their readers as something that comes for free, so it is now more difficult for them to persuade people to pay hard money for a subscription of an electric journal. Perhaps luckily, the same is now happening for books, as well. This might well change the culture, again, and thus release the newspaper publishers from their trap. In China and Japan the greatest best-sellers are now mobile books, meaning novels or graphic novels that people read with their mobile phones, typically when traveling to work and back. According to one estimate, the annual sales of different types of e-book readers might exceed 20 million around the year 2012. Personally, I do not think that the printed book will disappear. But it is likely that bookshops will soon sell both e-books and printed books. In the future it simply does not make sense to print all the books on paper because most people live in cities, in crowded conditions, and do not have the space for many more printed books. In the future it is likely that people will buy only their favourite novels and the non-fiction books they use a lot as printed books. Besides this they will of course give printed books to their friends as valued gifts. In other words: printed books will not disappear but they might gradually become luxury items that will be appreciated and valued more than now. Something similar should happen to rice, as well. At the moment rice is the staple food for approximately two billion people. This is a serious problem, for a number of reasons. Rice consumes a lot of water, more than most other crops. It also produces approximately one fifth of the human-made methane emissions and a lot of carbon dioxide. For example most of the carbon emissions from Indonesias peatlands during the last one hundred years or so should probably be attributed to rice farming. The Dutch started to move people from Java to Sumatra and Kalimantan already during the colonial period, and the Indonesian

government later continued the process through its own transmigrasi programme. In the 1990s perhaps one half of Indonesias peat had already vanished. The last major project along these lines, the so called Mega Rice Project in Central Kalimantan, destroyed a further one million hectares of tropical peat. Also in other countries many of the rice fields on coastal lowlands have almost certainly been established on ancient peatlands, thousands of years ago. We do not really know, but these swamps may originally have been somewhat similar to the still existing Indonesian peatlands. Like Indonesian peatlands, some of them may originally have contained up to 20 metres of peat, thousands of tons of carbon per hectare. In most cases this carbon has already been released into the atmosphere, through centuries or millennia of farming. If we ate a little bit less rice, we would need less rice fields, and some of them could again be converted to tropical peatlands or used to grow sago, moriche or nipa palms or the fruit trees that can be grown on deep peatlands without ditching them. Very large amounts of carbon could then be re-absorbed into these regenerated tropical wetlands. Above all, on a heating planet rice will be one of our most vulnerable food crops. This is partly because of its high water requirement and partly because its flowers can be sterilized by night heat. For this reason it does not really make sense to grow rice as peoples staple food in a greenhouse world, and base the food security of whole nations on it. In the future this would be an almost certain recipe for widespread famine. It would be brainless to demand that people in Asia should not eat rice, at all. Rice is a holy plant and a very important cultural institution. But it would make perfect sense to aim at a more diversified agricultural production and to develop the more reliable, more productive and less vulnerable crops as peoples real staple food. Both rice and books, magazines and newspapers printed on (wood-based) paper should become luxury products. We can still have and enjoy them. But they should be respected and valued more than now. They shouldnt be something that can be bought and consumed daily.

Recommendation: The

production of paper and cardboard from palm fronds and trunks and from other tropical crop residues should be accelerated. It is not possible to produce 300 kilograms of woodbased paper for everybody, every year, without sterilizing the planet. However, the recent developments in China and Japan have probably already ensured, that nothing like this will ever happen. If the Chinese and Japanese consumers hadnt adopted e-books read by mobile phones and by other types of readers with such enthusiasm, pulp and paper industries would already have destroyed Indonesias last peatlands, and released mind-boggling amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. What comes to rice, there are other solutions to the problem of global warming (besides eating less rice), but it is important to reduce our dependence on food plants that are the most vulnerable to planetary overheating.


Removing other greenhouse gases from the air

There are numerous different means of sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But can the concentrations of other greenhouse gases be similarly reduced? Some of the nitrous oxide and ozone could be absorbed by increasing the number and average size of trees growing around. Certain new paints and films containing titanium dioxide can also remove significant quantities of nitrous oxide, ozone and methane from the air. If we construct artificial trees to combat global warming, as Klaus Lackner has proposed, we should perhaps concentrate on the other greenhouse gases instead of carbon dioxide, because carbon can be removed from the air by cheaper biological means. Artificial trees pumping vast amounts of polluted city air through titanium dioxide-covered cell structures might be able to destroy a major part of the ozone and methane created in large metropolitan areas. The Finnish atmospheric physicist Theo Kurten has pointed out, that methane concentrations in the air could also be reduced, in an acute emergency, by producing large amounts of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxides produce ozone, but they also destroy methane. When there is a lot of methane in the air, the methanedestroying impact should dominate. Kurten and Zhou Luxi, a Chinese student of his, have already conducted preliminary investigations on the problem. They seem to think, that the approach might be useful in emergency situations, for instance if the warming trig113

gers, one day, huge eruptions of methane from methane clathrates and submarine permafrost. There might also be ways to increase the methane sinks provided by forest and agricultural soils, but there is very little information about such possibilities. So what comes to removing the other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, options seem to be more limited than with carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide could be the most difficult case. Because most of our nitrous oxide emissions are produced by domestic animals, special attention should be devoted to reducing the consumption of animal products.


Halting the albedo changes

Taking into account nights and winters, every square metre of the Earths surface receives on average 240 watts of solar radiation. A square metre with a 90 per cent reflectivity sends about 215 watts of this straight back to space. A square metre with a reflectivity of 10 per cent can only radiate back about 25 watts of the solar radiation, 190 watts less, before it becomes heat. Our present planetary energy imbalance is now about 1 watt per square metre. This means that in theory we could balance the situation simply by increasing the reflectivity of large areas of land. If we increased the reflectivity by 80 percentage points (lets say from 10 per cent to 90 per cent), wed only need about 0.5 per cent of the Earths surface. If we improved the reflectivity by 20 percentage points (lets say from 20 to 40 per cent) we would need two per cent of our planet. 0.5 per cent of the planets surface would mean about 2.5 million square kilometres, or a twenty-metre-long and twentymetre-wide square for every person on the planet. Covering a 400-square-metre patch of land for example with highly reflecting chalk or quartz stones or with white bark, or making a slightly larger ice reflector with a garden hose when the temperatures are below zero, would not require a very major effort, if all the people on the planet participated. This sounds very easy. Very easy indeed. Too easy to be true. And, actually, it is. Changing the albedo of a whole planet is a

highly risky business. The main danger probably is that governments might well attempt to solve our whole planetary overheating problem by improving the Earths reflectivity. This would be, to use a bit too moderate expression, absolutely irresponsible. The extra carbon dioxide contributes to global warming, but it also makes the oceans more acid and reduces the nutritional values (protein contents, trace mineral contents, vitamin contents) of our food plants, not to say anything about the fate of the worlds cassava crops. Therefore, the carbon dioxide problem must be solved by reducing carbon emissions and by absorbing carbon from the air. Full stop. It would also be highly dangerous to cancel the impact of the other long-lasting greenhouse gases by improving the planets reflectivity. Greenhouse gases do heat up the lower atmosphere, but at the same time they cool the upper atmosphere, the stratosphere and the mesosphere. If we keep on increasing tropospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and just counter their heating impact by increasing the planets reflectivity, we may finally cool the stratosphere so much, that we will lose our protective ozone layer. The chemical reactions that destroy stratospheric ozone only take place in very rare conditions. There must be sunlight but the temperature must be below minus 90 degrees centigrade. Because such a combination is very rare, only a rather insignificant amount of the ozone has been destroyed, this far, and the damage has been limited near the polar regions. If the stratosphere cools too much, this will change. The most dangerous way of increasing the Earths reflectivity would be to spread something reflective into the high stratosphere or above it into near-Earth orbits or further off into outer space. Such proposals would cool the Earth by reflecting a portion of the Suns rays back before they have traveled through the stratosphere and penetrated the troposphere. In such schemes the stratosphere would, in a way, cool from both sides. The increasing greenhouse gas emissions would cool it from below, because a larger percentage of solar heat would be absorbed by oceans or by melting ice. At the same time the reflecting substances in space would reduce the

amount of radiation passing through the stratosphere. A complete destruction of our ozone shield would mean that the shortest wavelengths of the so called ultraviolet-B radiation and the even more dangerous ultraviolet-C would suddenly get through the atmosphere. The intensity of the ultraviolet radiation, or, to be more precise, its ability to burn our skins, would incease 30-fold. Some of us might survive such a scenario, but 30 times stronger doses of ultraviolet light would be very dangerous for the eyes of everybody and for the skins of Caucasian and East Eurasian people. Ultraviolet radiation would also destroy most of our food crops. Marine food chains would collapse. The third concern is that the heating impact of the long-lasting greenhouse gases is cumulative. The extra carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and freons will keep on heating the planet for a very long time. What if we kept on increasing the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere for two hundred years or so, and maintained the planets habitability by just reflecting some more solar radiation to space? What if we then suddenly lost our ability to maintain the sunshade, so that the planet would heat up by ten degrees or more during a couple of decades? Could we survive such a scenario, even as a species? I do not think so. The fourth concern has to do with clouds. Clouds and climate is a very complicated issue. All kinds of clouds can either have a cooling or a heating impact, depending on the circumstances. Both effects are familiar to us all. When a cloud comes between us and the Sun, the weather becomes colder because the cloud reflects part of the sunlight back to space. But during the night, when the sun is not shining, clouds have a strong heating impact, because they absorb infrared radiation rising from the oceans and continents, and send much of it back to surface. We all know that overcast nights are warmer than nights with a clear sky. This far everything is more or less clear. But things get complicated when we begin to analyze, how different types of clouds at different altitudes affect the climate. High cirrus clouds that consist of tiny ice flakes are not very effective sunshades, so they

heat the planet more than they cool it. The impact of low clouds, consisting of small water droplets, is predominantly cooling. The whiter the clouds are the better they reflect sunlight back to space. The impact of clouds also depends on the latitude. In the Antarctic even the low clouds always produce a heating impact, even during midsummer. In the Arctic low clouds have a strong cooling impact in the summer, a mild heating impact in spring and autumn, and a massive heating impact (perhaps 90 watts per square metre) during the winter. Elsewhere on Earth low clouds have a predominantly cooling impact. The current guesstimate is that when all these cooling and heating impacts are counted together, a rough global average might be that the Earths cloud cover has a cooling impact amounting to 20 watts for each square metre of the planets surface. Many of the proposals described below would cool the Earth by increasing the amount of cloud cover, by making clouds more reflective or/and by increasing the average life-time of clouds. Unfortunately, we do not yet know exactly how the situation would be altered by some of the proposed geo-engineering schemes. The problem will be discussed in a more detailed way in some of the following chapters. Then there is the chance that some of the geoengineering methods and the technologies developed for them might some day be used for military purposes. It would not be very difficult to starve a few billion people to death for instance with systems that can spread reflective materials on near-Earth orbits or into the high stratosphere. Or if we drop a thousand tonnes of rock from the space on Earth, it explodes with the power of 25,000 tonnes of TNT. In other words: space technologies could easily be used to vaporize nuclear power plant complexes or cities. If we become engaged in conscious geoengineering, we should also try to design our programmes so that they do not increase the regional imbalances in global warming. As mentioned above, the humanity is now heating the planet by 4 watts per square metre by extra greenhouse gases, black carbon, jet plane condensation trails and artificial cirrus clouds, and cooling the planet with an efficiency of 3 watts per square metre by producing sulphur and

other aerosols that reflect sunlight well and act as a condensation nuclei for cloud droplets. These cooling and heating impacts are not evenly distributed. Some parts of the Earth are heating up faster than the others, and some regions might even be cooling because of their large sulphur, organic carbon and dust emissions. We are, in effect, tearing parts of the global weather system to different directions, which will probably land us in some major trouble, sooner or later. If we launch major geoengineering exercises without a proper understanding on what we are doing, we might end up doing something that makes the problem worse. But I still havent mentioned the most frightening scenario. Lets assume that most of the floating ices in the Polar Regions melt, winters are much shortened and surface melting of the ice sheets leaves a lot of dust and soot particles and dead algae on top of the glaciers, making them less reflective than before. Lets assume that there are also large eruptions of methane from the permafrost areas and offshore methane hydrates. Lets assume that all these changes in the planets reflectivity and the accumulation of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere create an energy imbalance of 18 watts per square metre, eighteen times more than the present 1 watt, three times more than the energy imbalance (approximately 6 watts) which created the last Ice Age. What if, in our hypothetical scenario, governments would then panic and eject highly reflecting substances to near-Earth orbits, like Edward Teller has proposed (see chapter 32). In order to work the programme would have to use so much highly reflecting stuff that the average solar radiation would be reduced by 18 watts per square metre. There is no reason to think that the effort would not succeed, because the physics of the scheme is, in a way, rather simple. So the overheating of the planet would stop, the melting of the continental ice sheets would halt, the permafrost regions would freeze again, and the Arctic sea would regain its floating ice cover. So, this far everything would be just fine. The vicious heating cycle has been halted and reversed. At some point, perhaps within a single winter, the length of the winter in the northern areas and the area covered by the floating ices becomes equivalent to what the situation was in the mid 20th century. But the reflective substances are still in the near-Earth

orbits, innumerable quintillions of small reflective particles, and it will take decades or centuries before they have all fallen down. They keep on reducing the Suns radiation by 18 watts per square metre and there is no way of collecting them back. The feedback loops do not stop at what we considered as the baseline but continue beyond that. Larger and larger areas are covered by snow and ice. Snow and ice reflect more sunlight and cool the planet. When the planet cools the snow line extends further to the south and to the north from the polar regions. The result is a new ice age. Or perhaps even something worse than a normal ice age. The Soviet climate scientist and modeller M.I. Budyko noticed already in the 1960s an interesting feature in his models: the ice cover that spread too far from the poles finally triggered a runaway reaction. At some point ice started to reflect so much sunlight that the feedback loop became unstoppable and the whole planet, the oceans and the continents, froze over, within a few decades. We now know that the Earth has experienced, on several occasions, such Snowball Earth ice ages. It is not unthinkable, that mingling with the planets reflectivity in a way that cannot be quickly reversed might produce a Snowball Earth or at least a Slushball Earth Ice Age. Everyone who has lived at least part of her life in the northern areas knows that it is much easier to initiate a cooling feedback loop than a heating feedback loop. This is because of a combination of two important characteristics of snow and ice. First, snow and ice are extremely efficient reflectors. Second, the melting of ice consumes a large amount of energy. This combination can be devastating. In the autumn ten centimetres of snow brought by a storm coming from the North can make the winter come two months before normal schedule. On the other hand in spring each square kilometre of land receives 1,000 megawatts of solar radiation equivalent to the power producing capacity of a large nuclear power plant during midday, but it can still take weeks or months before the snow cover is at all affected. The snow really begins to melt only after its reflectivity has been much reduced, and then it goes quickly.



Because of the slight minor dangers mentioned above, we should keep in mind seven basic geo-engineering rules.
RulE nuMBER onE : The carbon problem must only be dealt with by means that reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This means cutting the emissions and absorbing carbon from the air. RulE nuMBER TWo :

To protect ozone layer and to ensure that problems are not only shifted for future generations, measures that improve the Earths reflectivity should only be used to combat the heating impact of jet plane condensation trails, artificial cirrus clouds and short-living greenhouse gases like ozone and methane, and the impact of factors that reduce the Earths reflectivity (like black aerosols and conifer plantations). They should not be used to counter the heating impact of long-lasting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide or freons. To protect the ozone layer, measures that improve the planets reflectivity must take place in the troposphere, at the surface level or relatively close to it. They must not take place in the stratosphere or above the stratosphere.


RulE nuMBER fouR : Only measures whose impact can be rapidly reversed should be used.

It is better to use measures that have positive side-effects than measures that have negative side-effects.

RulE nuMBER fIvE :

Methods and technologies that have obvious military applications should be avoided. Geoengineering programmes should be designed so, that they do not further aggravate the imbalances in the global weather system (the way the various parts of the atmosphere are being torn to differing directions by negative and positive radiative forcings).

RulE nuMBER SEvEn :

Many of the proposals. mentioned below violate all of these principles, and should therefore be discouraged.

27. Adding Sulphur, Ash and Dust to the Air

We are already using one geo-engineering method in a massive scale to fight global warming. We add large amounts of sulphur, dust and ash particles into the atmosphere. They reflect sunlight back to space and reduce the amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface of our planet. The idea of cooling the planet with sulphur was first proposed, already in the 1970s, by the Russian climate scientist Mihail Budyko. Budyko probably was the first person to suggest that it might be possible to combat the strengthening of the greenhouse effect by improving the Earths reflectivity. We know that his idea would work, because the sulphur and ash ejected into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions produces a temporary cooling of the climate. The standard estimate used to be, that sulphur and other aerosols may have cancelled roughly one quarter of the global warming. But in June 2003 Paul Crutzen, the only climate scientist who has won a Nobel price in science, presented new and important calculations about the subject in a workshop held in Dahlem, Germany. According to Crutzens new assessment sulphur and other aerosols and the clouds produced by them might actually have cancelled at least one half and possibly three quarters of the warming. In 2005 three prominent climate modellers, Meinrat Andreae, Chris Jones and Peter Cox, refined Crutzens calculations. According to their assessment the amount of expected global warming by the year 2100 could increase from the official prediction of 1.5 4.5 degrees to 6 - 10 degrees, if the cooling impact of man-made aerosol emissions was removed at the same time. Most mainstream climate scientists now admit that the cooling impact of aerosols is probably somewhere between one watt and three and a half watts per square metre. If Crutzen, Andreae, Jones and Cox are right, the extra greenhouse gases, condensation trails, cirrus clouds and soot particles

in the atmosphere and the changes in our planets reflectivity now heat the Earth with roughly four watts per square metre, but sulphur and other aerosols cancel most of this heating, so that in practise the planet is only heating by one watt per square metre. Without these effects we might already be in a lot of trouble. Of course, our present geoengineering programmes using sulphur are not conscious nor based on careful planning. They are a non-intentional by-product of burning a lot of sulphur-containing coal and oil. Theoretically, we could cancel, at least temporarily, also the remaining part of global warming by adding more sulphur, ash, dust and other bright particles into the atmosphere. At the moment we produce between 80 and 100 million tons of sulphur oxides per year. If the cooling impact of our present aerosol emissions amounts to three watts per square metre, we would not need much more sulphur to counter all the currently existing radiative forcings. If the lower estimates (concerning the aerosols cooling impact) are correct, the necessary amounts would be considerably larger. In any case, the more greenhouse gases we add to the atmosphere, the more sulphur is needed to counter their radiative forcings. So adding sulphur to the atmosphere is a bit like pissing in your pants during an Arctic winter in order to feel warm. In both cases the relief is only temporary, and does not really solve the problem. Sulphur emissions increase the risk of emphysema and acute respiratory infections, and are at least partially responsible for hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of premature human deaths, every year. Sulphur also causes acid rain that damages forests, food crops, buildings and freshwater lakes and dissolves heavy metals into the groundwater. We could of course spread the sulphur into the stratosphere or even higher, so that it would come down very slowly. Then much smaller amounts were needed to counter the various radiative forcings that are heating our planet. But in the stratosphere sulphur could do a lot of damage for the ozone layer, because the sulphur droplets would provide excellent platforms for the chemical reactions that destroy ozone. Also, it would not be possible to reverse its impact, quickly, even if this would become necessary.

Sulphur particles spread at high altitudes might even act as ice crystallization nuclei and give birth to cirrus clouds that heat the planet. Studies related to jet plane condensation trails have shown that there is a lot of water vapour in the high troposphere but that it can only produce relatively few cirrus clouds because there are very few effective ice crystallization nuclei, around. It would be important to assess these risks carefully before large amounts of sulphur are spread into the atmosphere. This might also be a concern with the proposals presented in chapter 32. Paul Crutzen has remarked, that if we decide to use sulphur as an emergency measure, the best compromise might be to eject the particles into the atmosphere at the height of 12-16 kilometres so that they would drop down relatively quickly and not destroy too much ozone. This could be done in numerous different ways. We could use ships, rockets or aeroplanes. Even jump-starting volcanoes has been suggested. Adding for instance 0.1 per cent of sulphur in jet plane fuel, as suggested by James Lovelock, the father of the Gaia Hypothesis, should be relatively effective, because even the present, minuscule sulphate emissions from air traffic seem to cool the planet with an efficiency of 0.017 watts per square metre, according to a new NASA study (see chapter 52). Because there are options which are safer and which produce positive side effects instead of negative side effects, I do not think that we should consider sulphur as the key solution to the climate problem, with the exception of sulphur spread over the oceans by ships. Large freight ships burn heavy fuel oil (bunker oil) which contains, as a global average, about 2.7 per cent sulphur. This produces 15-20 per cent of our total sulphur emissions. However, the sulphur spread by the ships over the oceans probably provides at least 40 per cent and possibly even more of the total cooling impact of anthropogenic aerosol emissions. The sulphur emitted by ships is the most important part of our particle parasol because ships often spread their emissions over marine regions where there is otherwise very little air pollution or bioaerosols, and thus only a very limited number of cloud condensation nuclei. The sulphur from ships has a direct cooling impact, but it also assists cloud formation and increases the number of cloud droplets inside a

cloud, thus making it whiter and more reflective (see chapter 30). It might even increase the life-span of clouds by reducing the average size of cloud droplets. The smaller the droplets, the longer it should take before they can form raindrops and fall down as rain. Carbon dioxide produced by ships of course has a cumulative heating impact, while sulphur does not stay up for a very long time. But even assuming that aerosols only cool the planet by one watt or so per square metre, it should take at least 500 years before the cumulative heating impact of carbon dioxide from ships exceeds the cooling impact of their sulphur emissions, assuming that shipping companies can somehow find fossil fuel oil for five hundred more years. Ocean-going ships spread most of their sulphur over regions where it cannot really hurt humans, crops or forests. Therefore it might actually make a lot of sense to use ships to catalyze cloud formation over the strategic marine regions and to halt the melting of the Arctic. Spreading sulphur over the oceans is different from spreading sulphur into the high atmosphere, because the impact can be reversed very quickly If the situation changes again. However, at the moment governments are moving to the opposite direction. In October 2008 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided, that the maximum allowable sulphur content in the fuel used by ships should be reduced to 0.5 per cent by 2020, and to 0.1 per cent in the more stringent Special Emission Control Areas (SECAs). It is of utmost importance to reverse this decision before it will be implemented. According to one calculation, the ships cooling impact would be about 0.58 watt/m2 in 2012 with no reductions in the sulphur content of their fuel, and 0.27 watt/m2, if the planned reductions had been carried out, already at that time, eight years before the real schedule. So the difference, 0.31 watt/m2, would increase our planetary heat balance, or the so called global warming, by approximately 30 per cent. However, this is based on the assumption that the cooling impact of aerosols (above all sulphur) would currently be about 1 watt/m2, of which the ships would account roughly one half. The calculation also assumes that almost one half of the loss of sulphur aerosols would be compensated by the

increased production of nitrate aerosols, which can also assist cloud formation over the oceans and so cool the planet. But if the overall cooling impact of aerosols is 3 or 3.5 watts per square metre and the ships contribution somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4 watts, the planned emission cuts might actually double the planetary heat imbalance. If the IMO Convention induces the shipping companies to shift to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which would probably be the cheapest alternative after sulphur-rich bunker oil, the situation could become even worse. In LNG ships sulphur emissions would not only be reduced to 0.5 per cent but almost to zero, and the nitrogen emissions would also be 80 per cent less than with bunker oil, because of the lower engine temperatures. This probably means that, in gas-powered ships, nitrate aerosols cannot compensate for much of the loss of sulfur. Also the greenhouse gas emissions would increase, because between 1 and 10 per cent of the natural gas would escape through the engines into the air as methane. In other words: gas-powered ships might be the ultimate global climate catastrophe. Above all, the impact of a sudden removal of the sulphur and cloud parasol provided by the ships would not be evenly distributed: it would concentrate over the heavily trafficked marine areas like the North Atlantic. This could speed up the melting of the Arctic in a catastrophic way. In other words: a switch to the more expensive distillate fuels could push us over the edge. It would also add an estimated USD 200 billion into the shipping industrys annual fuel bills, and increase the ships carbon dioxide emissions, if also the emissions from oil refining are taken into account. It would be far better to encourage shipping companies to invest on ducktails, air greasing, sail kites and other fuel-saving possibilities. If we want to slow down the overheating of the planet, the best policy would probably be to keep on using sulphur-rich fuels in the tropical and subtropical waters throughout the year and in the North Atlantic, the North Pacific and the Arctic Ocean during the summer. However, clean fuels should be used near the coastal areas, as well as in the North Atlantic and other northern seas during late autumn, winter and early spring. Clouds forming over the northern marine regions often drift farther north, where they can

then produce a mild heating impact during the spring and autumn and a massive heating impact during the winter. The Finnish ship-owner Jussi Mlki has remarked, that nonprocessed, non-esterized vegetable oils (bio-oils) might constitute an alternative solution to the dilemma, if they can be produced in an ecologically and socially sustainable way. In purely economic terms, bio-oils should be able to compete with liquefied natural gas. Burning them would produce nitrogen-based aerosols, ash particles and hundreds of different organic carbon compounds. In other words, some bio-oils might produce as many or almost as many cloud condensation nuclei as the burning of sulphurrich bunker oil, thus maintaining the anthropogenic cloud parasol over the oceans. Bio-oils do not have LNGs methane emission problem, and they can also be produced in various carbon-negative ways. The particles can be harmful to peoples health if they are carried over densely populated land areas, but when they act as cloud condensation nuclei over the oceans, they fall down with the rain drops and cannot be inhaled in human lungs. If the ships were equipped with taller chimneys or with other devices lifting the exhaust gases to higher altitudes, sulphur particles could be spread still more widely and even more cloud cover would probably be generated. Raising the sulphur particles ten times higher would spread them over a hundred times larger area, even ignoring the impact of the wind speeds, which tend to increase with the height.

The sulphur content in ocean-going ships fuel should not be reduced (except at the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Baltic and the Arctic Ocean during late autumn, winter and early spring) before we have once again stabilized the Earths climate, unless it turns out that the same cooling impact can also be achieved by burning bio-oil. The possibilities to strengthen the cooling impact of the ships aerosol emissions by spreading them over a wider area should be investigated as a potential emergency measure. However, plans to spread sulphur in the low stratosphere or high troposphere should be abandoned.


28. Controlling Wildfires

Every year hundreds if not thousands of millions of hectares of fields, pastures, rangelands and open forest lands are burned accidentally or in order to control weeds or to kill pests and snakes. Such wildfires sequester small amounts of organic carbon in the form of biochar, but they reduce the amount of carbon stored in vegetation, litter and humus. They have a detrimental impact on soil fertility and thus reduce the future production of fine and coarse litter, as well as underground litter (fine roots). Moreover, the fires leave behind a thin but pitch-black layer of soot, which absorbs almost 100 per cent of solar radiation and which often covers the ground for months, until the soot disappears under fresh vegetation. Improved control of wildfires would increase our planets reflectivity by reducing the land areas covered by a pitch-black layer of soot. At the same time the store of organic carbon in the soil would increase, soil fertility would improve and the soot emissions would decrease (look at the next chapter).
Recommendation: Recommended as a partial solution.

29. Reducing Soot Emissions

Most aerosols, like sulphur, ash and dust particles as well as the various bioaerosols produced by trees, plankton and other living vegetation have a cooling impact on the climate because they reflect sunlight back to space and assist cloud formation. However, black aerosols, small soot particles and tar balls, heat the planet. Even the black aerosols do provide some shading which cools the Earth. But they also heat the atmosphere like the greenhouse gases, because their surface is pitch black they absorb sunlight efficiently. When soot particles fall on snow or ice, they reduce its reflectivity. Even a tiny amount of soot on the snow can reduce its albedo by one per cent. According to some recent estimates the global heating impact of soot might be about 0.9 watt/m2, which would be roughly one

third of the radiative forcing caused by the extra carbon dioxide and other man-made greenhouse gases. In areas where there is ice even during the summer, when the days are long and the sun powerful, black carbon on snow can be a very important factor. The extreme case is the high Arctic, with several months of continuous sunlight on glaciers and floating sea ice. According to a recent study by the University of California, soot might already contribute more to the heating of the Arctic than the greenhouse gas emissions. Mark Flanner and Charlie Zender claim that soot has been responsible for 33 to 94 per cent of the warming of the Arctic. It is possible, that the climate forcing induced by black carbon on snow is three times more efficient in melting the snow than an equivalent climate forcing produced by the greenhouse gases. In the Tibetan Plateau the soot on ice has a heating impact amounting to 20 watts for each square metre during springtime. On the southern slopes of the Himalayas there must be even more soot coming from the innumerable small campfires, cooking stoves, cars, factories and other sources. It is almost certain that in the Himalayas soot is the most important factor contributing to the melting of the glaciers. One of the easiest ways to reduce black aerosol emissions would be to spread solar cookers and other kinds of improved cooking stove designs in the South, where about three billion people still cook their food with simple and highly polluting stoves using small wood, cow dung or even straw and grass. Such cooking methods produce a large amount of soot particles, as well as carbon monoxide and hydrogen, because the combined burning surface area of all the small branches can be very large and because most of the cookers used in the Third World have not been designed to minimise particle emissions and to achieve a complete burning of the soot particles and the various combustible gases released from the burning biomass. In many cases the small branches have even not been properly dried before burning, which can also multiply the soot emissions. According to one study one third of the soot particles falling on the northern ices and snows may have come from South Asia. Improved cooking technologies would also save millions of lives, every year, because the climatewarming soot particles and tar balls are also dangerous for the

health of the people who inhale them into their lungs. Two problems have slowed down the spread of solar cookers so that only a few million and not billions have been produced. First, most women in the tropics like to cook inside the kitchen and not outside, partly because of different cultural reasons and partly because it is very hot outside, in direct sunlight. This problem could perhaps be solved by planning houses, kitchens and yards so that they provide some shade for a person using a solar cooker. The second problem is that solar cookers cannot be used during evenings, nights or early mornings, when it rains or when there are heavy clouds. Many women work during the day and the working days can be long, so cooking is often done after sunset. For all these reasons people realise that they can only do a part of their cooking with solar cookers. If people think that they will anyway have to acquire another kind of stove, as well, solar cookers are easily seen as a luxury. They are not seen as a good enough investment by the poor and middle-income families. We should perhaps stop talking about solar cookers and instead call them multi-purpose parabolic reflectors or multipurpose solar concentrators, thus highlighting the point that they can also be used for other purposes, with only marginal changes in the design. When a transparent bottle is put in the focal point of a parabolic reflector (instead of the cooking pot) the reflector becomes a solar disinfection device, sterilizing the water and killing all kinds of disease-causing viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasite eggs with concentrated ultraviolet light. This is a much cheaper, safer and more effective way to sterilize drinking water than boiling it. When hot water is needed, a larger transparent water bottle (for example fifteen litres) can be placed at the focal point of the reflector. During winter the same system can even be used to warm houses during nights. If the water in the fifteen-litre bottle is heated to 90 degrees Celsius during the day, and then taken inside in the evening, the water will cool during the night and release roughly as much heat as a 300-watt electric heater operating for three or four hours. Parabolic reflectors can also strengthen the signals coming from the nearest radio, television or mobile phone link station. In the future the same parabolic reflectors could even

make electricity, if the manufacturers of concentrator photovoltaic cells or thermoelectric cells can be persuaded to manufacture small, hand-sized or stamp-sized units that can be placed at the focal points of one or two square metre-sized parabolic reflectors. A multi-purpose parabolic reflector that can sterilize water, heat the house, produce warm water, cook, strengthen mobile phone, radio or television signals and make electricity would be a much more lucrative investment for the poor and middle-income households than a similar reflector that is only seen as a solar cooker. Solar concentrators can only be used for cooking when the sun is shining, but this is the time when they really should be used. When it rains, rain drops wash the soot and other dangerous particles off the air. Moreover, the rising air currents are strong only during the day. This means that soot produced during night cant normally rise very high in the atmosphere, and cannot fall down over Arctic snow. It is also important to lessen unnecessary burning of biomass on the fields. The billions of tons of biomass annually burned produce very large amounts of soot. A much better option would be to carbonize biomass to biochar, which can reduce the need for chemical fertilizer (see chapter 15). This would cut the soot emissions in a very significant way. Anila stoves, cheap household biomass gasifiers originally developed in Mysore, India, should be spread as widely as possible. The original Anila stove produces a 30-litre cake of biochar as a by-product of cooking every time it is used. Almost any kind of biomass can be utilised. The stove produces very little soot and other particulate pollution, because fire is lit from the top and because the stove is, most of the time, only burning the gases released from the biomass. An ideal solution might be to provide each poor household with a solar cooker and an Anila stove. It is, however, not advisable to use the stoves inside houses because they can produce carbon monoxide if the biochar-making chamber is not properly closed. A significant part of the soot falling on the Arctic ices comes from Europe and Russia, from tall chimneys, from the cars of large metropolitan areas, from forest and peat fires and from the fires

that are lit in spring on the fields. Soot emissions from cars are the most problematic issue, because unless we can persuade the worlds upper and middle classes to abandon the idea of a private car (easier said than done!), reducing the cars soot emissions quickly would require vastly larger economic resources than providing poor families with cleaner forms of cooking energy. From an environmental viewpoint the electric car would be the ideal solution. Electric cars do not produce soot, they do not produce nitrogen oxides that can be converted to ozone and they do not even produce carbon dioxide if their batteries are loaded with renewable energy. Besides, they are far more efficient than other kinds of cars. 80 per cent of the power used to load their batteries becomes mechanical energy moving the car. This is much compared to gasoline-using internal combustion engines (20 per cent), diesel engines (3035 per cent) or even fuel cells burning hydrogen (40 per cent). Because electric cars are much simpler and because they have very few moving parts, they last longer than ordinary cars. Because they are so simple they can be lighter, which further reduces the consumption of energy. In Finland it is almost ten times cheaper to drive 100 kilometres with an electric car than to cover the same distance with a similar gasoline car. Another good option are the so called Elsbett engines. Elsbett engines have an efficiency rate comparable to present fuel cell engines (around 40 per cent) and they can use non-processed (non-esterized, triglyseride-formed) vegetable oil as their fuel. Esterization of vegetable oils consumes about 15 per cent of the original energy content of the oil, and costs 50100 euros per tonne. Above all, when non-esterized vegetable oil is burned, the soot particles tend to be, on average, very large. Size matters. From the viewpoint of the climate the average size of soot particles and tar balls is much more important than their overall mass. One gram of 0.1 micron-wide particles has, in the atmosphere, a hundred times larger combined surface area than one gram of particles which are, on average, 10 microns by diameter. The smaller the particles the larger black, radiation-absorbing surface area they have in relation to their combined weight, both

in the air and after they have dropped down, on the snow, on the floating ices of the Arctic or on continental glaciers. Besides this small particles can stay up for a longer time than large ones. Large soot particles fall down in a couple of hours or days, but the much smaller ones can sometimes remain in the atmosphere for months. The tiny and very light particles have a better chance of floating far and falling down over the polar areas, where they can do the maximum damage. Particle filters installed in cars and chimneys do reduce the amount of soot emissions, counted in grams. However, according to some studies the number of black carbon particles increases when filters are installed. In one study particle filters and other improvements in the engines increased the number of particles 14,000 times, while greatly reducing the emissions counted in grams. It seems that larger particles act a little bit like dust sweepers, smaller particles stick to them and are thus removed from the air. Filters are only able to take out the relatively large particles and when these are removed, the number of very small, micron and nanoscale particles increases. It is very difficult to estimate, whether particle filters are helping or whether they are actually making the problem worse. Trees planted in cities and on roadsides remove large quantities of black aerosol particles and nitrous oxide from the air as long as they keep on photosynthesising and respiring. Northern conifer species, especially pines, can keep on respiring even when the temperatures are a couple of degrees below the freezing point of water. Trees are especially effective in absorbing the nanoparticles which are difficult for artificial particle filters. It might be a good idea to develop breathing construction materials that would also act as nanoparticle filters. If the in-coming air entered the buildings through such breathing elements, both public health and climate would benefit.
Recommendation: We

should pay much more attention to reducing our

soot emissions.


30. Making Clouds Whiter

The British scientist Sean Twomey showed in the late 1970s that the reflectivity of a cloud is influenced by the average size of cloud droplets. Most clouds consist of minuscule droplets of water which have condensed on even tinier particles floating in the air, on the so called cloud condensation nuclei. If the water in the cloud is divided between a very large number of very small cloud droplets, the cloud is whiter and reflects sunlight better than if the average size of the cloud droplets is larger and there is a lesser number of them. It has been estimated that in the clouds over the oceans the average size of cloud droplets is 25 microns, while the average over land is only 7 microns. This means that the clouds over the continents are, on average, more reflective than the clouds over the oceans. John Latham, a researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, proposed already in 1990 that the Twomey effect could perhaps be utilized in efforts to prevent disastrous global warming. Latham said that it might be possible to make certain types of clouds more reflective simply by adding more cloud condensation nuclei to them, so that a larger number of cloud droplets would be formed. In 2006 Latham and the Scottish engineer Stephen Salter, whom we have already met, developed the idea further. They proposed that the albedo of the marine stratocumulus clouds could be increased by 1,500 special, unmanned ships that would use large Flettner rotors originally invented by the German engineer Anton Flettner to spray seawater into the air in the form of tiny, 0.8-1.0 micron-wide droplets. The salty seawater droplets would act as cloud condensation nuclei, making marine clouds whiter and more reflective. Even though Salter and Latham have not claimed so, the extra condensation nuclei might also increase the average life-span of clouds. The smaller the cloud droplets are, the more difficult it should be for them to form raindrops, drops of water large enough to fall down. The idea might have real potential and should be investigated further. However, we do not really know why cloud droplets over the seas are, on average, larger than cloud droplets above the conti134

nents. It may be that this is because the cloud condensation nuclei over the land are more numerous, or it may be because there are more giant cloud condensation nuclei (salt particles) in the air above the oceans. Large salt particles are superbly efficient cloud condensation nuclei. So it is possible that they just capture moisture so efficiently, that they leave less of it for the smaller nuclei. If this is the case, even adding a huge number of small nuclei into the clouds might not change things in a significant way. When 0.8-micron sea water droplets evaporate, the remaining salt particles become very small cloud condensation nuclei, less than 0.4 microns in diameter. Such tiny particles are known as Aitken nuclei. Aitken nuclei are not very efficient in making cloud droplets. In many clouds they are one hundred times more numerous than cloud droplets. On the other hand, we do know that the equally tiny sulphur particles in ships flue gases do give birth to clouds. Salters and Lathams 1,500 unmanned Cloud Maiden ships would probably cost between 2,500 and 4,500 million euros. It would be much cheaper to install spray-generating units to all kinds of existing freight, passenger, research and pleasure ships. According to a very tentative calculation by the Atmosmare Foundation, a single spraying unit installed on an existing ship might only cost between 50,000 and 150,000 euros. The only problem with this approach is that freight and passenger ships tend to flock on densely populated shipping routes. There is often no lack of condensation nuclei along such marine highways, because ships produce a lot of sulphur dioxide. In other words the impact of each spray-producing unit operating along the main shipping routes would be relatively small.

What comes to spray-generators, it would probably be a good idea to organize a series of small trials to find out how well the approach works in practise. The best option might be to concentrate on ships that often travel along less densely packed routes. The more reflective and longer-lasting clouds would probably have the greatest impact at the Arctic Ocean, because of two different reasons. First, there is sunlight for 24 hours in the Arctic during the summer, so the clouds only have a cooling impact. Outside the polar regions

clouds heat the planet at night and cool it during daytime, and these impacts often (almost) cancel each other. Besides this, the Arctic is the strategic, key region where numerous different feedback loops (including the loss of ice and snow cover, the strengthening formation of winter-time clouds and the growing greenhouse gas emissions from seabed, peatlands, forest soils and permafrost) are already accelerating the warming. However, it must be kept in mind that increasing the reflectivity or life-span of clouds in the northern areas during late autumn, winter and early spring would produce a heating instead of a cooling impact. All these points are also important in relation to the ideas introduced in chapters 27, 31 and 65.

31. Spreading Out the Shipping Routes

Maritime traffic concentrates on a small number of densely packed shipping routes between the main harbours, because ships favour the shortest routes. They want to deliver cargoes to their destinations as quickly as possible. Companies that own the cargoes have invested capital in them, and they can get their money back and make profit only after the containers have been delivered. If the shipping routes and ships were dispersed more evenly over the oceans, the sulphur dioxide produced by the ships would most probably produce many times more marine stratocumulus clouds. Outside the Arctic and Antarctic regions, and even in the Arctic during the summer, this kind of clouds have a strong cooling impact on our planet. The dispersed ships could also be equipped with devices lifting the exhaust gases to higher altitudes (see chapter 27) and with Stephen Salters and John Lathams spray-generators (see chapter 30). If the freight ships of the future had both a diesel engine and a wind propulsion system like a Flettner rotor or a sail kite, and if they aimed at minimizing their oil consumption, they would almost automatically become widely dispersed and scattered over the oceans. When a ship is partially wind-powered, the most direct route will no longer be the route that consumes the least fuel, because wind conditions and the direction of the prevailing winds also influence the calculations.

For a ship equipped both with an engine and with sails or a sail kite it would often make sense to use a much longer route. This means that even if the ship would consume 30 or even 50 per cent less oil and produce 30 or 50 per cent less sulphur and carbon dioxide, it could still produce (much) more cloud cover. Ships currently produce 1.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide (300 million tons of carbon) in a year. It seems that the International Maritime Organization will force ocean-going ships to reduce the sulphur content in their fuel to the maximum of 0.5 per cent (see chapter 27). It might be a good idea to add a separate Climate Protocol, aiming at dispersing the shipping routes, into this IMO convention. The protocol could give ocean-going ships a special permission to use ordinary bunker oil, containing a lot of sulphur, whenever taking a lessused route that would carry the ship through a region with only a limited amount of cloud condensation nuclei. In other words, the costs of a longer route would be richly compensated by the possibility of using a cheaper fuel. In the northern waters such a possibility should only exist in summer, in the tropical and subtropical waters it should be available throughout the year.
Recommendation: There should be more research on what would be the most economical way to disperse the worlds shipping routes.

32. Reflecting Substances in Low-Earth Orbits

The Hungarian physicist Edward Teller, the original Dr. Strangelove, is best known as the person who discovered the key principle of the hydrogen bomb, together with the Polish-Ukrainian physicist Stanislaw Ulam. Teller also suggested that the cheapest and easiest way to halt global warming might be to release highly reflecting particles to near-Earth orbits. According to Teller and two US scientists, Lowell Wood and Roderick Hyde, suitable materials would include small metal plates, organic dyes, tiny helium-filled silver balloons and potassium-filled buckyballs. Tiny particles on low orbits would reflect a lot of sunlight back to space so that it would not reach the Earth. Teller, Wood and Hyde

said that only relatively small amounts of such substances would be needed in order to counter the warming caused by the greenhouse gases.

If we eject quadrillions of small, reflecting particles on near-Earth orbits, we cannot collect them back before they fall down on Earth by themselves, which might take anything from a few decades to several millennia, depending on the nature of the orbit. Besides, Tellers method would almost certainly destroy the stratospheric ozone layer. Hydrogen bombs were not the most dangerous idea invented by the late Dr. Teller!

33. Moon Dust in Space

Curtis Struck of the Iowa State University in Ames, USA, has calculated that the Earth could be kept cool with Moon dust. Two vast, permanent clouds of lunar dust particles could be ejected into space so that they passed in front of the sun once a month, blocking sunlight for about 20 hours, twelve times in a year.
Recommendation: Not recommended. It is obvious that the Earth could be chilled, this way, because approximately one half of the regolith, the loose sediments covering the Moons surface, consist of fine particles less than 100 microns in diameter. Moreover, because of the continuous micro-meteorite bombardment a large percentage of the regolith dust particles have an alumina or silica glass coating, which makes them highly reflective. Thus only a relatively small amount of Moon dust would be required to create a protecting shadow over the Earth. However, there would be no easy ways of cleaning the dust particles from the space. They would simply be too many, they would disperse and they would be in a very difficult place. Also, when reflective substances are put in space, we create a situation in which the stratosphere would be cooling from both sides.


34. Blowing a Comet (or an Asteroid) to Space Dust

We could, of course, take a comet or an asteroid, direct it to a suitable orbit and then blow it to fine-grained ice-crystals and dust. This would produce a similar, shading effect as the moon dust.

Not recommended, for reasons that have already been mentioned, above.

35. A Giant Reflector in Space

James Early of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of the USA proposed, in 1989, that global warming could be halted by installing a 2,000-kilometre-wide solar shield in orbit 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth. This giant reflector could be placed in a Lagrange point (Lagrange 1) where the gravitational fields of the Earth and the Sun cancel each other. In other words, the reflector would remain in the same place, and it could be used to reduce the amount of sunlight falling on Earth by two per cent or so. According to Early the project would only cost 1,000 or 10,000 billion dollars.

Not recommended. The scheme would reflect sunlight back above the stratosphere. Also, the technologies required for this solution do not exist and the final price level might be one or two full orders of magnitude higher than the mentioned figures.

36. Fifty Thousand Smaller Reflectors in Space

Other scientists have proposed that it might be easier and cheaper to install 50,000 smaller mirrors on near-Earth orbits instead of only one gigantic reflector. According to one calculation this would only cost USD 120 billion.

Not recommended. The price estimate is ridiculously low, you cannot install 50,000 relatively large mirrors on near139

Earth orbits with less money than what has already been sunk in the construction and maintenance of only one relatively small International Space Station. Even though it is easier to remove 50,000 mirrors than innumerable small particles from the near-Earth orbits, even this would be a big job which could not be done even in a few decades without a large fleet of space shuttles, consisting of several hundred vehicles. The scheme would induce severe cooling of the stratosphere.

37. Sixteen Billion Even Smaller Reflectors in Space

Professor Roger Angel of the University of Arizona has calculated, that the amount of solar energy falling on our planet could also be reduced by two per cent with 16,000,000,000 ultra-light reflectors in the Lagrange 1. Each of the glassy reflectors would be 60 centimetres wide, but only a few micrometres thick. The reflectors would have a combined area of three million square kilometres and they would weigh, altogether, 20 million tons. They could be transported to near-Earth orbits by 900,000 space shuttle flights, but the cost of this would be 29 times more than the present gross national product of the USA. A somewhat cheaper way would be to use a gigantic electromagnetic gun, also known as a rail gun, a space gun or a mass driver, meaning a device which can accelerate loads to escape velocities with the help of a strong magnetic field. The concept was originally developed for military purposes by the Norwegian professor Kristian Birkeland, but the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke was the first to propose that a magnetic gun could be used like Jules Verne had imagined, for shooting payloads to space.
Recommendation: Not

recommended, for reasons outlined in the pre-

ceding chapters.

38. Favouring Broad-leaved Trees, Larches and Sparse Forests at High Latitudes

Snow and ice typically reflect between 70 and 90 per cent of the

solar radiation back to space. Trees have a much smaller albedo, often less than 10 per cent. During autumn, winter and spring when the ground is covered by snow in the northern and high mountainous regions, sparse forests have a higher reflectivity than dense forests. The denser the forest, the larger percentage of the Suns radiation hits the trees (patches of low reflectivity) and the less hits the snow (patches of high reflectivity). So it might make sense to plant a smaller number of trees per hectare in the northern forests, 200600 instead of the present recommendation of 2,500. This would increase the reflectivity of the forests in a very significant way. Overall production of wood might decrease a little bit, but the income of the forest-owners should increase, because remaining trees would grow faster and a larger percentage of the wood would become timber, which is more valuable than pulp wood. For instance, in Southern Lapland forest owners get only 8 euros for a fast cubic metre of 16-centimetrethick birch trees meant for pulp production, while the best birch timber fetches 110 euros for a fast cubic metre. The reflectivity of the northern forests can also be increased by replacing evergreen conifer stands by broad-leaved trees or larches, or by mixed forests. Broad-leaved trees and larches drop their leaves/needles for the winter, which of course increases the winter- and springtime reflectivity of the forests. Birches, especially the young trees, even have a white bark which reflects sunlight well because this is their way to defend themselves against the springtime temperature differences. Young birch trees have a very thin bark which would easily split if it would first heat in the spring sun and then cool during the night, when the temperatures again drop far below the freezing point of water. Young birches prevent this with a shiny white, reflective bark. I have established, together with my father, a very sparse dotted line of experimental plots related to the reflectivity of the northern forests, stretching a little bit more than one thousand kilometres from the Southern part of Finland up to Central Lapland (in Northern Finland). Finland is a relatively small country, covering less than one per cent of the northern regions. However, because it is, on the North-South-axis, a long and narrow country,

it stretches through most of the climatic zones where the ground is covered by snow for a significant part of the year, but where trees can still be grown. Finnish forest officials, forest scientists and forestry associations have had a very strong bias for primitive, Triassic and Jurassic trees (conifers), against the modern, Cretaceous tree families. This has been because the Finnish paper industries have been mostly interested in the long-fibred spruces and pines. This is a pity, because even in Southern Finland the most productive trees, in terms of fast cubic metres, are aspens, poplars, willows and birches. Spruce and pine can also produce substantial amounts of wood when they are at their prime age, but they do not regenerate from the root system of the felled trees (unlike aspens, poplars and willows), and unlike the broad-leaved trees they grow very slowly during the first 510 years after planting. When the whole growing cycle is taken into account, for example aspens can produce a timber crop in 1530 years while spruce and pine require at least 5060 years. In the northern half of Finland birches and especially aspens stand even more supreme over the conifers. In spite of this, broadleaved trees are still treated as weeds, which ought to be removed from the forest as soon as possible. Finnish paper industries really want their long-fibred conifers for pulp and paper production, but from the view-point of global warming it would be better to replace some of the conifers by broad-leaved trees grown for certain types of pulp and paper, wood-based heat and power co-generation, charcoal, wood oil (pyrolysis oil), biochemicals and timber. Besides, a part of the worlds sugar production could perhaps be shifted into the northern forest zone to combat global warming. Of the dry weight of birch wood about 12 per cent is xylose and 16 per cent sucrose. In other words, 150 million hectares of highly reflecting birch forests could annually produce at least 750 million fast cubic metres of wood and 100,000,000 metric tons of sugar for the world market. 40,000,000 tons of this sugar, six kilograms for each person living on Earth, would be xylose or xylitol. 1015 grams of xylitol per day (four to six kilograms a year) has been shown to prevent den142

tal caries, gingitivis and parodontitis, nasty chronic oral infections which cause a lot of suffering for very many people, and which also contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. Xylitol also reduces respiratory and gastric infections. All these health benefits are based on xylitols anti-adhesive effect, which makes it more difficult for the pathogenic bacteria to stick on human tissues. Such anti-adhesive substances may become very important in the future, because of the growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. We could also grow more apple trees. Apple is the queen of northern fruit trees. The commercial world production of apples is now about 70 million tons, about the same as the production of grapes. Apple is one of the healthiest fruits available for human consumption, because it contains large quantities of pectin. Pectin removes cholesterol from the blood, and in some studies eating four apples a day has lowered the bad blood cholesterol as much as taking statins, the most effective known cholesterol-reducing medication. Because of their high tannin content, apples can also be used for killing diarhoeal germs from the drinking water in areas where such diseases are a major problem. If apples and water are mixed together, mildly alcoholic or non-alcoholic ciders can be produced. In North America and Europe this used to be the traditional way to save the children and adults from the diseases which were spread by dirty drinking water. In theory we could increase the worlds production of apples 10-fold or so by planting 100 million hectares of new apple forests in the northern regions and on high mountain ranges, to increase the reflectivity of our planet.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. This might be the easiest and safest way to restore the reflectivity of the northern areas, and to halt the melting of the permafrost areas and floating ice masses. Moreover, it would probably be economically profitable to replace some of the conifers with broad-leaved trees in many northern commercial forests. More field trials with different broad-leaved species in different kinds of conditions are urgently needed, and can easily be conducted by individual forest-owners, village communities, municipalities, gov-


ernments or companies. In the northern areas the forests on the Southfacing slopes are the most important, because they receive 12 times more solar radiation than the North-facing slopes and 2.5 times more than the western and eastern sides of the same hills. During spring, the most crucial period, the difference is even more because the Sun still shines from a very low angle. Mixed forests should, in any case, be the best option in a global greenhouse, because they are more resistant to storms, fires, pests and diseases than uniform conifer stands. A somewhat similar method might also make sense on the semi-arid and subhumid lands in the tropical and subtropical regions. Especially where much of the land is covered by well-reflecting sand and stones, the landscape becomes more reflective if there is only a relatively small amount of very big, widely spaced trees, instead of a dense growth of numerous small trees.

39. Stone Mulching with Highly Reflecting Materials

In some parts of the State of Uttarakhand of India there is a tradition of spreading stone mulch, a cover consisting of small stones, on the fields and planting the cultivated crops in the middle of the stones. The stone mulch prevents erosion by breaking raindrops to a fine mist so that they will not explode against the soil surface, like minor bombs, washing nutrients and small soil particles away. Because of the stones a larger percentage of the rainwater seeps down into the soil and does not run away. Stones also reduce evaporation from the ground by reducing soil temperatures. Because the stones lose their heat quickly after the sun has set, their surfaces condense significant amounts of water from the atmosphere when the temperature differences between the day and night are large. Stone mulching can also reduce the growth of weeds. Stone mulching is normally done with all kinds of stones, some of which are dark or even black. However, if only highly reflective or relatively reflective shiny, white or light-shaded stones were used, the method could also increase the reflectivity of the farmlands in a very significant way. Limestone could be used as well as quartz, or the stones could be painted white. Highly-reflecting

sea shells might also be an option where they are available in large quantities. Even relatively small areas of stone mulched fields can also act as aqueducts or sewers, which drain seasonal ponds of water that form during the rainy season or during storms. This converts surface water to shallow or deep groundwater. Such accelerated draining of seasonal ponds is beneficial, for four different reasons. Shallow ponds often evaporate quickly, and most of the water is lost, from an agricultural viewpoint. When water is deep underground, it can only evaporate after it has been lifted up by the roots or by people. Shallow, seasonal ponds are important breeding sites for mosquitoes, which spread malaria, dengue fever and filariasis. Shallow ponds of water also have a very low reflectivity: they absorb up to 96 per cent of all solar radiation. The quicker they are replaced by dry ground or by crops, the more sunlight will be reflected back to space. Moreover, the method might reduce methane emissions from many rice fields without compromising their yields.
Highly recommended. All kinds of trials related to these possibilities, conducted by people in their own gardens or official researchers in their field stations, should be organized, because very little is known about the possibilities of this traditional technology. The crops should benefit even more than what has normally been the case, if all the stones were light or otherwise well reflective, because this would further reduce the soil temperatures and the evaporation of water from the ground.

40. Mulching with Other Reflecting Materials

We can, of course, also use other materials that reduce evaporation of moisture from the soil and that are more reflective than bare soil, instead of stones. Light-coloured tree bark, straw, reeds and large leaves are among the most obvious possibilities. This kind of methods provide an important extra benefit: they absorb large amounts of carbon from the air. According to the Indian-American researcher Rattan Lal, at the University of Ohio, 1.5 billion

hectares of farmlands could annually absorb one billion tons of carbon, if farmers adopted mulching based on organic matter, notill methods and the use of manure and cover crops.
Recommendation: Recommended as a partial solution.

41. Reflecting Plankton

350 million square kilometres of the Earths surface, 70 per cent of the total, is covered by oceans, and watery surfaces absorb sunlight very efficiently. We tend to assume, that there is nothing we can do to alter the reflectivity of the oceans, with the exception of the high southern and northern latitudes, where it is possible to make more snow and ice just by spraying water into the air (see chapters 48-49 and 54-64). But is this assumption correct? Why could we not produce some kind of reflecting plankton, something small that floats on the surface and has a high reflectivity? One interesting option might be to grow diatoms, simple single-celled algae whose skeletons are made of natural glass. Diatoms are very small, often less than 100 nanometres in diameter, and many species have highly reflective skeletons (which is not surprising, considering the material they are made of). If it would be possible to treat the diatoms so that they would float on a watery surface, one cubic metre of them could then be spread over a wide area so that the floating diatoms would form a reflecting surface of ten million square metres. This reflecting surface, of course, would consist of innumerable tiny reflectors. Or we might use something else, instead of diatoms.

The idea might be worth further research, because there is a chance that we might need to do something like this as an emergency measure. However, this should not be one of the first choices, and the method should not be used even as an emergency measure before the potential negative side-effects have been carefully assessed.


42. Highly Reflecting Films on Water Surfaces

In August 2007 I discussed the ideas related to reflecting plankton with Rajendra Rathore Singh, a young engineer from Gwalior, in the state of Madhya Pradesh of India. Rajendra mentioned, that the oily films that are sometimes used to reduce the evaporation of water from reservoirs could also play a role, here. If for instance suitable vegetable oil is spread over a water tank, it both reduces evaporation and helps in controlling the mosquito populations. Even if the film of oil is extremely thin, only a few molecules thick, it still prevents mosquito larvae from breathing with their snorkels (air tubes). A film of vegetable oil also reflects light relatively well, while an ordinary water surface can absorb 96 per cent of all solar radiation when the sun is high. I think Rajendra may have a point, here. There are 45,000 large reservoirs in the world, and a very large number of smaller dams. Their combined area is very substantial. Besides this we have a vast amount of seasonal water surfaces, billions of shallow bodies of water which only exist during the rainy season. This category includes most of the worlds rice fields. If paddy rice fields were equipped with a thin layer of non-poisonous and biodegradable oil, they would probably provide better yields, because less water would evaporate directly into the air, without being first used by the rice plants. At the same time reflectivity could be improved on hundreds of millions of hectares of land during the rainy season. Seasonal ponds are important breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which spread malaria, filariasis, dengue fever and a large number of other diseases. According to some major new studies, the worlds malaria mortality is still seriously underreported. Malaria also kills in many undirect ways. Humans cannot really develop an immunity against Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal form of malaria. Immunity to falciparum malaria only means that our immunity system adjusts itself to a lower level, so that it does not kill us by its desperate effort to destroy the malaria parasites. This, however, means that we become more vulnerable to other diseases, including bacterial and viral infections and cancer. In Nigeria and elsewhere in West Africa it seems that the existence of endemic malaria roughly doubles the clearly premature human mortality.

Recommendation: This could be an important idea, and pilot trials should be conducted with it. Experiments should perhaps pursue three parallel goals at the same time: improved rice crops with less irrigation water, the control of malaria and the increased reflectivity of reservoirs and seasonal water ponds.

43. Favouring Plants with Efficiently Reflecting Leaves

The leaves of some plants reflect sunlight more efficiently than the leaves of other plants. I realized, for the first time, that this could be important when I once spent a whole summer day on the balcony of my parents summer cottage in the village of Kalkkinen, watching the Sun rise and fall, and following how well the leaves and needles of different types of trees and plants reflected sunlight coming from different angles. When I started speaking and writing about this possibility a few years later, in 2005, nobody was interested. Everybody I spoke with thought, that solving even a small part of the problem would require so large areas of land, that the method could not be very practical. However, since then at least many British and US researchers have started to take the idea very seriously. They have realized, that for instance the most reflective maize variety has a reflectivity of 24 per cent, while the darkest varieties only reflect 16 per cent of the solar radiation back to space. Such a difference is not insignificant. Especially the trees, shrubs and annual plants which have developed in dry conditions tend to have wax-covered, highly reflective leaves. Dryland plants do not suffer from a scarcity of sunlight, for them the main problem is the lack of water. It makes perfect sense for them to have leaves that reflect much of the sunlight back, because this reduces the temperature of the ground and of the surrounding air, and thus lessens evaporation from the soil. If such highly-reflective dryland trees, bushes and annual plants could be indentified and favoured as sources of human food, animal fodder, cellulose, biofuels and biochemicals, the reflectivity of

tropical and sub-tropical fields, pasturelands and forests could be increased, in a substantial way. Black soil has a very low albedo, often only a few per cent. Crops reflecting 24 per cent of sunlight back to space are much more reflective. This means that we could also combat global warming with mixed cropping systems, using several different species complementing each others growth cycles. If the field has a permanent cover of green plants, it reflects more sunlight back to space than if it grows crops only for a part of the year, and is otherwise covered with dark soil. Mulching or no-till farming methods are another way of achieving the same result (see chapter 40). Because tropical peat is often very dark, forested peatlands have a higher albedo than tropical peatlands with no or very little forest cover. Reforesting logged peatland rainforests is, of course, also a very efficient way to absorb carbon from the atmosphere (see chapter 13). In the North, where the ground is covered by snow during the winter, the situation is different. In the North a peatland with no trees reflects more solar radiation than a peatland with a dense coniferous tree cover. Many lichens growing in the northern areas are white. They often cover the ground on large areas like a layer of snow. In some sites it might make sense to promote the growth of white lichens by removing the darker forms of vegetation (mosses and shrubs) which compete with the lichens. An improved control of reindeer populations would often do the same. Reindeer eat lichens during the winter, and many northern areas have a serious overgrazing problem. In the northern areas there is often very little vegetation and soil on top of the light-shaded bedrock. Sometimes the cheapest, the simplest, the most rapid and the most effective way to increase the reflectivity of a certain landscape would be to remove trees, other vegetation, litter and humus.
Recommendation: This should work, but only if the more reflective crops would be planted on wide areas. More research on the subject is needed, urgently. This could perhaps be done together with the International Programme on Arid Land Crops (Ipalac), a programme based in Niamey, Niger, under the auspices of the International Crop Research Center for Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat). Ipalac has done much


more work than any other international initiative to promote the growing and domestication of trees and plants that have evolved in dry conditions. It would richly deserve more support and attention from the community of the development cooperation organizations. The possibilities related to mixed cropping should also be investigated.

44. Giant Solar Chimneys as a Global Air-Conditioning System

Most of our Universe is extremely cold. In places where the temperature is 0 degree Celsius or 273 degrees Kelvin, there is approximately one hundred million times more heat radiation than what is the average for the Universe as a whole. So it could be said that only a species with a rather limited intelligence should die because its members are so helpless that they cannot prevent the overheating of their planet, or because they think that the only way to stop the warming is to cover the whole planet with radioactive pollution. The nearest extremely cold places are always very close to us. When we go up, the air becomes an average half a degree centigrade colder for every one hundred metres. The freezing point of water is reached after a few kilometres, and at ten kilometres it is already very cold, indeed, not to say anything about twenty or fifty kilometres. Most of the energy coming from the Sun is not reflected back to space in the same form as it came. It is first transformed to heat at the ground level, after which it returns to space as infrared radiation and through the convective processes in the atmosphere. Convection simply means that warm air rises up and cools, and then drops down again. The atmosphere is full of convective cells, vortices of rising and descending air. Some of them are gigantic but most are very small, even tiny. Part of the heat transported to upper parts of the atmosphere by these vortices becomes, literally, lost in space, because the air that descends and returns to surface is much cooler than the air which went up in the convective cell. So one way to cool the planet would be to circulate a lot hot air to greater heights, against gravity, so that it loses its heat to space and drops back to Earth as heavy, supercooled air.

One option might be to use a solar chimney for this purpose. The solar chimney, or the solar windmill (Das Aufwindkraftwerk) is a daring new energy concept developed by the well-known German structural engineer Jrg Schlaich and his associates. A 200-megawatt solar power station like this would consist of a large glass or plastic greenhouse, perhaps seven kilometres across, and a kilometre-high, 300-metre-wide chimney at its center. The greenhouse acts as a vast solar collector, heating the air below it. Because the roof of the greenhouse yields slightly upwards, the heated air has to stream towards the chimney and up to it. New air flows inside the greenhouse from its edges. The pressure difference between the greenhouse and the chimney top creates a strong updraught which runs a number of cased wind turbines placed at the bottom of the chimney. The design has a number of very important advantages. It is very simple and it does not require much high technology, so it could be widely replicated by most Southern countries. A solar chimney can keep on producing electricity even during the night, because of the large heat storage in the ground under the greenhouse. Above all, a solar chimney does not need any fresh water, unlike coal-fired and nuclear power plants and solar power plants based on steam engines or steam turbines. This is a major benefit because for example a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant annually consumes 20 or 30 million cubic metres of freshwater. Actually, if the greenhouses of five 200-megawatt solar chimneys are used as water collectors, they could actually harvest about 100 million cubic metres of rainwater in a year, in an area with an annual rainfall of 400 millimetres. So the solar chimneys could produce 100 million cubic metres of freshwater, instead of consuming 30 million cubic metres of it. Governments and commercial companies have not become excited about the idea because the required initial investments are relatively high. As long there is no significant environmental taxation, the electricity produced by a solar chimney can only compete with coal or nuclear power with subsidies, or if a much longer than normal depreciation period for the original investments can be used. If the interest rate is 8 per cent, a 40-year-long depreciation

period (pay-back time) for the investment is required to make the power produced by a solar chimney cheaper than nuclear energy. But the operation of a solar chimney should also be analysed from another perspective. Because warm air from a very large area is collected into the chimney, an abnormally narrow and high convection cell will be created above it. In other words, a 200-megawatt solar chimney also circulates a few million cubic metres of hot air per second into greater heights than it would normally reach. This most probably means that the air masses lose more heat and return to the ground level somewhat cooler than what would have been achieved by normal convection cells. Lets make some back-of-the-envelope calculations, according to the best Mad Scientist traditions! We know that the heat capacity of one cubic metre of air is about 1,000 joules/Kelvin (or Celsius). We do not have a precise figure for the average extra cooling of the air, but lets assume that it would be 30 degrees centigrade. This is, admittedly, a shot in the dark but we have to use a number in order to go forward. With these figures the global cooling efficiency of a 200-megawatt solar chimney would be about 100 gigawatts, 500 times more than its power-producing capacity. Does this have any real significance? It might, even though the above outlined back-of-the-envelope-type calculations are on a very uncertain basis and might be full of holes. Give me another envelope! If the order of magnitude is roughly correct, 5,000 solar chimneys producing 1,000 gigawatts of solar electricity would have a 500,000 gigawatt cooling impact, which would be roughly equivalent with the present imbalance in the Earths energy budget. And now it is time to get greedy, again according to the best Mad Scientist traditions. If the air going to the chimney would be moist and warm air containing 20 grams of water vapour for each cubic metre of air, the cooling efficiency of the chimney would be 150 gigawatts larger. The cooling of the water vapour and the cloud droplets would release into the high atmosphere 4 joules per gram for each degree Celsius/Kelvin. The transformation of the water vapour to cloud droplets would release 2260 joules per gram and the freezing of the water 333 joules per gram. Thus the overall cooling impact would rise to very substantial 250 gigawatts. If

some cloud condensation nuclei were added to the air going up the chimney, the chimney might actually be capable of both cooling and irrigating the surrounding areas. This might increase agricultural crops in a very significant way in hot and dry regions. For example in Abu Dhabi plants require eight times more water if the temperature rises from 30 to 46 degrees Celsius. Besides, the solar chimney might also be an efficient cloudmaking machine. If we added very many cloud condensation nuclei into the air stream, cloud droplets would become so small that the water would only drop down much later. A single solar chimney might be able to create vast formations of shining white cumulus and stratocumulus clouds. Such clouds would improve the reflectivity of our planet and cool it. Butwhat if the water vapour got so high, that it would produce extensive masses of cirrus clouds, with a huge global warming potential? Oops! Oh My God if I am getting this right, this might mean, that
Recommendation: These possibilities should be investigated further. The solar chimney is an interesting energy alternative for the future, because it can produce solar electricity during the night and because it can harvest water, instead of consuming it. The potential side effects should of course be assessed carefully, especially the risk of ejecting large amounts of water vapour so high that it would give birth to artificial cirrus clouds. In reality it is also possible that a solar chimney might actually reduce the amount of cirrus clouds, by heating the upper troposphere and the stratosphere.

45. Creating New Salt Deserts or Washing the Existing Ones

Salt is white and reflects sunlight efficiently. For example in the state of Gujarat, of India, the reflected glare of sunlight makes many salt-workers permanently color-blind. What if we installed large numbers of seawater sprinklers in selected deserts and placed the sprinkler groups so that the salt fall would cover very large areas? When the seawater would evaporate, the ground would

quickly become covered with a thin layer of white, highly reflecting salt. It would not cost much to create millions of square kilometres of such new salt deserts. There are billions of hectares of hyper-arid land on Earth, areas which cannot be used to growing anything. Besides deserts in the South, Arctic barrens could also be used. In the North we have enormous areas of bare and hostile lands covered with rock, sand or gravel, with no vegetation. If such lands were covered by a white layer of sea salt, they would reflect sunlight efficiently during the summer. Salt, of course, can melt snow and ice, but this would not be a problem from the viewpoint of reflectivity, because white salt reflects almost as well as snow. Besides, there is no sunlight in the High Arctic during winter, and on vast areas snow melts in the spring, unlike salt.

Not recommended. Creating salt deserts is easier than removing the salt, later. However, the possibility of improving the reflectivity on some of the already existing salt deserts or other areas already hopelessly devastated by salt might be a better option. We have a lot of natural salt deserts and irrigated farmlands which have become covered by salt, and salinization threatens to destroy a major part of the currently irrigated farmland, as well. Some of the natural salt deserts are shining white, but many have a greyish, brownish or even black cover of mud, dust or sand on top of the salt. It might sometimes be easy and cost-effective to increase the reflectivity of such dimmed salt deserts by adding a few millimetres of new salt on top of the dirty salt layers.

46. Painting the Walls and Rooftops White

Many people have proposed that the Earths reflectivity could be changed if all the rooftops and the walls which receive a lot of sunlight would either be painted white or treated with some other, highly reflecting substance. The white paint or the other reflecting substances would also help in keeping the houses cool. For instance in the region of Almeria, in Andalucia, Southern Spain, the impact of reflecting buildings can already be seen.

In Almeria there are 26,000 hectares of greenhouses. In the greenhouse region the temperatures have cooled by 0.3 degrees Celsius per decade since 1983. Elsewhere in Spain they have increased by 0.5 degrees during the same time.
Recommendation: Recommended as a partial solution. The habit of painting houses white still exists in many hot countries. It is an easy, cheap and efficient way to keep houses cooler during the hot seasons. Most urban poor in the South, however, do not legally own their houses. Would they be interested in participating such a programme? The Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has proposed that the informal dwellings of urban poor should be legalized. According to de Soto, such an urban land reform would create, at the stroke of a pen, about USD 7,000 billion worth of property for the poor. Perhaps these two ideas could somehow be combined?

47. Sending Messages to ETs

It is possible, that most of the worlds electricity will soon be produced by thin-film and concentrator photovoltaic systems (see the parts about reducing the greenhouse gas emissions). One of the most promising solar technologies is a system in which a very large parabolic reflector concentrates a lot of sunlight on a much smaller photovoltaic panel. At the moment the most advanced systems can use concentrations of up to 2,500 suns, but in the future it might be possible to concentrate the sunlight even 10,000 times. If rows of trees planted at a suitable distance are used to provide an efficient wind shade, the reflectors can be dirt-cheap because they can then consist of ultra-light, metallized plastic. Even when the reflectors are made of heavy steel a one-gigawatt solar power plant constructed by this kind of technology would only cost about USD 850 million. Lets assume, as a thought experiment, that the worlds use of energy will increase three-fold by the year 2100 and that all of this will be in the form of electricity. Lets also presume, that all of this electricity will be produced by concentrator photovoltaic systems with 25-metre-wide parabolic reflectors.

The capacity of the system should be adjusted according to the annual peak load, which would be reached during the height of the winter in the northern hemisphere. At that time of the year the northern areas need a lot of power for lighting and heating, but receive very little sunlight. In the future the most economic way to provide for this power is to construct some extra power-producing capacity in Sahara, in the Middle East, in the Arabian Peninsula, in India, in Pakistan and in Mexico, and to transmit power to Europe, Russia, China and North America from these regions. If the whole energy system was based on solar power, we might need something like 90,000 gigawatts of solar power to produce 30,000 gigawatts of continuous power. This would mean 600 million 25-metre-wide parabolic reflectors, each producing 150 kilowatts of power when the sun is shining high, from a cloudless sky. 240,000 square kilometres of parabolic reflectors. However, during summer most of the future households in the northern hemisphere will probably make their own power by thinfilm solar cells. This means that there might be enormous amounts of unnecessary summer-time power-producing capacity, electricity that would not really be needed for anything. One option would be to use the extra power for sending messages to outer space. 25-metre-wide parabolic reflectors could also be used for other purposes, like searching for artificial radio signals from space and for transmitting focused radio beams to distant galaxies. In other words, some of our future solar power stations could double as radio telescopes. With the occasional availability of 50,000 gigawatts of spare power (or something like that) we could, at least in theory, send radio messages to millions of galaxies. By utilizing the stars of our own galaxy as gravitational lenses we could reach even farther with the same amount of power. Sending 50,000 gigawatts of power to space would during the transmissions cancel 10 per cent of our present 500,000-gigawatt global overheating problem. Lets pick up the Mad Scientist hat again. What if we covered lets say 5,000,000 square kilometres of deserts, instead of only 240,000 square kilometres, with our solar energy installations? Then we could use up to 2,000,000 gigawatts to beam messages to distant galaxies. If we also utilized the possibilities related to grav156

itational lenses, we could perhaps finally reach a hundred billion different galaxies with our messages, and simultaneously get rid of the extra heat now remaining on our planet! Hi ET, here we come! To achieve this it would, of course, be necessary to use wide band gap photovoltaic cells that reflect the non-productive, lowfrequency rays straight back to space. Otherwise our photovoltaic installations might often absorb more solar radiation than the relatively well reflecting quartz sand that covers many of our deserts.

I am all for using the extra capacity of our future solar energy systems for SETI and CETI. However, I might be more than a little bit partial, here, because the possibility of discovering extra-terrestrial intelligence in other solar systems would be the most exciting thing I can think of.

48. Wind-powered Ice Sprinklers

The following nineteen chapters including this one deal with different ways to cool the Arctic and Antarctic regions and to stop the melting of the methane clathrates, permafrost areas and floating pack-ice. The idea of wind-powered ice sprinklers, the subject of this chapter, was the first in this line of thoughts and proposals. It was based on the salt water sprinkler idea originally developed by Ludwig, Gunther and Klaus Elsbett. I presented it first as a mere thought experiment in a science fiction novel Sarasvatin hiekkaa (The Sands of Sarasvati). Only much later did I realize that the idea might actually be worth a closer look. The other eighteen ideas were all born after that within the framework of the Atmosmare Foundation, in a process of discussions originally initiated by the ice sprinkler idea. Many people, including myself, Jussi Mlki, Jukka Salo, Esko Pettay, Juha Flinkman and John Webster have participated in these brain-storming sessions. Besides this representatives of the foundation have requested many other scientists, both in Finland and in many other countries, to consider the problem and to put forward their own, best proposals. Because of this history there is more than a little bit of overlap

in the following chapters. However, the ideas all merit a separate discussion in this volume, because the logic behind each approach is somewhat different. If we want to halt the depletion of Arctic sea ice, one of the key dilemmas is, whether we should concentrate on cooling the region during the summer or during the winter. Many scientists have said, that the summer is the key period, because this is when the ice melts. During the winter temperatures in the Arctic will anyway be below the freezing point of water, so the sea ice can in any case regenerate itself. Needless to say, the conditions at the Arctic Ocean are much nicer during the summer. But if we look at the history of the Ice Ages, it is actually the winters which would seem to be more important. An Ice Age happens when the spin, tilt and ellipticity of the Earths rotation around the Sun reduce the percentage of solar radiation falling on the northernmost areas of the globe, and thus strengthen the temperature differences between Arctic summers and winters. In other words, even though the Earth does not receive less solar radiation during an Ice Age, the planet cools because a little bit less sunlight falls on the Arctic and a little bit more on the Southern latitudes, and because the Arctic develops a stronger seasonality. Similarly, an Ice Age ends, often very, very rapidly, in a few years or in a few decades, when the Arctic again receives a bit more sunlight and the winter-time and summer-time temperature differences in the Arctic become less prominent. To simplify the data a bit, it seems that an Ice Age is created when the summers in the Arctic become colder and the winters warmer. These research results are counter-intuitive, and it is still a mystery how the process works and how the Arctic can convert such minor changes to a full-fledged Ice Age. Why should the winter temperatures be the important thing? What if an Ice Age ends when the process that took place in the Gulf of Bothnia, during the winter 2007-2008, happens in a larger scale, over much of the Arctic Ocean? The less sea ice there is, the more solar heat the sea can absorb, and the farther to the North the warm water driven by the winds can reach. The less ice, the more water vapour there can be in the

air, during the winter. When the whole sea is frozen, the air above it can be very dry because no moisture can evaporate through the ice. Water vapour, of course, is a strong greenhouse gas. The more water vapour evaporates from the sea, the more clouds can be formed from it. In the Arctic all kinds of clouds have a strong heating impact throughout the year, except in June and July. In the Antarctic clouds heat up the climate even during midsummer. The warmer the sea is, the stronger the winds can become, and the less ice there is, the easier it is for the wind to raise waves. The higher the waves, the more difficult it is for the sea to freeze. In 2007-2008 it was the combination of all these factors, which suddenly prevented the Gulf of Bothnia from freezing, for the first time in recorded history. When something similar happens for a large part of the Arctic Ocean, so that a major part of it will not freeze at all, even during the height of the winter, the impact on climate will of course be much more dramatic. But lets move to wind-powered sprinklers! If freshwater is sprayed into the air as a fine mist when the temperatures are significantly below the freezing point of water, but less than minus 40 degrees Celsius, very small water droplets do not freeze in the air without ice crystallization nuclei. Contrary to intuition, larger freshwater droplets freeze quickly in low temperatures, but the tiny droplets release their extra heat, become supercooled water and only freeze when they hit the ground or something else, or when many different droplets coalesce to make a larger droplet. But if seawater, containing salt, is sprayed into the air, or if salt or other crystallization nuclei are added in the freshwater, even the very small droplets quickly form ice crystals or snow flakes. When the sea is about to freeze, additional snowfall or undercooled water can assist the freezing process. When one gram of snow melts, the process consumes 333 joules of energy, enough to cool 167 grams of water by half a degree. Snow and ice falling on open water create small pockets of undercooled water, which become centers for the freezing process. When small patches of surface water freeze, they catalyze the freezing of the surrounding areas. However, only a calm sea can freeze. When there are no waves,

water can freeze quickly, even when the temperature is only slightly below the freezing point of water. But even small waves can prevent the freezing. If the water is moving, the formation of supercooled spots, acting as centers for the freezing process, is prevented. The height of the waves is defined by three factors: the strength, the duration and the fetch of the wind. Duration means how long the wind keeps on blowing, and the fetch refers to the unobstructed distance the wind can blow over water. Even tiny ice flakes, rising only one millimetre above the surface of the sea, can break the fetch of the wind. Masses of wet, heavy snow wallowing on top of the water can do the same. If there is enough wet snow, it can even kill the swell, meaning waves that have been generated by the wind much farther away, sometimes on the other side of the ocean. Lets imagine that we erected small spray-producing windmills on low-lying islands, on patches of strengthened ice (see chapter 61), or on other types of floating platforms at the Arctic Ocean. Various vertical and horizontal windmill designs can be converted to giant sprinklers. Another possibility is to make electricity with large windmills and to use the power to rotate conventional sprinklers. When the wind is blowing with the speed of eight metres a second, a 10-kilowatt Darrieus rotor can lift 50 kilograms of water per second to a height of 10 metres. If the wind speed doubles, Its energy content increases eight-fold. In other words: it would be technically feasible to produce huge quantities of ice and snow spray with relatively small windmills. It may not even be necessary to lift the spray to the height of 10 metres. Even one metre would probably do, because the winds would drive the small ice crystals along the icy plateau of the halffrozen sea for hundreds or even thousands of kilometres. Wherever there would be gaps between the floating ice masses the crystals would drop in the water and assist in freezing the gaps. It takes ten times less power to pump water into the height of one metre than to ten metres. In mid-winter, when the sea has frozen, additional snow cover can prevent or at least slow down the thickening of the ice. Snow

is an effective insulating material. It reduces the amount of heat escaping from the sea through the ice. So if we use sprinklers at this time of the year, we must ensure that we only produce undercooled water (ice) and not snow. The situation changes one more time after midwinter, when the sun again rises above the horizon. At the North Pole there is only one night and one day in a year. First the sun doesnt rise up at all for six months and then it does not fall below the horizon for six months. But this is an extreme case that prevails only on the North Pole or very close to it. In most of the Arctic both the nightless and the dayless periods last for a couple of months. Between these extremes the relative lengths of days and nights keep on changing, all the time. When the days become longer and the sun rises, each day, to a higher position, reflectivity becomes the important issue. After the snow has melted from the Arctic islands, their average daily temperatures quickly rise to 10-20 degrees. The surface of the sea remains at the freezing point of water until all the floating ice has gone. During this period extra snowfall or extra rain of undercooled water would slow down the melting of sea ice. The extra snow and ice would bury the soot and dust particles and dead algae, and maintain a higher reflectivity. If we do not manage to reduce our soot emissions quickly enough, we should perhaps bury the soot under a shining white cover of fresh snow! Even when there is no soot, one millimetre of white snow falling on a field of partly melted ice can increase its albedo in a very significant way. Besides this, there would be more snow and ice that would have to melt before the sea can warm up. The production of ice or snow spray would thus be a way to collect cold from a large area and to deposit it where it is most needed. When it comes to the permafrost regions some of the issues are similar but some are different. In mid-winter the permafrost freezes better if it is not covered by thick snow. But when the spring comes and the days become longer, an extra layer of ice and snow would maintain a high reflectivity and thus slow down the melting. The Arctic Ocean receives 11 per cent of the combined flow

of the worlds rivers. This means that there is a lot of freshwater at least theoretically available in the areas surrounding the main permafrost regions. Tiny water droplets fall slowly. A droplet with a 100-micron radius falls, on average, 76 centimetres in one second. But if the droplet has a radius of 10 microns, only, the speed of its fall is reduced to one centimetre per second, because the droplets surface area and the air resistance in relation to its weight are much larger. So if we spray 10-micron droplets into the air at the height of 100 metres when the wind is blowing towards the permafrost areas or towards the Arctic Ocean with the speed of 25 metres per second, the droplets should theoretically hit the ground only after 250 kilometres or so. Snow flakes fall even slower because they are very light and have a larger surface area compared to their weight. In reality tiny water droplets will not descend with an even and steady speed. The stronger the wind, the more turbulence there is in the air flow. Even in relatively light wind snow flakes and ice crystals and small water droplets tend to have a bumpy ride, rising and falling numerous times in the vortices of the air, before they finally hit the ground. If we have to do something dramatic to halt the melting of the Arctic before it is too late, producing some extra snow and ice would probably be a much safer option than ejecting sulphur into the stratosphere.
Recommendation: The

idea should be investigated further, and proofof-concept-type field trials should be organized.

49. Gravity-powered Ice Sprinklers

Gravity-powered ice and snow sprinklers might be an even cheaper solution than wind-powered ones. For example the West Siberian permafrost region is situated between the Central Siberian Plateau and the Ural Mountains. There are, along a stretch of roughly one thousand kilometres, hundreds of rivers and countless smaller streams running from the Ural Mountains to the East, and

from the Central Siberian Plateau to the West. In both cases the streams run towards the vast lowland swamp also known as the West Siberian permafrost area. Some of the water in all these rivers and streams could be channelled to metal, concrete or plastic pipes in places where the terrain falls down relatively steeply, which are still relatively high over the permafrost area, and from where the ice crystals or snow flakes would spread over vast stretches of the permafrost. There is no shortage of suitable sites along the eastern slopes of the Urals or along the western slopes of the edge of the Central Siberian Plateau. If the water surged down 40 metres inside the pipeline, a pressure of 4 bars or four atmospheres would be created at the end of the pipe. If the end of the pipe had numerous tiny holes, the highpressurized water would push through as high fountains of fine mist. Even better results could probably be achieved with slightly higher pressures. The higher the pressure, the smaller the holes can be, and the smaller water droplets can be produced. This is important, because the very small droplets have the best chance of being carried far by the wind. Numerous different designs could be used. The cost for a billion tons of spray would probably be still much less than with the wind-powered sprinklers. A pipe with a diameter of 1015 metres should be able to produce a few billion tons of ice spray in a year, theoretically enough to cover the whole West Siberian permafrost region, all one hundred million hectares of it, with a few extra centimetres of snow or ice. It might, however, be necessary to heat the end of the pipe to prevent it from freezing when the temperatures are seriously below zero. Similarly, such gravity-powered sprinklers could be installed at suitable sites on the northern shores of Russia, Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Iceland and Norway, as well as on the larger Arctic islands, which have mountains and streams running towards the sea. In the areas surrounding the Antarctic the scope for this approach is, unfortunately, much smaller. When the pipes are not used to produce ice spray, they could produce electricity with small hydro-turbines. Water gates could direct the water either into a spray-producing tube, or into a power-producing turbine.

Recommendation: It would be important to conduct small-scale experiments with the idea.

50. Dropping Winter Clouds by Kites or Balloons

Low clouds like Cumulus, Stratus and Stratocumulus heat the planet during the nights, but in most parts of the world their daytime cooling impact is more important. The Arctic and Antarctic regions are an exception from this main rule. In winter the heating impact of clouds in the Arctic and in the Antarctic is very strong indeed, because there is no sunlight. According to one study, winter-time cloud cover heats the Arctic by 90 watts per square metre. This is about one hundred times more than our present average global heat imbalance. In the Antarctic low clouds have a heating impact even during the height of the summer. Antarctic snows are so white that they reflect sunlight back to space more effectively than even the whitest Cumulus clouds. When a cloud comes between the Antarctic ice sheet and the Sun, the reflectivity of the area does not increase but decreases. In the Arctic region the situation is not so extreme, because there is more dark rock, dark coniferous forests, open water and melting ice, as well as soot and dust on the snow. But if we reduced the winter, autumn and springtime cloud cover over the Arctic and Antarctic regions and the summertime cloud cover over the Antarctic, these places would cool in a very substantial way. It is often possible to seed clouds so that they drop their water content down and disappear from the sky. Clouds become snowfall and the snowfall cools the surface of the sea and assists in calming down the swell and the local, wind-generated waves. Most low-level winter clouds in the Arctic consist of innumerable tiny droplets of severely undercooled water. Their temperatures are far below zero but they cannot freeze to ice crystals or snow because there are too few ice crystallization nuclei in the air. If the temperatures are cold enough, such supercooled droplets freeze almost immediately when anything even remotely suitable is sprayed in the air. Any kind of small dust or ash particles will do,

as well as salt or even soot. A tiny piece of particulate matter can become a nucleus for the freezing process and create a snow flake weighing up to a billion times more than the original particle did. When the temperatures are only slightly below zero, things are more difficult. Dust and salt no longer work so well. We need something that freezes in the air, forming innumerable small ice particles that can act as ice crystallization nuclei. Possible substances include silver iodine, carbon dioxide ice, ordinary ice and seawater. The main challenge is how to deliver the small ice crystallization nuclei at the required heights, to the winter-time clouds above the Arctic Sea. The Atmosmare Foundation has investigated a large number of different ideas which seem to be at least theoretically feasible, including kites, hydrogen balloons and various kinds of burners. Winter-time clouds in the Arctic often lie at a very low altitude, from a few hundred metres to a kilometre. However, the higher the particles acting as ice crystallization nuclei would get, the farther away they would be transported before they hit the clouds. For instance a ship capable of sowing ice crystallization nuclei into srtious heights and moving side-winds, could seed the clouds in a very, very large area, perhaps over millions of square kilometres. Needless to say, there are some minor problems with this approach. Seafaring conditions in the High Arctic are not exactly pleasant during mid-winter. It is cold, wind speeds can be devastating and supercooled water droplets freeze on the ships structures as well as on kites and hydrogen balloons. Another option would be to operate at somewhat more southern latitudes, like between Norway and Iceland, where the conditions are not as rough. Most of the winter-time cloud cover at the Arctic Ocean forms over the North Atlantic, the North Sea, the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea. In other words, the clouds form at the more Southern latitudes, over open sea, and are then transported by winds to the North, because over the Arctic Ocean there is not so much open water during the winter. In these latitudes a less heavy vessel would do, and there wouldnt be serious problems with supercooled water freezing on the ships structures or on balloons and kites. However, because of the higher tempera165

tures, the choice of ice crystallization nuclei would be more limited. One of the options would be to use seawater. Because seawater contains a lot of salt, small droplets would freeze quickly, and become ice crystallization nuclei for supercooled freshwater droplets in the clouds. There is a lot of seawater available in the sea, but how to get it to the height of one kilometre or more, in the form of suitablysized droplets? The ideal size of the droplets would probably be 1 - 10 microns. Larger droplets, which freeze even faster, would also do, but they do not travel as far with the wind and much larger quantities of them would be needed to destroy an equivalent amount of cloud cover. One obvious possibility would be to use a large hydrogen balloon tied to the ship as an air crane. However, winching something into the height of one kilometre (or, alternatively, down from that height if the whole balloon is taken down to fetch a new load) takes a lot of time. This limits the amount of ice crystallization nuclei that can be delivered to the strategic heights. One option might be to draw the balloon down with a powerful motor-boat. If the motor-boat and the ship would be moving to opposite directions, they would create a force vector forcing the balloon down. This could be a relatively rapid way of reloading. The third alternative would be to use counter-weights, like in elevators. In any case the amount of lift provided by a hydrogen or a helium balloon is also very limited, unless the balloon is very large, indeed. How about a large kite? Very strong and durable kites have been developed in order to reduce ships fuel needs and to produce electric power. A powerful kite should be able to lift heavy loads, significantly more than a much larger hydrogen balloon. There is even some evidence to support the notion that ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians used kites for lifting large and heavy stony elements to an upward position. Kites can both rise and descend very fast, simply by altering their angle in relation to the wind. So theoretically the most cost-efficient and productive delivery system might consist of a kite, if cargoes can be lifted to the sky with166

out destabilizing it. It might even be possible to use a hydrogen balloon or a kite to lift a very long but light tube to the sky and to use it as an ultralong chimney. The tube could perhaps channel hot air and small particles, or warm air and tiny droplets of salt water spray, to the height of five hundred metres or more. After getting out from the tube the hot air would still keep on rising for some time, unless there is an inversion layer that prevents this. In suitable circumstances it should be possible to deliver salt-water droplets or other ice crystallization nuclei to the strategic altitudes by this method. Even weak winds would, of course, quickly rip the structure to shreds.
Recommendation: Atmosmare Foundation is trying to develop a technically feasible and cost-effective version of the idea, but it is still uncertain whether this will succeed. At the moment it seems that there is nothing suitable that would be readily available on the shelf . If you can propose a technically feasible solution to some of the key problems mentioned above, please get in touch.

51. Dropping Winter Clouds with Rockets or Grenades

When the supercooled water droplets are cold enough, wintertime clouds can also be dropped down as snowfall by shooting large powder rockets or self-destructing anti-aircraft grenades to the sky. Large powder rockets made by amateurs can often reach the altitude of two kilometres. The burning of the powder would anyway produce some ash and other suitable particles. Besides this salt, dust or other materials could be mixed with the powder before the rocket is launched. Anti-aircraft shells reach even higher altitudes before they explode. If the grenades were filled with a mixture of explosives, dust or salt, a lot of fine particles would be produced.

Other people in the Atmosmare Foundation have been more interested in rockets than myself. However, this may be because I am slightly afraid of the rockets exploding on board, instead

of exploding at the sky. But there is no doubt that small particles can be delivered at the desired altitudes, this way. What comes to anti-aircraft grenades it must be said that military technologies are not famous for their affordable price tags. On the other hand if for example the USA anyway spends USD 1,000 billion per year on military expenditure, it would of course be more constructive to use these funds to destroy Arctic winter clouds than to blow innocent Third World women and children to pieces.

52. Rethinking the Jet Plane Routes, Schedules and Flight Altitudes

Flying causes only a little bit less or a little bit more than two per cent of our carbon dioxide emissions, depending on how we calculate the land use emissions. In spite of this, environmental activists seem to hate jet planes more than anything else, except nuclear power. There is a very good reason for this extreme antipathy. Jet planes fly so high, that the water vapour their motors emit into the air immediately freezes to tiny ice crystals which form white lines known as contrails or exhaust trails. Contrails act like artificial cirrus clouds. All kinds of clouds cool the planet during daytime and heat it during the nights. However, most clouds tend to have a predominantly cooling impact, except in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The high cirrus clouds are an exception. They are a bit inefficient in shading the sun during daytime, but very effective in radiating heat back to Earth during the night. The night-time heating impact of contrails is so much more effective, that when the heating and cooling effects are counted together, the sum is clearly on the warm side, in spite of the fact that there are three times more contrails at the sky during the day than during the night. The physics of the contrails and their impact on climate are still poorly understood, and there are bound to be many more surprises in store for us. But thanks to the terrorist strikes against Washington DC and New York on 11th September, 2001, we now have a much better general picture than before. After the strikes all air traffic in the USA was halted for three days, and there were no

condensation trails at the sky during this time. It was the first time in half a century, and it was a precious opportunity for the climate scientists to improve their understanding on how contrails influence the weather. When there were no contrails daytime temperatures went up but nights became colder. Various studies have tried to estimate the heating Impact produced by the contrails. According to a study by the Royal Society of Britain contrails might multiply the climatic impact of flying by a factor of 2.7. The assessment of the IPCC in 1999 was roughly similar. The IPCC experts concluded, that the carbon dioxide which had been produced by air traffic was heating the planet by 0.02 and the contrails by 0.03 watts per square metre. Other studies have presented much higher figures, and claimed, that the earlier studies had only taken into account the straight, white lines that are clearly identifiable as condensation trails in satellite pictures. Such research groups, assuming that condensation trails disperse in the strong winds of the high atmosphere and become scattered cirrus that can no longer be separated from natural cirrus cloud cover, have produced much higher estimates. According to these extrapolations the extra cirrus cloud cover born from contrails might heat the planet at least ten and possibly thirty times more effectively than the carbon dioxide produced by air traffic. However, late 2009 a new NASA study concluded, that the cooling impact of nitrate and sulphate aerosols and nitrogen oxides produced by the air traffic almost cancels the heating impact of contrails, artificial cirrus clouds and soot from the same sources. According to this new NASA study, coordinated by Nadine Unger, the total heating impact of air traffic might currently only amount to something like 0.028 watts per square metre. For quite a long time now I have tried to get a better grasp of the overall impact of air traffic on our climate. Every time I have thought that now I understand how it goes, the picture has suddenly once again changed and become almost unrecognizable. This must be the most complex issue related to global warming, and I have started to feel more than a tiny bit of desperation in trying to figure it out. However, some things are clear. Ideas related to future passenger jets flying a few kilometres higher than our present aeroplanes,

and plans to replace kerosene with hydrogen, are extremely dangerous. The contrails produced by the hydrogen jets would most probably heat the planet on average 13 times more than the contrails of our present jet planes. If the present heating impact of contrails and the artificial cirrus clouds born from them is 0.03 watts per square metre, a shift to hydrogen jets would increase this to 0.39 watts/m2. If we take the high end of the estimates and assume that the present heating impact might be something like 0.3 watts/m2, moving to hydrogen-fuelled air traffic would increase our planetary heat imbalance at least five-fold, to 4 or 5 watts per square metre. And this would be with the present amount of flying. If the number of flights increases three times, while we move to hydrogen-powered jets A move from present jet planes to kerosene-fuelled jets flying at Concorde heighs, in 15,000 to 18,000 metres, would only multiply the problem by 5.4 instead of 13. On the other hand, if the jet planes moved to lower heights so that no contrails were produced, the total heating impact of air traffic would drop to 0.002 watts/ m2, assuming that NASA has got it right. Flights between China, Canada and USA using the so called polar routes deserve particular attention. The highly stratified part of the atmosphere, the stratosphere, starts from 15 kilometres in the tropics, but from five kilometres near the poles. Dust or ice crystals in the stratosphere only come down slowly, because the air becomes the warmer the higher you get: the layer below is denser than the layer above. A jet plane flying over the North Pole can blow the ice crystals of its condensation trail straight into the stratosphere. This is highly dangerous, because these ice crystals can then stay up for months instead of only for a couple of hours or the maximum of a few days. What would a hydrogen jet flying over the North Pole at 18,000 metres do for our climate? Frankly, I do not even want to know. At the moment there are only a few thousand flights that are annually conducted along polar routes, but the ice crystals produced by these flights may already contribute to the melting of the Arctic. So the main issue is crystal-clear, not depending on the exact size of the numbers you buy: we have to ban all flying in the strato170

sphere and the use of hydrogen as a jet fuel. However, winter-time flights that use relatively northern routes but stay in the troposphere might actually have a cooling impact on our climate. The ice crystals in contrails must also act as ice crystallization nuclei for the supercooled water droplets in lower clouds, if temperatures are so low that the ice crystals will not evaporate or melt before they reach the altitude of these low-level clouds. The effect could sometimes be more significant than the heating impact of the condensation trails. Arctic sea and land areas typically have a 50 to 70 per cent cloud cover during winter, and in the northern areas a thick, lowlevel cloud cover has a truly massive winter-time heating impact, tremendously more significant than the comparable effect produced by condensation trails. Moreover, low clouds often reflect back so much infrared that only a small amount of it gets through, to be reflected by the contrails. Ice crystals that form behind jet planes are typically very small, with a mean radius of two microns or so. However, they quickly grow larger. After one hour they typically have a radius of 30 to 100 microns, and when they reach the lower clouds they have already reached the millimetre-category. Part of this growth takes place because separate crystals merge and form larger ice flakes, but the crystals also absorb a lot of water vapour from the atmosphere. A fully developed condensation trail can finally contain one hundred or even several hundreds of times more ice than the amount that was emitted into the air by the planes jet engines. When the ice crystals drop through the lower clouds, all the supercooled cloud droplets that touch them also freeze. This lowers the relative humidity of the air. The small water droplets in the surrounding air vaporize, and the water vapour immediately freezes and becomes a part of the ice crystals. Thus every ice crystal dropping through the clouds destroys a large number of cloud droplets. A single jet plane using an ideal, northern route during the Arctic winter might deliver 50,000 or 100,000 tons of ice crystals into the lower clouds. The average diameter of the crystals, of course, is relatively large, closer to one millimetre than one micron.

This means that it MIGHT be possible to halt the melting of the Arctic, at least temporarily, simply by routing a somewhat larger part of the air traffic between Europe, East Asia and North America to more northern routes, during mid-winter. Another possibility would be to request the air lines already using such routes to reduce the wintertime flight altitudes of their jet planes to the lowest height at which a condensation trail will still be produced, whenever the sky is covered with thick clouds. This would increase the planes fuel consumption, but the ice crystals would have less time to grow and there would thus be a vastly larger number of much smaller ice flakes dropping through the clouds. In other words the impact on the Arctic cloud cover might become dramatically larger. It might be worth finding out whether this hypothesis is correct. If the trials were successful, governments should perhaps request airline companies to assist them in re-freezing the Arctic, and compensate them for their extra costs. The cooling impact could perhaps also be enhanced by routing wintertime flights so that they would fly over cloudy areas and avoid clear skies, as much as possible. Summer flights over the Arctic should, on the contrary, avoid cloudy areas and prefer clear skies. During the Arctic summer, when the permafrost, glaciers and floating ices are melting, there is no night. The sun does not go down at all, because the Arctic summer is a continuous day lasting for several months (six months at the North Pole). Thus the contrails produced by summer flights over the Arctic should have a cooling impact on the climate, unless they seed and destroy lower clouds: in June and July the low clouds have a cooling impact even over the Arctic Ocean! Outside the northern regions governments and airlines should, as the first step, lower the flight altitude of night, evening and late afternoon flights so, that condensation trails will no longer be produced. Such a measure would increase the fuel consumption a bit, but reduce contrail and artificial cirrus cloud cover at the night sky. An even better possibility would be to shift back to propeller planes. Modern propeller planes are slightly slower than jet planes,

but they do not produce contrails (outside the polar areas), and they consume 50 per cent less fuel.
should be investigated, whether a suitable amount of wintertime flights over the northern areas could actually cool the Arctic by reducing the cloud cover. Wintertime flights over the Arctic should seek out dense cloud formations, whenever possible. They should maximize flying over cloudy areas and minimize flying over clear skies. In June and July the opposite should be done. All flying in the stratosphere should be banned.
Recommendation: It

53. Reducing Wintertime Cloud Cover by Mountaintop Sprinklers

In the earlier chapters we have discussed using gravity- or windpowered sprinklers to spray a lot of ice crystals over the Arctic Sea. And we have wondered, whether ice crystals produced by aeroplanes could assist in destroying wintertime cloud formations. But but but but Would it not be possible to install large wind-powered or gravity-powered sprinklers on Arctic mountaintops, on places where they could produce a lot of tiny ice crystals and spray them directly into the wind, high above the clouds? In other words, could our ice-spraying windmills or gravity sprinklers blow their ice crystals straight into the clouds we want to bring down? The mountains in Northern Norway rise above two kilometres. The highest peak in Greenland reaches the altitude of 3,360 metres, the highest peak on Spitzbergen 1,717 metres, the highest mountain in Alaska 6,194 metres and the highest peak in Iceland 1,491 metres. There are mountains on the Baffin Island, on Novaja Zemlja and along the coast of Central and Eastern Siberia, as well (not to say anything about the Antarctic). Even the Kola Peninsula has fells rising to 1,200 metres. The largest currently existing windmills raise their wing-tips to 130 metres, at the highest point of the orbit, but windmills reaching up to 250 metres are being developed. If we erected such a monster on a two-kilometre-high mountain, it could spray super173

cooled water to the height of 2,250 metres. Ice crystals would have a good chance of traveling far from such heights. Even a small, one-hectare natural or artificial mountaintop reservoir with an average depth of ten metres could provide 100,000 tons of water for a sprinkler. Paradoxically, some salt should be added into the water so that the tiny droplets would freeze even when the temperatures are only a couple of degrees below zero.
Recommendation: I think this should be tried.

54. Towing Icebergs to the Beaufort Gyre and Blowing them to Pieces

There are two major systems of ocean currents in the Arctic Ocean. The other is the so called Transpolar Drift System or TPDS. Because of TPDS a large percentage of all floating ice at the Arctic Ocean annually drifts southwards between Greenland and the Spitzbergen, and melts somewhere along Greenlands East Coast. There is a similar, southbound current also at Greenlands West Coast. The other main system is a huge vortex known as the Beaufort Gyre. Ice floes entering the Beaufort Gyre begin to float round the North Pole, until they get to the TPDS stream and begin to float towards the South. When the glaciers of Greenland produce icebergs, they do the same. One of these south-bound icebergs sunk the Titanic, in 1912. Today the same phenomenon accelerates the melting of the Arctic Ocean. The melting of an iceberg cools the surface layer of the sea and produces freshwater. The freezing point of freshwater is two degrees higher than the freezing point of salty seawater, which only freezes at minus two degrees Celsius. If the cooling impact and the freshwater produced by the melting icebergs concentrated on high, northern latitudes, both effects could catalyze the formation of new marine ice. However, because icebergs float to the South, they now only cool regions which are, in any case, too warm to freeze. It is not possible to tow even a relatively small iceberg against

an ocean current, not to say anything about the truly massive ones, weighing billions of tons. Because an iceberg has a very deep keel (most of it is under the water), even our strongest ships would not be able to drag a big iceberg against a powerful current. But North of Greenland the ocean current driving icebergs to the East and towards the actual Transpolar Drift System is, at first, rather weak. In this area it would be theoretically possible to create a force vector that would alter the route of an iceberg so that it would not enter the current streaming towards the South, but end in the Beaufort Gyre, instead. In other words, the iceberg would not float towards Newfoundland, but start orbiting the North Pole. When it would break to pieces and melt, both the cooling impact and the impact of the freshwater would concentrate on the latitudes where they might really assist the formation of new floating ice. It might be a good idea to blow icebergs to small pieces after they had reached the polar gyre. If a hundred-metre-wide and a hundred-metre-thick iceberg was shattered to much smaller pieces with the average diameter of only one metre, the combined surface area of the smaller boulders would be a hundred times larger than the original surface area of the iceberg. Shattering the icebergs would thus increase the reflectivity of the sea. Floating ice can also break the swell and the waves generated by the wind, locally. Every person who has been in a ship in the middle of an ice pack, during stormy weather, and then experienced what happens when the ship enters the open sea, leaving the ice pack behind, knows what I am talking about. Rafts of floating ice can act as wave-breakers. Besides this they break the fetch of the wind. Wind cannot touch the surface of the sea when there is floating ice. Therefore the water behind a raft of floating ice becomes very calm. Farther away the waves again become higher when the wind gains more room for moving the surface water. But when there is a new raft of floating ice the fetch of the wind not the actual power of the wind will again be broken. What comes to freezing of the surface water, wind can be a very important factor. It was probably the most important reason why the Baltic Sea suddenly did not freeze at all during the winter 2007 2008. When the sun started shining for longer periods, each day,

and there was no ice, the sea collected a lot of solar heat, which produced winds. The wind conditions at the Bothnian Sea were exceptional, there were hard winds throughout the winter. There was no ice to reflect sunlight back to space and winds prevented the sea from freezing even during the very cold nights. Some of the small inland bays which were protected from winds froze, melted and re-froze six or seven separate times during the winter. Even a relatively small iceberg towed to the Beaufort Gyre and then blown to pieces might actually catalyze ice formation in large areas by releasing fresh water into the ocean, by cooling the surface water, by increasing the reflectivity of the area, by providing floating wave-breakers and by providing floating ice that would break the fetch of the wind.
Recommendation: The proposal sounds absolutely mad. In fact, as mad as a hat. But it might actually work.

55. Blowing Icebergs to Pieces without Towing them to the Beaufort Gyre

It might sometimes be a good idea to blow to smithereens even those icebergs that cannot be towed to the Beaufort Gyre as soon as they become separated from a glacier. A large iceberg has a deep, massive keel, with about seven eights of the iceberg under the water. Therefore an iceberg travels along the currents and does not pay much attention to the winds. However, winds can decide where the smaller ice boulders and ice floes go. When an iceberg is produced in Northern Greenland, it will start floating towards the Transpolar Drift System, and towards the Atlantic. But if the iceberg is blown to pieces when the wind is blowing towards the polar gyre, many of the ice boulders and smaller fragments and perhaps even some of the bergy bits may end up rotating around the North Pole.
Recommendation: Does

anybody know exactly how you blow an iceberg

to pieces?

56. Catalyzing Ice Formation by Floating Booms

Theoretically we could also use floating booms to assist the freezing of the Arctic and Baltic Seas when the significant wave height is less than half a metre, but still enough to prevent the sea from freezing. If we think of the space available in a ships cargo hold, plastic oil booms would be the best option. You can pack an enormous quantity of them into a surprisingly small space. However, they are expensive and they produce floating plastic rubbish when they break to pieces. Another possibility would be to use an ancient piece of technology: floating booms made of logs shackled to each other with strong steel chains. Transportation costs would be higher but the booms themselves would be cheap. And they would finally sink to the bottom of the sea, without producing any nasty floating rubbish. So this would also be a way of storing carbon into the bottom of the Arctic Ocean and the Baltic Sea! The booms could either be long lines, like snakes, or they could have the form of a circle. They might be able to catalyze ice formation in large areas, if there were enough of them. Finnish forests annually produce approximately one hundred million cubic metres of roundwood. What if we used one per cent of this amount to save the Arctic sea ice? A million cubic metres of timber would make roughly 120,000 kilometres of booms if the average diameter of the logs was 10 centimetres. What if we released 40,000 floating circles with a diameter of one kilometre into the strategic parts of the Arctic Ocean? The combined surface area inside the circles would only be about 30,000 square kilometres, but they might be able to catalyze ice formation on a vastly larger area.
Recommendation: I know this sounds even crazier than towing icebergs. But it must be possible to assist the formation of sea ice, this way, in suitable conditions. How about a small-scale proof-of-concept-trial?


57. Using Shallow Bays as Ice Nurseries

When Esko Pettay, of the Atmosmare Foundation, enquired from the British-Finnish researcher Veli Albert Kallio, what might be the best way to artificially enhance formation of Arctic sea ice, Albert proposed that we could use the relatively shallow and protected bays as nurseries for floating ice. Albert suggested an experiment, in which the ice forming in shallow and protected bays would be cut off from shores when wind would be blowing towards the sea. The bay would quickly freeze again, so the total area of floating ice would increase. Also, when a bay freezes, the ice and snow cover insulates the water from the cold air above. After the ice has reached a certain thickness, there is very little further formation of new ice. Cutting the ice off the bays, every now and then, would maximize both the volume and the acreage of ice production. Ice floes produced by the nursery bays would increase the overall reflectivity of a certain marine region by increasing the total area covered by floating ice. The extra ice would also calm the sea, which might catalyze further freezing. There are a large number of places that could be used as ice nurseries for example in Greenland, in the Spitzbergen, in Northern Canada, in Northern Russia and on Alaskas northern shores, as well as on the shores of the Baltic Sea. A fleet of small icebreakers could probably produce a remarkable amount of extra floating ice, this way! Each bay could produce dozens of large ice floes in one winter, and one icebreaker could cover a few hundred kilometres a day. When we discussed Alberts idea in the board of the Atmosmare Foundation, we realized that this might also be a way to prevent the melting of the methane clathrate beds and permafrost areas at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Because ice and snow are so effective insulators, the water in a bay will no longer lose much heat after the ice cover has reached a certain thickness. But if the ice will be cut off so that it drifts farther to the sea, there will be a new flux of heat from the shallow waters. The whole bed of water will become cooler, and even the bottom of the sea will lose some more heat. If we repeated the pro178

cess a number of times each winter, the water surrounding submarine clathrate beds should remain cool enough to prevent melting.
Recommendation: It would be useful and important to find out, whether

the stability of the submarine clathrate deposits and submarine permafrost areas could be maintained by the method suggested by Albert Kallio.

58. Providing Northern Lakes with Better and Higher Wind-Breaks

Wind also affects the freezing of the millions of lakes and ponds scattered in the northern forest zone. The small or relatively small lakes and ponds, and the narrow bays that have good protection from the wind typically freeze for a longer part of the winter than the water areas not similarly protected. The effect is especially important where lakes tend to freeze, melt and re-freeze several times during a winter. The quality and quantity of protection is, in many cases, decided by humans. In most cases the windbreaks consist of trees. The higher the trees, the further away the wind shade provided by them stretches. Even a narrow strip of forty-metre-high trees can break the wind to a distance of 400 or 800 metres. A hectare of trees can offer protection for hundreds of hectares of water! If we banned the logging of lakeside forests and let the trees grow tall, we would probably increase the average amount of springtime ice cover on top of our lakes.

Warmly recommended. It would anyway be a good idea to save the lakeside forests because this reduces the nutrient loads leached into the lakes.

59. Dropping Winter Clouds with Bacteria

According to new research one of the best methods of dropping wintertime clouds from the sky might be to use bacteria. For

example the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae produces a protein that seems to bind water molecules together in a way that mimicks the lattice structure of an ice crystal. This seems to catalyze the formation of ice in higher temperatures than what would otherwise have been required. Brent Christner and his colleagues at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge have collected samples of freshly fallen snow from 19 locations in France, the USA and the Antarctic. They found proof of ice-nucleating proteins from all these sites. This far Christners group hasnt proposed that Earth should be kept cool with the help of bacteria, but they have spoken about catalyzing precipitation over agricultural areas. A typical bacterium is billions of times smaller than a snow flake, so a kilogram of bacteria scattered over the Arctic or the Antarctic might drop down millions of tons of clouds in the form of snow.
Recommendation: It should be remembered that all kinds of equipment able to produce bacterial sprays can also be used for spreading dangerous micro-organisms among a human population. It might be safer to stick to seawater, salt, cement dust, ash, dry ice or silver iodine.

60. Snow Cannons on Board!

Esko Pettay, a marine biologist working for the Atmosmare Foundation, pointed out, in a brainstorming session, that we should also investigate whether snow cannons on board large ships might play a role in increasing the formation or reformation of floating ice at the Arctic Ocean. My first reaction was that snow cannons require far too much electric power and produce too little snow. A single snow cannon consumes about 10 kilowatts of electricity and only produces about 300 cubic metres or 30 tons of snow per hour, which is not very much when we consider the size of the Arctic Ocean. 300 cubic metres of snow could of course cover 300,000 square metres of ice, if the snow was spread over a large area as a very thin, one-millimetre-thick layer. So in theory a snow can180

non could in 24 hours cover 720 hectares or 7.2 million square metres of poorly reflecting, tired and greyish ice with a new, shining white, extremely reflective cover. Actually is this so bad a figure? A wind park with ten thousand three-megawatt windmills could provide power for a million snow cannons, and a million snow cannons could at least in theory keep 720 million hectares or 7.2 million square kilometres of melting ice covered with fresh snow. 1,000,000 snow cannons and 10,000 large windmills installed in the Arctic would probably cost between forty and sixty billion dollars. This sounds a lot, but in reality it is only 3 - 6 per cent of the annual defence budget of the United States. And it might be possible to reduce the costs by concentrating the impact on carefully chosen, strategic areas.
Recommendation: The idea is worth investigating further, but it would probably cost much more than some of the other alternatives.

61. Long Lines of Strengthened Ice on the Sea

A single ship equipped with ten or twenty snow cannons could, in a single day, produce a floating raft of slush and ice only twenty metres wide but ten kilometres long. If the raft froze during the night or during a cold period, it might calm down a somewhat larger area of the sea, so that it would freeze, too. The artificial ice floe thus created would start drifting towards a certain direction, driven by the winds or along a sea current. The same ship could then make another long but narrow raft behind the first one. If there is no swell waves coming from another, distant part of the ocean such artificial floating breakers of ice might be able to break the fetch of the wind and thus calm and freeze the sea between the rafts. There is a problem with this approach, though. When the slush rafts freeze, they become fragile and easily break to pieces. Ice has a relatively high compressive strength, but a very poor tensile strength. Even a huge, kilometre-thick iceberg can split, if a pool

of melt water on top of it acts like a wedge. But hang on. Couldnt we do something to improve the ices tensile strength? Could we, for example, make some kind of composite materials with ice and withwell with something else? Increasing the strength of ice sounds like a crazy idea, but we actually know that it can be done, because there is a precedent. When Richard Mountbatten, the last colonial viceroy of India, was serving as the Chief for the Combined Operations of the allied armies during the Second World War, he also investigated the possibility of making huge aircraft carriers from special, extra-strong ice. Mountbattens first supercarrier was tentatively called Habakkuk, and it would have been made of pykecrete, ice that formed when a solution of sea water and paper pulp froze. Pykecrete was named after the projects chief scientist, Geoffrey Pyke, and it actually was rather amazing stuff. When Mountbatten tried to sell the idea for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in Quebec, Canada, he shot a block of ordinary ice and a block of pykecrete with a revolver. The ordinary ice shattered, completely. But when Mountbattens bullet hit the pykecrete block it glanced off and hit the US Chief for Naval Operations in the leg. This, however, was probably only one of the reasons why the Americans vetoed the project. I do not believe in aircraft carriers made of ice, but Geoffrey Pyke showed that making an ice-and-something-composite may actually be a serious possibility. What if a freight ship unloaded 10,000 tons of old newspapers on a suitable area of the Arctic Ocean, at the right moment of the year, and then cooled the pulped water with snow cannons? Would the mixture of paper and sea water produce strengthened ice? Would it be possible to make a floating barrier strong enough to break the swell, this way? If we used one kilogram of newspapers for each square metre, the whole cargo could produce a floating wave-breaker 500 kilometres long and twenty metres wide. When the barrier would melt in the summer, the paper would decompose very quickly, so the polluting effect of the project would be very temporary. It might, of course, be somewhat challenging to unload 10,000 tons of old newspapers at the Arctic Ocean. How about a tanker

filled with a mixture of water and newspapers pulped into it? Such a water-pulp-slush could just be pumped out.
Recommendation: Er

62. Using Large Icebergs as Drift Anchors

Some of the preceding chapters have analysed, how we could make the floating ice drift faster in a certain direction, so that it would end up in the Beaufort Gyre. Could we instead somehow slow down the ice drifting towards the South? In the present conditions ice drifting southwards between Greenland and the Spitzbergen soon becomes so scattered that it can no longer break the swell and prevent the wind from generating new waves. Thus no new ice can form between the widely scattered ice floes even when the temperature is seriously below zero. If we could somehow concentrate the ice at the Southern edge of the pack ice, the situation might change. If there was enough ice, swell would be broken, wind could not create proper waves and the sea between ice floes would freeze. Could we use the largest icebergs as drift anchors? The greatest icebergs in Greenland weigh billions of tons, and often extend six or seven hundred metres below the water. Because of their enormous size they drift slowly. Moreover, they can sometimes become grounded on shallow banks for one or two years. What would happen if we drew a steel cable around two very large icebergs, and set a cable or a boom between them? What if we strengthened the boom or cable with snow cannons, so that we would have a much stronger barrier, consisting of ice and timber, or ice and steel? If a steel cable was strengthened with a couple of metres of ice, the barrier might become strong enough to halt the flow of drifting ice for one night. If the sea behind the boom then freezed, a much wider and stronger barrier of fast ice would be created, and a lot of new ice might form behind it.


Recommendation: Nobody knows whether this would work, but it might

be worth trying.

63. Scattering the Drifts of Fresh Snow

Strong winds can pile most of the fresh, white snow on large drifts. Snowdrifts are like sand dunes consisting of snow. There is often a lot of shining white snow on some parts of the landscape but on most sites none of it. If the fresh, shining white snow was more evenly distributed, it would greatly increase a glaciers or an ice sheets reflectivity. Is it possible to reduce the accumulation of fresh snow in drifts? One proposal is to produce a lot of snowcat tracks whose direction differs by approximately 90 degrees from the most common direction of the wind. For instance on the Greenland ice sheet the wind normally blows towards the sea. Snowcat tracks following the direction of the coastline would become filled with fresh snow, so that the snow would be more evenly spread over the ice field.
Recommendation: This might actually work.

64. Flooding the Northern Peatlands in Winter

Northern peatlands and other northern wetlands cover an enormous area of land, probably more than a billion hectares, if we use the widest possible definition for what constitutes a wetland. In many cases it would be possible to flood enormous areas of such northern wetlands by constructing tiny dams on carefully chosen, strategic sites. The same dams could also be used to increase the depth of the peat layer, in order to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (see chapter 13). In summer a wet peatland produces more methane than a dry peatland, so we would not want to flood the peatlands during the summer. But in the autumn and winter temperatures will mostly be so low that very little methane is produced.

In many cases it would be possible to cover wetland areas with thick ice by raising the water level, little by little, during the late autumn and winter. The thicker the ice, the longer it would withstand the summer temperatures. Thus wetlands could maintain a high reflectivity for a much longer time. Instead of increasing methane emissions from peatlands, such a program might actually reduce them by lowering summertime temperatures inside the peat. Also, much of the methane produced deeper in the ground might become trapped under the ice, and could thus be captured or burned.
Recommendation: Proof-of-concept-type

pilot trials are warmly recom-


65. Increasing the Amount of DMS-producing Plankton

In chapter 21 I discussed the possibilities of fertilizing the oceans with iron in order to sequester carbon dioxide from the air. The approach has been criticized by many marine scientists, because it is uncertain whether more than a few per cent of the carbon dioxide absorbed by the plankton would be taken permanently out of the air. However, the same method could also be used to improve the Earths reflectivity. I wrote, in 2002, a letter to the New Scientist magazine, about professor Lars Franzens studies (see chapter 21). Franzen had found a connection between cold periods and the amount of space dust falling on Earth and becoming stored in peat bogs. In the letter I said that the observed amounts of space dust were too small to influence the Earths climate directly, by shading the planet from solar radiation. A large part of space dust, however, consists of iron, so the dust might have fertilized the oceans and thus increased the amount of DMS (dimethyl sulphide) in the air. DMS is a sulphur compound that some types of plankton, especially the so called coccolithophorids, as well as coral polyps, produce as an integral part of their metabolism. What we consider as the smell of the sea actually comes from DMS. Franzen wrote back to me, saying that the idea was interest185

ing. He said that the micrometeorite spherules he was digging up from the peatlands were probably too large to fertilize the oceans directly, because they would sink too quickly. But he noted that the dust burning in the atmosphere should produce a vast number of tiny particles that would sink so slowly that plankton would have more time to capture them. In the first major iron fertilization trial, described in chapter 21, half a ton of iron increased the amount of plankton by approximately 30,000 tons (3,000 tons of carbon), which was a very significant result. However, also the amount of DMS in the air more than tripled. This may have been even more important than the sequestration of carbon, because DMS particles are highly reflective. They also act as cloud condensation nuclei, like sulphur dioxide or salt particles do. Most of the clouds over the oceans exist because of DMS. It has been calculated, that without DMS and the clouds produced by it, the Earth might be approximately 10 degrees Celsius warmer. If we produced fine-grained iron dust and treat it so that it would float for some time, so that all of it would be consumed by the plankton before it sinks, each ton of iron could produce up to 100,000 - 150,000 tons of plankton, sequester at least temporarily something like 10,000 - 15,000 tons of carbon, and catalyze the production of a billion billion tiny droplets of DMS. What if we produced some kind of irondust-sawdust pellets? Pellets, which would float for a few weeks or for a couple of months before they would have disintegrated and released all their iron? What if we took a ship-load of such pellets and released them into the oceans in long lines, so that ocean currents and winds would disperse them over a vast area? Would this produce a lot of extra cloud cover? Would it increase the life-span of the already existing stratocumulus clouds, and make them more reflective? Should we try this? This could actually be the cheapest and most effective way to halt, at least temporarily, the melting of the Arctic. We should, of course, keep the timing in mind, especially in the northern seas. In the North it is very important that our artificial plankton blooms will sink and the DMS produced by them disappear before the autumn comes, because in the autumn and

winter the extra clouds would start heating the Arctic Sea, instead of cooling it. There might also be other ways to catalyze the formation of bioaerosols in the High Arctic. Trees also produce aerosols that can assist the formation of cloud droplets. The hardest trees growing in Siberia or in the fells of Scandinavia would most probably also grow in Iceland and in the ice-free parts of Greenland and many other Arctic islands that are now barren. Should we plant more trees on these islands? Coniferous trees might reduce the reflectivity of the islands a bit, but we could plant broad-leaved trees. (see chapter 38). Bioaerosols produced by trees growing on Arctic islands should, at least in theory, increase the summer-time cloud cover over the Arctic Ocean.
Recommendation: We should organize more experiments along these lines. In the Arctic Ocean even most of the carbon sequestered by the plankton might stay out from the atmosphere, instead of only a few per cent, because the water is extremely cold, minus two at the surface and half a degree at the bottom.

66. Establishing Arctic Pleistocene Parks

The Russian ecologist Sergey Zimov, director of the Northeast Science Station in Cherskii, Siberia, has pointed out that it might be possible to save the permafrost areas from melting by introducing massive herds of large, plant-eating animals to the Arctic tundra. Snow is a good insulator and it often prevents permafrost areas from re-freezing during the winter. A much larger number of foraging herbivores would compress the snow and thus reduce its insulating capacity. Zimov has, together with the people of nearby villages, already established a 2,000-square-kilometre Pleistocene Park and stocked it with moose, reindeer and Yakutian horses. Zimov has also experimented with compressing the snow with a military tank.


Recommendation: Warmly recommended. The idea is scientifically sound and makes perfect sense. Besides reindeer, moose and Yakutian horses, musk oxen should also be introduced. What a pity that mammoths and woolly rhinos no longer exist! Vast Arctic Pleistocene Parks, with millions or tens of millions of wild herbivores, could become the worlds most amazing tourist attraction, leaving even the SerengetiMara ecosystem in Tanzania and Kenya in their shadow. Moose also eat pine seedlings and increase the percentage of broad-leaved trees with the expense of conifers, which improves the reflectivity of the northern forests (see chapter 38).


Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions

This book concentrates on reflectivity and on removing carbon from the atmosphere, because the earlier books describing how we can fight global warming have not dealt with these issues in length. However, the idea is not to say that reducing the greenhouse gas emissions would be of secondary importance. What follows is a brief summary of some of the possibilities. Many other methods have already been mentioned, in the previous chapters. The list, of course, is far from exhaustive. Especially the renewable energy field is now changing and developing extremely quickly. 2008 was the first year during which global investment in renewable energies (euro 112 billion) exceeded the combined new investments in fossil fuels and nuclear power. The environmental organization Friends of the Earth has pointed out, that while the EU and many other governments have now adopted ambitious long-term goals about cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 60 or 80 per cent before 2050, their short-time targets are still modest. If the aim is to cut the emissions by 6 or 10 per cent by 2020, there is a problematic gap between the 2020 and the 2050 targets. To bridge this gap, Friends of the Earth Britain proposed, that there should be a law that would commit the United Kingdom to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by a certain percentage, every year, so that the 80 per cent target in 2050 could be achieved smoothly and in a predictable way. The British industries and businesses appreciated the predictability

such a model would create, and almost enthusiastically supported the Climate Law, so it was adopted in the British parliament with a clear majority of the votes. Similar laws would be helpful, especially for the industries, in other countries, as well.

Passive solar energy

In the long run we will most probably get a very large majority of all our energy from the Sun. The Sun produces an almost unimaginable amount of energy, roughly equivalent to 60,000,000 large nuclear power plants for every inhabitant of our planet. 60 million nuclear power plants for you, 60 million for me and 60 million for every other woman, man and child living on Earth. Only one part in two billion of this excessive flow of energy ever reaches the Earth, but even this tiny trickle amounts to 170,000,000 gigawatts, about 14,000 times our present, official consumption of energy. In a way most of our present consumption of energy or even a huge majority of it, already is and will always be passive solar energy. It would be somewhat harder to start the heating of our houses from the average temperature of the Universe (about minus 270 degrees Celsius). But passive solar energy could be harnessed much more efficiently both for heating and cooling purposes, and for many other things, as well. The simplest way to utilize passive solar heating is to concentrate most of the large windows in a house on the southern side, and some of them on the western and eastern sides. On the northern side there should be no windows or only some very small ones. Breathing construction materials like wood and clay are also an effective means of utilising passive solar energy (see the next part).

Saving Energy: Houses

In the northern areas heating consumes a large share of a households energy budget. As a general rule, a large apartment/house consumes more energy than a small apartment/house if they are

otherwise similar. In reality the solutions currently in use are so different, that the various technological choices influence a houses ecological footprint even more than its size. If you have a yard of your own, the cheapest way to save heating energy is a windbreak consisting of trees. A dense fence is not the best option because the wind jumps over it, but a garden with different types of trees in several different layers breaks the wind effectively. Even when the house is warm, well built and airtight, windbreaks can save a lot of energy. Architects should also think in terms of exposure degrees! In not so tight and warm houses can have a dramatic impact on heating bills. Ideally, the windbreaks on the southern side of the house should be situated so far that they do not prevent sunlight coming in from the windows, but this is only possible when the yard is relatively large. On the northern side the windbreaks can be very close to the house. Some of the trees that are growing on your land may be important also for the neighbouring houses as windbreaks or as a sunshade. It is a good idea to give a thought for your neighbours energy bills, as well, when you consider where you should grow trees or whether you should cut an existing tree. After the windbreaks the most economic way to cut heating bills is to add insulation on the top, into the roof, because a large percentage of heat escapes that way. New windows with three or four different glasses save a lot of energy. Using a Venetian blind or drawing a curtain in front of the window during cold days Is almost as effective as adding an extra window glass. It is, of course, possible to hang more than one curtain in front of the windows. Two or three separate, thin and light sheets of silk or artificial silk are, together, a very efficient insulating layer. However, the curtains must not fall on top of a radiator, so that they direct the flow of warm air towards the windows. An extra horizontal frame dividing the windows saves a lot of heat by splitting the convection cell of warm air on the surface of the glass. Placing the warm water or electric radiators at the outer walls is a very good way of wasting a lot of energy, as much of the heat will be channelled directly into the outer wall or windows. Placing an aluminium foil between the radiator and the outer wall

can eliminate part of the wastage, but the best option is to situate the heat sources in the middle of the house. In regions where the temperatures often fall below the freezing point of water, one of the most important things to do is to design the houses so that there are as few vulnerable spots (water pipes!) as possible. If antifreeze is put into the radiators, it is no longer necessary to heat all the rooms during the cold days: only the rooms that have water pipes must be heated in winter even when they are not in use. This transforms the other rooms from consumers of heat to extra layers of insulation. Adding insulation to walls is less cost-effective than the measures mentioned above, unless you have empty cavities inside the walls. Such empty places can be filled with sawdust or some other breathing but insulating material simply by making a small hole and blowing the insulation material inside. When the problem is too much heat, the cheapest way to cut air-conditioning bills are trees shading the house. White paint or paints which reflect the sunlight even more efficiently are also a good option, as well as other passive or active cooling methods using solar energy. Some interesting technologies utilize the phase changes of salt crystals and brines. Breathing construction materials like wood and clay can reduce both the energy needed for heating and the energy needed for cooling. When the temperature drops at night, and some of the water vapour inside a breathing wall condenses and becomes water, it releases a lot of heat (2260 joules/gram) and thus warms up the house. When the wall dries during the day, the evaporation of the water in turn consumes an equivalent amount of energy and cools the house. Most traditional construction methods and styles have utilized the phenomenon very effectively, but modern architecture has almost totally neglected it. This is absurd! It is criminally stupid to burn coal to produce electricity for air-conditioning and heating when the same effect could often be achieved in a way that is both pollution-free and almost free of cost.


Saving Energy: Washing

People in many countries have become obsessed by washing themselves and their clothes. For example in the USA most people now shower many times per day, and typically wash their clothes after having used them for a couple of hours, only. It is not my intention to say that we ought to go back to the habits of 17th century Europe, when people almost never washed themselves, not even once a year. But I do think that for instance the present US washing habits could probably be classified a bit hysterexaggerated. In Jakarta, Indonesia, somewhat similar habits have led to a massive overuse of water, thanks to which the whole city is now rapidly sinking further and further below the sea level. The US environmental group Project Laundry List has observed, that even if people kept on washing themselves and their clothes as often as now, they could typically cut their power bills by about 10 per cent, if they used cold water and dried their laundry on a clothes line, instead of a tumble drier, and if they abandoned the habits of bleaching and ironing.

Saving Energy: Lighting

The provision of lighting annually produces about 500 million tons of carbon. This is annoying, because compact fluorescent lights or light-emitting diodes (leds) can produce the same amount of lighting with five times less power than the old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs. Luckily, the issue has been widely publicized, and things are now starting to change. For instance on 28th of March, 2009, approximately one thousand million people protested against the mindless wasting of electricity. The Earth Hour was the largest demonstration ever organized on this planet. What comes to lighting, romantic notions about going back to candles or oil lamps do not help. If 30 per cent of the energy content of kerosene can be transformed to electricity, to power a fluorescent lamp, this produces approximately 450 times more lighting than burning the same amount of kerosene in an oil lamp. On a long run, solar-powered led lights are the best option, because

the best light-emitting diodes can transform up to 64 per cent of power to light.

Saving Energy: Cars

Transportation is responsible for 20 or 25 per cent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the industrialized countries. Besides this cars also produce nitrogen oxides, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and soot. The easiest and cheapest way to cut the energy consumption of your car is to drive less, and to use trains, busses, trams, a bicycle or your feet instead. When the trains or busses are full, the greenhouse gas emission for each person-kilometre can be only one tenth of what a single person driving his own car would have produced. If you need a private car, only use it when it really saves a lot of money or a lot of time in many cases the car does exactly the opposite. The appeal of the private car is at least partly based on strong, preconceived ideas and promises about unfettered freedom of movement. However, when you spend from two to four hours a day in a traffic jam commuting towards your office and back, you must really use heavy blinkers on your eyes if you can honestly consider this as unfettered, blessed freedom made possible only by the use of your own, private car. In a train or bus you can read, work with the computer, watch a movie, sleep or just relax. All hard to do if youre driving. When the speed increases from 80 to 120 kilometres per hour, nitrogen oxide emissions increase four-fold and fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 30 per cent. The most important thing, therefore, is to avoid speeding, especially during midsummer when the sunshine is bright. The issue is particularly important if you live in a tropical or subtropical region, where sunlight is five times more efficient in converting nitrogen oxides to ozone, compared to Central Europe. Maintaining a proper tyre pressure has some significance, underpressurized tyres can increase the fuel consumption by five or six per cent. Small and light cars of course consume less fuel

than large, heavy vehicles. Dont carry any unnecessary weight, if your car is of average size, each 25 kilograms of extra weight will increase your fuel consumption by roughly one per cent. However, the most important thing is to drive in a relaxed, non-aggressive and anticipatory way, and to maintain a relatively long distance to the next car. Driving this way is economic in the sense that it can save a lot of fuel for you. But a small number of drivers with such a relaxed style of driving can also reduce the fuel consumption of hundreds, if not thousands, of other cars. This sounds crazy, but there are many drivers who do the opposite: who behave aggressively, overtake a lot and drive right behind the next car. When there is a lot of traffic, such aggressive drivers trigger shock waves in the traffic flow. When somebody suddenly slows down the next car has to slow down and stop if it is too close, and so on. The result is a wave that moves backwards on the road with an average speed of 20 kilometres per hour, until it is stopped by a stretch of less dense traffic, or by a driver who had kept a long enough distance to the next car so that the wave did not force her to stop or even slow down, more than a little bit. In other words: in dense traffic aggressive drivers tend to generate an endless series of shock waves, each of which can force thousands of other cars to brake, stop and re-accelerate, over and over again. Non-aggressive, intelligent drivers maintaining a long distance to the next car can damp these shock waves, literally destroy them, and thus prevent the stop-and-go oscillation of the traffic. A small number of intelligent drivers can save everybody a lot of time and a lot of fuel! Diesel cars drink less than cars using gasoline, but they produce more black aerosols (tiny soot particles and tar balls). A better option are the Elsbett engines that use unprocessed vegetable oil or two-tank systems (Elsbett kits) which make it possible to run an ordinary diesel engine with unprocessed vegetable oil. You only have to start and halt the motor with biodisel or ordinary diesel oil. This saves about 15 per cent of the original energy content of the vegetable oil and should produce (on average) much larger soot particles. Biogas cars also burn their fuel without producing large soot emissions. However, electric cars are the ideal solution, especially in the

tropics, because they do not produce any nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide or soot emissions. If their batteries are loaded with renewable energy, they will not produce carbon dioxide, either, except what is released into the air when the car is manufactured. Electric cars are rapidly becoming a feasible alternative. Tesla Roadster, a fancy electric sports car, already has a range of 400 kilometres without a recharge of batteries. Both electric and other cars would consume much less energy if they were made of lighter materials like bamboo, magnesium or carbon fibre composites, instead of steel. Car manufacturers should be forced to move towards this direction. As the environmentalist and technological visionary Amory Lovins has remarked, typically only 0.3 per cent of the energy content in a cars fuel can nowadays be converted as the forward movement of the driver. 80 per cent of the energy is just wasted and most of the rest is used to moving the heavy steel structures of the car. In the tropics it would also be possible to make very light and small, three-wheeled electric cars powered with a solar panel on their roof. If the cars would have a maximum speed of 20 kilometres, if they would be made of magnesium, bamboo, carbon fibre or other very light but strong materials, and if they would only have a relatively small battery, they could get all their power directly from the sun. This would be a better, non-polluting vehicle for the larger cities in the South, which have heavily congested traffic conditions. Electric busses would, of course, be the best solution.

Saving Energy: Food

As mentioned above (see chapter 25), the most important way to reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions is to become a vegetarian. The production of meat consumes an enormous amount of land, fodder, fertilizers, water and energy and produces vast greenhouse gas emissions. Prawns and shrimp, cheese and other milk products, rice, vegetables grown in heated greenhouses off-season and the meat of large, predatory fish also have large carbon footprints. The catching of fish that live in great schools con196

sumes less fuel. The growing of rice produces large methane and carbon emissions. Potatoes, onions and carrots have a very low carbon footprint, as well as locally grown fruit. Eating organic food reduces nitrous oxide emissions, at least to an extent, and may lead to some sequestration of carbon out of the atmosphere, by thickening the humus layer in the fields. If food has been grown nearby, transportation has not caused major greenhouse gas emissions. Food that has been brought for you from another continent by an aeroplane makes a heavy contribution to global warming. Many retail outlets selling food waste large amounts of electricity. Avoid supermarkets and food shops that have remarkably low inside temperatures during the summer heat. Two exotic possibilities should perhaps also be mentioned, in this context. Many research facilities are trying to develop artificial fish fillets and artificial meat, produced with the help of animal stem cells in modern food factories. They assume that in the future it will be possible to produce artificial tissues in such factories with a fraction of the present cost of fish and meat. This would reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and consumer prices. If it would mean the end of animal husbandry and poultry-keeping, it would in practise also free us from the threat of new influenza epidemics. Influenza pandemics always come from domestic animals, either poultry or pigs. Artificial meat would also be an almost ideal solution from the animal rights viewpoint, so this line of research should perhaps be supported. Another interesting issue is called calorie restriction. It seems that it would be possible to increase the maximum life-span of human beings by several decades with a diet containing an adequate supply of all the key proteins, fats, trace nutrients and vitamins, but 30 per cent less calories than the earlier recommended minimum calorific intake. According to new research, such a diet should also increase our average life-span and reduce the incidence of many diseases. No human population with the possible exception of Indian saints has ever followed this kind of calorie restriction, because the unvoluntarily malnourished people also suffer from trace mineral and vitamin malnutrition. The people on the Japanese island of Okinawa, however, probably come

the closest. On Okinawa it is customary to stop eating a little bit before you actually become full. The inhabitants of Okinawa have a 40 times larger chance of living to the age of one hundred than the people living on the other Japanese islands, even though the rest of the Japanese are also among the healthiest people on Earth.

Saving Energy: Food Negawatts

Still in late 1960s and early 1970s at least one half of the food eaten by humans in the so called Third World countries was actually consumed by parasites and infectious, fever-causing diseases like malaria, typhoid, typhus, pneumonia and bronchitis. Nowadays people do not have so many different parasites, combined parasite loads are far smaller and bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Because food production is, by far, the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, the improvements in public health care programs have actually contributed a lot to reducing the scale of the problem. However, at least two billion people still carry roundworms or hookworms in their intestines, and various unnecessary diarrhoeal and respiratory ailments, schistosomiasis, malaria and other infectious disease still consume a large share of the calories eaten by the poorer people. Better and more efficient control of infectious disease could further reduce the need of food - and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector! Food negawatts can also be produced by reducing the burden of manual labour. A peasant doing forestry or farm work with simple, non-mechanized tools can consume two or three times more calories than a person doing less heavy manual work with better equipment.

Saving Energy: Reducing Food Waste

People in industrialized countries currently waste a surprisingly large percentage of their food. Cutting this wastage is an efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers in Cardiff

University have estimated that in United Kingdom 5 per cent of food is wasted at the agricultural level, 7 per cent in processing and distribution, 10 per cent in retail, and 33 per cent at the consumer level. In Southern countries much less food is wasted in a similar way, but post-harvest losses due to fungi, insects and rodents are still a major problem. All these losses could and should be reduced to a fraction of their present size. The European Union and the United States of America should ban practices that create unnecessary waste, instead of enacting legislation that adds to it. Some of the worst directives adopted by EU have forced farmers to throw much of their production away, because it has not been of the right shape and size. Wise legislation would do the opposite. It should make wastage illegal, so that a supermarket cannot legally refuse perfectly edible fruit or vegetables from its contract farmers because of minor cosmetic defects. There should be a clearer distinction between best before and use before dates. People now throw much food away immediately after the best before date, thinking that their health might otherwise be in danger. We should all become aware of how much food we throw away, and how much money and greenhouse gas emissions we could save if we rationalized our personal habits in this field. Development cooperation agencies should pay more attention to reducing post-harvest losses in Southern countries. Such losses still amount to 10-25 per cent of all food grain produced in the South and typically much more for fruit and vegetables. Assistance to agriculture currently amounts to approximately 3 per cent of all international development aid, and of this only 5 per cent is devoted to reducing post-harvest losses. If we are worried about the present world food crises and about the availability of cultivable land in the poorer countries, why do we only invest 0.15 per cent of our international development aid and something like 0.0005 per cent of our GNP in reducing post-harvest losses in the South? This is absurd, because cutting this wastage would also be an excellent way of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions!


Saving Energy: Cooking

Cooking is often done with fossil fuels or with electricity produced by them. There are a number of ways to reduce these emissions. For instance new, energy-saving pressure kettles can save up to 70 per cent of the energy needed for cooking. Microwave ovens are more efficient than ordinary ovens. Solar cookers are the ideal solution, whenever they can be used, but buying electricity that comes from renewable sources is also a good choice.

Saving Energy: Consumption

A significant part of our greenhouse gas emissions are indirect. The production of almost everything does cause at least some carbon dioxide emissions. So the more you consume, the more emissions will be produced. Perhaps the most important single thing is to buy good-quality products that last for a long time and which do not have to be replaced, very often. Using second-hand products is a good idea, as well as lending all kinds of things to friends. When you buy electric equipment, choose models in which the consumption of electricity has been reduced to a minimum. For instance laptop computers consume only five per cent of the electricity that goes to feed an old-fashioned table computer. Boycott flat-screen televisions! The manufacturing of flatscreen televisions releases nitrogen trifluoride into the air. In 2006 there was only 1,200 tons of nitrogen trifluoride in the Earths atmosphere, but in 2008 the amount had grown to 5,400 tons. The concentrations are still tiny, but nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. If every family acquires a flat-screen TV, the emissions of this new greenhouse gas can become a major problem.

Saving Energy: Recycling

Recycling metals and glass saves a lot of energy. Making a can from new aluminium consumes 20 times more energy (electricity)

than making the same can from recycled aluminium. Recycling paper saves energy and water, and reduces methane emissions from garbage dumps. Separating organic waste so that it does not go into landfills also reduces methane emissions. The organic matter can be used to produce biogas or brickets that can be burned like coal.

Saving Energy: Children

From the viewpoint of global warming, the most important single decision might be, how many children of your own you want to have. A couple who decides to have six children and to rear all of them so that they might do the same, will produce a vastly larger carbon footprint than a couple that will only have one child. From an ecological viewpoint it is better to acquire children when you are thirty-six than when you are eighteen. This slows down the population growth. However, there is no actual reason to panic because in a way the population bomb has already been defused. A large majority of the worlds couples now use birth control. In Bangladesh the birth rate has dropped from six to three children per woman, in Iran it dropped from five births per woman in 1989 to only two a decade later. Because of the earlier, rapid growth of population there are now very many young or relatively young people in the world. This means that the Earths population will keep on increasing for some more time before it hits the peak around 2050, and then starts to decline. According to recent predictions the Earths peak human population will most probably be somewhere between 9.2 billion and 8.5 billion. In Latin America and Asia women now have on average 2.5 babies, but most of them would like to have even fewer. It has been estimated, that there are still about 80 million unwanted pregnancies in the world, every year, a figure that exceeds the worlds current population growth (78 million per year). By empowering the women, and by ensuring that even the poorest people can afford birth control, we might be able to ensure

that the population peak will be reached at 8.5 billion or perhaps even at 8 billion, instead of 9.2 billion or more. This would, of course, make everything else a little bit easier. To word it differently, empowering the women might amount to something like one quarter of the solution to the climate problem, even excluding what has already been achieved.

International Travel

International travel, especially flying, might be the most complex issue related to global warming. Aeroplanes are responsible for approximately two per cent of our carbon dioxide emissions. They also produce condensation trails that heat the planet. On the other hand, travel industries provide 200 million fulltime and 300 million part-time jobs. Many families are totally dependent on this income. Ecologically oriented mass tourism may also be the best and perhaps even the only hope for coral reefs, mangrove swamps, peatland, lowland and mountain rainforests, Africas wild ecosystems (including the remaining grasslands growing strong perennial grasses), elephants, great whales, river dolphins and numerous individual, magnificent, giant trees. Much of all this only remains because the tourists enjoy such things and travel where they can see them. Because of mass tourism it is now more profitable to protect the whales and the lions than to kill them. Without mass tourism, nature conservation would most probably be fighting a doomed, uphill battle, and it is very difficult to say how much of the worlds natural wonders could survive the struggle. Tourism is also important for human rights and democracy. Tourists automatically become a kind of human rights monitors. An average mass tourist is not willing to take chances, therefore even a relatively modest amount of violence immediately leads to a collapse of mass tourism. In other words, if a government wants to have its cut of the tourist buck, it needs to behave itself. So the choice is not as easy as some people would like to believe. A runaway greenhouse effect would of course destroy the rainforests and most of the marine biodiversity, but we should

not try to prevent a greenhouse catastrophe in a way that would ensure the destruction of biodiversity through other mechanisms. Besides, if the remaining mangrove forests, tropical rainforests, tropical peatlands and coral reefs will be destroyed, enormous amounts of carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere. Traveling to the South during the winter is also very beneficial for the health of the people who live in the northern areas and who do not get enough sunlight during the darkest season of the year. Even a short trip to the South can fill the bodys vitamin D stores for a month or two, and staying in the sun during the darkest months is even better, from the public health viewpoint. Mass tourism saves lives, or at least prolongs them. Studies that have compared the health statistics of the southern and northern states of the USA have shown that a lack of sunlight increases the risk of strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, osteoporosis, Parkinsons disease, MS-disease, Alzheimers disease and at least 18 different types of cancer. Differences between South Europe and Northern and Central Europe are even more dramatic, because many Europeans live above the 50th latitude, thanks to the heating impact of the North Atlantic Current. Olive oil, red wine and other ingredients that belong to the Mediterranean diet must also play a role, here, but sunlight could still be the main reason for lower cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes mortality in Southern Europe. If you act carelessly, so that you burn your skin repeatedly, you of course increase your risk of getting skin cancer, but this is a very minor issue compared to the list of benefits. Taking vitamin D pills regularly might be as useful as exposing the skin to sunlight, but we cannot yet be certain about this. And then there are the mental health issues Depression can also be a lethal disease! It causes many of the worlds suicides (roughly a million a year) and triples the risk of serious cardiovascular illness. We humans are very strange and unique creatures. In a way we have been trapped between two different worlds. Our closest genetic relatives are the forest chimpanzees and gorillas, but we also have our other sisters, which are in many ways anatomically closer to us than the forest chimpanzees. We are also sea mammals, marine apes, aquatic apes.

We do not have fur but a layer of fat under our skin to insulate us from the cold water. This is a sea mammal thing, none of the other primates have it. We have a sea mammals heat removal mechanism: we sweat. In other words: we have sea mammals kidneys and their capacity to remove salt from our bodies. Wild land animals sweating and pissing like humans would die off as a species in a couple of months, because in an inland savannah or in a rainforest this would be a suicidal way of wasting both water and salt. A marine mammal, however, dies unless it can get rid of the extra salt accumulating into its body. We have a sea mammals descended larynx, which enables us to swallow a deep rapid gulp of air before we dive. We also have a sea mammals ability to control our breath. No other land mammal can do this, but this ability and the structure of our larynx provide us with a capacity to produce complex sounds. For this reason we can talk to each other - and sing, like for instance humpback, bowhead and beluga whales do. We weep and shed tears. All sea mammals do this, but of the land animals only humans and elephants weep. We often forget that our capacity to dive and swim is actually quite substantial, somewhere between grey seals and sea otters abilities, actually a little bit closer to what a grey seal can do. None of the other primates can swim. You cant even get them into the water. According to experiments we can learn to adjust our eyesight under the water. Human babies can swim and dive before they learn to walk. Other land mammals give birth to skinny babies, but human babies are born overweight because they used to need the fat both as buoyant and as water insulation, just like other sea mammals do. According to a most interesting global piece of statistics seven per cent of human babies still have leather between their toes when they are born. And why have the oceans of our planet produced about 35 genera of creatures with very large brains, and the continents none? It all boils down to simple biochemistry. Brains require a number of different fatty acids, some of which, especially decosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA), cannot be substituted by anything else. DHA and AA a very common in marine food webs,

but their availability on land is much more limited. According to South African scientists, who tend to have the best and longest fossil series partly because they have an easy access to Greater Karroo, the largest graveyard in the world - long life on land makes the mammal genera grow larger bodies and smaller brains, while living in the sea seems to have an opposite, growth-inducing impact on mammals brainpans. Anyway: mermaids do exist and you may have seen thousands of them, yesterday. They do not only belong to the realm of legend and fiction, nor do they have anything to do with sea cows, dugongs and manatees. The stories about mermaids are, most probably, faint echoes from our own, distant, long forgotten past. Just forget the fish tails! Many, if not most of us have a strong and somewhat unexplainable longing for the sea, for warm water, sun and sandy beaches, for the sound of the breaking swell on the shore. There is no mystery, here, because this is where we came from and what we actually are. To us, the sea shore is home, our real home, not the savannah nor the rainforest, and being in physical touch with our deep primordial memories may be important for the mental health of many of us. For all these reasons I do find it ethically and morally difficult, if not impossible, to recommend to people that they should not make a holiday trip during the winter, in order to reduce their personal greenhouse gas emissions. So what is the clever thing to do, here? Personally, I am almost convinced that we need mass tourism to save the Earth. It would be very short-sighted to concentrate on fighting the economic structures that might be our best hope of preserving some of the planets most significant carbon stores and carbon sinks. This, of course, does not mean that we should not be more responsible in what we are doing and how we are behaving. We definitely must reduce the environmental impact of air traffic. The carbon dioxide emissions from air traffic have this far received most of the public attention. This is a problem, because the jet plane condensation trails and artificial cirrus clouds born from them heat the planet 1.5 - 30 times more than the carbon

dioxide produced by the aeroplanes. The easiest way to eliminate globe-warming condensation trails is to reduce the flight altitude, especially in late afternoon, evening and night flights. Night flights only constitute a quarter of all flights but they are responsible for 60 or 80 per cent of the heating impact of contrails. Day-time condensation trails cool the planet as long as the sun keeps shining, and start heating it only after sunset. Propeller planes can only produce contrails in very cold conditions, because they do not fly as high as the jet planes. Some jet planes can easily fly a couple of kilometres lower without increasing their fuel consumption by more than a few per cent. However, many modern jet planes have been designed to fly in very thin air, and their fuel consumption increases steeply if they lower their flight altitudes. Because the focus has been in carbon dioxide, only, jet plane manufacturers are still trying to design planes that would fly even higher and thus consume a little bit less fuel. This is very counterproductive, because it will be very difficult for jet planes designed this way to reduce their flight altitudes so that they would not produce contrails. Besides, if the future jets fly higher than our present planes, their contrails will stay up longer and heat the planet even more than the contrails produced by our present jet plane models. It has been estimated, that a jet plane cruising at 17 to 20 kilometres heats the planet 5.4 times more effectively than a plane flying at 10 to 13 kilometres. If carbon dioxide constitutes 2.5 - 40 per cent of the problem and contrails cause 97.5 - 60 per cent of it, it does not really make much sense to multiply the larger problem by a factor of five to reduce the smaller problem by ten per cent or so. According to the most pessimistic calculation the damage for the climate could be two hundred times larger than the benefit. Aeroplane manufacturers and many air companies are even talking about replacing kerosene with hydrogen as the main jet plane fuel. This would be the worst conceivable option, because a jet plane using hydrogen would heat the planet at least 13 times more effectively than our present jet planes, using kerosene. In other words: condensation trails and artificial cirrus clouds produced by a single aeroplane using hydrogen might heat the

planet as much as the carbon dioxide produced by 20 - 400 present kind of jet planes, burning kerosene in the presently used flight altitudes. The highest priority should be to ensure, that jet planes continue to use kerosene manufactured from fossil fuels or from wood or single-celled algae, instead of hydrogen. What comes to air traffic, this is much more important than anything else. The second priority should be to ensure, that the aeroplanes of the future can, when necessary, fly so low that they will not produce climate warming condensation trails, without increasing their fuel consumption too much. But what about carbon? One way to reduce the planes carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions per passenger-kilometre would be to ban business and executive classes. This would make it possible to reduce the emissions on shorter flights to 95 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger-kilometre, when the plane is 80 per cent full. If governments forced airlines to cooperate more effectively and to pool all their flights together so that there would be no more flying with half-empty planes, further savings could be achieved. In full planes it is possible to achieve the level of 50 grams of carbon dioxide (12 grams of carbon) per passenger-kilometre on longer flights, and 76 grams on shorter flights, if there are no business and first classes. This would be 2.5 times less than the present average. Better coordination between the flight control authorities of different countries would enable shorter and more direct routes and shorter waiting times before landing, and thus cut 1520 per cent from carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. Some more savings could be achieved by reducing the average flying speeds of the aircraft. Even a relatively modest drop in speed can often save a lot of fuel. A shift to modern propeller planes, like the Canadian Bombardier Q400, could do even more. Such a move would increase flying times a little, but carbon dioxide emissions would be cut by one half and condensation trails would be eliminated almost completely. Moreover, propeller planes can use biodiesel. Jet planes flying in higher altitudes and in colder temperatures cannot do this, because the so called cloud point of biodiesel is too high.

There are still other ways to reduce the ecological footprint of traveling. Your carbon dioxide emissions or at least a certain percentage of them can be compensated in a very simple way if you can stay in the South for a little bit longer, and if you can keep your home unheated or at least in a relatively cool temperature while you are away. For example in Finland an apartment kept in five degrees Celsius during the winter should statistically consume only 1025 per cent of the energy that would be required for keeping the same rooms at 20 degrees. If you live in the Far North, flying to South for midwinter could actually reduce your personal carbon footprint, if you do not have to heat your house (much) while you are away. We should perhaps demand smaller salaries and longer holidays! As mentioned before, nitrogen oxides cool the climate by destroying methane and heat the planet by producing ozone. According to one estimate these impacts roughly cancel each other at mid-latitudes, over Europe and continental USA. According to this assessment, the tropical sunlight is so intense and converts nitrogen oxides to ozone so effectively, that the heating impact in the tropics might be five times stronger than in mid-latitudes. In the northern areas the cooling impact might dominate, especially if methane emissions from permafrost, peatlands and methane clathrates keep on increasing. Therefore shifting a larger part of the air traffic between Asia, Europe and North America into more northern routes could be a partial solution to the problem. This would, in many cases, also reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Because the circumference of our planet becomes the smaller the closer to the poles we get, surprisingly northern routes are often the shortest way between the continents. Shifting air traffic to more northern routes might even reduce winter-time cloud cover (see chapter 52), but this is still uncertain. However, according to another, more recent estimate, the methane-destroying impact of the nitrogen oxides might be more significant than what was previously assumed. If this new assessment is closer to the mark, nitrogen oxide emissions always have a cooling impact on the planet, no matter what the latitude. All these things can help, but there still is a limit to the amount of flying we can do. Making several different journeys in a year

should be seen as a serious sin, something that should be avoided. Dont be fanatic, carry out the journeys that are genuinely important for you, for your family or for your work. But forget the trips that involve flying and which are only marginally interesting, or which are not absolutely crucial for the work you are doing. We should perhaps also demand wind- and sun-powered, intercontinental passenger ships and the return of the airships. Modern airships could perhaps utilize solar energy with the help of thin-film solar cells, and use powerful kites or sails to harness the energy of the jet streams and other strong winds of the high atmosphere.

Halting Tropical Deforestation

Tropical deforestation still causes at least 20 per cent (and probably more) of our annual carbon dioxide emissions. Preventing the destruction of tropical rainforests is thus very important both for the climate and for biodiversity a great majority of the plant, animal and fungus species living on land are endemic to tropical rainforests.

Industrial Process Emissions: Cement and Steel

Most of the concrete annually produced in the world is based on Portland cement, because it is cheap, easy to use and because it makes strong and durable concrete. Unfortunately, the manufacturing of Portland cement produces approximately two billion tons of carbon dioxide per year (see chapter 3). These emissions could still double before the year 2030, unless we shift to better raw materials. It has already been mentioned that magnesium-based cements were a better alternative, because they could in theory absorb a lot of carbon from the atmosphere, assuming that the magnesium carbonate is manufactured in the right way. However, even a shift to the geopolymer cements would cut the emissions by 90 per cent or so.

The concrete made of geopolymer cements would most probably be both cheaper and stronger than the concrete made of Portland cement. Geopolymer cements bear a great resemblance to the qualities of the so-called Pozzolana cement, which the ancient Romans used as a construction material. Many houses made of the Pozzolana concrete are still in a prime condition, more than 2,000 years after they were built. Modern geopolymer cements are manufactured of the fly ash from coal-fired power stations and steelworks. Aluminates and silicates are extracted from the fly ash. When they are treated with alkali, a polymerisation reaction binds them into long-chain molecules known as geopolymers. No heating to high temperatures is required, and there are no carbon dioxide emissions from the chemical reactions. However, in 2008 there was only one company the Australian Zeobond that was already manufacturing larger amounts of geopolymer cement. The manufacturing of steel also causes very large carbon dioxide emissions, because iron oxides are usually reduced to iron with coke, a purified form of mineral coal. It would be possible to eliminate these emissions, or at least a major part of them, by replacing coke with charcoal. The steel used in tanks and in some other military equipment is often purified with charcoal. Whenever possible, steel and Portland cement should be replaced with wood, bamboo or mud in construction. Wooden houses are carbon sinks. Mud is also a very good but neglected construction material. Houses constructed of mud or air-cured mud bricks are cool in the summer and warmer than concrete houses during the winter, because water keeps on changing its phase inside such materials, from water vapour to liquid and back to water vapour. Mud houses can be constructed almost without any greenhouse gas emissions. Large bricks of compressed straw are also an interesting and cheap alternative construction material. However, for example traditional Indian houses were not made of mud, only. They were based on a kind of composite structure that integrated mud with tree branches and shoots. Such a structure can be amazingly strong. When the terrible earthquake of 2001 killed tens of thousands of people and destroyed the houses of five million people in Gujarat, in many areas it was only the

houses built by the traditional methods that were able to withstand the devastation. For example in the village of Ludiya in Kutchch, all the modern houses made of concrete collapsed, but every single one of the round traditional houses that had used mud-wood composite structures remained standing. The mud-wood-composites were able to absorb the seismic shock, while the concrete-steel structures were shattered.

Solar Heat Collectors

Solar collectors are not exactly a new technology. They were invented already in the Carboniferous era, 300 million years ago, by large fin-backed lizards known as dimetrodons. Dimetrodons had a large but thin, probably rather dark sail at their backs. In the morning they raised the sail towards the sun and circulated the heat collected by it into the rest of their body through the blood veins. Unfortunately many governments have not yet reached the Carboniferous period in their renewable energy development programmes. Bureaucracies are, of course, supposed to be slow and sluggish. But still, noticing that you are now more than 300 million years behind your time in an important field of technological developmentshouldnt that ring a red warning bell, somewhere? Or could that at least be considered as a weak signal? Luckily, the more advanced countries have already moved beyond the capacity of dimetrodons in the field of solar collectors. There are numerous well-designed flat-plate solar collectors on the markets, by which people can warm their houses and heat water. Numerous Chinese companies are manufacturing cheap but efficient solar collectors based on transparent, vacuum-insulated glass tubes. The Chinese models had already in 2006 been installed in 35 million households and their number was expected to quadruple in ten years. Air-based solar collectors could be still simpler and cheaper, but this branch of the technology has not yet received the amount of attention it would rightly deserve. A shallow pond of dark water, or a pond whose bottom has been painted black, will absorb most of the sunlight falling on it

during the daytime. However, when the temperatures drop during the night the pond quickly loses heat through the convection of the water: warmer water always rises on the surface of the pond. A lot of heat is also lost through evaporation. The convection can be prevented by transparent films or with the help of a salt gradient. Such a construction, a solar pond, is a very efficient and affordable collector of solar heat.

Thin-film Photovoltaics

What comes to solar electricity, there are two main approaches: photovoltaics and solar-thermal electricity or concentrating solar. The combined approach is known as concentrating or concentrator photovoltaics. In the following pages I will take a brief look on all these possibilities. At the end of 2008 Spain and Germany were leading the global solar power revolution, with Spain having 44 and Germany 26 per cent of the installed capacity. Most of the truly promising new techniques now come from an area which could be called the Solar Triangle, consisting of three US states: California, Arizona and New Mexico, and including Californias famed Silicon Valley. However, it should be recognized that the research and development efforts of many US companies have in practise been heavily subsidized by the Spanish and German investments in solar power. Without these contributions the Americans could not have made so much progress during the Bush era. In photovoltaics solar radiation falling on semi-conductor surfaces produces electricity. The phenomenon was described already 1887 by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz, who also discovered the radio waves. Another scientist born in the same country, Albert Einstein, later received a Nobel price for physics for explaining the theoretical basis of Hertzs observation. However, the spread of the photovoltaic technology has been slowed down by the high price of effective semi-conductor materials. In regions with a lot of direct sunlight, concentrating photovoltaic or cpv systems (see below) is one of the most promis212

ing solutions to this problem. In cpv systems the amount of semiconducting materials can be reduced by thousands of times by concentrating sunlight by lenses or with parabolic mirrors. But at least in areas where most of the sunlight has been diffused (dispersed) by clouds, water vapour or air pollutants, thin-film solar cells are probably the best option, because they can also utilise diffused sunlight. Thin-film solar cells do not use silicon but other materials which are up to one thousand times more effective in capturing solar energy. Therefore they require roughly one hundred times less semi-conducting materials than ordinary solar cells. The US company First Solar announced in February 2009 that it had been able to reduce the manufacturing costs of its solar modules to 98 US cents per watt, thus becoming the first company to break the one dollar per watt barrier. First Solar is manufacturing Cd-Te (cadmium-tellurium) thin-film solar cells, which seem to be among the most promising options. However, the most unpredictable wild card in the thin-film solar cell field is Nanosolar, which has its headquarters in San Jose, California. Nanosolar was the first company that started to produce thin-film photovoltaic panels by printing them. Nanosolars thin-film panels are amazing, flexible foils which have had an efficiency of 19.9 per cent in laboratory experiments and 14.6 per cent in independent field trials. The cells have been manufactured to last for at least 25 years and their energy payback time is less than one month. In other words the panels can be expected to produce hundreds of times more energy than what is required to manufacture them. Each gram of Nanosolars copperbased CIGS semiconductors can, during its life-time, produce five times more energy than a gram of enriched uranium or forty times more than a gram of natural uranium. After this the material in the solar cells can be recycled. Nanosolars thin-film solar cells are printed by a machine, in which a long roll of thin metal foil is unwound and covered with a special semi-conducting ink that contains a little bit copper and a secret mixture of other ingredients. In June, 2008 Nanosolar announced that its new solar cell coater, that only costs USD 1.65 million, should be able to manufacture 1 gigawatt of solar cells in

a year, when running with the speed of 30 metres a minute or 50 centimetres a second. According to company representatives this kind of roll-to-roll processing can cut manufacturing costs by two full orders of magnitude. The claim may sound outrageous, but in theory a much larger coater machine could use twenty times wider rolls containing kilometres of material, and moving with the speed of 600 metres instead of only 30 metres per minute. Such a huge manufacturing robot, resembling the machines in a large paper mill, could produce a mind-boggling amount of solar cells in a year. The whole production line would, of course, cost more and the materials are expensive, but the shift from high-vacuum to nonvacuum processing of thin-film solar cells may still have a dramatic impact on the attainable price levels. Nanosolar may soon be able to manufacture thin-film solar cells with only a couple of US cents per watt. If this becomes a reality, many of the other renewable energy options described in this book will, unfortunately, lose their economic feasibility.

Concentrating Solar

In concentrating solar power (cs) sunlight is concentrated by parabolic or trough-like reflectors. In most designs the concentrated heat then produces steam, which in turn produces electricity with a steam turbine or with a modern steam engine. There are also solar-powered Stirling engines. In them in turns expanding and contracting gas is driving a piston engine. In solar trough plants long, trough-like collectors concentrate sunlight on black tubes. The idea was originally proposed by the Swedish inventor John Ericsson, already in the 1840s. According to a study made by OECD solar trough plants should become cheap enough to compete with coal and nuclear power without any subsidies or pollution taxes after 5,000 megawatts have been installed. At this stage the expected cost of solar troughs would be about USD 1,500 per kilowatt, fifty per cent of their present price. In the South, where labour costs are lower than in the United States or in Europe, economic sustainability could be reached even

with a much smaller level of investment. A solar trough project in Rajasthan, India, is aiming at an installation cost of USD 1,000 for a kilowatt of power. Steam turbines and steam engines run by solar energy unfortunately consume a lot of freshwater, just like coal-fired thermal power plants and nuclear power plants.

Concentrating Photovoltaics

Concentrating or concentrator photovoltaics (cpv) is a hybrid of the two main schools of solar electricity. Ordinary photovoltaic panels cannot deal with concentrated sunlight, they overheat and experience a brownout, which means that they stop producing electricity. However, if the photovoltaic cells are kept cool, the situation changes and the efficiency of the cells grows when the photon flux (the amount of light falling on them) increases. When sunlight is concentrated 1,000 times the concentrator photovoltaic cells can produce 2,000 times more electricity, if they do not overheat. The US company PhotoVolt Inc has been able to produce 400,000 watts of electricity per one square metre of photovoltaic cells by concentrating the sunlight 2,500 times, and IBM 700,000 watts per square metre with a concentration of 2,300 suns. The Israeli scientists have experimented with even higher concentrations of sunlight amounting to 9,600 suns (!) but these seem to be a little bit too much for the presently available materials and cooling techniques. Concentrator photovoltaic systems will soon be able to produce electricity with a much lower price than coal-fired power plants because they now routinely attain efficiencies of 25, 30 or even 40 per cent, and because they can reduce the need of expensive semi-conductor materials by thousands of times. In practise semi-conducting materials are replaced by reflecting mirrors or Fresnel lenses. There are numerous different designs. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (in Israel) and the Australian company Solar Systems are using very large parabolic reflectors with a small photovoltaic panel at their focal point. The German Concentrix GmbH and the US Amonix have developed

modular panels in which numerous small Fresnel lenses concentrate sunlight to small pieces of semi-conducting material. The Japanese Sharp, the Californian SolFocus and the Australian Green and Gold Energy have developed modular panels using a large number of small parabolic reflectors. The Israeli MST Renewable Energy Company has estimated that it would cost about USD 850 million to construct a 1,000-megawatt concentrator photovoltaic power station, and that a factory annually producing 1,000 megawatts of further power plants would cost about USD 650 million. The chief executive officer of SolFocus, Gary D. Conley, has said that his company could produce a hundred megawatts of its concentrating photovoltaic panels with less than one dollar per watt, and that the retail price will drop to USD 0.35 when the orders reach the level of 1,000 megawatts. Spanish firms are running trials with narrow strips of photovoltaic cells placed on the focal lines of solar troughs. This approach also sounds very interesting and promising.

Low-Concentration Photovoltaics

The so called low-concentration photovoltaics is also an important possibility which should be mentioned separately because Its strengths and weaknesses are very different from the technologies that concentrate sunlight hundreds or thousands of times. In this approach sunlight is concentrated only a couple of times with the cheapest and simplest flat mirrors that can be produced, or with some other, affordable method. Flat mirrors are easy and cheap to manufacture, and the power production in some systems does not collapse completely even when the weather becomes cloudy.

Solar CHP (Combined Heat and Power) and solar CCP (Combined Cooling and Power)

Most photovoltaic and cs systems can be designed to produce, with only marginal additional costs, both power and heat when216

ever there is demand for industrial process heat, heat for desalination purposes or heat for warming the houses. This is especially easy with the concentrator photovoltaic systems that use very large reflecting mirrors, because many such systems already use the ground as a heat sink and channel heat into the soil through plastic pipes. With a little bit more complex arrangements the same power stations could also provide power and district cooling.


In the northern areas the most ecological way to produce biofuels is to grow aspens, poplars, birches or other fast-growing broadleaved trees. The largest biomass yields have been achieved with dense stands of willows on heavily fertilized fields, but it makes better ecological and economic sense to grow a much smaller number of aspens, poplars or birches on ordinary forest lands. If the trees are relatively large when they are cut, fertilizers are not needed because only small branches, leaves and needles contain substantial amounts of nutrients. If they are left in the forest, the nutrient loss with the actual trunk wood is insignificant. Wood can be burned to produce heat or used in heat and power co-generation (CHP). A third recommendable option is to convert most of the woods energy content to charcoal and wood oil (bio-oil, pyrolysis oil) and to use the waste heat to produce electricity and district heating. Numerous different technologies are now used in biomass-based CHP plants of varying sizes. Wood can also be converted to fuel alcohol. The climatic impact of burning wood in a small scale, however, is extremely complex. The ash particles, numerous different organic carbon compunds and other bright aerosols produced by burning wood have a cooling impact on the planet, but soot has an opposite effect, both in the air and especially on snow and ice. Carbon monoxide heats the planet by prolonging the life-span of methane in the air, and the free hydrogen from incomplete combustion creates cirrus clouds, whichh contribute to global warming. Nitrogen oxide emissions have both heating and cooling impacts. Burning wood also produces carbon dioxide, but this is

quickly re-absorbed by the new trees and circulated over and over again, unless too much wood is used so that the amount of carbon in the standing stock begins to decline. Carbon monoxide and soot emissions are often counted in ppms, meaning parts per million in the flue gases. This can be a bit misleading. If you have a poorly designed stove that only has an efficiency of 10 per cent, you need eight times more wood and produce eight times more flue gases than if you had a better stove with an efficiency of 80 per cent. If the bad stove produces 20 times more carbon monoxide and a hundred times more soot, when counted as parts per million in the flue gases, it will, in practise, release 160 times more carbon monoxide and 800 times more soot to achieve the same heating result. Drying the wood properly is very important, the burning of moist fuelwood causes extremely high carbon monoxide and soot emissions, and releases hydrogen into the air. In a nutshell: burning wood in a very inefficient and polluting way may not be an eco-friendly thing to do, but if wood is burned in a way that minimizes the soot, hydrogen and carbon monoxide emissions, using wood instead of fossil fuels definitely helps in preventing a global climate catastrophe.

Other Biofuels

Biofuel production can destroy tropical rainforests and peatlands, and increase greenhouse gas emissions and hunger. But it could also assist in protecting the rainforests, tropical peatlands and mangrove forests, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eliminate hunger and absorb huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In spite of contradictory claims, actual photosynthesis is not a very inefficient way of harnessing solar energy. Its efficiency is 28 per cent, but only with the so called photosynthetically active wavelengths between 400 and 700 nanometres, which make about 50 per cent of the Suns radiation. Besides this limitation, about 10 per cent of the photosynthetically active radiation is reflected back and lost.

These factors reduce the theoretical maximum efficiency of plants as solar collectors to 9.4 per cent. The so called C4 plants require about 40 per cent of this for their own metabolism, so the maximum drops further to 6.7 per cent. With the C3 plants it drops to 3.3. per cent because of the extra photorespiration losses, which happen when the C3 plants become saturated with sunlight. Thus the theoretical maximum production of the C4 plants in a temperate climate is 55 tons of organic carbon per hectare per year, or roughly 110 tons of dry plant biomass. In the tropics higher yields are theoretically possible because the amount of sunlight is larger. This theoretical maximum production has in practise never been reached because of the lack of water and nutrients and because most plants do not grow rapidly throughout the year. But in ideal conditions it is possible to get quite close to these figures, especially if several different species complementing each others growth cycles are grown together. With single-celled algae growing in water the respiration losses are smaller and even higher levels of productivity can be attained. In most regions the availability of water is the factor that sets the limits for how much biofuel can be grown. One solution to this problem might be the cultivation of the so called CAM- or crassulean acid metabolism-plants, like cacti. CAM plants keep their stomata shut during the day and only take carbon dioxide in during the night, in order to minimize their evaporation losses. For this reason CAM plants are superbly efficient in their water use. Their theoretical maximum productivity is 1 gram of carbohydrate for 50 grams of water. This is phenomenal, because for example wheat requires 2,000 grams of water to produce 1 gram of carbohydrate. In practical experiments cultivations of edible cacti have provided 5-7 times more calories for each tonne of water than C3 plants. In Israel opuntia and cereus cacti have produced 400 tons of edible cactus flesh and 40 tons of cactus fruits per hectare per year, with 400 millimetres of rain and irrigation water. This far cacti have been cultivated in a large scale only in Mexico. However, if the world becomes significantly warmer and drier, they could be planted on vast dryland areas in dozens of countries to provide food and fuel alcohol for the people. In a nutshell, these figures mean that it would be theoretically

possible to produce very large amounts of biofuels in ecologically and socially sustainable ways. However, if the production of biofuels means heavy use of nitrogen fertilizer and/or the destruction of tropical rainforests and peatlands, it will be very harmful for the climate. The most dramatic demonstration of both the possibilities and dangers related to biofuels is the recent expansion of oil palm plantations. The two important oil palm species, the African oil palm (Elaies guineensis) and the Amazonian peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) are among the most useful trees nature has provided for us. African oil palm plantations produce, as a global average, about four tons of oil per hectare per year, but the best new cultivars can give 7-12 tons. Some of the peach palm varieties originally bred by the indigenous peoples of the Amazonas have been reported to yield up to 15 tons. The seedcakes are edible and oil palms provide good soil cover against erosion. The oil itself is highly oligotrophic and contains hardly any nutrients, so if only the oil is harvested and the nutrients from seedcakes are recycled, heavy doses of chemical fertilizers are not necessary. Above all, in terms of dry matter, oil only makes about 10 per cent of the overall biological production of an oil palm plantation. If palm oil effluent is used to produce biogas, plantations can yield 16,000 litres of oil-equivalent per hectare per year. Besides this, Graig Venter (of Celera), Vinod Khosla (of Sun Microsystems) and many other individual investors, companies and scientists have invested large amounts of money in research and development related to cost-effective ways of converting woody materials to cellulose ethanol. If these efforts will succeed, the combined average production of palm oil, biogas and cellulose ethanol from the future oil palm cultivations might well reach 40,000 or even 50,000 litres of oil-equivalent per hectare per year. In spite of this potential, oil palms have acquired a very bad reputation, for three different reasons. First, numerous peoples movements in the South fear - for a reason - that the new biofuel production programmes will lead to massive forced displacement of indigenous peoples and millions of other small farmers, sharecroppers and landless labourers. It would be important to ensure, that most tropical biofuels were grown on hundreds of millions

of small farms, together with other kinds of crops, and not on a small number of vast plantations owned by giant corporations or wealthy individual landowners. This way biofuel production would have a strong stabilizing, instead of destabilizing, impact on many societies. Of course, this is not what is currently happening! The nitrogen fertilizers used in most biofuel plantations should be seen as another, serious problem. If four or five per cent of the nitrogen in the fertilizers is converted to nitrous oxide, instead of only one per cent (see chapters 15 and 25), the growing of biofuels with heavy doses of nitrogen fertilizer will almost inevitably increase our greenhouse gas emissions. It is extremely important to take this issue more seriously. The problem can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, by recycling crop residues and by the application of biochar (see chapter 15). High-cellulose, low-nitrogen biofuels like those made of wood can also be grown without nitrogen fertilizers. The third dilemma has to do with Indonesias peatland rainforests, which can contain thousands of tons of organic carbon on one hectare. According to one assessment, oil palm plantations established on such peatlands have sometimes produced biodiesel that has a 25 or even 36 times larger carbon footprint than ordinary diesel. Which is more than a little depressing. How on Earth can we start with the ideal biofuel crop, a biofuel species from heaven, and end up increasing our carbon dioxide emissions 36-fold? Perhaps we should really die off and leave the planet for more intelligent species! However, if we decide to hang around, we should get our act together and rationalize our biofuel production, at least to a minor extent. Indonesia also has 60,000,000 or 80,000,000 hectares of completely destroyed or seriously degraded forests that would urgently need re-planting. In Indonesia oil palms produce, on average, four times more oil on mineral soils than on peatlands. In West Africa cacao plantations were, for a long time, always established by first removing the rainforest trees and then planting cacao on the same land. Then farmers in Cameroon realized that cacao trees grow better in the shade of larger trees, because

that is the ecological niche for which they had originally evolved. Nowadays cacao in Cameroon is grown in forested areas without destroying the rainforest. The model provided by the farmers of Cameroon might be a good compromise in Indonesia, as well. African oil palm (generally known as the oil palm) and Amazonian oil palm (known as the peach palm) have evolved like cacao, as plants that grow in the shade of larger rainforest trees. It might make perfect sense to replant Indonesias 60,000,000 or 80,000,000 clear-cut or seriously degraded forest hectares so that both larger trees and oil palms growing between them would be used. A lot of carbon dioxide could be sequestered, a lot of biofuels could be produced and even the biodiversity should be more than on the artificial alang-alang (Imperata cylindrica) grasslands. In all types of biofuel plantations the need for fertilizers could probably be reduced by adding crushed charcoal or fine-grained biochar into the soil. The method should also increase the amount of humus in the soil, thus making the biofuel cycle carbon negative. For example oil palm plantations and sugarcane plantations produce enormous amount of organic waste matter, some of which could be converted to biochar. Oil palms main shortcoming is that they have a shallow root system which grows near the surface as thick bunches of relatively small roots. It is not possible to grow other crops between oil palms if they are more than a few dozen or one hundred on a hectare. It would thus make ample sense to do some selective breeding on the most promising tropical or subtropical oil tree species which have a vertical taproot system. West African safou (Dacryoides edulis) deserves special attention because it can, already in its wild form, produce almost as much oil as the present oil palm cultivars, and because it does not compete much with the surrounding crops. Safou can easily be integrated into various tropical multi-storey home garden systems, food-producing vines like yam can be grown on its trunk and it can even be used as a shade tree for coffee. Other palm species, especially the nipa palm, are an excellent source of fuel ethanol (see chapter 17). In June 2008 I enquired from the new secretary-general of CNS (Conseilho Nacional de Seringueiros) of Brazil, whether CNS

would be interested in experimenting with peach palms cultivated in the shade of larger rainforest trees. CNS is the national organization of rubber-tappers, nut-gatherers and other people who get their livelihood from the rainforests of the Brazilian Amazonas without destroying the forest. We had been cooperating for more than twenty years, so I expected a straight answer. The secretary-general and the other CNS representatives said that even though the idea might be technically feasible, they did not find it very interesting. They said that they would prefer to collect oilseed produced by trees already growing in the Amazonas. According to detailed surveys a surprisingly large percentage of all the trees growing naturally in the Amazonian rainforests produce good crops of oilseed. It seems that there are a few billion wild oil trees already growing in the rainforest, when all the different species are counted together. According to CNS, it would be possible to collect much of this crop and process it to make raw biodiesel in the Amazonian villages and individual households. If it was economically feasible to produce, collect and transport such raw biodiesel, the programme could make a major contribution towards saving the Amazonas. At the moment tropical rainforests produce very little economic value for the more than one billion mostly very poor people living in the forests or in the areas surrounding them. According to one estimate the economic productivity of one hectare of rainforest can be as little as USD 20 per year. If natural rainforests could also produce a lot of valuable oilseeds, it would be much, much easier to protect them against other forms of land-use. Whenever biofuels are produced, it is important to plan and organize the production so that it does not compete with food production. For example the production of soya oil also provides large amounts of protein-rich seedcake, as a kind of by-product. Soya seedcakes have been processed into animal feed, soya grain, soya flour, soya cheese (tofu), soya cream, soya ice cream, soya sausages, soya meat and tempeh. These products have made soya the worlds most important protein crop, and most other oil seedcakes could be used in a similar way. Special attention should perhaps be paid to the Indonesian habit of making palatable and pop223

ular food, tempeh, from protein-rich seedcakes by treating them with a special kind of fungus. The most popular biodiesel plant in semi-arid and sub-humid regions is currently jatropha (Jatropha curcas). For example India and numerous African countries are planning to plant jatropha on very large acreages. Jatropha plantations, unfortunately, have this far produced seedcake which is poisonous for both humans and domestic animals. Thus the planting of jatropha has, in many localities, directly competed with food production. However, some of the Mexican jatropha varieties are edible and nonpoisonous. People in the mountains of the Mexican states Puebla and Vera Cruz eat the seeds of these jatropha varieties after only a little roasting. Ipalac, International Programme on Arid Land Crops, a programme of Icrisat (International Crop Research Center for Semi-Arid Tropics) in Niamey, Niger, has started to disseminate two edible jatropha varieties (Mexico and Las Pilas) but its work has suffered because of the programmes lack of secure core financing. If the tens or even hundreds of millions of hectares of new jatropha plantations will, in the future, also produce a couple of tons of highly nutritious, edible seedcake per hectare per year, besides the fuel oil, the worlds food security will be much improved.

Ordinary Wind Power

When the blades of a wind rotor become ten times longer the area swept by them, and the amount of energy collected, becomes one hundred times larger, so up to a certain point it makes sense to construct as large windmills as possible. The worlds largest windmills are currently manufactured in Germany. They have a capacity of 6 megawatts. According to some experts the economically optimal size will probably be reached around 15 or 20 megawatts. After this the material costs are likely to rise faster than the production of power. Small windmills have also become an economically attractive option on windy sites. In England small windmills can now pay their investment costs back in less than a year, on sites which have

good wind conditions. According to recent data, the average price of wind power was still, in 2007, clearly higher than the equivalent price of electricity from the coal-burning power plants. The price of wind power was roughly the same as the cost of gas-generated electricity, but less than the price of nuclear power, even when the dismantling costs of the nuclear power plants and the defence and safety costs (the extra costs for the army, navy and air force units) were not included in the calculations. The average price of wind power is still likely to decrease, due to increasing size and lengthening production series of wind turbines, and because of new innovations related to the cheaper erection of offshore wind parks. Also, the wind turbine market has, during the last few years, become seriously overheated. The superfast growth of the sector has maintained a high price level at the global wind turbine markets. When the growth rate of the industry, at some point in the future, begins to decline, there will be a notable further reduction in wind turbine prices. According to European Wind Energy Association Europes economically competitive offshore wind power potential might reach 2,600,000 gigawatt-hours (800 gigawatts) in 2020, and rise to 3,400,000 Gwh (1,130 gigawatts) in 2030. The technical potential could be around 25,000,000 Gwh (8,000 gigawatts) in 2020 and about 30,000,000 Gwh (10,000 gigawatts) in 2030, most of which would be at the North Sea and elsewhere at the North Atlantic. It might also be a good idea to negotiate with Russia about the establishment of large wind parks on the Kola Peninsula. The Kola Peninsula is one of the worlds best sites for producing wind energy. It is the windiest part of Russias northern coast. The winds are very strong and there are not many calm days. A study financed by the Norwegian environmental organization Bellona estimated, some years ago, that the theoretical annual wind power potential of the Kola Peninsula might amount to 21,000,000 gigawatt-hours (7,000gigawatts!), and that even the technical and economic potential would be around 360,000 gigawatt-hours (120 gigawatts). Because the present windmills are larger - and still growing bigger both the theoretical and the technical potential is still increasing together with the improvements in the technology.

If a mutually beneficial deal can be negotiated with Russia, it would make perfect sense to construct a lot of wind power on the Kola Peninsula. The area is not very far from West Europe or from Moscow. Modern HVDC -transmission lines (High Voltage Direct Current) are much smaller than the old-fashioned, gigantic lines using alternating current, but they can transport power for thousands of kilometres with surprisingly small losses. There is a 1,700-kilometre-long HVDC-line in Congo, and China is constructing at least two 2,000-kilometre-long ones. The other one of them should have the capacity to transfer 5,600 megawatts of electricity. The portion of wind power in an electric grid can be increased to a rather high level even without extra backup power, if the wind-generated electricity comes from many separate areas whose winds operate in a different rhythm. In other words, if wind power is being produced at the North Sea, at the Baltic Sea, at the Norwegian Sea and at the Barents Sea (on the Kola Peninsula), and not only at the Baltic and North Seas, a much larger percentage of all electricity can come from wind power. The mentioned four seas are never still at the same time! In North America for example the coastal waters of the USA and Canada and many of the continents great plains have a huge wind power potential, as well as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. On the Isthmus of Tehuantepec the average speed of winds is so high, that wind power can reach 50 per cent of its installed (theoretical) production capacity, instead of the more normal 30 or 40 per cent.

Kite Power

A growing number of companies have been developing an even more high-flying form of wind power, based on large kites. As a general rule the wind speed roughly doubles when you rise from 100 metres to one kilometre. This means that a similar structure produces eight times more electricity if you can lift it to the height of one kilometre. A tower rising to such heights would be prohibitively expensive, but a large kite can reach them with ease.

In Europe Bas Lansdorp and his co-workers in the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have already demonstrated that a 10-square-metre-kite can produce three kilowatts of electricity. The kite rises to the sky pulling a tether and spinning a power generator. When the tether has become fully unwound, the computer-control mechanism adjusts the kites position, so that it glides down quickly, with minimum air resistance. According to Lansdorps calculations a larger, automated, 20-square-metre version should be able to produce 20 kilowatts. Lansdorps group is also involved with the project Aeolus, named after the Greek God of winds, which aims at replacing the kites with fixed-wing planes. The Aeolus team hopes that they would be able to develop a 1-megawatt generator in 2010. The Italian company KiteGen has estimated, that it should be possible to develop much larger kites producing 50 megawatts of electricity. This may sound fanciful, but ships already use large kites that complement their primary propulsion systems. The largest kites currently developed could create a pull of 130 tons, equivalent to the thrust generated by 50,000 or 60,000 horsepowers of diesel engines. Coal power now costs about euro 60 and ordinary wind power euro 100 per megawatt-hour. According to KiteGen kite power could probably be produced with euro 15 per megawatt-hour. The search robot company Google has invested USD 10 million to a company called Makani Power, based in Alameda, California. Makani Power is developing a top secret power kite, which should, according to the company, be able to produce electricity for 100,000 households. Makani Power is aiming at the height of ten kilometres (!). This sounds a bit ambitious, but if Makani Power will succeed, all the older calculations about wind power potential on this planet will start to look very foolish. If kite power becomes a serious form of power generation, our practical potential for generating wind power will increase at least 10- and possibly 100-fold. The main objection has been that high-flying kites are a problem for air traffic. This problem could be avoided by concentrating the kite power plants on the no-fly-zones which have been created around nuclear power plants after the terrorist strikes on

11.9.2001. This would also make an very important contribution to the safe-guarding of the nuclear power complexes. If a nuclear power plant would be surrounded by thousands of tethered kites or fast-winged gliders, it would be impossible to crash an aeroplane on it. Tethered hydrogen balloons were widely used against fighters and bombers during the First and Second World Wars. Continuously rising and falling kites would be even more effective.

Hydroelectric Power

According to latest estimations, the artificial reservoirs behind large dams now produce between 104 million and 120 million tons of methane in a year. This amounts to 2025 per cent of the human-made methane emissions. During the next twenty years these emissions will have the same global warming potential as the annual production of six or seven billion tons of carbon dioxide. Many hydroelectric power plants produce practically no greenhouse gases. However, if the reservoirs flood relatively flat lands whose soils contain large amounts of organic matter, large greenhouse gas emissions may be created. In the worst cases small dams producing minuscule amounts of electricity have flooded vast peatland areas. Such hydroelectric plants can cause far larger greenhouse gas emissions for each megawatt of power than any other known form of energy production. Individual dams and the adjoining reservoirs have been reported to produce at least three and a half times more greenhouse gas emissions for each megawatt-hour than a typical coalfired power plant, even if we consider methane to be an only 20 times stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. If we take a shorter perspective, according to which the global warming potential of methane is more than one hundred times stronger than the GWP of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions from mentioned hydroelectric plants become more than 20 times larger than the typical emissions from a coal-fired thermal power plant. If the annual variation in water height Is major, a very high level of greenhouse gas emissions can be a permanent feature of a reservoir, and not only a temporary phenomenon, because the

vegetation grows back when the ground is dry and decomposes when it becomes flooded again. Forced displacement of people is often a major problem related to large reservoirs. However, there are a number of technologies which make it possible to produce hydroelectric power in small and large rivers even without any dams. Cased turbines can be placed in pipes which lay under the water, and which are not even visible to the surface. The best way to produce hydroelectric power would probably be to install millions of small, cased hydroturbines in thousands of small streams high on the mountains without any dams or reservoirs, and transfer the power via long HVDC transmission lines to the central plateaus and coastal and riverine flatlands. A huge majority of all hydropower potential is in the high mountains. Water at the height of 5,000 metres has 50 times more potential energy than water at the height of only a hundred metres from the sea level. However, because it was not possible to transfer electricity for long distances without losing most of it on the way, governments and companies have historically only generated hydropower in areas where the water in a river has already lost 90 or 98 per cent of its potential energy. Because of this reservoirs have often flooded fertile and densely populated river valleys. Fifty or one hundred million people have been displaced by the artificial lakes and huge amounts of excellent farming land have been lost. And then there is the Revenge of the Dam Refugees: at least one ton of methane in a year is now generated for each person evicted by the reservoirs.

Modern Thermoelectric Cells

Thermoelectric cells are U-shaped semi-conductor devices that can transform temperature differences to electric power. The concept was first discovered by the Estonian Thomas Johann Seebeck already in 1823. Thermoelectric cells have long been considered a marginal field with no real scope in energy production, but this is now changing due to the advances in material science. For example in some new Japanese nuclear reactor designs steam tur229

bines have been replaced by modern thermoelectric cells. Also the technology developed by the Icelandic Varmaraf and the British PowerChips looks very promising. If highly efficient thermoelectric cells become a reality, they can be used to convert solar heat and geothermal heat to electricity. The residual heat of the already existing coal-, gas- or biomass-fired plants could also be harnessed.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal power already is a cheap form of energy in many volcanically active regions. However, Iceland is developing two technologies that may multiply the economic possibilities of this form of energy production. The Iceland Deep Drilling Project is trying to develop geothermal plants that use supercritical steam. If this succeeds, each hole can produce up to ten times more electricity than before. The potential fringe benefits include the possibility of combining energy production with mining. All kinds of metals become dissolved in the deep, hot water, and it might be profitable to collect them as a by-product. Because many rare elements are already becoming scarce, it is even possible that most of the mining in the future would be done this way, as a side-activity of geothermal energy production. Another technology the Icelanders are spearheading is the use of modern thermoelectric cells in the production of geothermal power. Research laboratories and companies in the USA have developed other, very interesting Enhanced Geothermal Systems (see chapter 4).

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)

In 1881 the French physicist Jacques dArsonval proposed that the temperature difference between tropical surface water and deep water could be utilized to produce electricity. During the oil crises of 1970s the US government and a group of large corpora230

tions including Lockheed Martin constructed a pilot system in Hawaii. They lowered a water pipe from a barge into the depth of one kilometre, and proved that the concept of OTEC did work in practise. The system produced 50 kilowatts of electricity by vaporising ammonia with the heat of the surface water, and then cooling it back to liquid with the cool, deep water. The expanding, gaseous ammonia drove a turbine which generated electricity. The temperature difference between the surface water and deep water is relatively small, less than 20 degrees centigrade. On the other hand, it is much cheaper to just lower a water pipe down than to drill a hole in the rock. There have been proposals about 10-megawatt, 100-megawatt and even 500-megawatt OTEC plants. In theory such floating power stations could provide for all our energy, but it is still very unclear whether they could do this with a reasonable price. I am sceptical on whether it can ever be economically profitable to utilize such small temperature differences to produce electricity. However, it would also be theoretically possible to turn the idea upside down. The oceanic ridges and their midrifts stretch for 60,000 kilometres on the ocean floor. They are, actually, the most important single geographical feature of our planet, and they contain an enormous number of volcanoes and hot vents. A substantial percentage of all the deep heat produced by the decay of radioactive substances in the Earths mantle and core escapes into the sea via these fiery spots. The water in the hot vents is superheated to several hundreds of degrees. An OTEC plant lowering its pipes towards such a hot vent could utilize a much larger temperature difference to generate power. The problem is that the power should still be transmitted to the regions where it is needed. This might be too costly, except in some parts of the Mediterranean, in Indonesia and in a number of other especially favourable sites.

The Problem with the Back-up

Many energy utility companies do realise, that the price of renewable energy will fall down when the necessary equipment will be produced in larger series. However, they are worried of the back231

up power. Where does the electricity come from, when there is no wind and the sun isnt shining? Luckily there are a number of realistic solutions to this dilemma. If we combine wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy, the problem will be much reduced. Wind power could be transmitted along long HVDC-lines (High Voltage Direct Current) from many different regions, whose winds rise and fall with a different rhythm. Solar power could be transmitted with similar HVDC cables along the East-West-axis, from areas where the sun is still shining to areas where it has set. Some solar power plants like solar chimneys and solar trough plants equipped with energy storage facilities can also produce electricity during the night. Hydropower can be used as a backup. Heat can be stored and cold can be stored. In the future the batteries of a billion modern electric cars could also act as a backup system, feeding power into the national grid, local grids or for the electric equipment in a single household. When the lithiumiron phosphate batteries of the electric cars have lost part of their capacity, after 200,000 or 300,000 kilometres of driving, they could still have a second life as part of the back-up system of an individual household or of a local wind or solar power plant, before their materials are recycled. Electric cars should not carry much extra weight with them, but this is not a concern when the batteries can just lie still on a concrete floor of a shed. The key to constructing an energy system based on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels is a new kind of power distribution system, the so called smart grid. Our present power grids have been designed so, that they can sell power in millions of spots, but only buy it from a very limited number of larger power stations. However, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), the joint mobile phone network company of Nokia and Siemens, announced in November 2009 that it aims to expand its activities into the field of smart power grids. This makes eminent sense, because mobile phone networks and intelligent power grids use many of the same technologies. Smart grids could both buy and sell power in millions or tens of millions of spots. This would reduce the average distance of transmission and the losses related to it. Further savings would be

achieved whenever old-fashioned power lines were replaced with modern HVDC lines, using direct current, and because it would no longer be necessarily to keep power stations at hold, with a very small part of their capacity actually in use. Above all, smart grids would provide a very strong incentive for decentralized production of electricity and for companies, governments and households to implement all kinds of energy saving measures. It would, effectively, create a vast, real-time stock exchange system for electricity. Strong peaks in demand would immediately raise the price of electricity, so that all the households and companies would have to decide whether they want to buy extremely expensive electricity or to sell power with a truly handsome profit. In other words: smart grids would lead to significant leveling in the demand of electricity, via a simple market mechanism. NSN has also announced, that it aims to power its mobile phone stations with solar, wind and other renewable energies, especially in the areas which are still outside of the presently existing national power grids. Such areas have about two billion inhabitants. The company has also been playing with the idea, that its mobile phone link stations might in the future produce more solar and wind power than they need, themselves, so that the extra power could be fed to local micro-grids. If this happened, the whole electric grid in the sparsely populated or presently very poor areas in the South could grow in a decentralized way from a hundred thousand or a million separate spots (mobile phone link stations), which could then combine to make a vast, intelligent power grid based on renewable sources of energy. In the next stage such an intelligent grid could then eat away the old-fashioned, dumb, fossil fuel-based national grids.

Saving the World by Burning the Peat?

The great peat fires in Indonesia have released enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Indonesias peat bogs contain at least 50 billion tons of carbon, and possibly much more, up to 20,000 tons per hectare. During the worst year peat fires produced between 800 million and 2.6 billion tons of carbon, and

were responsible for a large share of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions. In the 1980s the government of Indonesia moved millions of people from the densely populated islands of Java and Bali into the forests of Kalimantan, Sumatra and Papua. The programme, called Transmigration, was lavishly supported by the World Bank and by a number of other development cooperation agencies. The original goal was to settle 65 million people on the outer islands. Luckily this did not happen, partly because of a major international counter-campaign by the environmental and development NGOs, and partly because most of the settlers were not happy and sent unflattering reports to their friends and relatives. However, large areas of peatlands have been ditched for rice and maize farming and for pulp and oil palm plantations. When the peat dries, peatlands become vulnerable to fire. Forest companies have been the other main culprit. When they logged the swamp rainforests, they somehow had to transport the timber to harbours or saw mills. Because it is not economically feasible to construct roads on a twenty-metre-deep peat bog, the logging companies dug canals and just floated the trees away. Unfortunately this also dries the surface layer of the peat and exposes it to fires. The best option would be to protect the swamp rainforests and to leave them alone. However, if it is necessary to cultivate something in them, it would be better to use crops that thrive on wet soil and grow naturally on wetlands. For example sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) grows in many freshwater swamps of Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. Sago trunks are filled with edible starch, which used to be the staple food of several indigenous peoples in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Sago gives a better yield of food, compared to the amount of labour required, than almost any other crop. Sago stands are self-propagating, they grow by themselves in the swamps, where weeds do not have a chance to compete with them. Because the crop (the starch) is protected by the trunk of the palm, no pesticides are required. The yield of sago is very reliable and there is hardly any annual fluctuation in it: the average annual crop amounts to about 15,000

kilograms of starch per hectare. A sago palm grows for 10-15 years before it starts to flower and then dies. The calorific value of sago starch is four times higher than that of potatoes (1500 kJ/100g). This means that in terms of calories, the annual hectare yield of sago is equivalent to 60 tons of potatoes. Sago prefers freshwater but it can also tolerate considerable amounts of salinity. It would be possible to cultivate it on many of the Indonesian peatlands. No draining would be needed so the peatlands would not be exposed to fires. Unfortunately the government of Indonesia has been campaigning against sago for decades. It has labelled sago farming as something primitive, and the growing of rice as something progressive, modern and desirable. In any case sago can only be grown succesfully where there is less than two metres of peat. To grow something on a sustainable basis on thicker tropical peatlands, which have from two to twenty-three metres of peat, other kinds of crops must be used. One interesting option might be to domesticate some of the wild tree species that thrive on Indonesian peatland rainforests and that produce nutritious and tasty fruit. Such wild fruits are the main source of food for orang-utans, fruit bats and many other wild animals, and they were also collected by humans and brought to villages in baskets before the peatland rainforests close to the villages where destroyed. It might be possible to increase the sizes and yields per tree of such wild fruits by some selective breeding. If this was done, economically valuable fruit could be grown in the peatland rainforests without draining or logging them. Moreover, there is a number of valuable wild timber tree species growing in Indonesias peatland rainforests. They produce very valuable hardwood and grow relatively well even on the extremely acid and oligotrophic tropical peat: it seems that for example balangera (Shorea balangera) can reach a diameter of one metre in forty years or so. Such valuable timber trees could be grown on the Indonesian peatlands on a sustainable basis if only selective logging would be used so that a good tree cover would always be maintained, and if the timber would be transported out from the forests via wooden rails and not by digging channels on the peatlands to float the timber away. If the trees are cut, the production of peat halts, because it is

the trees that make the peat. Moreover, if there are no longer trees that produce highly acidic litter, rainwater begins to dilute the acidity of the peat so that it starts to decompose. The removal of tree cover exposes the ground to direct sunlight, which greatly increases the rate of evaporation and accelerates the drying of the peat. The decomposition of tree roots, acting like billions of microdams slowing down the flow of the water inside the peat and on top of its surface layer, makes the situation worse. And if, on top of all these impacts, the timber is floated away by digging channels on the peatlands, the whole area has been prepared for serious peat fires that can release thousands of tons of carbon per hectare in a very short period of time. The International Peat Association and some conservative Finnish members of the European Parliament have tried to promote an ingenious partial solution to the problem. According to their brilliant brain-child European Union should reclassify peat, and no longer call it a fossil fuel but a form of slowly regenerating biomass. According to the proposal this would increase peat production and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The logic and mathematics behind the proposal have not convinced many people, and it is easy to understand, why it has been so. In Finland peatlands are often converted for farming purposes after the production of peat has stopped. In other words, peat production creates new peatland fields. This is bad because the remaining or residual peat keeps on decomposing, and this can create large additional carbon dioxide emissions. After so much peat has decomposed that the fields can no longer be kept dry even by intensive ditching the area has to be abandoned. It again becomes a natural swamp and begins to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But it is now a swamp largely covered with watery surfaces instead of peaty surfaces. This is dangerous because the watery surfaces on swamps produce, as a general rule, dozens of times more methane than the surfaces covered by peat. The intensive methane production only halts when the peat layer has been regenerated, after a few thousand years. A far better option would be to burn the sphagnum mosses growing on the peatland as biomass before they become peat. Peatlands are often rather productive because they are wet and

because the sphagnum mosses grow quickly. A hectare of peatland can annually produce an amount of moss equivalent to five tons of carbon. Most of this will quickly be released back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide with the decomposition of the swamps surface layer. The moss that is decaying deeper in the peatland produces methane. In the long run only about two per cent of the biological production of the peatland will be stored in the form of peat. However, the moss produced during the latest summer can also be burned, if it is first dried in the sun and then compressed. I have been experimenting with pellets made of sphagnum moss grown during the same summer, and the dried moss can definitely be burned, even in small stoves, even though in small stoves it seems to produce a lot of particle pollution. In any case, collecting only the topmost layer of mosses from the peatlands, every summer, would in the long run produce tens of times more energy per hectare than the burning of peat. Another option would be to collect the methane forming inside a peatland with a similar pipe system as is often used in garbage dumps for the same purpose. We know that this is technically feasible, because there were experiments in the 1970s. The system was not economically profitable in the 1970s but it would produce large negative greenhouse gas emissions, by reducing the natural methane flux from peatlands.

Nuclear Power and Global Warming

In many countries, nuclear power has been seen as an important partial solution to our planetary overheating problem. This could be the Ultimate Mad Scientist Solution to global warming. The worlds rich natural uranium deposits are limited. There is a vastly larger amount of uranium in the Earths crust, but mostly in very small or tiny concentrations. The richer deposits could probably provide fuel for the present number of nuclear reactors for one hundred years or so, but thats that. In practise this means that if we want to produce much more nuclear energy, we have to shift to breeder reactors, to nuclear

reactors that produce more nuclear fuel than they consume. Breeder reactors use nuclear fuels in which the percentage of fissile isotopes has been enriched to 15, 20 or 60 per cent, sometimes even more. In a nutshell this means, that it is possible to make nuclear weapons from the fuel of a breeder reactor, even without any further enrichment. During the last few years I have been discussing and debating various issues related to nuclear power with nuclear safety authorities and with representatives of the armed forces of a few different countries. Through these discussions I have realized, that the whole nuclear establishment, including the companies producing nuclear power, the companies making nuclear reactors, the science and technology institutes involved in nuclear research, the nuclear safety authorities and the International Atomic Energy Association, have already decided that we will soon move from the ordinary nuclear reactors to breeder reactors. They see this as a given, something that has already happened, something that is natural and inevitable, something that is beneficial for the human kind. They no longer question, not even for a second, the rationale and inevitability of moving into a breeder reactor economy. This is a cultural phenomenon. Our minds have been constructed so, that we tend to regard as normal all the things we get used to. In 17th century Europe people were tortured to death publicly, on market squares. People thought this was normal, because they were used to it, they considered public torture and mutilation as a form of free entertainment provided by the state. People working in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War learned to consider the things they were doing as the normal and rational thing to do. Something similar has happened also to the people of nuclear power industries and nuclear control authorities. They are, in practise, trying to increase the number of nuclear weapons states by one hundred or so, but because they have hypnotized themselves to believe that there is nothing to it, they have also been able to convince a growing number of politicians. At the moment we have 30 countries that produce nuclear power, and 80 other countries which have said in the International Atomic Energy Association that they would also like to start their

own, nuclear power programmes. If we will have, in 2100, 110 countries with nuclear reactors, this will mean 110 countries with breeder reactors, and 110 de facto nuclear weapons states, instead of the present ten. So the first thing to ask is whether we want to have a future world in which 110 countries have nuclear weapons. If this is not what we desire, we must demand an international treaty banning the construction of nuclear reactors that use either plutonium or uranium 233 or uranium 235 enriched to more than 15 per cent. And we should organize a vast global citizens boycott against all the countries constructing such reactors. This could be the most important question there is, possibly even more important than the threat of global warming, because according to new studies nuclear weapons seem to be even more destructive than we have, this far, assumed. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear detonations caused firestorms which burned everything and killed everybody inside the fire perimeter. However, the US Military considered fire damage so unpredictable, that for fifty years they only concentrated in analysing the impact of the blast. When the USA was afraid of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India, in 2002, it warned that a nuclear war in South Asia might kill twelve million people. The figure was absurdly low, because it only took the impact of the nuclear blasts into consideration. According to more recent US research fire damage radii of nuclear blasts are 2 to 5 times larger than those determined for airblast effects. In practise this means, that areas destroyed by fire are 4 to 25 times larger than areas damaged by blast, alone. Unfortunately, even this is not the full picture, yet. The firestorms in Dresden, Hamburg, Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused very strong rising air currents, which in turn created hurricanespeed winds, blowing with speeds from 160 to 270 kilometres per hour towards the firestorm. A nuclear explosion in a modern city would create a still fiercer firestorm because modern cities contain huge quantities of hydrocarbons in the form of plastics, asphalt, gasoline, oil and gas. A firestorm in a modern city would create phenomenal, super-hurricane winds. It has been estimated that even the explosion of a small, Hiroshima-size nuclear

bomb in Manhattan would create winds blowing with the speed of 600 kilometres per hour. Such a super-hurricane would be strong enough to topple skyscrapers and to destroy most other humanmade structures, in an area that would be dozens of times larger than the area destroyed by the firestorm and up to one thousand times larger than the area devastated by the blast. Insurance companies have estimated that the destructive potential of wind increases 650 per cent when the wind speed increases from 20-26 metres per second to 26-31 metres per second. If this is true, what kind of devastation would be achieved by wind speeds approaching 200 metres per second? In a novel called Litium 6 (Lithium 6) I also claimed, that such super-hurricane winds might perhaps give birth to thousands, if not millions, of secondary fires, which might grow together and produce a new, still larger firestorm. A wind blowing 600 kilometres per hour would be strong enough to throw cars, busses, lorries and motorcycles around, so that their fuel tanks would burst. Metal hitting on metal would produce sparks, as well as the power lines felled by the winds and by things being thrown around and acting as projectiles. Gas pipes would break inside collapsing houses, and shattering fireplaces would cause many fires. There would be a huge amount of static electricity in the air, caused by the dry wind, dust and sand. If the event would take place during a bush and forest fire season, millions of burning trees could become firebrands. The worst possibility would be the so called Gorbachev-Reagan-scenario. After the Chernobyl accident Mihail Gorbachev started to worry on what would happen, if somebody attacks a nuclear power plant compex with a nuclear weapon. Gorbachev spoke about his concerns to Ronald Reagans security adviser, who reported the matter to Reagan. Reagan later described the story in his memories. This is still the worst-case-scenario. A nuclear weapon, especially one producing a lot of neutrons (like uranium-lithium-deuteride bomb) would vaporize the whole plant and transform its matter into an almost unimaginably lethal radoactive cloud. Moreover, the fissile materials in the nuclear power plant could multiply the power of the explosion (if the original blast produced a very

large amount of neutrons). According to studies conducted by Alan Robock, of the Rutgers University, and Owen B. Toon of the University of Colorado at Boulder, a relatively small nuclear war between Pakistan and India could have major global consequences. If both countries would launch 50 Hiroshima-sized warheads, the ensuing firestorms might produce seven million tons of smoke, and cool the planet so much that many crops would fail. According to Robock and Toon such an exchange of 100 nuclear weapons between Pakistan and India would probably cause a global famine, killing about one billion people. This sounds horrible, but we cannot exclude even the possibility, that a single nuclear blast directed for example against a nuclear power plant complex could achieve a similar amount of devastation, primarily by igniting a huge, secondary firestorm in the areas devastated by the super-hurricane winds blowing towards the original firestorm. At the moment the risk of such an occurrence is very small, but if we let our nuclear experts spread nuclear weapons technology to a hundred new countries and to construct thousands of new nuclear power plants, it comes almost inevitable that something very nasty will finally happen, sooner or later. To quote a famous Hollywood movie, the Miami Vice by Michael Mann: Probability is like gravity. You cannot fight gravity. The odds catch up. Even the climatic impact of nuclear power is not a straightforward issue, because nobody has ever made a proper study of the matter. When a coal-powered plant is replaced by a nuclear power plant, less carbon dioxide will be produced. The making of the cement and steel for the nuclear power plant and the mining and enrichment of the uranium fuel of course produce some carbon, but this only amounts to a few per cent of what a coal plant would produce during its lifetime. However, in the northern areas the waste heat of a nuclear power plant cannot be utilised for district heating purposes, unlike the waste heat from coal-, gas-, oil- or biomass-fired power plants. This means that between 60 and 70 per cent of all the energy produced by a nuclear power plant is simply dumped into lakes, rivers or seas. This produces a lot of water vapour, tens of millions of

tons for each nuclear reactor per year. During the winter this extra water vapour gives birth to impressive cloud formations, which must have a strong local heating impact. In the summer the clouds would have a cooling impact, but the phenomenon (of cloud formation around the nuclear power plants) seems to be less significant during the warmer seasons. Water vapour, of course, can also act as a greenhouse gas. The waste heat from a nuclear power plant slows down the freezing of the nearby waters during the autumn and accelerates the melting of spring ice. For example, the man-made area of spring-time melt-water around the Russian nuclear power plant Sosnovy Bor often covers thousands of square kilometres, or billions of square metres. This undoubtedly produces a significant local heating impact during spring, because open water absorbs 90-96 per cent of solar radiation. The phenomenon might even accelerate the melting of the surrounding areas, so that a multiplier effect is generated. When we use biomass or wind energy, we do not really bring any new heat on our planet, we are just shuffling around the energy we receive from the Sun. However, when we accelerate the decay of uranium or consume fossil fuels, we produce extra heat on top of what we get from the Sun. This problem is the most significant with nuclear power, because its waste heat cannot be utilised as district heat, even in the northern areas. To put this in perspective, our total planetary heat imbalance now amounts to 500,000 gigawatts. If we were to satisfy all our energy needs with nuclear power by 2100, we would have to produce something like 30,000 gigawatts of electricity, and the amount of extra heat from our nuclear power plants would amount to 80,000 or 90,000 gigawatts. Then we have, once again, the aerosol umbrella problem. If the bright aerosols produced by burning biomass and sulphurrich fossil fuels now cancel three quarters of the global warming, a rapid shift from fossil fuels to nuclear, wind and solar energy could temporarily quadruple our planetary heat imbalance, and the speed of warming. This is a serious dilemma that should not be ignored. When we replace fossil fuels with biomass the problem is less serious because even if less sulphur is produced, at least a part

of its loss is compensated by the ash, nitrogen oxide and organic carbon emissions, which also have a cooling impact and assist the formation of low clouds. All the above mentioned issues are real. They definitely exist. But it is impossible to find studies that would have quantified or even tried to quantify the impact of all these factors at different latitudes and in differing climatic conditions. To sum it up: we really do not know, whether replacing coal power plants with nuclear power would help us in solving the global warming problem. At the moment, all such hopes are just wishful thinking, which might or might not have something to do with the reality.

Ordinary Nuclear Reactors

Because of the various anti-nuclear campaigns, safety measures of existing nuclear power plants have been greatly improved. This far the safety record of the nuclear power industry has been relatively good: hundreds of reactors have been operated for decades without a single full-scale accident. Counted in curies, the accident in Chernobyl released about 0.5 per cent of the radioactivity inside one nuclear reactor (50 million curies, according to International Atomic Energy Association) into the atmosphere. The accident released most of the radioactive substances that are easily vaporized, but only a tiny part of the uranium and plutonium was spread over the northern hemisphere as small and nanoparticles. In one of the truly bad scenarios a terrorist group would vaporize the nuclear fuel inside a reactor, all of it, so that it would spread over the whole northern hemisphere in the form tiny particles that can be inhaled inside the lungs. An official study made in the West by the International Atomic Energy Association and the World Health Organization estimated, that radioactive exposures caused by the accident in Chernobyl might finally result in 4,000 extra cancer deaths. However, Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian physicians and scientists have published at least 730 scientific studies according to which the accident has already led to notable increases in many types of can243

cers and numerous other illnesses in the affected areas. The picture that emerges from these seven hundred plus studies is dramatically different than the official view promoted by the UN organizations, western governments and nuclear industries. If these seven hundred studies are closer to the mark, the final death toll of the Chernobyl accident will be counted in hundreds of thousands, if not millions. For the public, such a discrepancy in predictions, amounting to three full orders of magnitude, has of course been more than a little bit confusing. This far, western scientists have simply ignored the Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian studies as nonsense, which has been arrogant and more than a little bit unfair. There could be differences in the methodologies used in each country, but the Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian scientists certainly understand the basic problems of epidemiology, and they have described the methods they have used in their studies. The nuclear establishment has also ignored all the Western studies which have produced impossible results. In many countries there was a clear peak in infant mortality during the three years following Chernobyl. For instance in Britain there were 2,000 extra infant deaths during these years. Similar rises in infant mortality were reported from Turkey, Poland and some parts of Germany. Moreover, the decline in the percentage of observed pregnancies ending in still birth went flat for a couple of years after Chernobyl in a number of countries, after which the curve again started to fall. Spring westerlies certainly carried a large part of Chernobyls fallout to India, even though this is almost never mentioned. Indian physicians reported that while infant mortality in India had been dropping with a rate of three per cent per year before Chernobyl, it only fell by 1.1 per cent per year during the years 198688, after which the annual reduction again became three per cent. Indian studies pointed out, that such a statistical anomaly was equivalent to one million extra infant deaths. To my knowledge, the figures mentioned above have not been disputed, because they are based in official demographic statistics, but a causal connection with Chernobyl has been vehemently denied by the main stream opinion. The main opposing argument

has been, that further studies for example in Germany have not been able to find a correlation between increased infant mortality and a high level of radioactive pollution from Chernobyl. In other words: there were no additional infant deaths in Germanys badly polluted areas, compared with regions that received less radioactivity from Chernobyl. Case closed. Except that it was the areas, where it rained when the radioactive cloud was passing over, which received the highest amount of fallout. In these areas radioactive particles came down inside rain drops. Most radioactive substances are not very dangerous when swallowed with food or water, because they then come out from the body after a few hours or days, only. The most dangerous form of radioactive pollution are small hot particles that are so light that they are easily inhaled inside the lungs, but so heavy that they do not easily get out from the alveols (tiny gas-exchanging chambers inside the lungs), with the return flow of air. If such hot particles park themselves inside the alveols and then move to other internal organs, they can remain inside the body for years or decades, instead of only hours or days. The difference is very important, because there are 8,784 hours in a year with 366 days. What if many of the areas that were not badly polluted received less radioactivity, but in a more dangerous form? When radioactive particles come down with rain, they cannot be inhaled. Therefore a small amount of dry pollution could, in effect, be thousands if not tens of thousands of times more dangerous than an equivalent amount of radioactivity inside falling raindrops. In other words: all the carefully done western control studies about the consequences of Chernobyl have probably been worthless, or worse than worthless, because in reality the scientists did not have and still do not have a glue of what was compared with what. Most of our present nuclear reactors contain much larger amounts of radioactivity than the Chernobyl-type graphite-moderated reactors. What would happen, if a terrorist strike would, one day, release for instance 50 billion curies (1,000 Chernobyls) of radioactivity from a single nuclear reactor? If a major part of the radioactive fallout would be in the form of aerosols, small particles and nanoparticles, very large mortality

figures should be expected. Numerous genetic defects (mutations) should also take place in the exposed human population, and many of them could be endlessly transferred from one generation to the next as new hereditary diseases and cancer-causing oncogenes, as long as there are humans living on this planet. Above all, such cumulative burden of new hereditary diseases and oncogenes could be expected to increase for a very long time, for millennia, due to the long-lasting nature of radioactive pollution. This is, by far, the most frightening aspect of nuclear power: a single major accident might produce a horrible and steadily increasing burden of new genetic diseases and cancer-causing genes. It could be a real Descent to Hell. And it could be a Descent to Hell for a million years, if the humans would last for so long as a species. It is possible that at some point the burden would become so heavy, that the remaining humans would lose their will to live. Representatives of the nuclear power companies often produce astonishingly optimistic figures on the possible consequences of a full-scale nuclear accident or a terrorist strike against a nuclear reactor. But for instance the US Air Forces which, in this case, might be a more reliable source of information have produced drastically different risk assessments. According to a study (Nichelson-Medlin-Stafford: Radiological Weapons of Terror) by three generals of the US Air Forces, terrorists could kill most of the unprotected population of Washington DC, New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia if they would acquire ten kilograms of used nuclear fuel just taken out from a reactor, and pulverized it with a ton of conventional high explosive. Such a dirty bomb of three million curies or so would also greatly increase cancer mortality along the whole East Coast of the USA. Another problem is that even an ordinary nuclear power plant annually produces a relatively large amount of plutonium. A 1,000-megawatt plant might produce 30 tons of used nuclear fuel per year, each tonne containing 15-20 kilograms of plutonium. This is a serious issue because without breeder reactors plutonium is the easy road to a nuclear weapon, if the bomb can be somewhat crude and relatively large. If a nuclear weapon is to be produced from uranium 235, Manhattan Project-sized industrial development is required, because it is very difficult to separate the differ246

ent isotopes of uranium. In practise thousands of older or hundreds of very modern, fragile and expensive gas centrifuges have to be operated for a couple of years. Plutonium, on the other hand, can be extracted from the used nuclear fuel through relatively simple chemical reactions, just by dissolving the fuel rods into a strong acid. For example North Korea was able to produce an atomic bomb with this method in less than a year after George W. Bushs astonishingly irresponsible Axis of Evil-speech. Contrary to a widespread public belief plutonium also exists in the nature, but only in tiny quantities and in very difficult places. The minerals bubbling to the surface in hot springs known as fumaroles sometimes contain up to 20 grams of plutonium per tonne. But this concentration is one thousand times smaller than in the uranium fuel which has spent some time inside a working nuclear reactor. The most vulnerable points in the presently existing nuclear complexes are the cooling ponds storing the used nuclear fuel. Unlike nuclear reactors, cooling ponds do not have containment shields or multiple security measures. Most of them are not even guarded. For example the used fuel rods of Finlands Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant are kept in a metal shed which once lost a major part of its roof (!) in an ordinary winter storm. The Finnish Nuclear Safety Authority denies that anything like this has ever happened, but several eye-witnesses have separately verified the story. The used nuclear fuel in the cooling ponds is thousands of times less radioactive than the nuclear fuel which has just been taken out from a reactor, but it can still be hundreds of thousands of times more radioactive than natural uranium. For example most of the cesium 137 isotope is still left. The radioactive fallout from Chernobyl contained about 50 million curies of radioactivity, but most of that consisted of very short-lived isotopes and radioactive gases. It now seems that the two million curies of cesium 137 which were released in Chernobyl may have been the most dangerous part of the whole, complex cloud of fallout. A typical cooling pond of a nuclear power plant usually contains, among many other things, between 20 and 50 million curies

of cesium 137. Even though the production of residual heat is much less than in nuclear fuel that has just been taken out from a reactor, cooling ponds still require active cooling. If something happens to pumps or engines the water in a cooling pond begins to boil and evaporate. If the used nuclear fuel rods become exposed, they ignite and burn. Uranium oxide cannot burn, but the fuel rods have a zirconium alloy cladding that can and will catch fire. According to many experts who have studied the problem such a fire could release most of the radioactivity contained in the cooling pond into the atmosphere, unless more water is brought into the pond. If we continue to produce electricity with nuclear power plants, the new reactors should be constructed deep underground, inside the bedrock, so that they cannot blow their contents into the atmosphere, in any circumstances. The containment shields of the already existing nuclear reactors should be strengthened so that they can withstand a rapid series of three or four separate strikes by large passenger jets, as well as attacks carried out with bunker-buster missiles like the Deep Digger. Coastal nuclear power stations should be equipped with improved sea defences. Also the cooling ponds storing used nuclear fuel should be equipped with proper containment shields and heavily safe-guarded. At least some national army, navy and air force units should be concentrated near the nuclear power complexes. Electric fences and infra-red alarm systems should be installed around the reactor sites, and especially the actual reactor buildings should be re-designed by military experts and equipped with a set of manned strong points with sufficient fields of fire, so that they can act as formidable fortresses against possible commando strikes by terrorists. There should always be a lrge number of armed security guards or soldiers inside the actual reactor building. Kite power stations should be constructed on the no-fly zones surrounding the nuclear power complexes, in order to prevent a strike with an aeroplane or with a glider. The protection of the primary cooling pipes should be improved so that they cannot be destroyed for example by small portable missiles or with rocketpropelled grenades (RPGs). Primary cooling pipes should also be

guarded against a terrorist strike by divers using aqualungs. The computer systems of the nuclear power plants should be protected against flux compressors, other kinds of microwave bombs, Marx impulse generators and other EMP weapons according to the best currently available military standards. If, in spite of all these precautions, the unthinkable does happen, and there is a major radioactive eruption from a nuclear reactor, it would be important to discourage the seriously exposed people from having children. Otherwise it is possible that each heavily exposed person would produce a number of new hereditary diseases and cancer-causing genes, which could then be endlessly transferred from one future generation to the next. The genetic footprint of the radioactive fallout can, theoretically, multiply the human suffering caused by a nuclear accident by a factor of ten thousand, or more.

Pebble-Bed Modular Reactors (PBMRs)

The so called pebble-bed modular reactors which are being planned for example by China and the Republic of South Africa are cheaper to construct and more efficient in producing electricity than conventional nuclear reactors, because the steam turbines have been replaced by gas turbines. The gas heated inside the reactor runs a gas turbine, directly. The negative side is that the release of the reactors radioactivity into the atmosphere in the form of highly radioactive aerosols, in case of a serious accident, has been almost automatized by the design. In pebble-beds nuclear fuel is inside tens of thousands of small carbon balls, or graphite pebbles. As long as the inert gases running the turbine are willing to stay inside everything is cool, but if the gases decide to leave the reactor they will be replaced by air. If there is air, graphite in the pebbles behaves like carbon does when it is heated to 1500 degrees Celsius. A pebble-bed reactor is the ultimate wet dream of a seriously mad terrorist, and should be classified as a weapon of mass destruction. A pebble-bed reactor using thorium is also a breeder reactor, even though it does not use fast neutrons (see the chapter about thorium reactors).

Fast Breeder Reactors

If the worlds governments want to increase the production of nuclear power substantially, this will unavoidably mean either fast breeder reactors or fusion reactors, because the existing natural uranium fuel reserves will run out. We do not know, yet, whether it is possible to construct functioning fusion reactors, but we can definitely build fast breeder reactors which are able to produce more nuclear fuel, usually plutonium, than they consume. According to the experience of the nuclear industry it is realistic to aim at a breeding ratio of 1:1.2. This means that five breeder reactors can produce their own fuel plus fuel for one ordinary nuclear power plant. Theoretically 20 per cent of all our energy in 2100 could be produced by 6,000 large (1,000 megawatt) nuclear power plants. Of these six thousand, 5,000 should be fast breeders and 1,000 could be ordinary nuclear power plants. Most normal nuclear reactors use fuel in which the uranium 235 content has been enriched to 1.84 per cent. Most fast breeder designs use fuel which contains 1530 per cent uranium 235 or plutonium 239. This means that it is possible to construct nuclear bombs from the fuel of a fast breeder reactor without any further enrichment, the bombs only become a little bit heavier than the bombs made of the so called weapons grade uranium, containing 93 per cent of uranium 235. With weapons grade uranium 20 kilograms is needed for making a Hiroshima bomb, with fast breeder reactor fuel containing 20 per cent of uranium 235 the required amount is 400 kilograms, but this is still manageable. Some fast breeders which belong to the Rapid class use uranium fuel in which the uranium 235 content has been enriched to 60 per cent. This is already uncomfortably close to the strength of weapons grade uranium. Fast breeders use either liquid sodium or liquid lithium as their coolant. This makes them especially vulnerable to floods, tsunamis and sabotage, because both elements explode if they get in touch with water or air. In other words only a small tear or hole in one cooling pipe could lead to the rapid destruction of the whole cooling system in a chain of sodium-water or sodium-air explosions. If the breeder reactor fuel first melts and then cools and

recrystallizes, the possibility of a major nuclear explosion cannot be excluded. This cannot happen in ordinary nuclear power plants. The first event in Chernobyl was a tiny nuclear explosion, but the amount of energy liberated in the explosion was very small because the uranium 235 content of the fuel had only been enriched to 1.8 per cent. Most of the original damage in Chernobyl was actually done by hydrogen and steam explosions. If a breeder would explode, the ensuing radioactive fallout would be extremely lethal, much more so than what would be the worstcase scenario in an ordinary nuclear power plant. Besides this, fast breeder reactors tend to have a positive, instead of a negative, coolant void coefficient. This means that when a fast breeder loses its coolant, it starts to produce more heat, which increases the possibility of a truly serious accident. In a water-cooled nuclear reactor water also acts as a moderator, so the production of heat immediately collapses, if the coolant (water) is lost. When the Boxing Day tsunami hit the coastal areas in many Asian countries in December 2004, it also washed over a fast breeder reactor under construction at the coast of Tamil Nadu, India, as a seven-metre-high wall of water. Luckily the reactor had not been finished and there was only a large slab of concrete when the tsunami came. If the tsunami had come ten years later, the whole world would have changed, overnight. It would have become a very different place from the world now known to us. A warning for politicians and journalists: the nuclear industrys currently favoured euphemism for fast breeder reactors is fourthgeneration nuclear reactors. Or, to be very precise, the term refers to six different reactor designs, four of which are fast breeders and one a breeder using thermal neutrons (the thorium-burning pebble-bed modular reactor, see the chapters above and below).

Thorium reactors

Many proponents of nuclear power have recently claimed, that thorium reactors were a safer option than uranium or plutonium reactors. The same people have also claimed, that while an ordinary nuclear reactor can utilise only 0.7 per cent of natural ura251

nium (the uranium 235 component), a thorium reactor can use all the thorium available in the nature. These claims are very misleading. 100.0 per cent of the thorium in nature belongs to the isotope 232, which cannot be used as nuclear fuel without first converting it to uranium 233 in a breeder reactor. In other words: thorium reactors are breeder reactors. Moreover, in most designs the uranium 233 elements producing the neutrons that convert thorium 232 to uranium 233 are very pure, almost weapons grade uranium 233. In other words, from the viewpoint of nuclear proliferation, thorium reactors are actually the most dangerous option. At the moment there are 30 states which have nuclear power plants and 80 states which have said to the IAEA that they would like to produce nuclear power. If we move to thorium economy, like some nuclear experts have proposed, and we will have 110 nuclear power producing states by 2050, this would also mean 110 de facto nuclear weapons states. Thorium reactors are, by far, the easiest route to nuclear weapons.

Deuterium-Tritium Fusion Power Plants

ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), the joint fusion power project by Japan, USA and the European Union, has been hailed as an effort to produce safe and non-polluting nuclear energy. We are being told that such fusion reactors would not produce any dangerous radioactive waste, unlike present nuclear power plants. It is also said that in ITER-type fusion power plants it is not necessary to deal with dangerous radioactive substances like plutonium and uranium and that a fusion reactor would use seawater as its fuel. All these statements are more than a little bit misleading. In practise ITER would burn lithium 6, broken down to tritium, and deuterium. Tritium and deuterium are not exactly harmless substances, they are the main ingredients in hydrogen and hydrogen-uranium bombs (fission-fusion bombs and fission-fusion-fission bombs). Tritium is approximately half a billion times more radioactive than uranium 238. Therefore it is used as the trigger in many ordinary fission bombs, and a few grams of tri252

tium or lithium 6 and deuterium multiplies the explosive strength of an ordinary fission bomb. The easiest way to make a truly massive atomic bomb is to use some lithium 6, some deuterium (which can be distilled from sea water), 270 grams of very pure uranium 235 or a little bit smaller amount of plutonium and a lot of natural uranium. The explosion of the uranium 235 or plutonium 239 core triggers fusion reactions in the second phase of the bomb, consisting of lithium 6 and deuterium. This produces so much heat and neutrons that if the bomb has been surrounded by a thick mantle of ordinary uranium 238 (or natural uranium), many of the uranium 238 atoms will split, even though uranium 238 cannot experience a proper chain reaction. USA exploded such a hydrogen-uranium bomb (Castle Bravo) in the Bikini atoll in 1954. Hydrogen-uranium bombs produce very lethal radioactive clouds, which are in some ways even worse than the fallout that would be produced by a cobalt bomb. Castle Bravos fallout made people fall ill even on coral islands which were five hundred kilometres away from the ground zero. Moreover, an ITER-type fusion power plant would not bring us clean nuclear power. It would most probably produce a larger quantity of highly radioactive nuclear waste than an ordinary nuclear power plant. ITER would not produce used nuclear fuel rods, but the whole mantle of the plant becomes very radioactive and has to be changed at least once in a few years, possibly even more often than this. The material of the mantle then becomes highly dangerous and radioactive nuclear waste, and there will be a lot of it. The problem arises from the fact that the fusion of deuterium and tritium produces neutrons and not protons. Because neutrons do not have an electric charge it is not possible to direct them by strong magnetic fields. Thus they hit the reactors mantle and make it very radioactive. For the same reason the nuclear fuel of an ordinary nuclear power station has typically become almost one billion times more radioactive when it comes out from the reactor. When nuclear fuel goes in the reactor it typically contains about 0.3 curies of radioactivity for each ton, when it comes out it contains approximately 300,000,000 curies per ton. This is because of the induced or arti253

ficial radioactivity, radioactive impurities which have been created by the intensive neutron bombardment inside the reactor. The neutrons created by the deuterium-tritium fusion will do the same thing for the mantle of a fusion power plant. The US senator and Apollo astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt for the time being the last person who has stepped on the Moon has discussed the differences of various fusion power plants for example in his book Return to the Moon.

Helium 3 Fusion Power Plants

A fusion power plant based on the reaction of two helium 3 atoms would not produce much radioactive waste because helium 3-helium 3-fusion produces protons which have a positive electric charge and which can therefore be steered by magnetic fields. However, the nearest significant sources of helium 3 are the solar wind, the Moon (whose loose sediments contain up to 20 parts per billion of helium 3) and the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. A research team at the University of Wisconsin (USA) has calculated that mining of the Moons helium 3 reserves for fusion power plants might become economically feasible if we can reduce the price of delivering equipment to the Moon to USD 1,000 per kilogram. The Apollo flights delivered material to the Moon with slightly less than two million dollars per kilogram. Advances in rocket, space tether and solar technologies may change these equations, but they are not likely to make lunar helium 3 mining economical compared with the new cpv, thin-film solar cell, geothermal and wind power technologies.

Deuterium-Deuterium Fusion Power Plants

It would, at least in theory, also be possible to construct a fusion reactor that would only use seawater, or, more precisely, only deuterium as its fuel. In the oceans one water molecule in six thousand is heavy water, and contains deuterium instead of ordinary hydrogen.

In reality nobody is interested in seawater fusion power plants, except in speeches meant for politicians, journalists and the public. It is true that the fusion of two deuterium atoms has a fifty per cent chance of producing a neutron and a fifty per cent chance of making a proton. Besides this the secondary reactions emit some more neutrons, but the production of neutrons is still much less than with tritium-deuterium fusion. The problem is that the fusion of two deuterium atoms produces only 3,65 MeV (megaelectronvolts) of energy, while the fusion of deuterium and tritium provides 17,6 MeV and the fusion of two helium 3 atoms 12,9 MeV. Thus a seawater reactor would produce even more radioactive waste for each megawatt-hour of energy than a tritium-deuterium plant. You cant get much farther than that from the dream of clean nuclear energy!

The Hydrogen Economy

Many companies and technicians have proposed the replacing of oil and natural gas with hydrogen. Hydrogen molecules are very small and they escape easily through the tiniest of holes or cracks in pipes and tanks. We do not have materials that can last forever. Cracks and holes must emerge, sooner or later, and hydrogen will start leaking out much before the holes or cracks become so large that they can be seen without a microscope. In the atmosphere hydrogen molecules tend to rise up quickly and they often reach a very high altitude before they react with oxygen and make water. In other words, hydrogen leaks can produce artificial cirrus clouds at high altitudes in the stratosphere. Because such hydrogen clouds stay up for a long time, they have a strong global warming potential. In other words, hydrogen would also contribute to our planetary overheating problem. However, various manmade and natural sources already produce between 15 and 20 million tons of free hydrogen, every year. 40 per cent of this comes from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass, and 50 per cent from photochemical oxidation of methane. The last 10 per cent is produced by volcanoes,

oceans and nitrogen-fixing, leguminous plants. This means that a full-scale hydrogen economy might actually reduce our hydrogen emissions, if hydrogen would replace biofuels and fossil fuels, and if less than 3 per cent of It would leak into the atmosphere. In tightly controlled industrial applications the leakage is often less than 0.1 per cent, but in poorly designed and maintained automobiles it could amount to 10 - 20 per cent.


The top ten ways to sterilize the planet:

1. Reducing the sulphur content in ocean-going ships fuel from the present 2.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent (the recommendation of the International Maritime Organization). This could, at the moment, be the most acute and imminent threat to our survival! 2. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by constructing fast breeder reactors. 3. Producing so much greenhouse gases, soot and artificial cirrus clouds that the Arctic methane and carbon stores will be released into the atmosphere (this we are already trying to do). 4. Using recombinant-DNA-techniques to breed bacteria that can produce vast quantities of free hydrogen and releasing them into the environment. 5. Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions by pressurized water reactors and pebble-bed modular reactors. 6. Increasing air traffic in the stratosphere, especially over the polar regions. 7. Replacing kerosene with hydrogen as the main jet plane fuel.


8. Classifying peat, oil shale and the other dirty fuels as slowly regenerating biomass, and promoting their use as acceptable sources of energy. 9. Destroying the remaining tropical rainforests, mangrove forests and swamp rainforests. 10. Doubling the global production of animal meat.


The top ten ways to prevent the overheating of the planet:

1. Donating a thousand million charcoal-making Anila cooking stoves and a thousand million solar cookers to a thousand million rural households. 2. Using the terra preta (biochar) farming method in fields, gardens, pasturelands and forests. 3. Banning the selling and buying of animal meat and accelerating the development of artificial meat. 4. Growing billions of very old and large trees. Species that produce fruit, nuts or other popular food and which can attain a substantial size and become very old should be preferred. 5. Regenerating the mangrove forests, the tropical rainforests and the coral reefs which have been destroyed, and cultivating tree crops in the rainforests, in the shade of the larger trees. 6. Reducing winter-time cloud cover in the Arctic and Antarctic areas. 7. Shifting to an energy system dominated by solar, wind and geothermal energy.


8. Producing carbon-negative electricity in enhanced geothermal systems that utilise supercritical carbon dioxide and sequester a lot of carbon into the bedrock. 9. Favouring broad-leaved trees in the northern forests, at least on the Southern slopes. 10. Producing a lot of extra ice and snow with wind-powered sprinklers and/or using the shallow, protected bays as ice nurseries. (It may well turn out that for example highly-reflecting agricultural plant species, reflecting mulches and reflecting films on watery surfaces prove to be more important than some of the items mentioned on this current, personal, top ten list. However, so little is known about these possibilities, that I was hesitant to include them, at this point.)


The ten most important things everyone of us can do

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways to fight global warming. It is not possible to participate or implement all of them in our everyday lives. If the endless lists of things that ought to be done are making you nervous, anxious or depressed, here is a short-list of only ten VERY important ways how you can be a part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem. 1. Write or phone to an oil company or to many different oil companies and say that you would prefer to use carbon-negative biofuels. When carbon-negative biofuel brands become available, never use any other types of fuel. 2. Demand carbon-negative electricity from your power utility company. If it will not react to your request, buy your power from another company that produces carbon-negative electricity (when that becomes available). The preceding pages have described numerous different ways to produce carbon-negative power! 3. Make sure that the politicians you vote understand, at least in a very basic level, the most important dilemmas mentioned in this book. If the person you have been voting for doesnt have a clue about what she/he should do (this is usually true), educate her/ him or choose a better representative for yourself.


4. Buy at least one thin-film or concentrator photovoltaic panel from the company you consider to be the most promising. This will speed up the solar energy revolution. 5. Become a vegetarian or at least limit your consumption of meat so that you only eat meat once in a week or so. 6. Dont do any flying without a REALLY good reason. If you have to fly, use propeller planes whenever possible. Avoid night flights, whenever possible, as if they were be a lethal infectious disease. Write to an airline company (or many of them!) and enquire about their environmental policies. Ask them whether they have already bought any propeller planes, what they are planning to do for their global warming condensation trails etc. Prefer northern routes during the winters, but avoid the polar routes flying in the stratosphere. 7. Support development cooperation projects that promote terra preta farming and disseminate solar cookers, Anila stoves (or other devices that reduce the soot emissions and produce biochar as a by-product of cooking). 8. Support tree-planting programmes that concentrate on planting large food-producing trees that have a long life-span. 9. If you own land (farmland, forest, wetland), manage it so that it absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere. If you do not own land, contact the public landowners (state, church, municipality) or your land-owning friends, and discuss the matter with them. 10. Carry out further experiments with the ideas that you found the most intriguing. Take some more time for thinking. Innovate! Develop your own reasonable or mad scientist solutions to the global warming! Like Gandhiji said: become the change you want to see in the world.



I have tried to minimize the list of references, because a full list would have run over hundreds of pages. Besides, if you know the key concepts (the precise terms the scientists are using in their own debates) and/or the names of researchers or companies developing a certain technology, you can nowadays find at least the summaries of all the key articles with simple on-line searches. In many cases you can only find up-to-date information in the internet.


James Hansens 350 ppm calculation: see for instance Lemonick, Michael D.: Global Warming: Beyond the Tipping Point, Scientific American, October 2008

The Melting of the Arctic

The Arctic ice cap in 1958: Anderson, William R.: Nautilus 90 North, Signet Books, New York, 1959. For the extent of the Arctic sea ice, look at the reports on the website of the National Ice and Snow Data Center of the USA, or look at The Cryosphere Today, A superb introduction to the Arctic climate can be found from Serreze, Mark C. and Barry, Roger G.: The Arctic Climate System, Cambridge University Press, 2005. The amount of ice at the Arctic Ocean, counted as cubic kilometres, see Freshnor - The Freshwter Budget for the Nordic Seas, , by the Danish Meteorological Institute, the Icelandic Meteorological Institute, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, the Rossby Centre and Greenland Institute for Natural Resources. Sergei Kirpotins work was first made known in the West by Fred Pearce, one of the worlds leading climate journalists. Pearces excellent book the Last Generation (Eden Project Books, 2006) contains a full chapter about the melting of the permafrost. Information based on Euan Nisbets estimate about the methane emissions is mentioned by Pearce. See also Walter, Katey and Chanton, Jeff (2006): Melting Lakes in Siberia Emit Greenhouse Gas, Nature, 443, 71-75 or The Other Threat to Climate Change, Terra Nature, 15 September 2006. The permafrost containing 1,500 billion tons of carbon: Permafrost Carbon Content Double the Old Estimates, CSIRO Media Release 08/164, 12 September, 2008. The quotes from Sergei Kirpotin and Katey Walter are mentioned for example in Borenstein, Seth: Scientists Find New Global Warming Time Bomb, Associated Press, 7 September, 2006 (available online). Methane bubbling up from the subma-


rine permafrost, see for example Connor, Steve: The Methane Time Bomb,, 23 September, 2008; the melting methane clathrates around Spitzbergen: Warming Ocean Contributes to Global Warming, 14 August, 2009, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, University of Southampton and Natural Environment Research Council.
What is Global Warming?

The information about the Earths energy imbalance: Scientists Confirm Earths Energy is Out of Balance, Nasa Webpages 28 April 2005, www. Earths Energy Out of Balance, Goddard Institute of Space Studies webpages, 28 April, 2005,; Hansen, James (2005): A Slippery Slope: How Much Global Warming Constitutes Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference?, Climate Change, Vol 68, pp. 269-279; Loeb, Norman G. et al: Toward Optimal Closure of the Earths Top-of-Atmosphere Radiation Budget, Journal of Climate, February 1, 2009. Estimates about the heating impact of soot: 0,44 w/m2: see IPCCs 2007 report; 0,9 w/m2: see Ramanathan, Veerabhadran and Carmichael, George: Global and Regional Climate Changes due to Black Carbon; Nature Geoscience, 1, 221-227, 1 April, 2008.
Why is Global Warming a Serious Issue?

For Richard Alleys comments and the history of the sea level rise, based on James Hansens lecture, see Pearce (2005), ibid. For surface melt-water acting as a lubricant see also Zwally, J.H. et al (2002): Surface Melt-induced Acceleration of Greenland Ice Sheet Flow, Science, 297, 218-222. James Hansens analysis about dynamivs of ice sheet melting: Hansen, 2005, ibid. The impact of soot on snow and ice: Hansen, James and Nazarenko, Larissa: Soot Climate Forcing via Snow and Ice Albedos, Proceedings of the National Academy of sciences of the USA, published online December 29, 2003. The very rapid rise of sea level 14,200 years ago: Blanchon, Paul and Shaw, John (1995): Reef Drowning During the Last Deglaciation: Evidence for Catastrophic Sea-level Rise and Ice-sheet collapse, Geology, Vol 23, No1. Carbon dioxide reducing the nutritive value of a wide range of food crops: Lawton, Graham: Plague of Plenty, New Scientist, 30 November, 2002. Carbon dioxide and cassava: Toxic Greenhouse Effect, New Scientist, 11 July, 2009; about cassava in general see for instance, Sasson, Albert: Feeding tomorrows world, Unesco/CTA, Paris, 1990. Global warming and rice crops: Peng, Shaobing et al: Rice Yields Decline with Higher Night Temperatures from Global Warming, Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America, 28 June, 2004. The possibility of a five-metre sea level rise by 2107: Hansen, James: The climate catastrophe, New Scientist, 28 July, 2008.


About glaciers speeding up eight times after the break-down of Larsen B ice shelf: Rignot, Eric and Kanagaratnam, Pannir: Changes in the Velocity Structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Science, 311: 986-990, 2006. About earthquakes caused by the glacial rebound see for example Arvidsson, Ronald (1996): Fennoscandian Earthquakes: Whole Crustal Rupturing Related to Post-Glacial Rebound, Science, vol 274, 1 November, 1996 and Johnston, Arch C.: A Wave in the Earth, in the same number of Science. Post-Glacial Rebound Earthquakes and Tsunamis at the Baltic Sea: Mrner, Nils-Axel: Tsunami Events Within the Baltic, Polish Geological Institute Special papers, 23, 71-76, 2008; Mrner, Nils-Axel: Paleoseismicity of Sweden, Jofo Grafiska, Stockholm 2003, a contribution to the INQUA from its Sub-commission on Paleoseismology. The Australian megatsunamis: Bryant, Edward: Tsunami - the Underrated Hazard, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001; Bryant, E.A. and Nott, J.A.: Geological Indicators of Large Tsunami in Australia, Natural Hazards, 24, 3: 231-249, 2001; Jones, Nicola: get Ready for a Killer Wave, New Scientist, 14 September, 2002. Increasing number of (glacial) earthquakes in Greenland: Glacial Earthquakes Point to Rising Temperatures in Greenland, Earth Institute News, 23rd March, 2006, The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Newfoundlands 1929 tsunami: Lovett, Richard: The wave from nowhere, New Scientist, 24 February, 2007. The early estimates on the amount of methane hydrates: Kvenvolden, K.A. (1988): Methane Hydrates and Global Change, Global Biochemical Cycles, vol 2, pp 221-229. The tsunami risk caused by melting methane hydrates: Henriet, J.P. and Mienert, J. (eds, 1998): Gas Hydrates: Relevance to World Margin Stability and Climate Change, Geological Society Special Publications, Vol 137; Suess, Erwin et al: Flammable Ice, Scientific American, November 1999; see also Pearce, ibid.

Can the Atmosphere Become Poisonous for Humans?

Hydrogen sulphide- and methane-induced mass extinctions: Ward, Peter D.: Under a Green Sky, Smithsonian Books, 2007: Ward, Peter D.: Impact from the Deep, Scientific American, October 2006; Kump, L.R. et al (2005): Massive Release of Hydrogen Sulfide to the Surface Ocean and Atmosphere During Intervals of Oceanic Anoxia, Geology, 33 (5), 397-400. Pasi Toiviainens methane shock-a moist greenhouse effect hypothesis: Toiviainen, Pasi: Ilmastonmuutos - nyt, Otava, Helsinki, 2007; see also the documentary film The Venus Theory (by Pasi Toiviainen). About heat increasing the stress caused to mammals by low-oxygen environment and about the limits of the mammals reproduction system: Ward, Peter D.: Out of Thin Air, Dinosaurs, Birds and Earths Ancient Atmo-


spheres, Joseph Henry Press, 2006. Ramanathans comment on three per cent albedo change being equivalent to five-fold increase in carbon dioxide see for example: Henson, Bob: Reflective Research, UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) Quarterly, Summer 2005.
Removing the Extra Carbon from the Atmosphere

Storing Carbon in Oil and Gas Wells (chapter 1): Department of Trade and Industry (UK): Review of the Feasibility of Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage in the UK, 2005. Biomass-based CCS and electric cars: Hamilo, Marko: Bioshk vie pisimmlle, Tiede Nro 1, 2010. The problems related to ocean acidification (chapter 2): Jones, Steve: Coral, Abacus, 2007; Mitchell, Alanna: Seasick - The Hidden Ecological Crises of the Global Ocean, Oneworld Publications, 2008; Cesar, Herman: The Economics of Worldwide Coral Reef Degradation, Cesar Environmental Economics Consulting, 2003; Henderson, Caspar: Paradise lost, New Scientist, 5 August, 2006: see also the webpages of World Resources Institute, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and of the Coral Reef Alliance. How acidification prevents the formation of organic oozes by changing the calcite compensation depth: Corfield, Richard: The Silent Landscape, John Murray, 2005. The fate of concrete blocks (chapter 3): Monbiot, George: Heat, Penguin Books, 2006; Kaila, Panu: Talotohtori, WSOY, Helsinki, 1997. Geothermal Power with supercritical carbon dioxide (chapter 4): Smith, Julian: Going Underground, New Scientist, 11 October, 2008; The Future of Geothermal Energy Impact of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) on the United States in the 21st Century, Massachusetts Institute for Technology, 2007 (available in the internet). Turning carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide (chapter 5): Graham-Rowe, Duncan: Lets Hear it for CO2, New Scientist, 1 March, 2008. The well-preserved palisade of Pataliputra (chapter 6): Sagreiya, K.P.: Forests and Forestry, National Book Trust, India, Delhi 1967. Straw preserved in rammed walls: Man, John: The Great Wall - The Extraordinary History of Chinas Wonder of the World, Bantam Books, 2008 The girth of 70,000 trees in Africa (chapter 8): Trees across the Tropics are Getting Bigger and Offering Unexpected Help in the Fight Against Climate Change, The Guardian, February 18, 2009; The Amazonas may be absorbing 600 million tons of carbon: Fox, Douglas: Saved by the trees, New Scientist, 27 October, 2007. North American forests absorbing 0.81.2 billion tons of carbon per year: Goulden, Michael L. et al: Exchange of Carbon Dioxide by a Deciduous Forest: Response to Interannual Climate Variability, Science, 271, pp. 1576-1578, 15 March, 1996 or Song MiaoFan et al: Terrestrial carbon sink in the Northern Hemisphere estimated from the atmospheric CO2 difference between Mauna Loa and the South


Pole since 1959, Tellus, 51B, 863-870, 1999. Trees and global warming in general: Isomki, Risto: Puukirja, Maan ystvt ja Ymprist ja kehitys, 1997; Isomki, Risto and Gandhi, Maneka: The Book of Trees, The Other India Press, 2004. About bioaerosols look: Jaenicke, Ruprecht (2005): Science, Vol 308, p 73; about the trees capacity to remove pollutants from the air see for example Air Pollution Control The Tree Factor in Urban Forest Research, January 2005 (available online). Terpenes and ozone: Beware of ozone on shady sidewalks, New Scientist, 20 June, 2009. A review of new studies concerning the age of the African and South American rainforests: Pearce, Fred: Deep Jungle, Journey to the heart of the rainforest, Eden Project Books, 2006. You must also see Rocheleau, Dianne E. and Raintree, John B.: Agroforestry and the Future of Food Production in Developing Countries, ICRAF reprint series 35, ICRAF, Nairobi, 1987. The present carbon store in red wood ant mounds (chapter 11): Risch, Anita C. et all: The Contribution of Red Wood Ants to Soil C and N Pools and CO2 Emissions in Subalpine Forests, Ecology, Vol 86(2), 2005, pp 419-430. About algal biodiesel (chapter 12): Sheehan, J. et al: A Look Back at the U.S. Department of Energys Aquatic Species Programme: Biodiesel from Algae, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, July, 1998; Bassam, N. El: Energy Plant Species, James & James Science Publishers, London, 1998; Briggs, Michael: Widescale Biodiesel production from Algae,; Strahan, David: A tank of the green stuff, New Scientist, 16 August, 2008. The story about the dead celt salt miner: Kurlansky, Mark: Salt, a World History, Vintage Books, 2002. Peatlands containing 500 to 1,000 billion tons of carbon (chapter 13): Pearce, Fred: Forests Destined to End in the Mire, New Scientist, 7 May, 1994. The oxidation and burning of Indonesian peatlands, see for example Page, Susan et al: Restoration Ecology of Lowland Tropical Peatlands in Southeast Asia: Current Knowledge and Future Research Directions, Ecosystems, 12, 888-905, 2008. The carbon store in and the carbon emissions from Finnish peatlands: Laine, Jukka et al: Turpeen ja turvemaiden kasvihuonevaikutukset Suomessa, Maa- ja metstalousministeri, Helsinki, 11/2007. Drained peatlands producing 17 tons of carbon per hectare (chapter 14): Lovett, Richard: Carbon lockdown, New Scientist, 3 May, 2008. No-till or minimum-tillage farming methods absorbing 500-700 kg of carbon per ha/year, and British soils losing 0.6 per cent of their carbon, annually: Goodall, Chris: Ten Technologies to Fix the Climate, Green Profile, 2008. Information on Broadbalk and Geescroft is based on a letter published in New Scientist 16 November, 2002 by David Powlson, Pete Falloon and Kevin Coleman of the Agriculture and Environment Division, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (of Britain). The carbon store in Russian forest soils: Alexeyev, V.A. and Birdsey, R.A. (eds): Carbon Storage in Forests and Peatlands of Russia, Radnor, PA, US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Sta-


tion, 1998. See also Harmon, Mark et al: Effects on Carbon Storage on Conversion of Old-Growth Forests to Young Forests, Science, 247, 699702, 9 February, 1990, a real classic on the same subject. About the terra preta (chapter 15): Glaser, Bruno: Amazonian Dark Earths: Exploration in Space and Time, WI Woods, 2004; Lehmann, J. et al (eds): Amazonian Dark Earths: Origin, Properties, Management, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003; Mann, Charles C.: 1491, The Americas Before Columbus, Granta Books, 2005. About biochar, methane and nitrous oxide, look at: Amonette, Jim: An Introduction to Biochar: Concept Processes, Properties and Applications, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Harvesting Clean Energy 9, Special Workshop, Billings, MT, 25 January, 2009. About the Chinampas bacterium and Mexican toilets based on it (chapter 16): Mena Abraham, Josefina: Sirdo Planning for Recycling, Grupo de Tecnologia Alternativa, Mexico City; about the Chinampas system: Aguilar, Jasmine (ed): Las Chinampas, Una Tecnica Agricola Muy Productiva, Arbor Editorial, Mexico DF, 1982. About the looming phosphorus deficit: Vaccari, David A.: Phosphorus: A Looming Crises, Scientific American, June 2009. About the state of USAs sewerage system and the power consumption of wastewater treatment facilities: George, Rose: The Big Necessaity, Adventures in the World of Human Waste, Portobellobooks, 2008. About mangrove forests and carbon sequestration (chapters 17 and 18): Isomki and Gandhi, ibid; Warne, Kennedy: Forests of the Tide, National Geographic, February 2007; About the cultivation of the nipa palm as an ethanol crop: Pivke, Aira: Nipapalmu, itisen tropiikin uusiutuva luonnonvara, in, Erkkil, Antti and Kuuluvainen, Timo (eds): Tropiikin metst, Silva Carelica 12, The University of Joensuu, 1988. About the soluble carbon compounds produced by the mangrove forests, look for instance: Nagamitsu, Maie et al: Mangrove Tannins in Aquatic Ecosystems: Their Fate and Possible Influence on Dissolved Organic Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling, Limnological Oceanography, 53: 160-171, 2008 or Kristensen, Erik et al: Organic Carbon Dynamics in Mangrove Ecosystems: A Review, Aquatic Botany, 89: 210-219, August 2008. About coral reefs: see the references for chapter 2. Adding limestone into the ocean (chapter 20): Brahic, Catharine: Earths Plan B, New Scientist, 28 February, 2009. Fertilizing the oceans (chapter 21): Martin, John H. and Fitzwater, Steve E. (1990): Iron Deficiency Limits Phytoplankton Growth in Antarctic Waters, Global Biogeochemical Cycles vol 4, pp 5-12; Kunzig, Robert (2000): Mapping the Deep, Sort of Books, London: Young, Emma: A Drop in the Ocean, New Scientist, 15 September, 2007. Greening the deserts with seawater sprinklers (chapter 22): Elsbett, Ludwig, Elsbett, Gunther and Elsbett, Klaus: nderung des klimatischen Geschehens mit technishen Mitteln, Deutsches Patentamt, DE 41 08615 A 1, Anmeldetag: 17.3.1991, Offenlegungstag: 19.9.1991; Salter, Stephen: Spray Turbines


to Increase Rain by Enhanced Evaporation from the Sea, a paper presented for the tenth Congress of International Maritime Association of the Mediterranean, Crete, May, 2002. Paul Crutzens new calculations concerning nitrous oxide (chapter 25) see for instance: Crutzen, P.J., Mosier, A.R., Smith, K.A. and Winiwarter, W.: N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels, Atmos. Chem. Discuss. 7: 11191-11205, 2007; see also Del Grosso et al: Estimating agricultural nitrous oxide emissions, Eos 89 (51): 529-530, 2008. About diseases we have acquired by eating meat and keeping domestic animals: Wolfe, Nathan: Preventing the Next Pandemic, Scientific American, April, 2009; Wolfe, Nathan et al: Origins of Major Human Infectious Diseases, Nature, 447, 279-283, 17 May, 2007. About toxoplasmosis, traffic deaths and mental disorders: Wikipedia has an excellent article on Toxoplasmosis, with a very good list of references to the most important scientific studies about the subject. About Diabetes 2 and persistent organic pollutants: Lee, Duk-Hee et al: A Strong Doseresponse relation Between Serum Concentrations of Persistent Organic Pollutants and Diabetes, Diabetes Care, 29: 1638-1644, 2006; Brown, Phyllida: Trouble in Store, New Scientist, 13 September, 2008. About domestic animals and greenhouse gas emissions: Trivedi, Bijal: Dinners dirty secret, New Scientist, 13 September, 2008; Rifkin, Jeremy: Beyond Beef, The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture, New York, Dutton, 1992; Steinfeld, H. et al: Livestocks Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, UNFAO, 2006; Fiala, Nathan: The Greenhouse Hamburger, Scientific American, February 2009. The power consumption of British supermarkets: Monbiot, George: Heat, Penguin Books, 2006. Jaakko Pyrys predictions about the worlds future paper consumption (chapter 26): Lang, Chris: Tehtaan varjossa, Into Kustannus, Helsinki, 2008. The carbon footprint of the internet: Graham-Rowe, Duncan: Is the net hurting the environment?, New Scientist, 2 May, 2009; Vise, David A.: The Google Story, Pan Books, 2005.
Halting the Albedo Changes

The depletion of stratospheric ozone and its potential consequences: One of the best, if not the best and clearest account on the subject I have ever read was produced by Robert Parson of the University of Colorado, and it should still be available online: Ozone Depletion FAQ Part 1: Introduction to the Ozone Layer, About ozone depletion due to increased CO2 concentrations, see for example Austin, John et al: Possibility of an Arctic ozone hole in a doubled-CO2 climate, Nature, Vol 360,221-225, November 1992. About the cooling of the mesosphere and stratosphere due to greenhouse gases and tropospheric warming, see for instance New Scientist cover story on 1 May, 1999.


About increasing carbon dioxide contents reducing the nutritive value of food plants: Lawton, Graham: Plague of plenty, New Scientist, 30 November, 2002; Nowak, Rachel: Global Warming Makes for Less Nutritious Crops, New Scientist, 5 January, 2008. About the aerosol umbrella (chapter 27): See Andreae, Meinrat O., Jones, Chris D. and Cox, Peter M.: Strong present-day aerosol cooling implies a hot future, Nature, 435, pp 1187-1190, 30 June, 2005 and Pearce, Fred: The Last Generation, ibid, look also at Hansen, James: Storms of my Grandchildren, Bloomsbury, 2009, p. 6. About sulphur as a geoengineering solution: Crutzen, P. (2006): Albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injections: a contribution to resolve a policy dilemma, Climatic Change, vol 77, pp 211-219. About sulphur and ships: Lauer, Axel et al: Assessment of Near-Future Policy Instruments for Oceangoing Shipping: Impact on Atmosphereic Aerosol Burdens and the Earths Radiation Budget, Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 5592-5598, 2009; DK Group Marine Industry Innovators: One ship pollutes as much as 50 million cars, 6 February, 2008, Fuglestvedt, Jan et al: Climate forcing from the transport sectors - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, approved October 5, 2007,, Eyring, Veronika et al: Brief Summary of the impact of ship emissions on atmospheric composition, climate and human health, Document submitted to the Health and Environment subgroup of the International Maritime Organization on 6 November, 2007. About the impact of soot (chapter 29): Hansen, James and Nazarenko, Larissa: Soot Climate Forcing via Snow and Ice Albedos, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, published online December 29, 2003; Flanner, Mark. G. et al: Present-day Climate Forcing and Response from Black Carbon in Snow, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 112, D11202, 5 June 2007; Koch, Dorothy and Hansen, James: Distant Origins of Arctic Black Carbon: A Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE Experiment, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 110, DO4204, 25 February, 2005; Xu, Baiqing et al: Black Soot and the Survival of Tibetan Glaciers,, October 15, 2009. The nature of diesel nanoparticles may require rethinking of particulate matter standards, Diesel Progress North American edition, June, 1998; Gose, Chandrachur: Nanoparticles, as tiny as a billionth of a metre, pose a challenge to scientists and regulatory authorities alike, Down to Earth, 15th September, 2003. About the Twomey effect and the possibilities of making the clouds whiter (chapter 30): Salter, Stephen; Sortino, Graham and Latham, John (2008): Sea-going Hardware for the Cloud Albedo Method of Reversing Global Warming, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol 366, pp 3989-4006, published online 29 August 2008; Latham, John (1990): Control of global warming?, Nature, vol 347 pp 339-340; Salter, Stephen H. and Latham, John (2006): The Reversal of global Warming by the Increase of the Albedo of Marine Stratocumulus Cloud; Twomey, Sean (1977): The


influence of pollution on the shortwave albedo of clouds, Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, vol 34, pp 1149-1152. About the proposal of Edward Teller and his friends (chapter 32): Jones, Nicola: Sunblock, New Scientist 23 September, 2000. About geoengineering with moon dust (chapter 33): Curtis Strucks original paper was published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, vol 60, pp 1, 2007. About the nature of moon dust, see for example Schmitt, Harrison H.: Return to the Moon, Praxis Publishing, New York, 2006. A giant reflector in space (chapter 35): See Jones, Nicola, ibid. About large numbers of reflectors in outer space (chapters 36 and 37): Angel, R.(2006): Feasibility of cooling the earth with a cloud of small spacecraft near the inner Lagrange point, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 103, pp 17184-17189. About the solar chimney concept (chapter 44): Schlaich, Jrg: The Solar Chimney, Edition Axel Menges, Stuttgart, 1995. About de Sotos ideas (chapter 45): de Soto, Hernando: The Mystery of Capital, Bantam Press, 2000; About the impact the reflecting greenhouses have had on Almerias climate: Hot White Roofs are the Height of Cool, New Scientist, 11 October, 2008. About SETI, CETI and reflecting solar radiation to space with large radio telescopes (chapter 47): Isomki, Risto: Intelligent Life on Earth? The Impact of the New Solar Economy on Communication Networks and Technologies, Including the Search for (and possibly Communication with) Extraterrestrial Intelligence, The University of Tampere, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, 2008 (available online). For a good introduction about wind-generated waves and swell (chapter 48) I would recommend Smith, Craig B.: Extreme Waves, Joseph Henry Press, Washington DC, 2006. For the history of applied meteorology, see: Battan, Louis J.: Cloud Physics and Cloud Seeding, Doubleday & Company, New York, 1962. For Arctic weather systems and how snowfall is made, look: Karttunen, Hannu et al: Ilmakeh, s ja ilmasto, Ursa, Helsinki, 2008; Serreze, Mark C. and Barry, Roger G.: The Arctic Climate System, Cambridge University Press, 2005. See also the references for chapter 22. The climatic impact of Artic wintertime clouds: see for instance Serreze and Barry, ibid, 2006. For the climatic impact of Antarctic clouds, look for instance Svensmark, Henrik and Calder, Nigel: The Chilling Stars, Icon Books, 2008. The climatic impact of condensation trails (chapter 52): Travis, D.J. et al: Contrails Reduce Daily Temperature Range, Nature, 8 August, 2002; Mannstein, H. and Schumann, U.: Observations of Contrails and Cirrus over Europe, Proceedings of the AAC Conference, 30 June-3 July 2003, Friedrichshafen; Report of the Workshop on the Impacts of Aviation on Climate Change, June 7-9, 2006, Boston, MA; Stuber, Nicola et al: The Importance of the Diurnal and Annual Cycle of Air Traffic for Contrail Radiative Forcing, Nature, 441, 864-867, 15 June, 2006; Minnis, Patrick et al:


Contrails, Cirrus Trends and Climate, Journal of Climate, Vol 17, 16711685, 15 April, 2004; Williams, Victoria and Noland, Robert B.: Air Transport Cruise Altitude restrictions to Minimize Contrail Formation, available online, revised version, 3 February, 2003; Schmidt, Gavin; Unger, Nadine and Schindell, Drew, Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University: Modelling the Impact of Aviation on Climate Change, Greener Skies Conference, Hong Kong, October 2009. The Bergeron process: Karttunen at al, ibid (chapter 48). Dropping the clouds with bacteria (chapter 59): Hooper, Roman: Bugs Make Rain to get Back Home, New Scientist, 8 March, 2008. I became interested in the idea of making ice-and-something-composites (chapter 61) when I was in Greenland in May and June, 2008. When I started to investigate the matter, the first source of relevant information I discovered was the story of pykecrete and Habakkuk in von Tunzelmann, Alex: Indian Summer, Simon and Schuster, 2007. Besides the amazing story of pykecrete, von Tunzelmanns book does not say anything about ice, but it is otherwise a delightful read. The idea of the Arctic Pleistocene Parks: Simpson, Sarah: The Peril Below the Ice, Scientific American Earth 3.0, 19, 2, 30-37, 2009.
Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions

Food and global warming: see references for chapter 25. For an excellent overview about food waste, look Stuart, Tristram: Waste, Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, Penquin, 2009. Damping the waves in traffic: Vanderbilt, Tom: Traffic, 2008, pp 124-128. The aquatic ape theory: Morgan, Elaine: The Scars of Evolution, Souvenir Press, London, 1990: Morgan, Elaine: The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, Souvenir Press, London, 1997. The heating impact of condensation trails: see references for chapter 52. The global warming impact of aeroplanes flying at 17-20 kilometres: Monbiot, George: Heat, How can we stop the planet burning, Penquin Books, 2007. The global warming impact of hydrogen using jet planes: Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution: The Environmental Effects of Civil Aircraft in Flight: Special Report, 29 November, 2002. Thin-film Photovoltaics: The information in the books will be out-dated. Search online with words like thin-film solar cells, thin-film photovoltaics, CdTe thin-film solar cells/photovoltaic cells, Moser Baer India, Nanosolar etc. Concentrating Solar: The information in the books is mostly seriously outdated. Search online with concepts like concentrating solar, cs, Stirling engines, solar Stirling, solar troughs, solar tower, solar windmill, solar chimney.


Solar troughs becoming economically competitive after 5,000 megawatts had been installed: Philibert, Cedric: International Energy Technology Collaboration and Climate Change Mitigation, Case Study 1: Concentrating Solar Power Technologies, OECD Environment Directorate, International Energy Agency, Paris, 2004. Concentrating Photovoltaics: I have not found much relevant information outside the internet. Use different combinations of the following names and terms: concentrator photovoltaics, concentrating photovoltaics, cpv, lowconcentration photovoltaics, Emcore, Boeing Spectrolab, IBM, PhotoVolt, Amonix, Concentrix, Solar Systems, Solaria, SolFocus, Sharp, MST Renewable Energy Company, Green and Gold Energy, Moser Baer India, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and so on. For an overview I would specially recommend three articles available online: Jones, Jackie: Time to Concentrate, Earthscan REW Solar PV, 18 October, 2006; Faiman, D., Raviv, D. and Rosenstreich, R.: The Triple Sustainability of the CPV within the Framework of the Raviv Model, in, Proceedings of the 20th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Barcelona, Spain, June 6-10, 2005; Conley, Gary D.: Solfocus, Towards $1/watt, NREL Growth Forum, November 8, 2005. Modern thermoelectric cells: This is cutting-edge technology so the information in books cannot be up-to-date. Look at what is available online with words like thermoelectric cells, Varmaraf, PowerChips etc. Geothermal power based on supercritical steam: See the web-pages of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, Wind Power in the Kola Peninsula: See or example Minin, Valeriy and Dimitriev, Grigoriy. Prospects for Development of Non-Conventional and Renewable Sources of Energy on the Kola Peninsula, Bellona, Murmansk, 2007: Hall, Giles: New Winds of Change Blow Through Russia, New Energy Finance, 13 May, 2008. For another opinion on the increasing (and final) size of windmills, look at: Edwards, Rob: Anywhere the Wind Blows, New Scientist, 11 October, 2008. Kite Power: Brooks, Michael: High Flyers, New Scientist, 17 May, 2008; Jha, Alok: Giant Kites to Tap Power of the High Wind, The Observer, 3 August, 2008. Biofuels: A complete list of the literature on biofuels would now run to several millions of articles. My own Biofuel Bibles are: Bassam, N.: Energy Plant Species, James & James Science Publishers, London, 1998 and Duke, James, A.: Handbook of Agricultural Energy Potential of Developing Countries, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 1987. About peatland plantations increasing carbon emissions 25-36 times, see for instance: Pearce, Fred: Bog Barons - Indonesias Carbon Catastrophe, New Scientist, 1 December 2007. For the future of oil palm, look for instance: Basiron, Yusof: Palm Oil Production through Sustainable Plantation, European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 109, pp 289-295, 2007. About the nitrous oxide


problem see the references of chapters 15 and 25. About cacao in Cameroon, see Pearce, Fred: Deep Jungle, Eden Project Books, 2005. About the wild Amazonian oil trees, see Shanley, Patricia and Medina, Gabriel: Frutiferas e Pantas Uteis na Vida Amazonica, CIFOR, Amazon, 2005. HVDC Transmission Lines: Sorensen, Bent: Renewable Energy Conversion, Transmission and Storage, Academic Press, 2007; ABB (ABB web pages): Overhead Transmission Lines for HVDC; 25.2.2007; Ruddervall, Roberto, et al: High Voltage Direct Current Transmission Systems, A World Bank Technology Review paper (available online, un-dated). Firestorms caused by nuclear weapons and the US military ignoring them: Eden, Lynn: Whole World on Fire, Organizations, Knowledge & Nuclear Weapons Devastation, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 2004. A Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapon detonating in Manhattan causing superhurricane winds blowing 600 kilometres per hour: Goldman, Bruce: Nuclear Nightmare in Manhattan, New Scientist, 18 March, 2006. Soot produced by a small nuclear war causing a global famine: Robock, Alan and Toon, Owen B.: Local Nuclear War, Global Suffering, Scientific American, January, 2010. Gorbachev-Reagan scenario: Rhodes, Richard: Arsenals of Folly, the Making of the Nuclear Arms Race, Simon & Schuster, 2007; Reagan, Ronald: An American Life, Simon & Schuster, 1990. The Health Effects of Chernobyl: I will not list all the Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian studies, here, but you will find the English summaries of 730 of them from the book: Busby, C.C. and Yablokov, A.V.: Chernobyl 20 Years on: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident, European Committee on Radiation Risk, Bruxelles, 2006, also available as a free e-book. Extra infant mortality in the United Kingdom in 1986-88: Herbert, Ian and Linton, Deborah: Chernobyl Disaster linked to higher rate of infant mortality,, 23rd March, 2006. India and Chernobyl: Ghoshal, Sumit: One Million Infant Deaths in India from Chernobyl,, 26 April, 2000. The 6.2 per cent rise in infant mortality in Poland after Chernobyl, Wise, July 6, 1990, available online. A German study denying the causal link between infant mortality and Chernobyl: Grosche, B., Irl, C., Schowtzau, A. and van Santen, E.: Perinatal Mortality in Bavaria, Germany, After the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident, Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, 36, 1432-2099, July, 1997. Terrorists vaporizing ten kilograms of used nuclear fuel to highly radioactive aerosol: Nichelson, Scott M., Stafford, Matthew C. and Medlin, Darren D.: Radiological Weapons of Terror, Maxwell AFB, Air University, Air Command and Staff College, 1999. The risk of a zirconium fire in a cooling pond: Edwards, Rob: The Nightmare Scenario, New Scientist, 13 October, 2001; Zirconium. Covering the Fuel Rods, The New York Times webpages;; Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public report, Board on Radioactive Waste Management, USA, 2006; Wald, Matthew L.: Study Finds Vulnerabilities in Pools


of Spent Nuclear Fuel, The New York Times, April 7, 2005; Sensintaffar, Edwin L. and Philips, Charles R.: Environmental Impact resulting from a Fire at a Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility, International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology, Vol 1, No 3, 2007. The German KiKK study: Kaatsch, P. et al: Epidemiologische Studie zu Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von Kernkraftwerken (KiKK Studie), Abschlussbericht, Technische Bericht, Institut von Medizinischen Biometrie, Epidemiologie und Informatik (IMBEI), Universitt Mainz, 2007; Kaatsch, P. et al: Leukaemia in Young Children Living in the Vicinity of German Nuclear Power Plants, International Journal of Cancer, 122, 721-726, 2008; Spix, C. et al: Case-Control Study on Childhood Cancer in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants in Germany, 1980-2003; European Journal of Cancer, 44: 275284, 2007. The construction of nuclear weapons from uranium 235 or uranium 233 enriched to 20 per cent: See for example Forsberg, C.V., Hopper C.M., Richter, J.L. and Vantine, H.C.: Defition of Weapons-Usable Uranium 233, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, March 1998; Glaser, Alexander and Hippel, Frank von: Thwarting Nuclear Terrorism, Scientific American, February 2006, 38-45; Allison, Graham: Nuclear Terrorism, The Risks and Consequencies of the Ultimate Disaster, Constable, 2005. The fuel of the breeder reactors containing from 15 to 30 per cent uranium 235, plutonium 239 or uranium 233: See for example the muchpraised and awarded Hyperphysics webpages of the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the Columbia State University, hyperphysics + fast breeder reactors. About the Rapid or Rapid L breeders containing up to 60 per cent of fissile material, see: Kambe, M., Tsunoda, H., Nakajima, K. and Iwamura, T.: Rapid Operator-free Fast Reactors Combined with a Thermoelectric Power Conversion System, Journal of Power and Energy, Vol 218, No 5, 2004, 335-343.About the problem of increased heat production in a fast breeder reactor in the case of a loss of coolant accident (LOCA): Kumar, Ashwin and Ramana, M.V.: The Safety Inadequacies of Indias Fast Breeder Reactor, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. 21, July 2009. If you want to read more, feed words like Rapid, Rapid L, pebble-bed modular reactors, fast breeder reactors, sodium-cooled breeder reactors, lithium-cooled breeder reactors, plutonium breeding, and so on for a search robot. I would also especially recommend the archives of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Deuterium-tritium, deuterium-deuterium and helium 3-helium 3 fusion reactors: Schmitt, Harrison H.: Return to the Moon, Praxis Publishing, New York, 2006. Hydrogen-uranium bombs: Rotblat, Joseph: The HydrogenUranium Bomb, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1955, 171-172.


38. Saara Ilvessalo & Henrik Jaakkola (toim.): Kansan valta suora demokratia Suomen politiikan pelastuksena 37. Heikki Hiilamo: uusi hyvinvointivaltio 36. Jan Liesaho & Vaula Tuomaala (toim.): Ilman Lenin-set, huom. 35. Tuomas Martikainen: Suomi Remix 34. Rasmus Fleischer: Postdigitaalinen manifesti 33. Dan Koivulaakso, Anna Kontula, Jukka Peltokoski, Miikka Saukkonen & Tero Toivanen: Radikaaleinta on arki 32. Markus Himanen & Jukka Knnen: Maahanmuuttopoliittinen sanasto 31. Serge Latouche: Jhyviset kasvulle 30. Jussi Frbom: Hallanvaara 29. Boris Kagarlitsky: Neukkulaan ja takaisin 28. Anna Kontula: Nkymtn kyl 27. Outi Hakkarainen &a Mira Kknen (toim.): Kenen ilmasto 26. Diana Denham & C.A:S:A Collective (toim.): Tavallisten ihmisten kapina 25. Frdric Lordon: Rahamyllyt kuriin: kuinka vapautua finanssikriiseist 24. Pentti Linkola: Isnmaan ja ihmisen puolesta 23. Salla Korpela: yltkyllisten pidot tulevaa hyvinvointia hahmottamassa 22. Juha Suoranta: Piilottajan pivkirja 21. Risto Isomki: Kosminen rakkaus vai suuri saatana? 20 ptst ydinvoimasta 20. Kimmo Jylhm & Hanna Kuusela (toim.): Politiikkaa, idiootti! Vastakkainasetteluja iekin kanssa (2. painos) 19. Otto Bruun & Teppo Eskelinen (toim.): Finanssikapitalismi Jumala on kuollut 18. Boris Nemtsov & Vladimir Milov: Putinismi ja Venjn rappio 17. Jonathan Glover: Lapsia valitessa geenit, vammaisuus ja suunnittelu 16. Stanislaw Dmitrijevski, Oksana Chelysheva & Bogdan Gvarely: Who is responsible? 15. Arja Alho: Kovan tuulen varoitus 14. Jouko Vnnen (toim.): Rauhaa, peace! pasifismin klassikoita 13. Anna Kontula: Tst iti varoitti (2. painos)


12. Anna-Reetta Korhonen, Jukka Peltokoski & Miika Saukkonen: Paskaduunista barrikadille prekariaatin julistus 11. Olli Tammilehto: Rahdin rikokset 10. Matti ylnen: Veroparatiisit 20 ratkaisua varjotalouteen 9. Timo Kopomaa: Leppoistamisen tekniikat (2. painos) 8. Rolf Bchi, Nadja Braun & Bruno Kaufmann: Opas suoraan demokratiaan 7. Martina Reuter & Ruurik Holm (toim.): Koulu ja valta 6. Juha Pikkarainen: Kapinakenraalin pivkirja 5. Chris Lang: Tehtaan varjossa 4. Meri Lhteenoksa: Viisas arki 3. Tere Vadn (toim.): Linkolan ajamana 2. Mahatma Gandhi: Vapaudesta Hind swaraj 1. Hanna Kuusela & Mika Rnkk (toim.): Puolueiden kriisi (2. painos)

Harri Leppnen: Gaddafin kunnailla Rieser Richard: Mustat lasit Vammaisuus elokuvissa ja televisiossa Tapio Tamminen: Islamin aseeton soturi Ghaffar Khan ja talebanien synty Matti Salminen: yrj Kallisen elm & totuus Esko Seppnen: Oma poma Arundhati Roy: Kuuntelen heinsirkkoja Merkintj demokratiasta Hanna Nikkanen: Viaton imperiumi Kolme kertomusta suomalaisesta yritysvastuusta Anja Portin (toim.): Kirja vedest Arkadi Babtenko: Sodan vrit Anna Ljunggren & Kristina Rotkirch (toim.): Sata makkaralaatua ja yksi idea 11 venlist kirjailijaa kertoo Jussi Laitinen: Pieni suuri energiakirja opas energiatehokkaaseen asumiseen

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