I have discussed these topics from time to time. I am preparing a talk on them. I propose to stop global warming using cold fusion in two steps:
- Stop emitting carbon dioxide by using cold fusion energy.
- Remove excess carbon from the atmosphere by growing billions of trees. When they are old, cut them down and bury them underground in abandoned open-pit coal mines.
Item 2, reforestation to sequester carbon, has been suggested by many experts. I have taken their ideas and shown how the project can be enhanced with cold fusion. I cannot fit the following into the talk, but here are three interesting things I have learned in the last few years.
1. The experts do not agree how much carbon this could be removed from the atmosphere with this method. The experts also do not agree whether old-growth forests continue to sequester carbon or not. Some say that leaves on large, mature trees sequester a great deal of carbon. Others disagree. Quote:
“[W]hether carbon accumulation continues or peaks when net additional wood growth is minimal (in “old-growth” forests) is disputed.”
- Gorte, R.W., U.S. Tree Planting for Carbon Sequestation. 2009, U.S. Congress: Congressional Research Service.
Here are some recent articles about carbon sequestration by reforestation. I have highlighted some disagreements among experts, and some aspects of the project that cold fusion would enhance.
Reforest Action, Contribute to the Global Carbon Neutrality . . . by Funding the creation and preservation of Forests, https://www.reforestaction.com/en/contribution-climate, 19 million trees planted
University of Aukland, Can reforestation help reverse the extinction crisis? https://www.thebigq.org/2019/0…rse-the-extinction-crisis
Congressional Research Service, U.S. Tree Planting for Carbon Sequestration, https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R40562.pdf
Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Planting trees to mitigate climate change: Policy incentives could lead to increased carbon sequestration, https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/61873
YOUNG TREES ARE BETTER!
World Resources Institute, Young Forests Capture Carbon Quicker than Previously Thought, https://www.wri.org/insights/y…uicker-previously-thought
NO! OLD TREES ARE BETTER!
Pacific Forest Trust, E&E: Old trees store more carbon, more quickly, than younger trees, https://www.pacificforest.org/…ickly-than-younger-trees/ Most other sources say that younger trees store more carbon per year. See also Figure 1 caption.
100 YEARS TO STORE 10 YEARS OF EMISSIONS (I say 100 years to sequester all anthropogenic emissions)
Frontiers in Forest and Global Change, Forests and Decarbonization – Roles of Natural and Planted Forests, https://www.frontiersin.org/ar…/10.3389/ffgc.2020.00058/ The authors do not consider growing field crop indoors; irrigating deserts; or burying deadwood anaerobically in abandoned coal mines, OR cold fusion.
2. If reforestation cannot be done quickly enough to forestall global warming, some experts say that we can reduce global warming by painting roofs white, or using white shingles. One expert said that will not work because the light reflected from the roof bounces off of particles in the air and ends up heating the air just as much, although he granted that it does keep the house cooler. He missed an important point. In the first world, air conditioning is widely used, so keeping the house cooler would reduce energy consumption significantly.
Global warming can also be forestalled by putting gigantic mylar sunshades in low earth orbit. This would be millions of times cheaper than moving cities or building seawalls. They will eventually erode or fall out of orbit but by that time we should have the problem fixed. The mass of mylar is not as great as you might think. You have to intercept 2% to 4% of sunlight. It would be a bad idea to do this permanently. It might change the ecosystem. However, sunshades that last 50 years while we remediate global warming would be okay I think.
3. Dave Nagel has been talking about some of the proposed methods to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester it. These involve large machines and chemical processes. I think this is a bad idea. I strongly favor growing trees instead. For the following reasons:
CO2 removal also removes the oxygen. We need the oxygen. Someone computed that if we were to burn all the remaining coal, oxygen would be severely depleted. Photosynthesis separates and releases the oxygen. I do not know whether there are any proposed mechanical or chemical methods of separating oxygen but I am sure photosynthesis works well.
Any method that depends upon machines would require massive amounts of equipment that would have to be sustained for 100 to 200 years. Whereas, as I described, planting trees would require only a modest amount of equipment, mainly desalination plants that would no longer be needed after fifty years, because natural rainfall would increase. Cold fusion energy is much cheaper than any other source but even cold fusion costs something. Whereas solar energy used to grow trees costs nothing.
CO2 removal has no benefit other than avoiding global warming. It has no ancillary profits. Whereas growing trees produces enormous profits as I described. People like trees. People would like to see deserts the size of the United States converted back into verdant land. The market value of that land would be approximately $23 trillion:
The cost of producing this land by reversing desertification would be a tiny fraction of that. It should be done even if we did not have a problem with carbon in the atmosphere. As it happens this method not only removes carbon but it also produces fantastic economic benefits.