German researchers have demonstrated once again that the best way to limit climate change is to stop burning fossil fuels now.
In a “thought experiment” they tried another option: the future dramatic removal of huge volumes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This would, they concluded, return the atmosphere to the greenhouse gas concentrations that existed for most of human history – but it wouldn’t save the oceans.
That is, the oceans would stay warmer, and more acidic, for thousands of years, and the consequences for marine life could be catastrophic.
The research, published in Nature Climate Change today delivers yet another demonstration that there is so far no feasible “technofix” that would allow humans to go on mining and drilling for coal, oil and gas (known as the “business as usual” scenario), and then geoengineer a solution when climate change becomes calamitous.