Please leave aside all of the arguments about whether there's anything going on, whether we're responsible and so on. Start at the point where it is, we are and something should be done.
Excellent, so, what should be done? At which point we've a report from some sciencey types talking about negative emission technologies.
Ways of sucking carbon dioxide from the air will not work on the vast scales needed to beat climate change, Europe’s science academies warned on Thursday.
From simply planting trees to filtering CO2 out of the air, the technologies that some hope could be a “silver bullet” in halting global warming either risk huge damage to the environment themselves or are likely to be very costly.
One possible reaction to this is "bit of a pity but there we are." Another is to do that horrible trick of actually going to read the report. In which we find this:
The oceans currently provide one of the largest natural sinks for CO2, via the so-called ‘solubility pump‘ (since CO2 is slightly soluble in seawater), and the ’biological pump‘ (since microscopic plants take up CO2 to make organic matter constituting the base of the ocean food web). Both of these sinks could potentially be enhanced. The possibility of encouraging uptake through dissolution and mineralisation was included in Annex 4; this annex considers enhancing the sink as a result of biological activity. The rate of phytoplankton production is limited in many parts of the oceans by nutrient availability, and enhancing this has long been seen as a potential route for increasing the rate of CO2 uptake.
This is iron fertilisation of the oceans. The important things to know about this being that we know it works. Yes, really, we know, absolutely, that this works in a technical sense. We also know that it won't be a complete solution. What we don't know is how much it will cost - whether it will be an economic solution to a part of our problem.
One of us here has taken an unhealthy interest in this technology over the years and has also applied specialist knowledge to the point. The raw material necessary has, as the usual calculations don't include, a negative cost. It's a waste which people will pay you to take away.
But, still, we don't know quite how technically effective it will be nor quite how economic. As this report says therefore:
These issues require considerable further research and field trials to be clarified, before OIF could be regarded as a potential contributor to achieving negative emissions.
Yes, we agree entirely. So, where are those field trials? As one of us has pointed out half a decade ago, they'd be illegal. Dumping that waste product into the oceans, that waste that people will pay you to take and which will, as far as we know at least, be a partial solution to boiling those same oceans, is illegal. Even just a few thousand tonnes into empty water, something which might suck down a billion tonnes of CO2, two Britain's worth.
The last field trials were in 2007. Positive results, it all looks like it will work, at low cost, and be that partial solution. But nothing is being done. No more research is being carried out.
The world simply isn't serious about climate change, is it? And we'll not believe it is until those field trials on this technology take place either.