Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on November 1, 2008
Here’s the latest solution from the global war on climate change: giant metal tubes that force cooler water to the surface of the ocean. National Geographic News recently reported a proposal by James Lovelock, a British scientist and the author of the holistic world view known as the Gaia theory, that would sequester CO2 “naturally” by fostering algae growth at the surface of the ocean.
The tubes, 10 meters in diameter by 100 meters long, bob up and down with the natural action of the ocean. There are one-way valves in each of the tubes that force the cooler, more nutrient-rich water to the surface, stimulating algae growth. The algae acts as a “carbon-sink” by absorbing carbon dioxide much like other plants. The algae also creates a compound that makes light-(and heat) reflecting clouds.
See the image below to see how the tubes work.
But will this work? Lovelock and Rapley admit that it will take between 10,000 and 100,000 of these tubes to make a dent in CO2 levels – a rather large range considering the size of the tubes. Other scientists claim that raising cooler water will actually raise carbon dioxide levels because of the CO2 contained in the deeper water, and the increased algae at the surface will create an oxygen-depleted layer that will harm fish and other ocean life.
Whatever the cost, it is past time to start doing something about climate change. It seems that even 100,000 tubes can be easily masked by the vastness of the ocean, and this solution deserves more research. We must remember that all of our actions will have some unintended consequences – whether we try to reduce greenhouse gases “naturally” or try something more engineered.