The U.K.’s Institute of Mechanical Engineers has proposed three geo-engineering schemes officials say could be immediately implemented to slow global warming: building artificial trees that absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, using algae tubes to pull CO2 from the atmosphere, and painting the roofs of buildings white.
The engineers said that these three ideas, if carried out on a wide scale, could absorb much of the CO2 produced annually in the U.K. and cool temperatures.
The engineers shied away from more ambitious geo-engineering proposals — such as seeding the oceans with iron to encourage the growth of CO2-absorbing plankton — and focused instead on practical solutions that could be carried out soon.
The artificial trees are machines the size of a standard shipping container, and the engineers said that 100,000 of these “trees” — built on just 1,500 acres — could absorb all of the emissions of the U.K.’s non-power plant sector each year. The CO2 could then be stored underground in depleted oil and gas fields.
The CO2 absorbed by the algae tubes could be converted to charcoal and buried, the engineers said.
The engineers said that a £10 million research program — or about $16 million — could be used to turn the three ideas into reality. One IME official said the three ideas are not a substitute for emissions reductions, adding, “Geo-engineering is no silver bullet, it just buys us time.”
Appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360.
[photo credit: Flickr]