Bring on the techno-fix!

The IPCC report shows a lot of depressing things that are going to become a reality if global warming is not slowed down. Last week in one of my other classes we were discussing the IPCC report and a lot of the students kept bringing up the idea that we needed to find a technological fix to take care of it because it would never work to stop using so many fossil fuels. It struck me how the use of technology is so commonplace that we immediately turn to a techno-fix so that we can keep doing whatever we want. The IPCC report says, “Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air. “ (IPCC press release, pg 2) A possible techno-fix for lowering greenhouse gasses would be to change their chemical formulas by binding them to something else and then using it in manufacturing or storing it away for future people to deal with.

Climate science is not a new phenomenon. In 1861, John Tyndall said that “any changes to the constitution of the atmosphere ‘would produce great effects on the terrestrial rays and produce corresponding changes of climate.’” (Reidy, pg 13) This shows that climate change has been being studied for over 150 years, humans just haven’t bothered to pay attention until now because it was easier to ignore it.