It’s not been a great year for greens, politicians and companies looking for progress on the fight against climate change. First came the disappointment at the Copenhagen meeting in December, then Senator Lindsey Graham pulled out of the Senate bill, then the Senate climate bill mutated into an oil spill bill — and even that couldn’t get passed before the congressional August recess.
But climate backers might find a bit of happiness in the fact that bits of their lingo have officially made it into modern English discourse. Two climate related entries made it into the third edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English, which was published on Thursday.
Here are the entries: Carbon capture and storage – the process of trapping and storing carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels; and Geoengineering – manipulation of environmental processes in an attempt to counteract the effects of global warming. Try that last one in your spell checker!
The current issue of the American magazine Foreign Affairs has a thought-provoking piece that asks if the geoengineering option shouldn’t be used as a last resort in the battle against climate change. You can see the introduction to the article here (but will need to be a registered user to read all of it online).
Climate geoengineering is a thinly explored branch of science which to date has seen little in the way of peer-reviewed research. Some of its advocates envision global systems which would launch reflective particles into the atmosphere or position sunshades to cool the earth.
Another approach is to dump iron dust into the sea to spur the growth of algae that absorb heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the air. When algae die, they fall to the seabed and so remove carbon.