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Study of a Possible Global Environmental Forecast and Roadmap Based on 420 kY of Paleoclimatology

  • Integrity Research Institute

Abstract and Figures

As the world's population has tripled (3x) since 1950, with another 50% increase expected by 2100, global annual carbon dioxide emissions growth rate has quadrupled (4x) since 1950 and global energy demand has quintupled (5x), all in the same time period. This discontinuous combination can be called a "3-4-5 Triad" and the sudden acceleration in all three arenas is too stressful on the environment and the damaging effects will be felt globally for centuries to come unless drastic action is taken. More importantly, the energy demand at 5x is outstripping the other two. This clearly means that as the population explodes at 3x, the emerging middle class wants almost twice as much as their usual share as fossil-fueled generators spread around the globe and modern conveniences become more and more desirable. However, such energy demand at 5x is an artificial human need that is predicted by to result in four to five billion new window-mounted air conditioners by 2050 that will add even more to the global warming caused by increasing atmospheric carbon. By an examination of paleoclimatology for the past 420,000 years, it is demonstrable that reducing the concentration of this single most prolific heat-trapping gas by geoengineering back to pre-industrial levels of less than 300 ppm can actually give humankind a collective control over the world's rapidly rising average global temperature and once more, a temperate climate to live in.
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1Integrity Research Institute Beltsville MD USA.
*Corresponding author: E-mail:;
Study of a Possible Global Environmental Forecast
and Roadmap Based on 420 kY of Paleoclimatology
Thomas F. Valone1*
DOI:, Modern Advances in Geography, Environment
and Earth Sciences Vol. 5, 14 July 2021, Page 130-140
As the world’s population has tripled (3x) since 1950, with another 50% increase expected by 2100,
global annual carbon dioxide emissions growth rate has quadrupled (4x) since 1950 and global energy
demand has quintupled (5x), all in the same time period. This discontinuous combination can be called
a “3-4-5 Triad” and the sudden acceleration in all three arenas is too stressful on the environment and
the damaging effects will be felt globally for centuries to come unless drastic action is taken. More
importantly, the energy demand at 5x is outstripping the other two. This clearly means that as the
population explodes at 3x, the emerging middle class wants almost twice as much as their usual share
as fossil-fueled generators spread around the globe and modern conveniences become more and more
desirable. However, such energy demand at 5x is an artificial human need that is predicted by
to result in four to five billion new window-mounted air conditioners by 2050 that will add even more to
the global warming caused by increasing atmospheric carbon. By an examination of paleoclimatology
for the past 420,000 years, it is demonstrable that reducing the concentration of this single most prolific
heat-trapping gas by geoengineering back to pre-industrial levels of less than 300 ppm can actually
give humankind a collective control over the world’s rapidly rising average global temperature and once
more, a temperate climate to live in.
Keywords: World’s population; atmospheric carbon; heat-trapping gas; paleoclimatology.
The surprising rate of growth for our accelerating carbon dioxide emissions globally is dramatically
shown in Fig. 1 from a slide used in a 2019 slide presentation by this author
( Worldwide energy consumption reached a record 37
billion tons of CO2 (for a single year’s total emission) at the end of 2018, with the U.S, India, and China
leading the increase. Note that only ten years before, the carbon dioxide annual emission rate was less
than 30 gigatons. The total carbon emission growth rate in 2017 was only 1.7 percent while carbon
growth for 2018 shown in Fig. 1 increased 2.7 percent (Fig. 1), thus proving an accelerating trend that
has no foreseeable “peak” in the growth rate or the actual magnitude of carbon dioxide annual emissions
in the near future. As for China, coal accounts for about 60 percent of China’s total energy consumption.
[1] A major new paleoclimatology study also shows that current global warming has reversed the past
6,500 years of global cooling. [2] An increase in the chemical index of alteration and a kaolinite content
up to 50 % of the clay fraction indicate an influx of terrestrial input shortly after the PETM onset and
during the recovery, likely due to an intensified hydrological cycle. The volcanically derived minerals
zeolite and smectite comprise up to 36 % and 90 % of the bulk and clay mineralogy respectively. [3-4]
Global annual carbon dioxide emissions 1959-2018 as shown in Fig. 1 started a new exponential surge
upwards in 2017. [5] Fossil fuel carbon emissions are now steadily increasing annually in several major
countries in the world, which translates to the rate of growth having an upward slope, without a
predictable peak, of either rate or magnitude, in the foreseeable future. Recent climate reports suggest
a widely accepted range of one and a half (1.5°C) to two degrees (2°C) Celsius as an achievable global
limit to climate change, which is unfounded, naïve, and basically misinformation. It is a direct
contradiction to the observationally informed, published projections of climate science underlying global
warming. A weather research station on Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula, for example,
registered a temperature of 69.3 degrees F (20.75 Celsius) on Feb. 9, 2020 according to Márcio Rocha
Francelino, a professor at the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil. The nearly 70-degree temperature
is significantly higher than the 65-degree reading taken Feb. 6 at the Esperanza Base along Antarctica’s
Trinity Peninsula. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will decide whether it qualifies as the
continent’s hottest temperature on record. The new data came from a 12-year-old research station,
used mainly for monitoring the layer of permafrost. [6] Furthermore, a Siberian town on the Arctic Circle
hit 100 degrees F (38 degrees Celsius) near the end of June, 2020 setting a record. NOAA also reports
that May, 2020 was the warmest May on record for Asia (NBC News,
Fig. 1. Annual global carbon emissions (left) and parts per million per year (right)
Fig. 2. Carbon dioxide (ppm) levels and temperature (°C) for the past 400 kY
In Fig. 2, we see a blue and red colored plot of the world average temperature and CO2 data from air
bubble analysis of the Vostok Station Antarctica ice core. In 1999, the Vostok ice core 420,000-year
record of carbon dioxide was published by Petit et al. [7] Exhibiting great stability, the CO2 levels clearly
have never exceeded 290 ppm worldwide even through four ice ages. However, in the isolated
monitoring station cited above for our modern, with our worldwide fossil fuel gluttony, the latest global
carbon dioxide levels have now exceeded 410 ppm, with apparent universal disregard for the
consequences. Clearly noticeable in Fig. 2 is the tight correlation of temperature (blue graph) and
carbon dioxide (red graph) for the past 420,000 years, which drives paleoclimatologists to reluctantly
include the surprisingly high red line at the end (present time on right side) that has to be that high, to
stay on the same scale and show the present world rise past 400 ppm of CO2. Since the historic red
and blue data lines show an actual climate record of the earth-atmospheric system, then the axis label
of CO2 concentration on the left necessarily correlates to the axis label of global temperature on the
right, where the disturbing alignment near 8°C is registered in Fig. 2. This dual graph begs the question,
“Does CO2 Correlate with Temperature History?” as Watts asks online at after Shakun
did so in Nature, 2012. The scientific answer has to be “yes” since humans have increased the level of
CO2 from the temperature-stabilizing 290 ppm up to 410 ppm presently, which equals a 43% increase
in such a potent, heat-trapping substance surrounding our home. Any quantity in the earth system that
balloons that much will always have a discontinuous impact and CO2 definitely does. That is the only
reason this article argues that geoengineering is required BEFORE the earth starts reaching the feared
6 to 8°C as it inevitably will in less than 100 years. An international consortium needs to perform
hundred-gigaton carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) per year, as soon as possible, in order to
reduce the present level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere back down toward 290 ppm or the survival
of much of humankind is in question. However, the temperatures and humidity predicted for later this
century are already here. Worse than that, the wet-bulb temperature (thermometer wrapped in a wet
cloth) is closing in on 35°C (95°F), 25 to 30 times a year in several parts of the world already, which is
the “survivability” wet-bulb temperature that defies sweating of even a healthy, young person, thus
“endangering hundreds of millions of people”. [8].
Fig. 3. Author’s summary of a predictive climate graph from Hansen (Tech. Rev., July, 2006)
In Fig. 3, we have a condensed version of another 400,000 year old Vostok ice core record, along with
scientific extrapolation of ancient sea levels, which in this case was published by famed climatologist
James Hansen. [9]. This author has annotated the beginning and end of his graph, as well as included
the data table (on the left) to show the unexpectedly linear data that connects the three variables plotted
(temperature, carbon dioxide, and sea level). Visiting offers the reader a
complete view of the entire 400,000 year history which is only partially shown and summarized in Fig.
3. Note that the indicated “Temp Gap” or temperature gap is measured from the chosen historic
maximum baseline is 15°C, which unfortunately is a contradiction in reality. Usually, any “baseline” in
science is an average or a minimum from a time scale record. However, in this case, we have an
extrema to deal with for a “baseline”: the maximum value of temperature at 15°C and the maximum
value of CO2 for the past 400,000 years. Be that as it may, the prediction of a 6°C increase in
temperature is arrived at quite simply. The temperature, carbon dioxide level, and sea level data clearly
shown in the Table is easily translated into a simple equation seen in Fig. 4. The equation is designed
to allow anyone to compress the Table data into a formula that is easy to memorize. Thus, taking the
values of 410 ppm (present) 290 ppm (baseline) = 120 ppm, which equals the excess amount of CO2
in the air. Dividing this excess by the 20 ppm discerned from the KEY of Fig. 3 “per degree equivalent,”
the equation of Fig. 4 makes it explicit so we convert to six (6°C), which must correspond to the
equivalent, thermally connected system value of temperature indebtedness, that HAS to manifest as
soon as the earth-atmosphere Gaia interaction allows. Stanford Research Institute suggests that a
realistic extrapolation of the present temperature increasing data brings us to around 2100 for the extra
6°C to become the norm. [10] For humans, this expected scenario, with business as usual, will be an
intolerable, inhospitable climate resulting in mass starvation, millions of deaths, desertification of vast
tracts of land, including much of the mid-West United States, equatorial regions like the Arabian
peninsula, with eventual tropical rainforest environments created in northerly climates, after the wildfires
Fig. 4. The Hansen Equation linking global CO2, temperature, and sea level
What may be the most reassuring part of the formula in Fig. 4 is the +/- sign. As clearly seen in Figs. 2
and 3, the response of the earth-atmosphere Gaia system to any change in global CO2 levels entrains
the other two to follow, with a corresponding delay. In other words, as humans wantonly pushed the
CO2 level rapidly above the 290 ppm baseline only in the past few decades with very little delay in the
rising temperature response to the heat-trapping gas increase, the reverse will also be seen to have a
rapid effect worldwide. The reverse entails the world learning and implementing a lowering of the global
level of carbon dioxide to 290 ppm, by CCS on an annual hundred-gigaton level, as renewable energy
is gradually brought online.
While climatologists know the linear relationship between carbon dioxide levels and temperature exists,
the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the International Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) among others are choosing to ignore the consequences of the present CO2 excess, which now
surpasses 43% of the maximum 290 ppm the earth has ever experienced in over 420,000 years. It is
vital that the reader comprehends the blatant fact that the earth-atmosphere system, often referred to
as “Gaia”, is now indebted for 6 to 8 degrees C increase in temperature as shown in Fig. 3 with the
clarification of Fig. 4. The trend graphs of Fig. 5 tell the experts and any of the public who will take
notice, the consequence of 400 ppm will manifest in approximately 80 years, by 2100 compounded by
the fact that by then, we will most likely reach or surpass 800 ppm, unless something drastic is done to
reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere globally. Note that this assessment of a
predicted temperature rise of a 6 to 8 degrees C increase, will only become even more egregious and
higher beyond 2100 unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) is instituted to bring down the
concentration of CO2 to pre-1950 levels of 290 ppm.
Looking at the sea level rise that the world is indebted for, we go back to the forsaken 370 ppm of CO2
we saw in the air around the year 2006, when Hansen published his graph in Technology Review. We
can take the rounded number 370-290 (zero value) = 80 ppm and divide by the 20 ppm from the formula
into 80 ppm to get the disturbing number of 4 to multiply by 20 meters. Or we can just simply note that
the numerical values of CO2 and sea level change are the same, so sea level increase destined by Gaia
is 80 meters, which is probably the maximum sea level increase possible. Any CO2 value above the
+/- 20 ppm = 1˚C = 20 meters
30% increase from baseline, or about 370 ppm of that year, is hitting the ceiling of globally available ice
since the major contributors to sea level rise are the landlocked glacier ice from Antarctica and
Greenland. These huge glaciated island continents are the only two main landlocked glacier ice of
frozen water on earth. Antarctica will contribute about 60 meters of sea level rise and Greenland is
estimated to contribute about 10 meters which equals 70 meters, so even the 80-meter result may an
In Fig. 5, we see the conclusion of the University of Washington (USA) which published a series of
slides on the paleoclimatological implications of an 500-1000 ppm level of CO2 that we are headed for
by 2100. [11]
Fig. 5. Computer projections for CO2 at 2100 compared to the PETM with same levels of CO2
The Eocene-Paleocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which reached 800 ppm at its peak, is exactly what
the experts predict for us even by the end of this century (2100). This is because of the clear trend in
the exponential growth of CO2 emissions worldwide, which is reflected in our Figs. 1 and 2 CO2
emissions graph with the rate of CO2 emissions reaching about 3% presently in 2020, as well as the
shocking projection of 800 ppm by 2100 as the “business as usual” most likely scenario for planet earth.
Note that the earth-atmosphere system exhibits a very short temporal feedback loop between CO2
average levels and global temperature: every report indicates hotter seasons than the previous ones
as each year goes by. It can be estimated that there may be only a 20-year gap in the response curve
of an increased (or decreased) global average level of CO2 and the increase (or decrease) in worldwide
average temperature. Therefore, more and more the primary recommendation of informed
climatologists is that carbon capture and storage (CCS), also called “carbon sequestration”, is the only
hope for controlling the world’s average temperature for the immediate and long-term future. The
exciting reward is the quick response that the earth-atmosphere system will predictably offer, in only a
few decades, to the responsible geoengineering of CCS on the hundreds of gigatons level that actually
REDUCES the overall global average level of CO2 by even thirty to fifty parts per million (ppm) perhaps.
Fig. 6. Proposed CCS for excess atmospheric CO2 to restore preindustrial 290 ppm levels
In Fig. 6, we delineate the relationship between the concentration of carbon dioxide and the amount
7.77 Gt (in gigatons), of the corresponding 1 ppm of CO2. To explain, the main calculation driving the
realistically predicted 6°C warming this century, by experts like Hansen and Caldeira, is the present 410
ppm of CO2 in the air as compared to the 290 ppm that Dr. James Hansen and others regard as the
BASELINE for the comfortable 15°C humans have enjoyed for centuries (see Fig. 3, IRI 2020 Climate
Chart based on Hansen’s Vostok ice core graph). To summarize, 410 290 = 120 ppm and each part
per million (ppm) equals 7.77 gigatons of CO2. So when we multiply the 7.77 gigatons by the 41%
increasing level of 120 ppm of heat-trapping CO2, it yields a scary 932 gigatons or almost one trillion
tons of CO2 that must be removed to restore our comfortable 15°C that everyone has enjoyed for
Late in 2020, Project Vesta planned to spread a green volcanic mineral known as olivine, ground down
to the size of sand particles, across one of the world’s beaches. The waves will further break down the
highly reactive material, accelerating a series of chemical reactions that pull the greenhouse gas out of
the air and lock it up in the shells and skeletons of mollusks and corals. This process, along with other
forms of what’s known as enhanced mineral weathering, could potentially store trillions of tons of carbon
dioxide, according to a National Academies report last year. That is far more carbon dioxide than
humans have pumped out since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Unlike methods of carbon removal
that rely on soil, plants, and trees, it would be effectively permanent. Project Vesta ( at
least believes it could be on the order of $10 per ton of stored carbon dioxide once it is done on a large
scale. [12]
The task of reducing the overall 410 ppm of CO2 back down to 290 ppm, to completely and directly
reverse the heat-trapping, global warming trend, is extremely important to comprehend and constitutes
the main reason for publishing this information at this time, since the CCS responsibility it implies is
staggering and unfortunately, increasing each year by more than 40 Gt. The amount of CCS needed is
indeed huge but not impossible to engineer, only if a multi-nation conglomerate is formed in the next
few years, if not sooner. Attention is directed to the equivalent formula in Fig. 6 for converting the parts-
per-million (ppm) amount of CO2 to gigatons (Gt) of CO2 for calculating the capture mode that can
perhaps be used. This slide is taken from a presentation on this vital topic to an audience of professors
and students at Tufts University in November, 2019 by this author, for the IEEE International
Symposium on Technology And Society. [13] Note that in Fig. 6, reference is made to “A2” which is
found in Fig. 5, which indicates a trend toward “business as usual” that so far, is the most reliable
forecasting for the future unfortunately.
Fig. 7. Surprising Exxon 1979 memo linking fossil fuels to atmospheric CO2
Many states in America are now suing oil companies for fraud today (Minnesota, Rhode Island,
Massachusetts, New York, Washington DC, etc.) since memos stating that “controlling the CO2
concentration in the atmosphere” have been directly connected to fossil fuel combustion and warming
of the earth, since at least 1979 (Fig. 7). [14] If oil companies are acutely aware of the long-term health
and environmental damage they are doing, with no clear resolution in sight, what are municipalities and
governments supposed to do? The only rational hope is to take the lessons learned from the COVID-
19 crisis and start international networking on a grand scale, using the worldwide response to the virus
as a template that works. Creating a sense of urgency and even emergency is the beginning to cause
Fig. 8. Simple diagram illustrating a method for successful CCS
There is presently in the latter part of 2020, a steady public shift away from outright climate denial, as
exhibited by rank-and-file members of the U.S. Republican Party, as evidence that attitudes can move
toward action, no matter how meager. Now that the unconscious repression of the truth is finally
dissolving, an avalanche of action could soon follow. As Rear Admiral David Titley once said, “We may
be much closer to catastrophic success right now. Things can change, and not always for the worse.
They can change for the better. It can happen very, very quickly.” [15]
To happen very quickly, a CCS process like Project Vesta or Project Northern Lights [16] (Fig. 8) would
have to be ramped up to the hundred-gigaton level indicated above. It also requires a cooperative
international fund donation of at least $1 to $10 trillion, if and only if the estimated price per ton can be
brought down, through government subsidies perhaps, to $1 to $10 per ton. Then and only then, the
excess, global warming driver of 932 gigatons of CO2 can be rapidly (over a ten-year period in the least)
captured and stored (see Figures 6-9) with that total investment. Then, within only a few decades, the
response of the earth-atmosphere Gaia system will joyfully reward us with cooler temperatures back
down to pre-industrial levels, besides helping to stop glacial melting and perhaps instead, refreeze the
glaciers. We see in Figure 9 a third process, from the Carbon Engineering company plan for a grand
scale removal of one megaton per year of CO2 from the atmosphere (artist drawing of their fan-driven
assembly is in Figure 6), using a potassium hydroxide sorbent coupled with a calcium caustic recovery
loop seen in the process diagram. [17]
Fig. 9. Industrial process diagram for removing one megaton of CO2 per year from air
The lowest cost estimate from the article about Carbon Engineering’s plan, in today’s Canadian dollars,
is slightly less than $100/ton of processed CO2 which is a prohibitive price for large scale implementation
in the gigaton range and beyond at the present time. Their industrial process, being the first to provide
complete details for implementing large scale direct air capture (DAC) of atmospheric CO2, serves two
purposes. First, the process can assist in making carbon neutral hydrocarbon fuels, especially if the
process is solar-driven. Even the aviation industry can decarbonize in this way with DAC-CO2 and
electrolytic hydrogen to make high-energy-density jet fuel. Second, by adding storage (sequestration)
DAC enables a quantity of carbon removal from the atmosphere permanently. To help further public
research in this vital area, an exhaustive set of references is provided, from 2004 to the present, on
capturing and removing CO2 from ambient air, many of which provide open access to their article [18-
It is genuinely hoped that this information will be widely distributed to decision-makers, climatologists,
and billionaires worldwide, telling them that global warming is reversible, and CCS action needs to be
taken sooner, rather than later, to avert skyrocketing annual increases in costs, besides severe
biological impacts by 2100 of heat, drought, crop failure, hunger, migratory unrest, strife, border wars,
and widespread death and disease that such a high, global temperature increase of 6 to 8°C within 80
to 100 years entails. Of course, large-scale deployment of negative emissions technology is needed
that will result in a net removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, in spite of the high economic
and biophysical costs involved [30].
Author has declared that no competing interests exist.
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Biography of author(s)
Thomas F. Valone Ph.D., P.E.
Integrity Research Institute Beltsville MD USA.
He is a Physicist and licensed professional engineer with 30 years professional experience, former USPTO patent examiner,
research engineer, instrumentation and energy harvester designer. He is also an author, lecturer, and consultant on future energy
developments. He has a Masters degree in physics from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a Professional Engineer’s
License in NY State, and a Ph.D. in General Engineering from Kennedy-Western (Warren National) University. He is President
and founder of Integrity Research Institute and formerly a physics teacher at Erie Community College and previously a Research
Director for Scott Aviation-ATO, Inc. He helped design the HullCom® for naval intraship communication, a 60 Hz gaussmeter
without harmonic distortion, two bioelectric therapy devices, and a dental mercury vapor ionizer-precipitator. He is editor of The
Future of Energy (Nova Sci Pub.), Energetic Processes Vol. I & II (Xlibris Press), Turning the Corner: Energy Solutions for the
21st Century (Alternative Energy Inst.), and several conference proceedings (e.g., COFE 1, 2, 3, Tesla Science Conference), as
well as author of, Zero Point Energy: The Fuel of the Future, Harnessing the Wheelwork of Nature, Nikola Tesla’s Electricity
Unplugged, Practical Conversion of Zero-Point Energy, Homopolar Handbook, Electrogravitics Vol. I & II, Bioelectromagnetic
Healing, Bush-Cheney Energy Study, Clinton Administration Energy Study and about 100 published reports and articles. He has
also served as an expert witness, a National Press Club panelist, an expert declaration writer, and appeared on CNN, A&E,
History Channel, Discovery Channel,, besides a few commercial energy videos, and Coast to Coast AM Radio with
George Noory. He has been a keynote speaker for the Earth Transformation and the Whole Person Healing Conferences as well
as a visiting scholar for Humanity 3000 Symposium at the Foundation for the Future in Seattle, WA. The Space, Propulsion &
Energy Sciences International Forum, World Future Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Joint
Propulsion Conference), to name a few, have also served as a platform for his presentations. Currently, He is a member of the
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Space Studies Institute, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics,
and the Union of Concerned Scientists. He is also a Fellow of the World Innovation Foundation. His works have been published
in German, French, Russian, Romanian, Korean, Swedish and English.
© Copyright (2021): Author(s). The licensee is the publisher (B P International).
This chapter is an extended version of the article published by the same author(s) in the following journal.
Journal of Atmospheric Science Research, 03 (03): 2020.
... Since the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric CO 2 has been increasing and is predicted to reach 800 ppm at the end of this century (Valone, 2021). Elevated CO 2 (eCO 2 ) stimulates global warming, causing rapid changes in the climate of the earth, affecting variations in temperature, precipitation amounts and intensity patterns (Skendzǐćet al., 2021). ...
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Rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations are known to influence the response of many plants under drought. This paper aimed to measure the leaf gas exchange, water use efficiency, carboxylation efficiency, and photosystem II (PS II) activity of Datura stramonium under progressive drought conditions, along with ambient conditions of 400 ppm (aCO 2 ) and elevated conditions of 700 ppm (eCO 2 ). Plants of D. stramonium were grown at 400 ppm and 700 ppm under 100 and 60% field capacity in a laboratory growth chamber. For 10 days at two-day intervals, photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration rate, intercellular CO 2 concentration, water use efficiency, intrinsic water use efficiency, instantaneous carboxylation efficiency, PSII activity, electron transport rate, and photochemical quenching were measured. While drought stress had generally negative effects on the aforementioned physiological traits of D. stramonium , it was found that eCO 2 concentration mitigated the adverse effects of drought and most of the physiological parameters were sustained with increasing drought duration when compared to that with aCO 2 . D. stramonium , which was grown under drought conditions, was re-watered on day 8 and indicated a partial recovery in all the parameters except maximum fluorescence, with this recovery being higher with eCO 2 compared to aCO 2 . These results suggest that elevated CO 2 mitigates the adverse growth effects of drought, thereby enhancing the adaptive mechanism of this weed by improving its water use efficiency. It is concluded that this weed has the potential to take advantage of climate change by increasing its competitiveness with other plants in drought-prone areas, suggesting that it could expand into new localities.
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The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM; ∼ 55.9 Ma) was a period of rapid and sustained global warming associated with significant carbon emissions. It coincided with the North Atlantic opening and emplacement of the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP), suggesting a possible causal relationship. Only a very limited number of PETM studies exist from the North Sea, despite its ideal position for tracking the impact of both changing climate and NAIP activity. Here we present sedimentological, mineralogical, and geochemical proxy data from Denmark in the eastern North Sea, exploring the environmental response to the PETM. An increase in the chemical index of alteration and a kaolinite content up to 50 % of the clay fraction indicate an influx of terrestrial input shortly after the PETM onset and during the recovery, likely due to an intensified hydrological cycle. The volcanically derived zeolite and smectite minerals comprise up to 36 % and 90 % of the bulk and clay mineralogy respectively, highlighting the NAIP's importance as a sediment source for the North Sea and in increasing the rate of silicate weathering during the PETM. X-Ray fluorescence element core scans also reveal possible hitherto unknown NAIP ash deposition both prior to and during the PETM. Geochemical proxies show that an anoxic to sulfidic environment persisted during the PETM, particularly in the upper half of the PETM body with high concentrations of molybdenum (MoEF > 30), uranium (UEF up to 5), sulfur (∼ 4 wt %), and pyrite (∼ 7 % of bulk). At the same time, export productivity and organic-matter burial reached its maximum intensity. These new records reveal that negative feedback mechanisms including silicate weathering and organic carbon sequestration rapidly began to counteract the carbon cycle perturbations and temperature increase and remained active throughout the PETM. This study highlights the importance of shelf sections in tracking the environmental response to the PETM climatic changes and as carbon sinks driving the PETM recovery.
Conference Paper
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Ironically, there has been a 30% drop in the publication rate of the phrase "climate change" in U.S. government publications presently, even in the midst of record-breaking glacial melting, massive human migration, new widespread heat records, along with unprecedented worldwide extremes of flooding, fires, and drought. Furthermore, global population entered exponential growth and also has tripled (3x) within less than one lifetime. Concomitantly, global annual CO2 emissions have quadrupled (4x) as global energy consumption has quintupled (5x) in the same period. This 3-4-5 trio has put an unprecedented and severe stress on the environment, which up until now, has not been reliably quantified. In 2006, climatologist James Hansen discovered and published a remarkably linear relationship between CO2, temperature, and sea level levels in the Vostok ice core data for the past 420,000 years. Therefore, the aim of this work was to formulate a simple equation, based on Hansen's data and test its validity and range of application, for the carbon dioxide driver, over the past 13 years. It can now be concluded that the equation has a CO2 range of about +200 ppm (up to an atmospheric concentration of about 500 ppm) from the earth's maximum "preindustrial" carbon dioxide concentration of 290 ppm. Furthermore, quantitative future estimates of indebted temperature and sea level rise are now more easily predictable, since Hansen showed they are intimately connected to a given atmospheric CO2 level. Included are technical details of climate change, along with the social impacts expected by 2100 and beyond.
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We describe a process for capturing CO2 from the atmosphere in an industrial plant. The design captures ∼1 Mt-CO2/year in a continuous process using an aqueous KOH sorbent coupled to a calcium caustic recovery loop. We describe the design rationale, summarize performance of the major unit operations, and provide a capital cost breakdown developed with an independent consulting engineering firm. We report results from a pilot plant that provides data on performance of the major unit operations. We summarize the energy and material balance computed using an Aspen process simulation. When CO2 is delivered at 15 MPa, the design requires either 8.81 GJ of natural gas, or 5.25 GJ of gas and 366 kWhr of electricity, per ton of CO2 captured. Depending on financial assumptions, energy costs, and the specific choice of inputs and outputs, the levelized cost per ton CO2 captured from the atmosphere ranges from 94 to 232 $/t-CO2.
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A laboratory-scale, fluidized-bed pellet reactor (BPR) was used to investigate a CaCO3 crystallization process for the recovery of CO2 in a Direct Air Capture (DAC) process. The BPR performance was validated against data from a pilot-scale unit. Subsequently, the pellet growth under process-relevant conditions was studied over a period of 144 h. The experimental results with the BPR, containing a bed of pellets sized between 0.65 and 0.84 mm, have shown that a calcium retention of 80% can be achieved at a fluidization velocity of 60 m h⁻¹ and a calcium loading rate of 3 mol h ⁻¹. This result is consistent with calcium retention observed at pilot scale operation and hence, results from the BPR are considered representative for the pilot scale unit. Starting with a bed of pellets sized between 0.15 and 0.5 mm, the average pellet growth rate, G, at the reactor bottom increased from 8.1E-10 to 11E–10 m s⁻¹ at the onset and decreased to 4.9E–10 m s⁻¹ over the course of a 144 h test. The calcium retention over the course the test showed the same trend (initial increase and final decrease) as the pellet growth rate. A theoretical bed growth model was developed and validated against data from the pilot scale and benchtop pellet reactors. The model was used to calculate the bed porosity and total pellet surface area in each control volume. The pellet surface area growth at the bottom of the reactor reproduced the pellet growth and retention data trends.
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This work explores the possibility of using CO2 captured directly from the atmosphere for several applications that require moderate purities. Comparisons of the minimum and real work for separating CO2 from air, natural gas combined cycle flue gas and pulverized coal combustion flue gas are proposed and discussed. Though it is widely accepted that the separation of CO2 from air to high purity is more energy-intensive than separating CO2 from more concentrated sources, this study presents select cases where the separation of CO2 from air to low and moderate purities is energetically equivalent with the work required for flue gas CO2 separation. These energetically-competitive cases are shown to be dependent on the capture rate and final CO2 purity desired. In particular, several technologies can be considered as CO2 utilization opportunities in which dilute CO2 may be an adequate feedstock. Specifically, this study is focused on EOR and algae cultivation technologies, which appear to be the most beneficial near-term applications for utilization of CO2 from DAC.
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At Carbon Engineering, we have built a prototype air contactor with 10 m3 of packing volume, and have absorbed carbon dioxide from ambient air for over 1000 hours of outdoor operation. Our prototype was built to: a) test our cross-flow, pulsed-liquid, PVC packing-based contactor design in an operational environment; b) to evaluate fan and liquid pumping energy requirements of our design; c) to assess technical and safety risks involved with liquid solution loss through entrained “drift” droplets, and; d) to examine for packing or solution fouling by atmospheric particulates. In this paper we present our results on the liquid pumping and fan energy requirements of our prototype, and show preliminary analyses we have conducted on liquid loss through “drift” droplets and NPE fouling.
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Direct air capture, the chemical removal of CO2 directly from the atmosphere, may play a role in mitigating future climate risk or form the basis of a sustainable transportation infrastructure. The current discussion is centered on the estimated cost of the technology and its link to "overshoot" trajectories, where atmospheric CO2 levels are actively reduced later in the century. The American Physical Society (APS) published a report, later updated, estimating the cost of a one million tonne CO2 per year air capture facility constructed today that highlights several fundamental concepts of chemical air capture. These fundamentals are viewed through the lens of a chemical process that cycles between removing CO2 from the air and releasing the absorbed CO2 in concentrated form. This work builds on the APS report to investigate the effect of modifications to the air capture system based on suggestions in the report and subsequent publications. The work shows that reduced carbon electricity and plastic packing materials (for the contactor) may have significant effects on the overall price, reducing the APS estimate from $610 to $309/tCO2 avoided. Such a reduction does not challenge postcombustion capture from point sources, estimated at $80/tCO2, but does make air capture a feasible alternative for the transportation sector and a potential negative emissions technology. Furthermore, air capture represents atmospheric reductions rather than simply avoided emissions.
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Direct Air Capture (DAC) of CO2 with chemicals, recently assessed in a dedicated study by the American Physical Society (APS), is further investigated with the aim of optimizing the design of the front-end section of its benchmark two-loop hydroxide-carbonate system. Two new correlations are developed that relate mass transfer and pressure drop to the air and liquid flow velocities in the countercurrent packed absorption column. These relationships enable an optimization to be performed over the parameters of the air contactor, specifically the velocities of air and liquid sorbent and the fraction of CO2 captured. Three structured Sulzer packings are considered: Mellapak-250Y, Mellapak-500Y, and Mellapak-CC. These differ in cost and pressure drop per unit length; Mellapak-CC is new and specifically designed for CO2 capture. Scaling laws are developed to estimate the costs of the alternative DAC systems relative to the APS benchmark, for plants capturing 1 Mt of CO2 per year from ambient air at 500 ppm CO2 concentration. The optimized avoided cost hardly differs across the three packing materials, ranging from $518/tCO2 for M-CC to $568/tCO2 for M-250Y. The $610/tCO2 avoided cost for the APS-DAC design used M-250 Y but was not optimized; thus, optimization with the same packing lowered the avoided cost of the APS system by 7 % and improved packing lowered the avoided cost by a further 9 % The overall optimization exercise confirms that capture from air with the APS benchmark system or systems with comparable avoided costs is not a competitive mitigation strategy as long as the energy system contains high-carbon power, since implementation of Carbon Capture and Storage, substitution with low-carbon power and end-use efficiency will offer lower avoided-cost strategies.
The increase in the global atmospheric CO2 concentration resulting from over a century of combustion of fossil fuels has been associated with significant global climate change. With the global population increase driving continued increases in fossil fuel use, humanity's primary reliance on fossil energy for the next several decades is assured. Traditional modes of carbon capture such as precombustion and postcombustion CO2 capture from large point sources can help slow the rate of increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, but only the direct removal of CO2 from the air, or "direct air capture" (DAC), can actually reduce the global atmospheric CO2 concentration. The past decade has seen a steep rise in the use of chemical sorbents that are cycled through sorption and desorption cycles for CO2 removal from ultradilute gases such as air. This Review provides a historical overview of the field of DAC, along with an exhaustive description of the use of chemical sorbents targeted at this application. Solvents and solid sorbents that interact strongly with CO2 are described, including basic solvents, supported amine and ammonium materials, and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), as the primary classes of chemical sorbents. Hypothetical processes for the deployment of such sorbents are discussed, as well as the limited array of technoeconomic analyses published on DAC. Overall, it is concluded that there are many new materials that could play a role in emerging DAC technologies. However, these materials need to be further investigated and developed with a practical sorbent-air contacting process in mind if society is to make rapid progress in deploying DAC as a means of mitigating climate change.