The ocean was the antagonist of the Clooney classic The Perfect Storm and the protagonist of the Clooney classics Ocean's 11 through 42. Now some scientists are suggesting that it can be the panacea for all our climate change pan-aches.
In their recently published paper in Reviews of Geoscience, people who I assume are oceanographers have taken the position that dumping a bunch of rocks into the oceans, making the oceans more basic (as in the opposite of acidic), would help ameliorate (although would more likely Amelia-Badeliate) the inevitable catastrophic effects of climate change. Here's the thought process,
- the oceans are good at removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
- oceans are better at removing CO2 from the atmosphere the more basic the water is
- let's dump a bunch of powdered rocks in the ocean to make it more basic
- added bonus: oceans are less acidic, which is killing coral. But making it less acidic will speed up ocean intake of CO2, which makes the ocean more acidic...
It's an interesting idea, but it's still geoengineering. Geoengineering basically means "engineering the globe to our liking." One immediate problem with that is how and who gets to define "our liking." What's good for the Canada goose might not be good for Uganda. Also, if you do your calculations wrong, you've just fu... Amelia-Badeliated the planet. Not to mention any unforeseen, unintended consequences of attempting to drastically altar 70% of the Earth's surface. What could go wrong?!
Seriously, what could go wrong?