The answer is definitely NO. The science and technology of today has NO solution to stop climate change before reaching the tipping point of irreversible impacts. There are already many changes on planet Earth apart from the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the ongoing warming. It is what most experienced and internationally well-recognized scientists say. Anyone who does not believe in this is an unaware dreamer, uninformed or/and misinformed politician. It falls in the responsibility of decision-makers to regularly seek, check, select and compile proper, correct and up-to-the-date information. There are different tools and instruments to do so. It is a complex and comprehensive task where policy-makers need to have the possibilities, qualifications and capacities to navigate in the diverse global landscape of knowledge. This includes regular and tight interactions with science and technology professionals and advisors.
The same limitations can arise in other sectors and there are continuous needs to have timely, updated and validated knowledge. Some research is just repetitive as low-quality journals still need to fill there pages with whatever material they can find. This is waste of resources, confusing and counterproductive, if so it is primarily a mis-management in science. Even in high-quality science, there could be “scientists” that still go on with “negative emission” experiments but the message to them is to be careful in their statements and to take their ethical responsibility. They do not need to promise more than what can be delivered in the near future as the matter is serious and above all not in their hands. What we need to know is the hard reality and not hopes for “science fiction” experiments. We do not need to fool ourselves, take risks and force solutions that are still immature. Enough is enough. We do not need to gamble with planet Earth that is already at great risk. There is no space to give uncertain hopes that can put future generations in large-scale risky experiments. All scientific facts that are available today tell us that the “negative emission” of carbon dioxide can not mitigate both the excess atmospheric carbon dioxide, and the additional yearly increase of carbon dioxide emissions, in few years as we do not have such technology today. We do not have time to wait for decades of innovation, experimentation and implementation of something that is still in its infancy. Who for good sake can convince all countries in the world to implement unavailable, risky, costly and uncertain “negative emission” solutions? Let us be very clear about this. “Negative emission” is as an inconvenient truth as the fact that global warming is caused by us humans. It is not about if we can stop global warming or not, it is rather about when we can do so. No one can give exact, well-structured and validated approach about how “negative emission” can technically, economically and environmentally be a successful universal approach to stop climate change.
The existing “negative emission” solutions are highly risky and not agreed upon internationally. They are not an insurance policy, they are high-risk gamble with tomorrow’s generation in particular those living in less-favored and climatically vulnerable communities set to pay the price if our high-stakes bet fails to deliver as promised. To relay on future negative emission technologies would in practical terms delay the needs to stringent and politically challenges policies for proper and immediate sustainable solutions. This would mean to pass the costs for reducing carbon dioxide, and its enormous disastrous environmental impacts, on to future generations. Some scientists and politicians, including Scandinavian ones, still believe that “negative emission” technologies can save planet Earth. An example is the Swedish Center political party “C” proposing to invest huge amount of taxes for R&D on “negative emission” innovation and inventions (https://www.instagram.com/annie_loof/p/BuDhdNVArtw/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=v7bit3k76m60). Naturally R&D is always good to do but it has to be based on realistic rational thinking and not on random ideas. “Negative emission” technologies have been heavily criticized for very longtime (https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/06/07/extracting-carbon-dioxide-from-the-air-is-possible-but-at-what-cost; https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/6/14/17445622/direct-air-capture-air-to-fuels-carbon-dioxide-engineering; https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/11/27/carbon-dioxide-removal-climate-change/; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/climate/remove-co2-from-air.html). If this were done two-three decades ago that would have been probably much better, e.g. in connection with, or even before, the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Protocol). In 1992 there was already a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These issues were already known for politicians and scientists for about three decades ago. But no serious timely actions were taken politically, scientifically or technologically. To unify the whole world is still psychologically a huge challenge and would require intensive and huge efforts with no grantees for success (http://www.klimatupplysningen.se/2018/11/15/professor-jordan-b-peterson-ger-sin-syn-pa-klimatfragan/).
The only straightforward and acceptable solution is, on the first hand, to do what we should have done longtime ago and better late than never. Stop emitting carbon dioxide otherwise carbon dioxide will stop all life forms on planet Earth. Global warming, and many associated impacts and effects, are irreversible processes. The discovery that carbon dioxide can absorb heat is more than 150 years old (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15093234) and the threat of carbon dioxide for developing global warming was known for 123 years (http://www.rsc.org/images/Arrhenius1896_tcm18-173546.pdf). These discoveries show that validated science can save us if it is seriously and ethically used by politicians and scientists. It is very clear that politics, science and technology did not deliver solutions to protect planet Earth from global warming. Both politics and science systematically supported growth “linear” economy for very long time and failed to tune science and technology for the benefit of preserving and protecting planet Earth. In terms of human generation time that ranges from 22 to 33 years, this means that we failed to solve global climate changes during 4 – 7 generations. This is of course a very serious shortcoming in particular for politics but also, to certain extent for science and technology.
The most realistic now is, also, to find out how we can live side by side with a planet being gradually warmed up and to avoid further degradation of the life quality on earth. We need to be prepared to live in a new reality as the planet is not any longer the same as it used to be.
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