Publish at December 17 2020 Updated October 06 2022

Massive environmental solutions to close the carbon loop.

The feeling of powerlessness does not exist on an industrial scale

Coal-fired power plant

If we as individuals feel helpless in the face of the gigatons of C02 released into the atmosphere (30 billion tons for the year 2020, more than 4 tons per human), it is because we are missing some points of view.

Practically all our needs are met by industrial production: housing, transportation, clothing, food, entertainment, lighting, heating, cooling and even health; almost nothing escapes it. To face the environmental problem the point of view to be added is to take that of an industrial organization and a production system. Answers are necessarily to be found at this level and scale.

This is what the specialists below tell us, each in their own way.

First source of CO2

The first human source of CO2 emissions is the fossil fuel industry. Around 30% of global emissions. Let's start with this one.

Myles Allen, a physicist at Oxford University, was one of the first to estimate the order of magnitude of human influence on climate. He founded the "Climate prediction" network, which offers the largest climate model to date.

From discussions with administrators and engineers at the largest fossil fuel companies, he states unequivocally that industry solutions are known and effective and can be quickly implemented to eliminate nearly 30% of CO2 emissions at the source.

The catch? There is a cost, but that cost is already here and will only increase if we do nothing. We might as well take control and act. Determine a price per ton of CO2 and pay it, at the source for not emitting the CO2. Pay in prevention rather than cure and develop jobs and economy at the same time.

Second largest source of CO2

The second largest human source of CO2 emissions is the concrete industry. About 8% of the emissions. Roads, buildings, dams, bridges and more have been built with concrete for more than 2,000 years, and the industry hasn't changed much.

Tom Schuler, a mechanical engineer at the University of Virginia, worked at DuPont before joining Solidia Technologies, a company that specializes in developing concrete formulas.  The entire process of producing concrete emits CO2.

This he has developed both reduces energy consumption in the production of cement and also turns the production of concrete into a carbon sink: rather than producing carbon it absorbs it, -600%, and in addition the material produced is of better quality.  The process uses CO2 rather than water to bind the cement powder.

When do we start?

Karen Scrivener, a researcher at Nanocem and EPFL in Switzerland, is proposing a comparable solution for cement production that can reduce CO2 emissions at the time of production by 40 percent.   Concrete idea to reduce carbon emissions

First CO2 absorption sink

Oceans cover 70% of the earth's surface. They absorb nearly 25% of our CO2 emissions, but less and less so as our industrial depredation of ocean biomass expands as water temperatures rise (decreasing its capacity to absorb surface CO2) and ocean currents decrease in intensity. Moreover, most of the ocean territory is a biological desert with little oxygen and almost no life.

Tim Flannery is the co-founder of the Australian Climate Council. A renowned environmentalist, he has conducted research in several Southern Hemisphere countries. He has focused on algae and their astonishing growth rate, on the order of 1 meter per day for some species. And they absorb CO2 in quantity. The problem is that they release it when they rot. The problem is that they then release it when they rot. Unless you sink them to the bottom of the ocean, where the temperature and pressure make the CO2 stay fixed.

The solution he proposes is an oceanic farm of algae culture and aquaculture. Nutrient-rich, cold, barren waters from the deep sea (50 to 200 meters) are pumped to the surface to fuel the growth of algae, which themselves serve as a growing medium for fish and shellfish.

In this way, large amounts of CO2 and solar energy are absorbed and sought-after foods are produced while creating new biological environments. In the end, the algae are simply shredded and sink to the ocean floor.

The coal, oil and gas reserves we consume today come from the transformation of organic matter from the Carboniferous era (300 million years ago; at that time the CO2 level in the atmosphere was about 20 times higher than it is today).  Returning the CO2 to the sediments completes the carbon cycle.

Individually we can help industries evolve, for example by funding cooperative reforestation ( see Irokko ), eating less meat and more insects, reducing our consumption of material goods, transportation, energy, space, consuming more locally, etc. There is no lack of possibilities, but these actions will not be enough. Some solutions lie at the industrial scale and responsibilities must be taken at that scale.

Yes the environmental situation may seem worrisome, but no we are not helpless to deal with it. By taking the appropriate viewpoints, which are not just on an individual scale, which is what we are being led to believe, but industrial, industry that provides us with some of our modern well-being and is also the source of our environmental problem.

Illustration: pixel2013 - Pixabay


Citepa - Technical Reference Center on Air Pollution and Climate Change

Climate prediction net -

Solidia Tech -

Nanocem -

The Australian Climate Council -


Carboniferous era -

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