Artificial ‘Trees’ to Stop Climate Change

Van Mensvoort
August 27th 2009

shipping-container-530green.jpgThe fabrication of forests with artificial trees is one of the best strategies to stop climate change, according to scientists of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The British researchers conclude that the climate is changing so quickly, without geo-engineering we will be impossible to stop it. The use of artificial trees is number one on their list of recommendations.

The technology behind the artificial trees, which should filter CO2 from the air, is currently being developed. The present-day prototypes are able to retrieve a thousand times more CO2 from the air than a regular tree.

The 'trees' are about the size of a sea container (!) – should be an interesting addition to the landscape, here is a picture of an actual prototype. Researchers believe they will be able to mass-produce them soon and expect they will be part of our landscape within ten to twenty years.

Via BBC, NY Times. Related: Windmill trees, Cellphone Treemasts, Fight climate change, hack the planet, Let the Dutch bury the carbon, Humans to blame for global warming, Doggerland – Mapping a lost world, If the implications of global warming were fair, Global Warming Ready Campaign.

Share your thoughts and join the technology debate!public: 1


Posted 14/04/2010 – 16:08

Nice to get back to this post. I think geo-engineering is one of the most interesting aspects of the old-next nature / ecology without nature debate.
The way I see it, deforestation is mostly a matter of costs, direct and indirect interests. That's pne reason why it isn't an easy matter to stop. Someone else has to repair what the woodcutters are destroying. But the cutters will defend their interests as best as they can, and the repairspeople will have to lap up the damage.
Trees do grow slow, that is a fact. But these machines aren't ready yet. And while we still lack the technology, well we don't want for the possibility of giving old nature another try (thereby making it next nature).
In that vein my suggestion to plant trees now was meant. And what I find important about the idea of trees-as-technology (and by this nature-as-technology - next-technology - I do not mean production forests for wood and paper, since that is just an economic conversion that has nothing to do with geo-engineering) is that they do not just capture carbon. Calling this device a tree does no justice to either because it annuls its unique property and leaves out many other aspects of trees. Very few things in old nature are single-purpose and designers should go easy on the pars pro toto way of conceptual identification because, especially in the age of trademarks, naming things for what they are not obscures debate.
Again, such a device might be a necessary step. However, trees are also very definitely necessary. Burning fossil fuels is the reason why C02 is on the rise, but is having less old nature not a big reason why this rise has so much impact? When trees go, topsoil deteriorates, land can start sliding and planting anything back can become very difficult.

Larry in Nyack
Posted 13/04/2010 – 01:22

The newly published book "Hack the Planet: Science's Best Hope - or Worst Nightmare - for Averting Climate Catastrophe" has a chapter called 'The Sucking-1-Ton Challenge' that discusses the costs of doing this CO2 capture and other techniques.

Posted 17/01/2010 – 03:43

Growing trees is slow and expensive. It takes years to grow a tree. Then it dies, and all the carbon goes back into the environment, defeating the point of sequestering carbon.
To add insult to injuries, there are more trees today than ever before, due to the paper industry. The main source of carbon isn't deforestation, as that's easily reversible. Fossil fuels are a one-way resource and that's where the carbon lies.
As for capturing carbon forever: what did you think an oil well was? Previously, it was just a SHITLOAD of carbon miles under the ground. Now it's not.
If you can build a thousand trees, is there a reason not to?

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