A Possible Solution to Global Warming: Geoengineering

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Source: Kiel Earth Institute / Geomar. Wikimedia Commons.

In a world that is being severely affected by climate change, caused by global warming, large-scale solutions have been proposed. One of these solutions is called geoengineering. Geoengineering (also known as climate engineering) is about manipulating the Earth’s processes to counter global warming. These are also very expensive. You can almost consider these to be last resort. There are many techniques that have been put forward, which lie in two categories of geoengineering: solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal.

Solar radiation management involves reflection of solar radiation (Sun’s energy) away from the Earth and back into space. Of course, this would only reflect a small proportion of the solar radiation as reflecting all would first of all be virtually impossible and we would not be able to survive! The main reason for doing this would be to help try and stabilise temperatures on Earth. This would mean greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would absorb less and hence this would reduce the rate at which global warming takes place. It is important to note that this method would not reduce the amount of greenhouse gases found in the atmosphere.

There are only a few techniques proposed. The first one involves increasing the albedo (percentage of the Sun’s energy reflected at the surface of the Earth). This is done by increasing the reflectiveness of clouds, or even the land, so that more of the solar radiation is reflected away from the earth. The second technique involves the actual blocking of the sunlight from reaching the earth using specially constructed mirrors. The third method involves putting special reflective particles into the atmosphere to reflect the solar radiation from reaching the earth.

Carbon dioxide removal is somewhat self explanatory, but is about removing the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This would mean that it would counter any increases of the green house effect and ocean acidification. For this to make any kind of significant difference, it would have to be implemented on a global scale. There are many methods to do this with some being rather straightforward and others far more complex.

A very simple technique is afforestation. By planting more trees, they will take in more carbon dioxide, meaning less will reach the atmosphere. A complex technique is ocean fertilisation. This involves adding nutrients to the oceans to encourage greater marine life and production. A good example is depositing iron, where the ocean is iron deficient, which in theory should boost production. It should be noted that there is legislation to stop anyone from just putting nutrients in the ocean. Another method involves exposing very large amounts of minerals that are known to chemically react with the carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere and this will result in a compound forming. This will be stored in soils or the ocean, etc.

It is possible to actually capture the carbon dioxide in the air through large machines, which can then be stored in the ground, for industry use etc. The use of carbon capture and storage is another technique in particular when creating bio-energy. This means that when you burn biomass (organic matter), you simply capture the carbon dioxide released and store it in the ground normally. It can also be done so that the carbon mixes with the soil and this would ‘lock’ it up. The final method involves putting normally calcium-silicate rocks into the ocean, which will over time increase the amount of carbon that can be stored in the ocean and try to decrease ocean acidification.

Geoengineering could potentially play a part in our future. But getting a significant number of nations involved in such large scale projects would be no easy task especially when it requires large investments and when these methods have issues. Some of the main issues are that some are still in the research stage and even when some of these methods have been tested (ocean fertilisation of iron), they did not provide the results hoped for. In theory, we should not have to go to such drastic lengths to combat global warming. My opinion on the matter is that we live in a world where we are very reluctant to change our ways for the sake of global warming, so such extreme techniques could very well be used in the future. Then again, some already argue that we are too late to stop this.

 

 

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Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK Tour) – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton 11/02/16

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As a child, I absolutely adored Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so logically I wanted to see it on its tour. If any of you have read my previous blogs, you would have seen it was in my ‘Top 5 Musicals to See’. In addition, the production had a few celebrities starring, so I was interested to see how they would perform.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is about a car that has the ability to go on water, land and can also fly. It was built from an old winning grand prix car by Caractacus Potts, who, with son (Jeremy), daughter (Jemima), Grandpa and a new friend (Truly Scrumptious), go on thrilling adventures. One such example is when the Baron and Baroness Bomburst of ‘Vulguria’, who want the car, take Grandpa and they must go and rescue him.

The comedian, Jason Manford, played Caractacus Potts, the lead role. I was very sceptical of him, especially as he replaced Jon Robyns, whom I enjoyed very much when I saw him in Memphis last year. I have to admit; I am a fan of his. He was extremely likable and had that real father figure needed for the role. His vocals were far better than expected. Overall I thought he was superb! My only criticism was that, having seen him on the television, I was expecting him to portray a far more comical role than he actually did. But then that was down to the role not being able to accommodate this, which was a shame.

Caractacus’s children, Jeremy (Henry Kent) and Jemima (Lucy Sherman) were beyond amazing, with their vocals, acting and dancing all on point, despite their age! Truly Scrumptious (Amy Griffiths) who I have to say played the role very well. My only criticism was that she did not leave her mark on the role. This meant, when I came out of the theatre, I was not really thinking about her role. Grandpa Potts was played by Andy Hockley. Prior to the start, my friend made me aware that Andy had been in Phantom of the Opera, so this increased my expectations. He certainly did not disappoint. His vocals were on point and if I am honest, he was perfect for the role through his entertaining and comical ways.

The Baron Bomburst (Phill Jupitus) was fair. I found his accent to be inconsistent and in general unconvincing, but he did have some golden moments. The Baroness (Michelle Collins) was good, but I really struggle to say much more. The Child Catcher (Martin Kemp) was not at all intimidating especially when comparing him to the film. In the film, he bought genuine fear to my eyes. I am unsure as to whether this is due to me no longer being a child, that he did not have enough stage presence, or maybe he was just not right for the role. The two Vulgarian spies, Boris (Sam Harrison) and Goran (Scott Paige) were enjoyable for the most part. Their jokes I found only half the time to be funny, but even so it was enough for me to enjoy them!

One of the main attractions of the show is seeing the car ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ on stage. It looked incredible and the mechanics used to manoeuvre were clearly well done. It was agile and looked quite elegant. When the car was being driven, there were projections onto the set to show the surroundings. It looked really good and was highly affective. There was enough detail and clarity to feel like they were actually driving along a coastal road etc.

The pit band, I could not fault as their timing was on point and the music always sounded as it should. The ensemble performed some very clever choreography with the most memorable being ‘Me Ol’ Bamboo’ which by the end gave a slight shiver down my spine. I could remember this well from the film and it made me feel like a little kid again seeing it for the first time. In the film, my favourite parts were the inventions Caractacus made. I was excited in the breakfast scene that these were present as it gave me flashbacks to the film and the happiness it brought to me back then!

Overall, I really enjoyed the touring production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and you could see why it appeals to such a wide age group. Although some of the characters were in my opinion just okay, the other characters more than made up for this. As I left the theatre, I could not help but feel there was something missing. There was not a completely empowering moment where I just thought ‘wow’. But it cannot be denied that they put on a very good production of a childhood classic and left me feeling like my 8-year-old self again!