Environmental Science, Policy & Engineering Program


This year's ESPE winter seminar series is devoted to "Reversing Climate Change: Exploring the Value of Carbon Dioxide Removal and Geoengineering."

Even with drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we will likely pass the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold temperature increase, recommended by the IPCC to avert the most severe effects of climate change. This winter, the ESPE Winter Seminar Series explores the value of novel techniques such as carbon dioxide removal and geoengineering to further reduce the effects of climate change.

All talks, free and open to the public.

Thursday January 20th 2022 7:00 PM

Prof Holly Jean Buck

Prof Holly Jean Buck

Prof. Holly Jean Buck (University at Buffalo)
The social and policy landscape for climate intervention in 2022

Climate intervention — through reflecting incoming sunlight (solar geoengineering) or through removing carbon from the atmosphere at scale — has been discussed for many years. Both of these approaches face a complex political and social landscape. However, the context is always changing. In this talk, we'll briefly review what social scientists have researched on this to date. Then, we'll discuss which social trends and policy factors might influence R&D of solar geoengineering and carbon removal in the upcoming year.

Zoom webinar: https://union.zoom.us/j/92634391675

Wednesday February 9th 2022 7:00 PM

Prof. Scott Doney

Prof. Scott Doney

Prof. Scott Doney (University of Virginia)
Ocean-based carbon dioxide removal approaches

Human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases drive ongoing climate change and limiting the extent of further global warming is a key element of the Paris Climate Agreement. Climate stabilization efforts will require net zero human CO2 emissions by roughly mid-century, and many climate scenarios require substantial levels of deliberate CO2 removal from the atmosphere to meet these goals. At present, the natural processes in the ocean act as a major sink for anthropogenic CO2, and various biological and industrial technologies have been proposed for enhancing ocean CO2 removal.

Zoom Webinar: https://union.zoom.us/j/98532153543

Thursday February 17th 2022 5:30 PM

Dr. Claire Nelson

Dr. Claire Nelson

Dr. Claire Nelson (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University)
Engineered mineralization: reversing climate change by turning CO2 to stone

When most of us think of the "carbon cycle", we picture trees and photosynthesis, right? But actually, the Earth has had a carbon cycle long before plants existed, and this carbon cycle actually controls climate over long timescales, but is little known to the average person. In this talk, you all will learn about the "real" carbon cycle- which has nothing to do with plants- and is responsible for maintaining a stable and habitable planet. In this carbon cycle, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is eventually turned into stone on the ocean floor. Scientists and engineers have figured out how to successfully mimic this process and speed it up- enough to reverse climate change in real time. This engineered solution has already been proven in field demonstrations, and has the potential to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change.

Zoom webinar: https://union.zoom.us/j/99922401147

For all inquiries, please contact Anouk Verheyden (verheyda@union.edu)