Climate 21

Is Climate Restoration Feasible? A Chat With Peter Fiekowsky

May 25, 2022 Tom Raftery / Peter Fiekowsky Season 1 Episode 73
Climate 21
Is Climate Restoration Feasible? A Chat With Peter Fiekowsky
Show Notes Transcript

For millennia we have had a stable climate with atmospheric CO2 levels at around 280ppm. Since the Industrial Revolution, the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere has rocketed up to now around 420ppm with the consequent climate chaos we're now witnessing.

Can we reverse that? Can we bring atmospheric CO2 levels back down to 280 once more? Today's guest on the podcast, Peter Fiekowsky thinks we can. He has written a book called Climate Restoration which details how to do this - quickly and cheaply (relatively!).

To find out more I invited him to come on the podcast this. We had a fascinating conversation. I learned loads. I hope you do too.

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page, head on over to the Climate 21 Podcast Forum, or send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

And if you want to know more about any of SAP's Sustainability solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/sustainability, and if you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover the show. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Music credit - Intro and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

Peter Fiekowsky:

They did a test, it was in an Eddy. It looks like the best way to do it in an Eddy, which is typically a hundred, 150 kilometers in diameter and then you deposit the, iron dust. So basically, powderized iron ore, and deposit on the surface, incredibly small amounts, a kilogram per square kilometer, which is nothing. Uh, I think it's a milligram per square meter. And, that's all it takes and that will, over a year or so sequester a huge amount of CO2

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening wherever you are in the world. This is the Climate 21 podcast, the number one podcast, showcasing best practices in climate emissions reductions, and I'm your host global vice president for SAP, Tom Raftery. Climate 21 is the name of an initiative by SAP to allow our customers calculate, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In this Climate 21 podcast, I will showcase best practices and thought leadership by SAP, by our customers, by our partners and, by our competitors, if they're game, in climate emissions reductions. Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast in your podcast app of choice, to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hi everyone. Welcome to the climate 21 podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP and with me on the show today, I have my special guest, Peter. Peter, welcome to the podcast. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Yes, I'm Peter Fiekowsky. I'm the author of the new book Climate Restoration. The only future that will sustain the human race. Very bold statement. And, uh,

Tom Raftery:

positive and optimistic. Great, great,

Peter Fiekowsky:

yeah, and I I'm a physicist. So, uh, this is written and told from the story of someone who loves the facts, just the facts. Ma'am.

Tom Raftery:

nice. Even better, even better. So climate restoration and your bold claim, Peter, you your book. Congratulations. By the way, it came out in earth day. That was a nice touch. Tells us how we can save the planet. Do you want to maybe talk to us a little bit about it because there are, as you said, bold claims in it. So how do we go about saving the planet?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Well, normally we think about like, what do we do? But the first step, I'll put it this way that, uh, the book has good news and good news means that we're going somewhere where we want to go, you know, but when I tell the kids, when they were young, we're gonna go to have ice cream for dinner. the ice cream place. They're very excited. This is good news. You and I spoke earlier about going to the pub and I just say that mean you and I get very happy. And so, uh, the key part of, saving the planet is getting clear about that we're going to save the planet. And what does that mean. And as a physicist, I told you I liked the facts. So the truth is the planet is fine. It'll be here another 5 billion years, much longer than we will. It's actually humanity that we're worried about. And so then the question is how do you save humanity? And it sounds really difficult. And then I have this, this way of looking at it that when a ship is in stormy seas, the captain makes a beeline for the nearest, safe harbor, a place that he's been before. And not one that some sailor says, oh, I heard about this great port in whatever island. The captain goes a place that he knows he and the ship have been safely. On the climate that is the climate that we had while we developed the agriculture it's civilization, because we've been there and the work we develop our civilization and that's a 280 parts per million of CO2. And that is where we're going. And, um,

Tom Raftery:

When you say that's where we're going, what do you mean is that's where we need to go. Correct because the rate at the moment we're at four 20 and it was, yeah, we're going, it's going up. It's it's, it's passing through four 20 at the moment. I think I saw somewhere it hit 4 22 the other day, the highest it's ever been, but you know, it's always as it's because it's almost continually going up It's almost always the highest it's ever been. but how do we get back down? Because it was for millennial. It was it averaged around the two 80. So how do we get back down there?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Well, you remove a lot of CO2 and I'll talk about that in a second, but the, but it's good for the you and the listeners to see that. Well, we're at four 20, we're on our way to 460. Right? And why are we going to four 60? Because the, the UN goals say, get to net zero. And that's 460 parts per million. That's how you get to net. Zero is that way. And so we actually are headed and that's bad news

Tom Raftery:

Yeah.

Peter Fiekowsky:

and bad news is that we're heading in a place that we don't want to go. So we, we're just changing the destination that, uh, beyond just, uh, Tipping over to lower emissions, we're going to remove a lot of CO2. And then you ask, well, how do we move that remove that much CO2. It turns out that nature has done that, in two different ways, vastly more than that, over long periods of time. 99% of the carbon on our planet now is in limestone. And the other, I'll say more about that in a second. And the other thing that nature does is photosynthesis in the ocean. So, so nature removes the CO2 in two different ways. Over a fairly short period of time for the ice ages nature removed a trillion tons of CO2 that we need to remove. And it does that in the ocean using photosynthesis at the surface. And then the other thing that nature does is over longer periods of time, over hundreds of millions of years, it's deposited 99% of all the carbon on our planet in limestone on the bottom of the ocean. And so if you think about the, the white cliffs of Dover, That is a hundreds and hundreds of feet or meters of limestone of shells accumulated over millions of years. And we have the ability to make those shells, think of a oyster it's not that difficult, chemically. And if you, think about photosynthesis in the ocean, that's my favorite way. And so with the ocean. When I think of the ocean, I think of blue, Hawaiian ocean. It's beautiful, but it's not green. And we all know that it's the green trees and green bushes and the green ocean where the photosynthesis happens, the blue ocean that has lots of sun and it has lots of water and it has lots of nitrogen and phosphorous, but it doesn't have iron. And iron is the missing nutrient. The reason it's missing is that iron doesn't dissolve very well. Right? You think of a staple or a nail it just falls to the bottom. And so most of the ocean over half the ocean is blue, which is beautiful, but we want parts of that to turn green. All we need to do is turn 1% of the ocean green that's blue in order to get the CO2 back out. It was tested 10 years ago in the Gulf of Alaska. They did a test, it was in an Eddy and a look it looks like the best way to do it in an Eddy, which is typically a hundred, 150 kilometers in diameter and then you deposit the, iron dust. So basically, powderized iron ore, and a deposit on the surface, incredibly small amounts, a kilogram per square kilometer, which is nothing. Uh, I think it's a milligram per square meter. And, that's all it takes and that will, over a year or so sequester a huge amount of CO2. And the most important is it it turns green within days. And then the, phytoplankton, the algae that grows is food for fish. And so then you'd get schools of fish coming to eat it. you get seabirds, you get whales coming. And, in Alaska they discovered the following year, about four to five times that the salmon catch that they had expected because they actually fed the salmon. Makes sense. If you feed the fish, they grow

Tom Raftery:

Right,

Peter Fiekowsky:

and they don't die. So, so that's my favorite way. The other method of limestone is also progressing quite well. There's a company here in Silicon valley that makes synthetic limestone and they essentially take the chemistry that an oyster uses to make an oyster shell. And if you think of a lowly oyster, it's not a high energy process. In fact, taking calcium oxide and carbon dioxide and turning that into calcium carbonate, which is limestone, it actually puts out heat. And so the process is complicated in terms of getting the process, right. But it's simple in terms of the number of machines required to do it. And what's wonderful is that we, that limestone is used to replace quarry limestone. So when building our roads and our buildings, globally, we use about 50 or 60 billion, tons a year. and as people move to the cities, that's doubling every 12 years. So by 2030 or so, it'll be a hundred billion tons a year of rock. And that rock can be made from, CO2 in the atmosphere and calcium from the ocean and other places. And that, that can be done profitably because, uh, most of the costs of the rock is transportation. So by manufacturing the rock near where you're going to use it, it actually is cheaper to manufacture the limestone than it is to ship it from faraway.

Tom Raftery:

Wow. Fascinating. Fascinating. So just to go back over some of that in my head so that I can digest it. You mentioned that prior to ice ages, the planet sequestered enormous amounts of carbon through photosynthesis and oceans was it? So I guess what, what triggered that in those times and, is there some way we could naturally trigger that to happen again today, as opposed to, grinding up iron ore and spreading it in the oceans?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Yes. it's a great question. It looks like the main thing that happens is as the CO2 level changes. As the CO2 level goes down, then it's harder for plants to breathe, especially grasses. And so they lose water faster. And the result is the soil, it gets dryer and you get more dust. And so as the ice age progresses, you get more and more iron dust getting blown from the land into the sea. I don't think we can duplicate that very easily.

Tom Raftery:

Right. No, no, of course. That makes sense. So what, so what you're saying is that the iron those times came from the likes of soil erosion and sand storms being blown out over to the ocean and depositing the sand, which contains the iron into the ocean, which then triggers blooms of phytoplankton and fish and whales and so on. And that sequesters the carbon and the carbon is sequestered is my understanding because these organisms, the phytoplankton are eaten by fish. The fish are eaten by other larger fish who are eaten by even larger fish again, who are eaten by whales or maybe the phytoplankton is eaten by whales or krill, but all these creatures that bloom bloom and then die over time and they sink to the ocean floor, bringing the carbon in their bodies with them. And that's how it's sequestered because these CO2, the carbon in their bodies doesn't come out of solution into the ocean and go back up into the air. Correct?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Mostly correct. Um, the.

Tom Raftery:

So close.

Peter Fiekowsky:

So close. Yes. Well, because most of it does not reach the sea bottom. And we know that because during the ice ages, the CO2 gets pulled from the air into the deep ocean. If it landed on the sea bottom, it wouldn't come back out. In fact, at the end of the ice age, the CO2 level comes back out to where it was before. And so that tells us that it was essentially in solution in the sea itself, not on the sea floor. The estimate is about 10% of what's generated falls to the sea floor. And it depends on the temperature. Depends on the depth and things like that.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And I mean, you talked about the generating limestone and how that could be cost saving. And then you talked also about how the test in Alaska sequestered, large amounts of CO2, uh, I think from the prep call, you said a hundred million tons of CO2 sequestered,

Peter Fiekowsky:

Yeah. Yeah, it was About About 70 tons of iron dust and it sequestered about a million times that of CO2, which is what was expected that the theory was developed in the late eighties and in 1990, Dr. John Martin told a conference, if you give me half a tanker of iron, I'll give you the next ice age. And people, people were pretty frightened by that, but they thought, and they realized, oh my gosh, that's actually true.

Tom Raftery:

Wow.

Peter Fiekowsky:

Now it has to be done skillfully.

Tom Raftery:

because you did. There's always the danger of eutrophication doing that. No?

Peter Fiekowsky:

In fact, no, in theory. Yes. But here in the U S uh, we often think about the Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi river dumps tons of

Tom Raftery:

And I tried

Peter Fiekowsky:

And you get eutrophication. Now in the deep ocean, it's very, very different. because you don't have the iron. And so, so that's why you get the blue ocean, the things that people are afraid of, such as the toxic algae blooms so your red tide, and so on all of those are coastal phenomenon. So you don't get to it in the deep ocean. In fact, when you measure the iron level, the iron level near the coast is almost a million times higher than the iron concentration in the deep ocean. And that's why it takes almost nothing. If you add that much iron to a coastal area, you could probably not even measure because one part in a million more iron, maybe one part in a hundred, 10,000 or something.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Okay. But of course the bloom in the fish stocks then as well means that you can profit from that too, right? You can harvest the, some of the fish use that for, food for you and I. I mean, I I like fish,

Peter Fiekowsky:

I like Yes.

Tom Raftery:

so that, that sounds very like a win-win to me.

Peter Fiekowsky:

It is, it is now, some people point out, very clearly that as much fish as you take out of the ocean, that's carbon, that's not falling down and getting disintegrated, but on the other hand, it's good for our health. And that's what pays for the process.

Tom Raftery:

And of course, if we're substituting fish for beef, then that is a big win because the carbon in fish production is significantly lower than the carbon in beef production.

Peter Fiekowsky:

Yes. Yes. And there's a similar process. There are a number of groups that are working to, instead of using micro-algae or, phytoplankton, they use macro algae, which is seaweed. And so they grow seaweed. And, some is like Sargassum, which grows naturally in the Atlantic. And some is seaweed is, uh, kelp where they, have a structure, a very, light structure that they plant the kelp on, but, and then they bring fertilization from the deep ocean and it can, it grows incredibly rapidly. It's the fastest growing plant on earth. And again, they harvest part of it. The kelp and the Sargassum provide phenomenal chemicals for, fertilizer, for food, for cosmetics. They're even beginning to make artificial leather with it. So as you cut down on your meat, you can still have your leather and using the chemicals from the Sargassum.

Tom Raftery:

Fascinating.

Peter Fiekowsky:

And then much of it, they also ends up sinking, either naturally or artificially.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. So that's three different mechanisms for sequestering. That's great. How much sequestering are we talking about? Because. When I, when I think about this, it's it's quite scary because we are putting about 40 million tons, sorry, 40 billion. Would it be 40 billion, tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. And that is accumulating in the atmosphere. 40 billion tons year after year after year after year after year. To reverse that we would have to be sucking out, at least 40 billion tons a year. Do the processes you referring to, do they scale to anything like that amount, uh, are not? Or what time period are we talking about or,

Peter Fiekowsky:

Yeah. Yeah, So, the iron fertilization scales appears to scale. very well. The, uh, test that was done in Alaska, there was evidence that as predicted it sequestered about a hundred million tons. So, five or 600 of those eddies would be sufficient to get 60 gigatons per year out. And, now you would think that we would need more than that, but we are switching pretty rapidly from fossil fuel to solar and wind. And as much as we hate the Ukraine war, it's been a great impetus for countries around the world to accelerate the build-out of wind and solar and others, you know, nuclear is slow and it's expensive, so it will be unclear how it all shakes out. But it is clear that wind and solar have got are cheap and are getting cheaper. And. In my book on, uh, I have a chapter on the energy transition. One of the things that I get, again, it's very good news because once you get clear where you're going be at the ice cream store, the, or the pub, once you get clear that on the energy transition, where we're going is replacing all the fossil fuel energy with clean energy. And that, uh, if you look it up, it's 20, 20,000 gigawatts is what we use around the world. And, um, you know, it'll go up as a number of middle-class people goes up,. It'll go down as we insulate houses and use heat pumps. So just use the 20,000 gigawatts. If you multiply that times one or $2 a watt, which is what it takes to at call it $2 a watt, which is what it takes to build wind and solar plus batteries, that comes up to 30 or $40 trillion a year, total 20th, $40 trillion. Well we're already putting in that, investing in roughly almost that much to do the energy transition. And so we just need to focus on the investment. The exciting thing that has been lost in the dust is we have the technology to switch over from fossil fuel. We don't need any new technology. We don't need to wait. We just need to, funnel the investment, the trillion dollars a year into building out the technology we have. And of course we'll be always developing new technology.

Tom Raftery:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The, the technology for energy generation is not lacking. What is lacking is the political will, right? How do we fix that?

Peter Fiekowsky:

It's really, the leadership rather than the political will. And so I, it, we're very, very close and the reason I, what I mean by that is, politically, most of the countries on the planet, maybe all of them have agreed that they're going to go to net zero emissions. And they know it takes a lot of, new infrastructure and politically they need to tell investors that we are going to clean energy. And again, as horrible as Ukraine war is, it has pointed out to almost all investors that we're going to clean energy. And once the investors, realize that they're going to make money in clean energy, not in fossil fuel, that the amount of investment will go up. And one of the companies that I've been working with, it's called, Climate CapEx here in California. They are working to do FinTech to accelerate the, the investment. Cause there's, as you well know this lots of ESG, environmental, social, and governance, investment, money available, but investing in a wind farm is hard or in a solar farm. It's very hard and someone like you or me might have a half a million to invest, but we're not going to go there. And so the FinTech allows these $10 million projects to be financed rapidly. And, that, that seems to be the key is the, the government leadership saying, yes, we are doing it. And they're beginning to, but they're saying it they've been saying it with a little trepidation. They want to say it with a kind of certainty that I'm giving you? Yes, we've got 20,000 gigawatts to build and we are going to build them. Thank you very much.

Tom Raftery:

And then coming back to the climate restoration, you, you mentioned that, it should be possible to get large amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere at scale. What kind of time scale are we talking about for that though?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Well, it's an engineering problem. And so, the answer is by 2050. You know, uh, if you talk to a scientist, uh, he, or she will probably roll his or her eyes and say that there's no sign that we're going to do it by 2050. Uh, and that's true, you know, if you and I take a walk in the countryside and look out over a field, you know, we would say, there's no sign that there's going to be a warehouse there in two years. And then suddenly someone builds a warehouse. Because they planned it. So getting to CO2 below 300 by 2050 indeed is not predictable, except that there's a growing cadre of people, working on climate restoration. And, most of us have realized we're not going to give up the fight because what's my life for if I don't leave a livable planet to my children.

Tom Raftery:

Fair fair. If this is as easy as you make it sound, why hasn't, why hasn't it been done before now? Apart, apart from that one test in Alaska.

Peter Fiekowsky:

Right, which was 10 years ago. Why has that not been done? But because the fishing industry loved it in the U S after that test, the cost of salmon went down to about a dollar a pound and they were giving the salmon away in schools. Like it was in school lunches. Because it was so plentiful,

Tom Raftery:

Amazing.

Peter Fiekowsky:

They did it that one time. And this is the, this is the question you're asking is why aren't we doing it? And the answer is, that we haven't until now targeted, restoring the climate. And so our target has, the UN has taught us that we have to reduce emissions or we'll have a climate emergency. Now, most of us suspect that we're already in the middle of the, maybe even towards the end of a climate emergency. And so it's really too late for reducing emissions to turn, to make a significant difference. As you said, we've got a trillion tons up there, but 30 times what we're putting out right now. And so, this is the first time in human history that we've needed to restore the climate, restore the planet. So ever since our species and our cultures have evolved, all we needed to do is stop damaging the environment. And all of our thinking has based on stop damaging the environment. Pope Francis's encyclical, six years ago, um, Laudato SI that are taking care of our common home was about stop damaging the environment, net zero emissions, stabilize the population. And, uh, one of my goals is to get the Vatican to, to go farther and say our goal isn't just to take care of our common home. Our goal is humanity to survive and flourish. And, it's a, an important nuance, but it's the first time it's a first time for that conversation. And so it's going to take hard work for me and for you and your listeners to push that new conversation out.

Tom Raftery:

So that was my next question. What can we do?.

Peter Fiekowsky:

The, the most important thing is to, commit to your friends and family that we are going to restore the climate, come hell or high water. We're going to make that thing happen. I think it'll just be high water and not the hard part w w we're going to do it. And then, the more you share about it with your friends, the more committed you get, you can invest in. Well, a good place to do is, start putting money into The Foundation For Climate Restoration. It's small, the main impact of donating the money. It certainly helps the foundation, but we find that when people donate, they become committed. So in the U S we do a lot of presidential campaigns and they say, you know, contribute $5 because they know once you've committed $5, you're now committed to that candidate. And so in the same way, I invite people to contribute regularly to the foundation. 'cause that reminds you every month, you see it on your credit card that you're committed. And then you can go to your member of Congress, your member of parliament, and tell him, listen, find some laws, write some rules that actually address restoring the climate. That's what I want. I want to restore the climate.

Tom Raftery:

Okay.

Peter Fiekowsky:

And if you're, if you're a billionaire, you can start a major financing for some of these projects. And in the book I write about them, but we have what we call the big four.

Tom Raftery:

What big four?

Peter Fiekowsky:

So one, then the first one of course is the iron fertilization. And that requires investment of about $500 million a year for about 10 years. And then it becomes self financing because of the income from profit sharing, essentially from fishing. The second one is that synthetic limestone and that also needs, maybe a half, a billion dollars a year of capital, to build these plants, and build them in, in cities. So you can reduce the transportation costs. And, the third one is the seaweed projects. And, and the fourth one is, uh, methane oxidation. It's a different topic, but, methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas. It's about a hundred times the intensity of CO2. And, it's important for two reasons. One reason is that it, contributes somewhere between 20 and 30% of all global warming. So, if we can oxidize that methane from the atmosphere, then we can, within just five years, get global warming back to what it was at the turn of the century. So back before the huge wildfires before the huge hurricanes, which would be really great. And so that's an opportunity for insurance companies for Swiss re and Munich re and so on because they're spending, $80 billion a year now on climate claims and that's up, that's doubled so they could in theory, uh, reduce their claims by $40 billion a year, just by financing about a billion dollars a year into this, methane oxidation.

Tom Raftery:

How does that work? What's that about?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Well, like with CO2 people think about, uh, reducing emissions and that's very difficult as we've noticed. It turns out to be much easier to remove it from the atmosphere, which is very shocking, but the physics is simple. And if you think about it the right way that although the methane is only two parts per million in the atmosphere. So it's very little, if you use, aerosols basically like cloud cloud droplets, aerosols of iron chloride, which are naturally in the atmosphere to a certain degree, there's a phenomenal amount of surface area, which will oxidize the methane. And it it's been demonstrated. We're still doing the detailed demonstrations, but the theory was, produced about five years ago. And, uh, we're expecting to get some publications out later in this year about that. And so we have a company called blue dot change, which is setting up to, admit the iron chloride, aerosols from ship exhausts. Because you want to do it over the ocean where there's lots of sun and there's also chlorine because it's the chlorine atoms that oxidize the methane. If you think about chlorine bleach, which oxidizes anything, the chemistry is simply that the iron holds the chlorine in place, the iron chloride, and then the sunlight it's activated by sunlight and the sunlight knocks a chlorine off that chlorine can oxidize a methane and then the iron will pull the chlorine back in until the next photon hits it. And so it's, it's solar powered, which is why it's incredibly inexpensive compared to, any kind of emissions reduction. And we could go into that, but that's a long story, but is, well, here's the other important thing about methane it's an important warming gas, but also, there's a risk of a methane burst. And we want to protect ourselves from a methane burst. So for many years I was looking at how do we prevent a methane burst? And once the temperatures in the Arctic reached 10 degrees C or about 50 Fahrenheit, it was pretty clear that we are not going to keep it from melting, in any foreseeable time. And then that's when I realized that this iron chloride, methane oxidation could protect us. So even if a methane burst does happen and most experts think that it's not very likely or even very unlikely, but even if it's only a 1% or 2% chance that we'll go extinct, we still want to protect ourselves. So, the methane oxidation, it reduces the half-life of methane in the atmosphere by a factor of two. So right now, when methane comes out of a swamp out of rice fields out of landfill, out of a cow, out of a coal mine, it stays in the atmosphere on average eight years, by which time it's oxidized by either chlorine or hydroxyl radicals OH. And then the, by doubling the amount of those catalysts, those chemicals that oxidized the methane, it'll reduce the methane level by two, which would really bring us back to roughly 2000, 2005 warming levels, which is exciting. And if a burst happens and it could happen in five years, then the burst would only last for half as long and be half as intense. And so we would probably lose a couple of years of harvests, but over the the evolution of, of life and humanity. That's not a problem know w we've had volcanoes, which have damaged these things so we can deal with a few years. And so for me, it's very important because it's an insurance policy in case that methane burst is serious. Like it was the last time our, our ice cap melted. Which was a 52 million years, 56 million years ago. There was a methane burst and we lost a third of the species on the planet. We don't want that to happen again. And so what's wonderful is with our science, we can figure all those things out and also figure out, oh, if we put out a less than a million tons of iron chloride into the atmosphere. That'll be enough to where it looks like that'll be enough. It's not proven, but there's, that's where the data points that will be enough to protect us, which is very exciting that even if the methane burst happens, we've got it covered.

Tom Raftery:

Really impressive what about, and this is probably an impossible question to answer, but what about unintended consequences? Because this, these kinds of geoengineering projects have never been done at scale before. Except that we have geo engineered the planet to where we are today and that has had a horrible consequences, but trying to reverse that with more geoengineering, what are the chances of there being some unintended consequences that make things even worse?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Well, it's of course a worry and the data is very encouraging. And so the first thing is that all of these methods are temporary. And so, except for the limestone, once you make a limestone it's permanent, but nature has done that for billions of years. We have no one has proposed any reason that making more synthetic, limestone than nature is doing is going to be a problem. But everything else is temporary. So with the iron chloride, for the methane, if there's a problem, we stop doing it. And two weeks later it's gone. And, like any industrial process, you start small and you get bigger and you get bigger and you get bigger and there will always be some consequences. There always is. But as you scale up, you correct them. And then with the ocean fertilization, it's the same thing that, if for some reason you don't like the outcome, just stopped doing it. And two months later, the ocean is back blue again.

Tom Raftery:

Fair. Fair enough. Okay, cool. Cool.

Peter Fiekowsky:

It's nice. The difference is that when we first saw, I call it terraforming we're Terra forming earth to look like earth again, geoengineering is a bit ominous. Terraforming earth is very clear that that's what we're doing. And, um, the most of the consequences are very good. So with the limestone, for example, we can use that limestone to build up coastal cities like London as sea level rises, use synthetic limestone to build them up. You accomplish two things at once and with, the oceans, you fertilize the oceans and you get fish and whales. And one of the great things after this after the test 10 years ago is the whale population went up. The number of whale births had, in one species doubled

Tom Raftery:

Wow,

Peter Fiekowsky:

because the whales had food.

Tom Raftery:

Yeah. Yeah, of course, of course, Peter, we're coming towards the end of the podcast now. Is there any question I haven't asked you that you wish I had, or is there any aspect of this that we've not touched on that you think it's important for people to be aware of?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Yeah, the, the overall cost of this is about $2 billion a year of commercial investment. And that's, it's remarkable on the one hand, cause that's less than 1% of what we're spending on the energy transition, which we have to spend anyway, because infrastructure always has to be replaced.

Tom Raftery:

It's about 5% of what Elon Musk is proposing to spend on buying Twitter!.

Peter Fiekowsky:

Yes. It's a very small amount of money. And all that's needed to make it happen is people to talk about it again, but we are going to restore the climate. We are going to the ice cream store to the pub. Just remind yourself and then people will take you there. The other very cool thing is it doesn't require government interaction. And so these are commercial investments. And so in the U S there's a high likelihood that the Republicans who have opposed most climate action, will win the both houses in the next election. And there's a very good chance that Trump will win the 2024 election, if that happens, that'll only slightly slow down the work on restoring the climate. And so you can sleep at night knowing that yes, you know, that might be bad for, education and bad for certain rights. but it won't affect the climate. And that's, I think really the best news I want to leave you and the listeners with is that, uh, we have the money, we have the technologies, and even if the government, continues being chaotic, we will still do it.

Tom Raftery:

Fantastic. Fantastic. Peter, if people want to know more about yourself or about Climate Restoration or any of the topics we discussed in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?

Peter Fiekowsky:

Go to my website, which is PeterFiekowsky dot com F I E K O W S K Y. And definitely go if you want, and to participate more, go to the foundation for climate restoration, you can spell out foundation for climate restoration.org or F number four, CR dot org. There you can, participate in local groups that we're forming to work with governments and newspapers to spread the word that we are restoring the climate. And there are policies, for example, more and more governments are, are learning about the synthetic limestone and requiring that new construction use the carbon removing limestone when that's available.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Super, super I'll put links to those in the show notes as well for anyone to find them. Great. Peter, that's been fantastic. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.

Peter Fiekowsky:

Oh, you're welcome. Thank you for taking this on. It's been a pleasure.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about Climate 21, feel free to drop me an email to Tom dot Raftery @ sap.com or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you liked the show, please don't forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks catch you all next time.