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Project Vesta – Mitigating climate change with green sand beaches (projectvesta.org)
551 points by QuickToBan 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 331 comments





Hi HN, I am Eric Matzner, the Co-Founder of Project Vesta and I have been responding to all of the questions on this thread and will continue to answer them, but I just wanted to say thank you for all of the interest. When YC posted their Carbon Removal Technologies Requests for Startups page[1] about 8 months ago, I responded to a comment on the post where @btilly[2] mentioned one of the research papers that our project is based on.[3] We were in stealth mode back then, as I was still putting the project together, but the positive response there helped energize and inform our operations, so thank all of you for that as well. I do not personally know the person who posted this today either, but thank you for posting it (although we were not prepared for this amount of inbound interest today). Please note that we will get back to everyone who submitted our "Get Involved" form over the next couple of days. Thank you to all who donated as well for your support, the HN community has been very generous and we appreciate your enthusiasm and support for the project.

I can also give you a project update that we have not announced anywhere else as of yet. After our launch on Earth Day in April, we received an individual contribution/grant that has given us enough funding to take significant steps forward towards getting our pilot project on a beach. It has greatly accelerated our progress and we are now moving more rapidly to make this a reality. We are engaged with the Dutch independent institute for applied research in water and the subsurface, Deltares[4], to help us design the pilot project experiment.

Project Vesta is a non-profit, globally decentralized entity and we are looking for additional partner universities, groups, and others to team up with. We are looking for input on our experimental design from researchers, engineers, and experts in the fields related to this project (such as geochemistry and the marine sciences). The design of the experiment is crucial and has to be rigorous in terms of calculating the accelerated weathering rate of olivine in the open system of a beach and in terms of demonstrating marine safety so that the results will be accepted as definitive by the scientific community and the public.

Our greatest fear right now is that we will spend a year running a study and then when the results come back, the data will not be accepted for one reason or another and we are asked to go back to get more data. We and the planet frankly do not have the time to wait another year, so we want to make sure we do it right the first time around and have the right stakeholders involved before it is deployed. To make sure it is done properly, we want to run the experimental design by as many relevant parties as possible so that when the data comes back we have an accepted consensus that is irrefutable in terms of the weathering rate and safety data, so we can move forward with deployment.

If you want to join our scientific advisory board or just help give input on our experimental design, please reach out on our Get Involved [5] page -> https://projectvesta.org/get-involved/

We are also looking for additional donors/family offices/etc and partners who want to sidestep the climate change debate and move forward on taking direct action to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While we are proponents of cutting emissions and agree it needs to be done, we want to get started removing as much CO2 from the atmosphere as we can until we are back down to Pre-Industrial CO2 levels. We believe that by making extremely effective, permanent, and cheap CO2 removal available, we can dramatically change the conversation and force action. Please reach out if you would like to help.

Thank you,

Eric

p.s. If you want to learn a bit more about the process and our organization, check out this interview with me on the Nori podcast [6] -> https://nori.com/podcasts/carbon-removal-newsroom/project-ve...

We are just launching our social profiles, but feel free to follow us for updates: Twitter -> https://twitter.com/Project_Vesta Instagram -> https://instagram.com/projectvesta FB page -> https://www.facebook.com/ProjectVestaCO2Removal/

[1] http://carbon.ycombinator.com/ [2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18285606 [3] https://projectvesta.org/science/#dflip-df_77/1/ [4] https://www.deltares.nl/en/ [5] https://projectvesta.org/get-involved/ [6] https://nori.com/podcasts/carbon-removal-newsroom/project-ve...


Could the olivine found on the moon be suitable for use in this application?

Mineralogically? Sure. Economically? Not even close.

Is there any particular reason that you use a graphical overlay on your website that blocks any mouse or keyboard actions other than scrolling?

(Happens on both Firefox and Chrome.)


Thanks for doing this!

“To carry out this plan, it will take a volume of 7 cubic miles of olivine rock placed on 2% of the world high-energy, tropical shelf-seas each year.”

To put this in perspective, the global annual oil production is about 1 cubic mile [1], and concrete production is about half a cubic mile [2], [3] (4.4 BN tons at 2.4 t/m3 = 1.83 cubic km = 0.44 cubic miles)

[1]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil

[2]https://archpaper.com/2019/01/concrete-production-eight-perc...

[3]https://hypertextbook.com/facts/1999/KatrinaJones.shtml


The first question that came to my mind was how much CO2 would be generated by moving this amount of rock (if they theoretically were able to produce it, of course)?

That’s to counteract for 100% of emissions, right? A more reasonable goal would be to go for 10%. Still very ambitious, but could be done and would have a pretty huge impact. Combine that carbon pricing, technological advancements, and other sequestration schemes, and targets for avoiding environmental catastrophe seem achievable.

Sorry, can you explain why you think counteracting 10% of emissions would have "a pretty huge impact"?

The best science from the IPCC suggests we have to cut net carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 in order to have a moderate chance of avoiding the most catastrophic effects of the climate disaster.

I'm not saying 10% isn't ambitious, but it's entirely insufficient to the scope of the problem.


Aforestation is another big opportunity to absorb carbon and can be combined to increase habitat for animals and biophillic settings and work for people, as well as produce sustainable building and manufacturing materials - and even some fuel.

The IPCCs primary goal is to reduce carbon output, not figure out a way to enable it to continue. We have renewable and sustainable power technologies ready to reduce carbon output rapidly as soon as the political will to proceed is won.

This potentially huge mining scheme involves releasing what is in simple terms very large amounts of a pollutant into the Ocean. Its anticipated that the effects of this particular pollution will be beneficial, but we have no natural history to show for its ecological effects. Forests are already a great part of our worlds natural history.

I think it is a worthwhile scheme to begin implementing and observing the effects on Ocean ecology and also on the global mining industry which it has potential to stimulate. But the 100% target is an oversell in my view.


I mean using this project to counteract 10% instead of 100%. We don't have to rely on a single tool to eliminate carbon emissions, we can use a bunch of them.

This doesn't have to be the only initiative to reduce CO2. It could be used in combination with reforestation, reducing emissions, etc.

We need to eliminate actul emissions. As in, actual exhaust gases coming out of cars and planes and snokestacks, not just mathematically offset "net" emissions. There is no way around that. Then, on top of that, an additional 10% through this scheme looks pretty useful.

> We need to eliminate actul emissions. As in, actual exhaust gases coming out of cars and planes and snokestacks, not just mathematically offset "net" emissions. There is no way around that.

How so? What difference is there between emitting zero and emitting x kilograms and sequestering x kilograms?


Extra work. Exactly the problem of having to mine and dump a lot more minerals or plant a lot more trees or whatever if we keep emitting too much.

Market pricing can take care of that though. If the thing that creates carbon emissions is valuable enough that it's cheaper to offset those emissions than stop doing the thing (or find a non-emitting way to do the thing), it makes sense to do the thing and the offsetting.

Again, nobody is saying that emissions need to go to absolute zero, but they do need to be cut. The less "valuable" part of them, if you will.

Oh, I see now that my "eliminate emissions" above could be read as "eliminate all emissions". That's not what I meant, but it's my fault for not putting it clearly (and the typos as well, I was typing only half-awake). Anyway, let's eliminate a lot of emissions, including pretty much all from land vehicles, as soon as possible. And also sequester carbon.

In terms of fossil fuel volume in oil equivalents, we are at a yearly level greater than 10 km^3...

In terms of construction materials, these 2009 calculations give 2005 numbers of over 60 Gt...

Growth in global materials use, GDP and population during the 20th century - http://www.vegetal-e.com/fichiers/2009-krausmann-al_14696916...


Sounds fine, but I think you need to correct this statement "A volume of 7 cubic miles (11 km^3)", because 1 cubic mile = 4.17 cubic km.

What matters is not the volume but the cost. A back-of-the-envolope calculation shows that olivine rock is about 20 times cheaper than crude oil.

Olivine rock: 10-25$/ton Crude oil: $60/barrel, so about $400/ton

Their website reads that "A volume of 7 cubic miles (11 km^3) of olivine, or around 30 Gigatons, is needed each year. This is less than half the volume of construction materials and less than that of fossil fuel equivalents mined yearly".

If olivine rock needs to be mined in comparable amount to fossil fuels to offset global CO2 production, it will cost about 5% of the fossil fuels, i.e., the price of oil will grow by about 5% globally, which is not much.


“ 7 cubic miles (11 km^3)”

They think the conversion factor between cubic miles and cubic km is the same as between miles and km? Hm ....


Wow, didn't expect this. Good catch.

They underestimated the volume of olivine rock about 3 times, which means that its mining would cost about 15% of the overall cost of mining of fossil fuels, assuming current prices of olivine rock and crude oil. This is a very rough estimate that doesn't take into account several factors, most importantly economy of scale.


Enough to cover all of nevada with an even 4 inches

Disappointing to see that Wikipedia page says we use 0.8 of a CMO (cubic mile of oil) in coal. Not clear how current that is either.

The oil number was rounding down from a 2005 number.

2014 number I found would be 1.3 cubic miles.

So take the numbers with a grain of salt.

https://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/627842?section=US&...


I would be significantly less skeptical about this if it were significantly less ambitious.

I'm sure there are low-hanging opportunities where this makes a good amount of sense. Places where there are olivine-rich mine tailings -- somehow uncontaminated by heavy metals -- adjacent to a tropical shoreline. In those instances, then yeah, I'm sure it makes good sense to just shove them over to the beach and let decomposition do its thing.

However, pitching this as THE solution to carbon sequestration is much more problematic. At gigaton scale, you're going to run out of mine tailings quite quickly. After that, you're talking about mining fresh olivine, from locations that are increasingly distant to tropical shorelines.

This would incur tremendous energy costs, and I'm skeptical that its balance would work in favour of olivine. How much does energy is required to mine a 1,000kg of olivine? How much energy is required to move it (say) 100km to the shore? If that net energy were applied to other forms of carbon capture, would it sequester more than 1,250kg of Co2? If so, then in that instance at least, olivine sequestration would be a bad idea.

Even if the energy balance works out favourably, I'm still not sure it's a good idea. Mining doesn't just have energy impacts, it has tremendous land impacts. 7 cubic miles per year of olivine is a very large amount of material. If you don't like the local impacts of mining gold and copper and coal and shale and sand and gravel, then this would have an environmental impact similar to all of those put together. Which is too much impact. It is probably preferable to pursue a less-efficient sequestration strategy than to engage in something with this kind of side-effects.

So I'm afraid that the way this is being presented will trigger a lot of skepticism / opposition. This is a shame, because in certain edge-cases I suspect it's quite a good idea. Even if this only addresses a small percentage of the total problem, every little bit helps. I'd hate to see the baby get tossed out with the bathwater.


We are not pitching this as "THE" solution, but as "a" solution that can scale up to and beyond the global level of yearly CO2 emissions. Even after the "low-hanging opportunities" it makes a good amount of sense, as mining olivine is not difficult and there are large reserves on every continent.

You are incorrect that olivine mining at a large scale would incur tremendous energy costs, it will not. I would suggest you check out this model of a 5,000 tonne per day open pit mining for porphyritic rock. (This model also includes 5,000 tonnes per day of "waste" rock which will likely not be wasted in our use case) http://costs.infomine.com/costdatacenter/miningcostmodel.asp...

In this model, which is not in any way optimized for environmental efficiency, it requires a diesel fuel quantity of around 4,751 liters/day to mine the 5,000 tonnes. At 2.68 kg of CO2 per 1 liter of diesel, that generates 12,732.68 kg of CO2 per day. That 12,732.68 kg = 12.73268 tonnes of CO2. The 5,000 tonnes of olivine mined will eventually weather and sequester 6,250 tonnes of CO2 (1 tonne of olivine sequesters 1.25 tonnes of CO2), for a net capture of 6,237 tons at the mine.

We have life cycle assessment that calculates the CO2 penalty and loss on efficiency, including milling and transport to locations less than 300 km (186 mi) at around a 4% loss [1].

Just for your information and for others, from a financial perspective the mining in that model costs $7.32 per ton, and then the transport and milling/crushing only costs about $3 per ton, so olivine could be transported to a beach at around $10/ton, with the price per ton of CO2 sequestered at less than $10.

You are also incorrect regarding the mining impact. The mining of things like shale requires fracking and the injection of sand and chemicals, our mining is simply open pit. Essentially, you open a pit on the surface and simply dig it up. As mentioned above, it is not all that energy intensive either.

For global CO2 level removal in terms of mining, it would likely require 30-50 mines in the wet tropics, preferably at a level of greater than 100 million tons/year (due to economies of scale).[2] There are large reserves on every continent and plenty near coastlines[3]. If you wanted to open fewer mines, you could theoretically find a few large reserves. For example, there is an open pit mine in Bingham Canyon that has an excavated volume of over 25 km^3, which would be the equivalent of 2-3 years worth of the volume of material needed.

Don't worry about this idea getting "tossed out with the bathwater," if anything we will actually be removing CO2 from the bathwater and de-acidifying it at the same time ;)

[1] Environmental Life Cycle Assement of CO2 Sequestration Through Enhanced Weathering of Olivine https://projectvesta.org/science/#dflip-df_978/1/ [2] https://projectvesta.org/science/#dflip-df_77/9/ [3] https://projectvesta.org/science/#dflip-df_90/25/


Thanks for responding to my criticism and taking it seriously! The energy costs for this are indeed a lot less than I had imagined. I've seen plenty of appealing sequestration concepts where the numbers definitely don't work out, so I appreciate you doing the math on this!

I would push back, however, on the land impacts of mining. Open-pit mining is exactly what I was referring to, and it doesn't have a good reputation with me. I have encountered many open-pit mining projects which were extremely destructive with regards to habitat, watersheds, groundwater, etc. (Arguably much moreso than things like fracking, TBH.) A massive increase in open-pit mining therefore sets off significant alarm bells for me.

Now, it's possible that I'm suffering from selection bias here: I only hear about open-pit mines when they're bad, and when they're benign they sail right under my radar. Maybe, on average, they're fine.

But that's not the kind of thing I'd take on faith. What would convince me is a site-specific Environmental Impact Report which illustrates how a 100MT/year olivine mine could operate without causing severe regional damage.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glensanda This super quarry is in a very scenic area of the west coast of Scotland and supplies 6M tons of granite aggregate yearly and apart from the quay you would not know it is there, so it can be done reasonably sensitively.

That's a really interesting and well-done mine -- thanks for introducing it to me!

This project proposes mining at a scale that is cumulatively about 8,000 times greater than Glensanda. But if they could all be done so sensitively, then indeed, perhaps it could work.

I've still got a lot of cognitive intertia about the impact of open-pit mining, and would definitely need more convincing about this. But I'd be open to being convinced.


Interesting so land area of world / 8000 gives 1 Glensanda per 18600km2. Area of UK is 242000km2 so we would need about 13 Glensanda sizes quarries in the UK. Of course it would be fairer if were weighted by amount of harm done to the climate per country, so we should have more per km2 than an undeveloped country, but even so doesn't seem like that large an impact.

I don't think land area is the metric to use here. Quaries need to be located close to the coast, in order to minimise shipping costs. There's a lot of land in the interior of continents which would not be suitable for this kind of operation.

So probably a better metric is total length of coastline. The UK has 12,429km of coastline, out of a world total of 356,000. So that would imply 279 Glensanda-sized quaries in the UK.

Good news for the UK (and bad news for everyone else): weighting by amount of harm done to the climate wouldn't work. In addition to being located near coastlines, the quarries need to be located in tropical and subtropical regions. So in fact there wouldn't be any quarries in the UK.

Looking at this source: http://chartsbin.com/view/ofv, it appears that there's about 275,000km of suitable coastline. The top 3 countries would be: Indonesia (1,592 Glessandas), Phillipines (1,056 Glessandas), and Australia (749 Glessandas). I'm not sure whether or not that's feasible. But at a smaller scale, as a partial solution to sequestration, it seems within reach.


This is a great response, thank you. It seems like one issue with climate change is that the scale of the problem is so large, any significant mitigation sounds intuitively unrealistic. It's clear that you've put a lot of work into looking at the whole picture though, and I'm excited to hear more results as you scale up pilot testing.

4% loss of what? I’m not following.

When 1 tonne of olivine weathers, the chemical reaction removes 1.25 tonnes of free CO2 from the environment in terms of stoichiometry. However, in the process of mining, milling, and transporting that olivine to that beach, we emit approximately .05 tonnes of CO2 ourselves. That .05 of a tonne is 4% of the 1.25 tonnes of CO2 that was removed in the weathering process. So, in a CO2 life cycle assesment of net emissions, that considered the "loss."

i.e. it’s like a slot machine where you pay $0.05 and then get E[Y] = $1.25 back (in carbonbucks). Sounds like a great deal vs. 4% loss (and a fast way to pay off carbon debt).

How does this compare to the lifecycle net efficiency of other methods of carbon capture/abatement, e.g. wind turbines, nuclear solar panels/farms, EVs, afforestation? Any references for such estimates?


Are there underwater/ocean floor sources you could mine/release into the ocean?

I would be less skeptical if they weren't selling jewelry.

It's a shame because the responses given here on HN seem well thought out, yet the site gave me the impression of making a quick buck on peridot necklaces. I mean, is that really going to fund anything meaningful?


Dissolving olivine on beaches means releasing nickel into the environment. What is the effect of the release of many megatons of this element?

We are aware of potential issues with nickel contamination in olivine and will be testing/monitoring for it. Nickel is found in formations of olivine where nickel replaces some of the magnesium ions in their crystal lattices, however, if we do have a large reserve with high content of nickel, we have a technique available to plant nickel hyperaccumulating plants above the crushed olivine to phytomine the nickel content. It is then possible to put the plants in a furnace and get 10% ore back, which we would then sell and use to further fund operations...

"In simple laboratory tests small nickel ingots were produced from the plant ashes. Sowing these plants on appropriate soils and harvesting them at the end of the growing season makes for an environmentally friendly way of recovering nickel. Because these plants extract nickel from the olivine lattice, for every ton of nickel in the plants 330 tons of olivine must weather, equivalent to a capture of 400 tons of CO 2 . Weathering proceeds faster under vegetation. The introduction of this method could revolutionize the nickel mining industry."

See page 8-9 of the Green Cookery Book here for more in-depth information on the technique: https://projectvesta.org/science/#dflip-df_103/9/ Or see this paper specifically on the topic: Schuiling, R.D. (2013) Farming nickel from non-ore deposits, combined with CO2 sequestration.


This answer strongly reminds me of Joel Spolsky's BillG review story [1]. It's confidence-inspiring that you've already spent time looking into these things.

[1] https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2006/06/16/my-first-billg-rev...


I'm a little confused by this, though I see your link picks it out as still speculative.

You're planning to put the olivine on the beaches, the nickel accumulating plants will be planted above. So presumably they'll be as exposed to the action of the sea as the olivine. The document talks of use in poor soils, but no mention of coastal or beach. You've identified species suitable for that level of salt water exposure? If the plants are beyond the high tide mark, won't most of it get into the ocean first?


I read it as the olivine would be mined, plants would be used to extract nickel, and then the olivine would be moved to beaches.

Ah right, so a first pass before it gets to the beach, that makes much more sense now! Though no doubt introduces its own challenges related to how long it needs to sit under foliage before it's beach ready. :)

This is great! Presumably natural olivine outcrops also sometimes produce high nickel levels nearby, no? What are the surrounding ecosystems like?

How long will the plants take to remove the nickel from the Olivine?

Reminds me of The Simpsons episode where they let Lizards get rid of the pigeons, then plan to have snakes kill the lizards, then have gorillas eat the snakes. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9yruQM1ggc

Isn't that inspired by Australian experiences with introducing fauna for agricultural needs...?

Yea, I think loosely inspired by Australia's plot to kill sugar cane-ravaging beetles with cane toads (that then became a nuisance).

Jared Diamonds extensively talks about it in his book "Collapse". A good book (not the best one in that category, but good enough to be worth a read).

An odd read that one. A huge distraction at the beginning with pages and pages of "why I bought a house in Montana", and pointedly avoiding any conclusion on Montana's issues. Just share everyone's lengthy perspective. A good book that felt it could have been a great book at half the length.

Out of interest what did you think were the better books in the category?


"massive application of olivine in agriculture may cause imbalances in plant nutrition, notably at low Ca availability, and will bring Ni into the food chain."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415406/


Super exciting for someone like me who breaks out horribly when a quarter or a nickel belt touches my skin.

Yikes... I know coral and other invertebrates are very sensitive to heavy metals like nickel.

We will be testing the sources of olivine for nickel, and as posted upstream, we have potential solutions for phytomining the olivine reserves for nickel with nickel hyper-accumulating plants, and then burning plants, retrieving the nickel ore and using the proceeds it to further fund operations...

I hope you would still run tests to determine how much left over Nickel is getting into the ocean.

Not just coral will be effected by Nickel, but other important invertebrates as well such as amphipods which play an enormous role in the food chain and health of reef environments.

And we’re talking parts per billion (ppb) when heavy metals can start to become toxic.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but Manganese is another element often found in olivine, which is another metal that can be toxic to marine life.


Yes, we plan to not only run tests on every source before placing the olivine on beaches, but to carry out on-going monitoring with sensors. We are looking for experts in this area (and many others) to help design processes to make sure the olivine weathering is purely beneficial to the marine ecosystem (i.e. deacidification, increasing calcium carbonate levels, and boosting diatoms). You seem passionate about this, if you or someone you know can help us with this please sign up here -> https://projectvesta.org/get-involved/

The dose makes the poison, and in the case of manganese (which is, by the way, not a proper noun), the toxic dose is quite large (unless you're inhaling it), to the point where manganese deficiency is a larger public health problem in humans than manganese poisoning. MnO2 and even the soluble manganese sulfate we use for fertilizer are in the same blue-1 classification as things like alcohol and potassium chloride.

Nickel is a more reasonable concern; nickel sulfate's lethal dose is on the order of 250 mg/kg for humans, so around 10 or 15 grams for an adult. It's not really in the same category as things like mercury, lead, thallium, barium, or even cadmium.


Yes, nickel is more of a concern, but manganese is still toxic. Comparing heavy metal toxicity to human lethal doses can be misleading, however.

Invertebrates are much more sensitive to heavy metals. Again toxic doses for many marine invertebrates are in the ppb-ppm range.

Copper for instance is commonly used as a treatment for marine parasites on fish. However the dosing needs to be done carefully, since a doses in the range of 5ppm can start to kill the fish themselves.


Thank you! Yes, I'm pretty sure nickel is more toxic than copper, including to marine organisms. Where can I learn more?

What's preventing the whole operation from going sideways and spewing pollution? With no economic incentive to do it right, and the impact almost impossible to measure, it could quicky devolve into environmentalism theater.

It's basically impossible to save corals at this point. The oceans will become too warm for them.

This is cool. I’ve thought about carbon sequestration a lot using big nuke plants/solar plants+air liquidification+some plant to distill off and turn the CO2 into like methane or some hydrocarbon. My thought here was put half back in the ground and sell the other half to fund the installation/make sure we don’t run out of hydrocarbons. The olivine process, though, is probably easier because it takes much less infrastructure and is more fire and forget. We need some method for sequestration running at scale now (probably multiple). With the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere already, the amount continuing to go in, and the amount of inaction we’re pretty fucked. The current solution (getting the whole damn world to reduce emissions) is unrealistic. Even if we stop putting more in, it’s already there and we’re already fucked. It’s a day late and a dollar short. The countries willing to face this need some way to save us without the cooperation of the countries with their heads in the sand. Sequestration is a good answer for that.

I'd say this project also has their heads in the sand.

It costs about $1 to transport an oil barrel 1000 miles.

35 billion oil barrels are transported each year.

So transporting that olivine rock will cost an order of $250B.

This will compensate for the yearly co2 emissions , ~38B tons.

With carbon offsets priced at $15-$40 per ton - so there's potential for profitability .


Profitability? Put that idea away for a moment. We need to look at this through other lenses as well. Our very lives on Earth depend on our ability to remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. In that light, profitability is a rather weak criterion by which to judge projects like this.

Profitability is a great criterion to judges projects like this. Profitability just means that doing X is worth more than what you have up to do X. If we decide that one ton of CO2 generates $Y of negative effects, and you can remove one ton of CO2 for less than that, congratulations, that means you are doing something that’s worth more than the effort and resources you spend to do it.

You can’t “put away” economic and logical thinking. Indeed, failing to measure profit correctly (failing to include negative externalities in the cost side of the ledger) is what causes environmental destruction in the first place.


There are more important values than profit.

But in reality, profit makes things happen. So it's good to know about it.


It's good to know about it, for sure. But, at the end of the day, profit makes profit-driven things happen. It's important to know about and advocate for more important values than profit.

One way of advocating for more important values than profit is by putting a price on them. That's why it can be profitable to offset carbon emissions.

Profit is not a “value.” It’s a way of measuring costs versus benefits independent of value system. What measuring profit does, which many people hate, is reveal what people actually value. It’s hard to manipulate which leads many to call to “put it aside.”

>> What measuring profit does, which many people hate, is reveal what people actually value.

IDK. there are non-profits helping women and children who suffered domestic violence, and some of those activities are state supported.

People don't really donate and cover those expenses out of their free will.

Still, helping those women and children is objectively a very valuable thing.

So maybe, people shouldn't be the only ones determining what's valuable ? And hence, maybe profit shouldn't be the only thing determining what's valuable ?


Even if this is a viable solution to the climate change problem, an individual country isn't going to foot the bill for the entire world, especially not when we are talking about a recurring expense on the order of hundred billions of dollars every single year.

But olivine is a rock and oil is a liquid. That cost is so low because of pipelines, but you can’t build pipelines for solid things.

You can actually, they pump coal thru pipelines.

In Canada, the national carbon price will go to $50 by 2022. So it will very shortly be profitable in Canada.

That's assuming we don't have a Conservative government later this year.

Polls are trending Liberal.. stand by. It’s a long summer ahead and the Conservatives are short on real answers.

Assuming Trudeau doesn't have another gaff or corruption scandal.. But I'm not holding out hope. Although NDP looks weak as hell too... I'm depressed for the future of this country.

Transporting? Wouldn't most volcanic rock already be on islands?

So we need to mine and strip the earth of materials at rates far beyond anything we’ve ever done before, then load it up on a fleet of ships larger than anything we have today, all burning the filthiest bunker fuel there is at unprecedented rates to manage the largest shipping operation ever, and dump it all on isolated, natural beaches far from human eyes. Plus we need to check the purity of all of this to ensure no nickel wipes out life as we know it, since inspecting a quantity of stone greater than our entire global fuel harvest operations is a reasonable expectation.

I’m sure no cost cutting or harm would come about from this. These companies would definitely be ethical with their operations from start to finish, and they’d be held to high environmental scrutiny.

Alternatively, we plant trees, reduce meat consumption, and buy local so that we’re not shipping shit back and forth from across the planet.


No, alternatively we radically change how we produce energy, how we transport goods and people and how we heat homes. Don't make it sound easy. Reducing consumption only buys time. We need an absolutely massive effort.

With the ability to reduce pH levels in the surrounding water this seems like something the Australian Government would be very interested in investing in to save the Great Barrier Reef.

That could be a good pilot site as the government has said they're going to spend $500MM on saving the reef so money is already available if the technology works.


Whats the chance that $500M is actually to help the reef and not just used for corruption or forgotten about until the next election? I have zero faith in the current Australian gov doing anything to mitigate climate change...

Otherwise this is a great idea!


I thought one of the big problems with Australian politicians doing anything about climate change was that the ruling conservatives are in hock to the big open cast mining companies. Seems like this could be a great opportunity to get these companies on side, especially if there is $500M to be made from it. Much easier to give out the money to them in the open for a good reason than to somehow launder it through some complicated corrupt process.

Great point, the incentives and mutual interests are definitely there. I think it comes down to how ideological the opposition to climate change is in Aus... I.e. are they completely committed to not doing anything effective to mitigate it that might break their narrative around climate change. I'm pretty jaded after the NBN...

I'm sceptical. Are there calculations on shipping for the olivine? If it's primarily mined in certain parts of the world it's going to have a big cost in shipping - there's a reason why regular sand is sourced as locally as possible. It weighs a lot, which means that it's expensive for both the wallet and the environment to ship.

Hi, co-founder of Project Vesta here. Based on a CO2 life cycle assessment, to minimize CO2 created during transport, the idea is to utilize mines within 300 km (186 mi) of the destination beach. Including mining, milling, and transport, we can hopefully maintain only a 4% efficiency loss in terms of CO2.[1]

This paper has a few examples of models where it is 93% efficient for mines within 1,000 km. [2]

Fortunately, there are olivine reserves found all over the planet in a formation called dunite (contains 90% forsterite olivine).

Further, for many of the first beaches, we will be looking to use tailings piles (waste rock) from previously dug and developed mines, as well as the infrastructure from those mines, such as rail for transport. Since olivine is found in volcanic rock formations close to the surface, in the process of mining other minerals that are found in volcanic formations such as diamonds, many tons of olivine rock have already been dug up and deposited in large piles on the surface. By utilizing this rock we would not produce any additional CO2 from mining, and only from crushing/transport.

We are definitely taking the CO2 penalty into account in our calculations and strategy for deployment.

[1] https://projectvesta.org/science/#dflip-df_978/1/ [2] https://projectvesta.org/science/#dflip-df_93/2/


Will olivine-covered beaches be still good for recreation? Will olivine sand produce fine dust that would muddy the water?

I bet the first few green beaches would just look cool enough to increase he stream of tourists — as long as walking over an olivine beach feels safe and not unpleasant.

Also, is dumping olivine on rocky but flat enough shores an option? That is, may it not replace existing sandy beaches but form new olivine-only beaches?


Hi, yes the beaches would still be good for recreation and there should not be a noticeable muddying of the water. The existing beaches of olivine (such as Papakolea Beach in Hawaii that is pictured on our website) are safe and have no observed negative effects on wildlife or humans.

If you look at the tabletop shaker experiments on the website, the water is cloudy because it is not being refreshed. In an open-system such as on a beach with water constantly refreshing, that would not be an issue.

The olivine can be placed on any shoreline or coastal area. The "tropical shelf-sea beach" set up we constantly refer to is simply the optimal and preferential solution. The main effects we are utilizing the beach for are that (1) the tumbling motion of the waves causes a constant abrasion that breaks up a silica coating that rapidly forms on exposed olivine and (2) the collision of grains on the shoreline causes smaller slivers to chip off, that themselves rapidly weather.

We want shelf-seas because the grains will be pulled off the beach and will continue to be weathered through underwater shear stress forces on the sea bed. Other locations work as well, but the olivine may take longer to weather if there is less motion, colder water, etc.


Would the olivine actually need to be (rough) sand or would pebbles or, say, fist-sized rocks work almost as well?

Green Sands Beach on the island of Hawai'i is a big tourist attraction. So, yeah, it seems fine for recreation. (Except it won't be cool anymore if every tropical beach is green...)

They mention that only 5% of tropical beeches would need to become green.

How the beach feels mostly depends on the particle size; magnetite sand, quartz sand, and obsidian sand feel about the same. (At some extreme, that would presumably break down; I wouldn't want to walk on a beach made of shredded fiberglass, at least until it had gone through some physical weathering. And sawdust does feel different. But olivine is not such an extreme case.)

Hi Eric,

How do you plan to compensate countries who own the beaches or waters targeted by the project? Do you have an estimate of how receptive a community will be to having their beach turned green, especially if they rely on it for a portion of their income?

A country outside of the world's economic powers might want financial insurance in the event that the the project causes ecological damage and hurts their economy.


Several California cities are already spending millions annually to dump sand and rocks and to build/expand seawalls, to try to stave off the ocean taking prime beachfront real estate (and it's not working, in the long run).

Those cities (though not in the ideal location for this project, I guess) would likely be ecstatic to have subsidized assistance (though who subsidizes it?). They're losing the beaches no matter what they do, the question is how long will it take, what will it cost to push it out a few more years, etc. For cities that don't have the budget to dump millions of dollars worth of sand only to have it mostly wash away in the next storm, a green beach is probably much more appealing than no beach.


My main point was about developing countries. Eric himself noted that "the idea is to utilize mines within 300 km (186 mi) of the destination beach" and "or many of the first beaches, we will be looking to use tailings piles (waste rock) from previously dug and developed mines, as well as the infrastructure from those mines, such as rail for transport". The idea is summarized in this image [1], which shows mines and their associates beaches that the project intends to target due the proximity.

Most of those beaches are in developing countries. If nourishing the beaches with olivine has some unforeseen, negative ecological consequence, those countries might not be financially equipped to deal with the cleanup. How are those beaches going to be insured?

In the case of California, I'm not familiar with their beach nourishing process, but I assume they are using sand that is more similar in content to what was naturally present. If the beaches have been replenished for years, then we at least have some idea about the short-term effects.

1. https://projectvesta.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Image-59...


Shouldn't the thing pay for itself in climate impact costs avoided?

The benefits are global though, while the impacts on beaches are local.

Which is true of all of the costs of climate change. The costs are already being most harshly felt in poorer communities and nations, and that divide will accelerate the more expensive and resource-intensive it becomes to keep living "normally" under climate change. As droughts strike rich regions, they'll build dams to retain water than would have traveled to poorer regions (e.g. as a significant portion of Californians want to do already at even the first hint of climate change striking the area, despite its impact on people to the south).

I don't know what the right answer is on this question, but I know that the pain of climate change will be felt by poor nations more than it will be felt by rich ones, no matter what. It may be that staving off climate change, even if it has its own negatives, is less bad than the alternative of doing nothing for those places and communities. But, maybe not. Hopefully it would get a lot of study and small scale experimentation before going big.


please address the release of nickel into the environment. That stuff can be trouble, especially for people with sensitivities.


Darn it! I thought I searched for a response first. Thank much!

From Their Site:

What is the Life Cycle Analysis Costs of CO2 Incurred in the Mining, Milling and Transport? The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the release of CO2 from mining, milling, and transport of olivine creates an approximately 4-6% loss on CO2 removed. We will always work to minimize the transport distance from the source of olivine, and utilize low impact transit such as rail and boats. Further, many tons of olivine are already mined because the deposits are found above other valuable minerals, such as diamonds (found in a rock formation called Kimberlite). Utilizing these piles of waste rock, known in the industry as tailings piles, will allow us to harvest olivine without causing a significant CO2 output. Further, the dust from mining itself can contribute to the offset of the entire mine, as well as the very ground where the olivine is exposed. It starts weathering right away, and many ultramafic mineral mines, abandoned or active, eventually offset their own footprint and even go towards negative emissions. On of our olivine weathering rate sources is actually these tailings piles. See these studies:

Carbon Dioxide Fixation within Mine Wastes of Ultramafic-Hosted Ore Deposits: Examples from the Clinton Creek and Cassiar Chrysotile Deposits, Canada

Integrated Mineral Carbonation of Ultramafic Mine Deposits—A Review

LATERITIC EVOLUTION OF THE JACUPIRANGA ALKALlNE COMPLEX

Koornneef JM, Nieuwlaar E (in prep.) Environmental life cycle assessment of CO 2 sequestration through enhanced weathering of olivine. Working paper, Group Science, Technology and Society, Utrecht University


At first I read this and was like "okay, you want to dump 30 Gigatons of Olivine per year for 'a number of years' on tropical beaches"

That sounds crazy, considering we pump out +10Gigatons of CO2 per year as it is. But, does the science actually make sense in that if we actually did that, we'd end up with less CO2 in the atmosphere, and subsequently the oceans? That would seem to make this a great tool (possibly among many) to clean up our mess once/if/when we stop putting so much CO2 out there in the first place.

Edit: I do wonder if this process would raise the alkalinity of the ocean too much in the other direction. I can't find the info on this on their site, there is so much to read!


At the moment the oceans are being acidified by dissolving more CO2 in them - I assume that if you dump enough olivine into them to negate that (or rather return them to preindustrialization ph) then long term you'll also soak up about the right amount of CO2

What I mean is, let's say this process is able to sequester sufficient CO2 in the form of bicarbonate to lower us to a conservative 300ppm CO2. At what point, if any, would we be turning the ph of the ocean to be too alkaline?

Well part of this process is supposed to precipitate out the carbon in forms that can eventually be subducted (as the current natural carbon cycle does).

I assume that the rate at which the carbon is sequestered by this method is also driven by the level of ocean acidity, as more CO2 is pulled out of the ocean the acidity will drop and so will the reaction rate will also drop ... this means that there's a natural negative feedback here - whether it's enough to "do the right thing" is probably still a question for science


Hey, we are fucking up the environment by altering such a complex system way too fast for it to keep balance. Maybe if we alter it on a whole new scale with our limited understanding of the consequences, we can fix things up?

To be more constructive, this is exactly the kind of hubris that gets me very wary of technoscience.

Let's assume Project Vesta is run by well intentionned folks and has the potential to offer a net positive in a distant future. Even in those conditions, such a project serves the toxic political agenda of not facing the elephant in the room: our growth based economic model is not sustainable and we need to transition away from it.


Agreed, but climate change is a monumental issue and even if we assume the government can act in a timely manner to shift the economic model to one that is more environmentally friendly, that won't be enough to fix the problem. I don't think this should be viewed as a cop out, or an alternative to economic change, but rather as something that augments it and moves us in the right direction.

IMO the problem here is the leap of faith you are making by believing an untested technology, operating on a planet scale, will help.

We only have one planet here, so instead of betting on a massive terraforming technology to suck the CO2 out of the air, I'd rather use a more conservative approach such as massive reforestation - something that is low-tech, can be done by anyone, anywhere, and improve the resilience of the ecosystem rather than kicking its balance again.


Could you explain more what you mean about our growth based economic model not being sustainable? This is a topic that I'm fairly new to and the only substantial thing I've read about it is Tyler Cowen's "Stubborn Attachments" which presented what I found to be a very compelling argument that long term economic growth is very good and is in fact the only sustainable way forward.

I've been hoping to read some counter arguments to that idea to round out my exposure to the topic.


Well, first there is the common sense part - infinite growth with limited resources is likely to bump on a wall at some point. Someone (especially here) will probably argue that the resources are not really limited because technology and spaaaace, but that's precisely the kind of hubris I was reacting to in the first place.

I think the first extensive study on the subject is [the limits to growth](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limits_to_Growth).

A compelling thing I've seen (sorry can't find the exact source, I think it was from [the shift project](https://theshiftproject.org)) is the very strong correlation - almost linear relation - between GDP, energy consumption and co2 emission. So far we haven't been able to decorrelate those three.


Hey, heads up to anyone associated with Project Vesta... currently your webshop shows an empty store[0].

Also, if executed right then this project could market itself. Travel "influencers" love to show off unique beaches and destinations, and uniquely coloured beaches are always a huge hit. By marketing these beaches appropriately it will generate a lot of attention and (hopefully) a lot of funding for the project.

Good luck! I'll definitely support the project once there are more items in the store.

[0] https://projectvesta.org/shop/


Hi, if you'd like to donate at this point please check out https://projectvesta.org/donate where we currently have our "Grain of Hope" necklace available. It is a single grain of olivine, suspended in a sand timer vial, to symbolize that although time is ticking, it is not too late to stop (and reverse) the damage.

Since we do not have a beach yet where we can place olivine, we were originally not planning to offer the additional jewelry yet. That said, we are seeing demand for additional pieces at this point, so as long as people are clear that we don't have our $25 spent -> 1 ton of olivine on the beach process going yet, and that the donation is going to fund operations and to get our pilot project onto the beach, we will be happy to put them up. For now, I have removed the Cart from the menu, which I am guessing allowed you to work your way to the empty shop :)

And also you are right on target about the beaches and influencers. While we will be working on a top-down policy level with government and other groups to deploy the beaches, the plan is to simultaneously work from the bottom up to create a global movement of people who want to take action on climate change through influencers and ambassadors visiting the beach and also wearing the jewelry to spread the message.


May I suggest selling a pound of olivine?

I can see people dumping it individually at the beach for instagram pictures.

I know it wouldn't be effective, but the idea is to raise money while giving people a feeling of participation.

That's the reason those silly 'ocean plastic' recycled 'jewelry' sell so well.

You'd also introduce it as 'normal' before having to deal with bureaucrats.


Setup recurring donations as soon as you get around to it. It's a lot more money, and a lot easier to plan your budget since attrition is perfectly predictable.

Thank you for the feedback, you are right on the mark, as this is our plan once we have our first Impact Beach in operation. The plan is to sell a piece of jewelry for $XX-$XXX and then charge $25 per month, which is about the cost of 1 tonne of olivine. That 1 tonne of olivine placed in the person's name, will remove 1.25 tonnes of CO2 from the atmopshere/ocean, which is approximately equivalent to a US person's monthly CO2 footprint (1.245 t / month or 14.95 t /year)[1]

[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/chart-of-the-day-thes...


How about a signup-for-updates page/widget? I'd like to donate on a recurring basis, but I may forget to come back whenever you have that sorted out.

Just bought one for my wife!

It would be cool if I could kick in a few extra dollars so you could send one to every female American congressman and senator.


No need to make it a weird gender thing.

Awesome! Thanks for the response. I will definitely donate once I'm off work today.

I didn't see the cost breakdown [1] mention how much they expect to pay countries for dumping olivine in their beaches/waters. Would a country, especially those near the equator, willingly agree to take part in an experiment like this for free? The referenced papers have explained how the project is safe, but I don't think communities or their representatives will see it that way.

1. https://projectvesta.org/#phaseIV


Many tropical countries already buy sand to replenish their beaches which are carried away by currents. Would a country accept sand for free instead of paying for it, especially in a color and with an environmental impact that would make the beach a popular tourist attraction? I don't see why not.

Moreover a lot of these countries are most directly threatened by sea level rise and ocean acidification.

This actually seems to have some promise - I'd be worried about other side effects (another article I was reading mentioned possible effects on marine life due to dissolved iron and nickel), but it seems like a technology that merits further exploration and rollout on at least a small scale.

I think I get the worry and skepticism about geo-engineering but to be completely frank we've been (inadvertently) geo-engineering the planet at least since the industrial revolution, so I don't really think we have much of a choice, especially since we need to go carbon negative, not just neutral.

This olivine solution doesn't really look any less viable than CO2 scrubbers, if I'm being honest.


We've been geoengineering the planet since at least the Great Oxygenation Event, for a sufficiently broad definition of "we".

I would rather we strengthen our forests than add more pollution. I guess if forestry is considered geo-engineering then I support it. But I don't think "we're already adding pollution, so we might as well add more pollution to try to net out carbon" is a sound argument.

Reducing forest clearance and engaging in afforestation could be enough had anthropogenic CO2 emissions started dropping significantly in the 1990s. But they have continued to rise. Forestry changes aren't nearly enough to offset anthropogenic emissions from other sectors. They may be part of the solution but additional measures are needed.

Geoengineering is on the table now not because it is an easy shortcut, but because the world has failed to do enough in other ways. It's better for patients with prediabetes to change diet than develop full blown type 2 diabetes, but if diet doesn't change fast enough it's better to prescribe insulin than just let them die. Industrial civilization has discounted decades of warnings about changing its energy "diet" and will soon need more drastic measures.

I'm a little optimistic because renewable energy has become cheaper faster than I expected. I'm pessimistic because the world still isn't reducing fossil use fast enough (or at all, really -- so far the best news is "the percentage growth rate is slowing.") Even when the economics start to favor non-combustion energy sources, legacy fossil industries have often delayed the transition by obtaining government support to resist the economic pressures. So I believe that the world can transition to low-emissions energy but I also believe that it's not happening fast enough.

Even worse, the climate perturbation from anthropogenic emissions can trigger a dangerous positive feedback loop that will release even larger quantities of GHGs from natural stores as forests burn more frequently and permafrost thaws. I think that if people get the problem under control (as opposed to just suffering the effects, with no softening of the blow), it's going to involve 3 major prongs:

- Transition to non-fossil energy sources

- Geoengineering via solar radiation management, as a temporary bandaid to prevent runaway warming feedback

- Geoengineering via enhanced silicate weathering, as a thermodynamically stable fix for the excess CO2 added to the environment

Solar radiation management can be phased out as atmospheric CO2 levels drop. But with silicate weathering alone, I fear that thawing permafrost will outpace even the most ambitious CO2 drawdown efforts.

The second two prongs are still highly controversial and advocating for them tends to get one lumped in with climate denialists. I think that most people concerned about climate are going to come around eventually, though. The IPCC already has. We clearly aren't going to avert feedback loops by 2030 via emissions-reductions alone.


A lot of assertions there. You lost me at “Forestry changes aren't nearly enough to offset anthropogenic emissions from other sectors”. Can you explain your math there? Is there a limit to how much carbon we can warehouse in trees (living and milled)?

If you keep harvesting trees and store them in a way that they won't rot or burn, there is no practical limit on the total amount of carbon that can be sequestered that way. There is still a limit on the rate at which carbon can be sequestered that way. To stabilize concentrations of atmospheric CO2, the sequestration rate must match current rates of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. If significant feedbacks kick in, the sequestration rate needs to be higher than current anthropogenic emission rates.

Here's one of the more optimistic studies I have seen about forestry-based approaches to curbing CO2:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/10/co%e2%82%82-benefits...

The authors estimate that afforestation and other positive land use changes could provide up to 37% of the CO2 reductions needed through the year 2030 in order to stay under 2 degrees of warming. The other 63% has to come from elsewhere.


Forests are helpful but not sufficient. The world was once covered in forests and all the oil/coal etc was in the ground.

Now we have reduced forest cover and burned underground carbon. Reforestation only solves the former.


We can harvest forests without reducing canopy coverage and store the wood. You can even grow your forests on top of wood landfills.

I'd agree with you if we could do what we need with just forests. But unfortunately we can't. Some other form of reducing carbon is a core part of any long term plan.

It's just bad enough now that forestry is no longer a valid option on its own.


Do you have data on the global capacity for intensive carbon storage forestry techniques? What are you basing that on?

For other mitigations to climate change, see Project Drawdown: https://www.drawdown.org/

It doesn't look like olivine is mentioned in that. Is it under some other name / concept?

This process is typically referred to in the scientific literature as "enhanced" weathering but we think that "accelerated" weathering is easier for lay people to understand.

Drawdown is mostly focused on things we can change in our current activity to lower emissions and less about methods for Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). Their top solution for becoming carbon neutral is "Refrigerant Management"...

I like the concept of the project and know some people working in the org, but in my opinion, they do not give enhanced/accelerated weathering enough credit as a potential solution, even though it can scale all the way up to global CO2 level emission removal. Many of the other solutions they suggest are limited in potential, yet featured prominently... I am working to communicate this to them.

https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/coming-attractions/enhanc...

https://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank


It's called Enhanced Weathering of Minerals.

They mention olivine in its description page:

https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/coming-attractions/enhanc...

They don't try to quantify the potential, though.


Even if this is actually feasible and does not have negative environmental impacts, I don't see countries implementing it on their beaches where a lot of tourism is located.

For example in Mexico Riviera Maya, Cancún, Holbox, etc, the main selling point are the white beaches and turquoise sea.


Our goal is not to cover up existing tourist beaches. You would be surprised how much coastline around the world is undeveloped and not even accessible by roads etc, those beaches are likely to be the places where we go first.

That said, we believe that green sand beaches will become their own tourist attractions as the naturally occurring ones, such as Papakolea in Hawaii, are (which is the beach pictured on our site). They are beautiful and we are considering ways we could create ecotourism hubs for climate change education etc.

Because most rivers are now damned and sediment flows impeded, many beaches in developed areas are eroding away with no sources of replenishment. Beach replenishment/nourishment is a huge industry and there are not only sand shortages, but even sand mafias who steal sand. So as resorts have to replace their sand, in the future, they might consider creating olivine sand beaches.

We have had early interest from a few parties who own resorts with rocky beaches and would consider replacing their beach with green sand, but at this time, that is not our focus.

We are focused right now on getting a pilot project deployed that can definitively and irrefutably prove the minimum accelerated olivine weathering rate on a real-world, high-energy tropical beach.

The questions of ecotourism and specific beaches is what we will be dealing with as we move to Phase II-III. See an outline of our deployment plan here -> https://projectvesta.org/plan/

[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/insid... [2] https://smile.amazon.com/World-Grain-Story-Transformed-Civil...


> You would be surprised how much coastline around the world is undeveloped and not even accessible by roads etc

True, but does that apply to tropical coastlines too?

I live in Mexico, even lived in Cancún for a couple of years, the majority of the tropical coastline in the Riviera Maya there is used for touristic purposes.

I don't know the pacific coastline as much but I've been there a couple of times and AFAIK most big beaches are accessible from roads and are accessed by tourists.


Try Honduras or Nicaragua or Guatemala.

Never been there but how much coastline with beaches do these countries have compared to Mexico?

I've been to Costa Rica and there is tourism in a large portion of its beaches. See this map for example on the Pacific Northern coast: https://news.co.cr/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/a-detailed-loo...


A lot of it is completely undeveloped or surrounded by malaria infested jungle or rocky.

Could this save the barrier reef or is it too far out?

I didn't read the whole site in detail so maybe i missed it, but does this plan require replacing white sand beaches with green sand, or would it also work to dump green sand on rocky beaches? I don't see too many countries objecting to more sandy beaches.

It might whiten after the CO2 has reacted with it.

When most beaches are green, white ones will be more valuable real estate.

you can overcome a lot of objections with money.

I skimmed through the site. I didn’t see how they convince countries to have their beeches altered. I can understand the assumption that countries would be eager to receive something which will benefit them directly, but they also know that they are serving as a “commons” as well and may want compensation for that.

If they're altering the beaches for free, the countries would enjoy a portion of the common benefit without any cost. In fact, the new 'green' (literally and figuratively) beaches would probably be a greater tourist attraction, so if anything I'd expect it to be beneficial, plus secondary economic benefits from the work being done.

It would be such a great tourist attraction that flights to visit the green sand beaches would spike dramatically... the jet exhaust offsetting the CO2 absorption.

I kid.


Possibly but they’re not going to be particularly walkable.

Why not? Sounds like it would be similar to other sand.

The question of the impact of mining has been talked about in the thread. But there's another important: what could be the local ecological impact of dropping large quantities of artificial olivine sand on beaches where it was not present, particularly on the local flora and fauna?

The wording of "less than half the volume of construction materials" mined each year seems hand wavy as a justification that this is possible. If I'm reading the chart right that would suggest we'd need a roughly 25% increase in the amount of global mineral extraction.

That is not meant to be "hand wavy," as there is no "hand-wavy" way to gloss over the fact that humans are putting out massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. It is now on the order of over 45,000,000,000 tonnes (45 Gt) yearly, meaning we need at least 36 Gt of olivine to offset it. That is no small amount of rock and we do not plan to start at that level. The reason we mention those numbers is to let you know that it is more than possible to acquire that much material each year, as we are doing it for multiple other industries each year.

Olivine mining is open-pit near the surface and is neither labor nor energy intensive. Based on current olivine (dunite) mining in Norway, where they mined 3.4 million tonnes of dunite with only 141 employees[1], it can be extrapolated that the 36 GT of olivine needed could be mined by less than 1.5 million people working at the same capacity globally.

To put that in perspective for you, the Chinese coal market employeed 5.29 million people in 2013, and based on a 2017 report, they are trying to remove 2.3 million people from the industry[2]. So there are plenty of people who could do this, it is about creating the demand for the mineral.

There are many developing countries around the world lacking other valuable exports, yet that have olivine reserves, and we look at helping them create "green" jobs as a potential benefit.

[1] Mineral Resources Norway: The Norwegian Mining and Quarrying Industry in 2004 [pdf] https://www.ngu.no/FileArchive/227/2005_042.pdf [2] https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/9967-2-...


I first read about this idea here:

http://innovationconcepts.eu/res/literatuurSchuiling/olivine...

Estimates in this paper put it at 250bn per year.

It strikes me as imminently doable, and as an additional benefit would eliminate the issue of ocean acidification as well, which in my view is a much larger problem than simply temperature change. Like a human extinction scale problem.


Is there an issue with replacing light-colored beaches, which reflect a great deal of sunlight, with Olivine, which presumably absorbs more of it?

Curious question why not also study the naturally occurring green sand beaches in Hawaii?

They do that already and they mention it in comments in this thread. The photo on their website is from there.

Can this be targeted to areas with lots of erosion that may welcome a bunch of additional rock/sand as a barrier?

E.g. Florida, New Orleans?


We'll ultimately need a bunch of techniques working together. I suspect this would even be effective with less than 1.

But really, what's the cost? That's the main factor. It may be a reasonable way to shove money at poorer countries to do manual work to solve the rich countries' problems.


What's the cost of not taking preventative steps now and having to take reactive steps though?

We have reasonably good estimates for the costs now, but nobody really knows whether reactive steps later are even possible.

Everyone's problem, no?

Not really. Poor countries don't have expensive infrastructure investments in the current climate, so can adapt to climate change by moving a few miles. Moving New York City and Los Angeles is much harder, and the loss much more expensive.

I think you're making a number of assumptions that can't be backed up.

> Poor countries don't have expensive infrastructure investments in the current climate...

What do you mean by this? There are major cities in poor countries that are physically threatened by rising sea levels [0]. Agriculture throughout the tropics is threatened, because rising temperatures will dramatically reduce crop yields [1]. These are already affecting the poorest countries.

> ...can adapt to climate change by moving a few miles. Moving New York City and Los Angeles is much harder, and the loss much more expensive.

I think you're underestimating the effort required to migrate. We're largely not talking about a family here and there moving up the road. Climate change will cause -- and has already caused [2] -- mass migration of whole regions.

[0] https://grist.org/article/rising-seas-are-lapping-at-the-sho... [1] https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613386/climate-change-has... [2] https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-02-06/climate-change-overlo...


Whole countries will experience food shortages due to climate change; moving a few miles isn't going to do anything about that. Rising sea levels covering inhabited areas, while a serious concern, isn't the most dangerous (to humans) consequence of climate change.

If there's a runaway effect then everyone will be screwed. Besides, if the rich can no longer exploit the poor, then how will they fund their lifestyles?

This is related to one of my 'scary emergency solutions' governments might adopt if they wake up to the emergency too late: Detonate nukes in shallow bore holes in silicate heavy regions and launch enormous quantities of the stuff into the atmosphere that way.

Let's assume the Pilot is a smashing success, let's also say math works out in some country to do it for 0.2% of their GDP.

How do the logistics of policy adoption work for the first "pilot" country?

1. You would need environmental clearance and the government's own stud(ies) on it. How do you get a government to do this assessment?

2. If you have to get Costa rica(or any listed potentials on the page) to show interest do you go to the Environment Ministry and do a power point and ask "So?".

2.1. Do you get them to do this as part of implementing some climate pledge. And in this case what are you mostly competing with for the fixed size pot of $$?


At least in Costa Rica beaches are already used for private resort beaches (illegal in law, but meh), extracting salt and dumping construction debris or stealing sand. With those antecedents I don't think the government would oppose to do something actually useful.

Interesting! I didn't know olivine was that plentiful.

There is said to be a problem with shortage of construction sand leading to beaches being stripped for sand. So this would solve a secondary problem at the same time.


Yes, olivine is highly abundant, but due to lack of demand, most of it is currently staying underground. We seek to change that.

We are looking for synergies like that, such as covering eroding beaches, breakwaters, etc with olivine.

If you are interested in sand in construction and otherwise, I highly suggest you check out the book The World in a Grain.

The importance of sand in our everyday life blew my mind. I mean the device you are using right now to access this website, has a processor made out of silicon sand, the screen is made of quartz sand. The building you are in is likely made of aggregate sand, and the road to get to your house etc. But also, don't forget that sand was used to make the lenses for reading that made possible for our older academics, extra decades of research and enabled us to carry out astronomy and to create microscopes...

Sand has shaped the world in such a massive way, and we are hoping it can save us from our CO2 problems as well.

https://smile.amazon.com/World-Grain-Story-Transformed-Civil...


a processor made out of silicon sand, the screen is made of quartz sand

The processor is made from silicon, plus trace amounts of aluminum, glass, and other materials. Silicon is smelted from silica, which is silicon dioxide; same difference as hydrogen gas and water, iron and rust, or aluminum and ruby. The common crystalline form of silica is quartz, which is the most common sand (precisely because olivine sand weathers). Most glass, including the glass used in lenses today, is a non-crystalline blend of typically about 80% silica with other materials, largely to lower its Tg. Other sands (notably garnet and aluminum oxide) are important in optics as abrasives. I hope this clears up some of the confusions you are expressing.


Yes, I was just quickly paraphrasing the major takeaways on the impact of sand and its importance in our lives from the excellent book I referenced, The World in a Grain. Here is an excerpt for you and any others interested:

"He rummages through his knapsack, then pulls out a plastic sandwich bag full of white powder. “I hope we don’t get arrested,” he says. “Someone might get the wrong idea.” ... But it’s the mineral in Glover’s bag—snowy white grains, soft as powdered sugar—that is by far the most important these days. It’s quartz, but not just any quartz. Spruce Pine, it turns out, is the source of the purest natural quartz—a species of pristine sand—ever found on Earth. This ultra‑elite deposit of silicon dioxide particles plays a key role in manufacturing the silicon used to make computer chips. In fact, there’s an excellent chance the chip that makes your laptop or cell phone work was made using sand from this obscure Appalachian backwater. “It’s a billion‑dollar industry here,” Glover says with a hooting laugh. “Can’t tell by driving through here. You’d never know it.” ... Most of the world’s sand grains are composed of quartz, which is a form of silicon dioxide, also known as silica. High‑purity silicon dioxide particles are the essential raw materials from which we make computer chips, fiber‑optic cables, and other high‑tech hardware—the physical components on which the virtual world runs. The quantity of quartz used for these products is minuscule compared to the mountains of it used for concrete or land reclamation. But its impact is immeasurable."

https://www.wired.com/story/book-excerpt-science-of-ultra-pu...


Thank you!

Are you selling your olivine operations as CO2 offsets?

If so, how cost effective would that be vs those offsets that are based on planting trees?


If I'm not mistaken, the Earth contains several times as much olivine as it contains crust.

To my no doubt uneducated mind, I am living on the crust so I don't understand what you mean by this statement. Can you explain what the difference is?

The crust is only about 1% of the Earth; most of the Earth's volume is in the mantle. A significant percentage of the mantle is made of olivine.

Mine olivine rock, spread it on a small percentage of tropical marine beaches with high levels of tide energy, remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

What could possibly go wrong?

Edit: not sure why the downvotes. Perhaps I should have explained my skepticism more clearly? Any geo-engineering initiative almost always fails to predict the unintended consequences for the environment - e.g. perhaps one day we'll discover that too much olivine rock on beaches destroys ecosystems, or something else.


> What could possibly go wrong?

As the water level rises we're gonna need to lose some of the cynicism around geo-engineering.

Unless you're convinced that society will somehow value the stability of our climate over economics? I feel like there's more evidence (given our snail-like progress over the past few decades) to demonstrate that's a not gonna work out compared to attempting _some_ form of geo-engineering.


I'm all for Geo-engineering if it is done in the right way to further benefit all of society and the planet. Sadly as humans we have never all come together for the benefit of the planet yet, and I am doubtful we will in the near future.

My fear is that once people figure out how to Geo-engineer things with fine tuned results that it will eventually be used as a weapon.

Imagine if you could turn up the temperature of an area to create a drought?

Or flood/freeze out an area?

This could be done covertly as it would be hard to identify the exact cause if done under the 'radar'.

No bomb shells or traces left behind to place blame.

I'll pass on homo-sapiens ego presuming they are smarter than the planet and can fix any problem using technology and our brains.

Maybe for the first time in History we may be smart enough to mitigate the potential ill effects of the climate cycle, however this planet was here long before humans and will probably be here long after.

There was a joke once, about human's being the planets Herpes, which seems to be a good metaphor for our existence on this rock.


Technically you cannot use weather modification as a weapon but when has the rule of law stopped crazy people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_Modification_Con...

To restate I am all for being able to help the planet, mitigate our impact using new greener technologies and changing our habits, however this needed to be done a long time ago and trying to fix our current problems with the band-aide of Geo-engineering I personally believe is a futile effort.


I think we as industry and society know nothing about geo-engineering, am I wrong? if yes doesn't this create big changes of failing and create more damage? If no can we point on geo-engineering to substain what we are doing wrong in terms of waste production and environment destruction?

Even if it has unintended, negative consequences... would they be worse than say the consequences of pulling the clathrate gun trigger?

> What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing. It already happens in nature, but at a far smaller scale. It is not a self-renewing or runaway process. The point is to distribute the correct amount of olivine to stabilize CO2 at ~200 PPM which is close to its pre-industrial level.


> It already happens in nature

4000 ppm CO2 was found in nature far before pre-industry came along. Does the fact that anything "happened in nature" make it "ideal?" What is the globally "ideal" level of CO2 anyway? Certainly 200ppm is an order of magnitude low when considering the ideal for plants.


4,000 ppm was a period far before humans or advanced primates, and very different flora.

200ppm is around the level humanity, and much of the flora we share the planet with, evolved. It's the level we started to develop from, to farm.

Nature and the planet has no ideal, it copes with whatever there is. Humanity on the other hand would appear best served by the level we evolved with - 200ppm or thereabouts. 400ppm causes problems for us, 4,000ppm would almost certainly be the end of us or as near as makes no odds.


>4,000ppm would almost certainly be the end of us or as near as makes no odds.

If by "end of us" you mean human extinction, I'm curious why you think that. Reducing the co2 in a building to whatever level one wants is cheap enough (by bubbling air through water mixed with soda lime or lime) that it seems to me feasible for a few million humans to survive indefinitely even without major advances in technology. (I am assuming that the cost of a co2 measuring device, currently over $1000, could be driven way down before they would be needed in large numbers as part of the machinery to reduce co2 levels inside buildings.)

Wouldn't most food crops would grow much better at 4000 ppm than they do now?

People would be able to go out into the 4000-ppm-co2 outdoors for hours at a time with no obvious serious problems. (I exposed myself to higher levels than that for years by sleeping in a very small room with very low "draftiness". Not recommended of course.)

Co2 at 4000 ppm would kill billions of us and make the survivors miserable and is certainly something I wish for humankind to avoid, but that is different from human extinction.


So you can breathe easily if you can afford bubbler supplies, hmm. Not sure the global economy is surviving 4k ppm unscathed though. Not entirely convinced "the economy" will mean anything at all any more. :)

End of our civilisation. End of us as an industrial society. Perhaps as relevant and historic as the Romans or Ancient Egyptians. I'd prefer to stop long, long before that.

Who knows all the knock on effects of 4,000ppm, I certainly don't except to say it's way beyond the worse case models I've seen. End of much productive work outside. Reduced performance for all. Probably much of the equatorial and tropical simply uninhabitable. We'd be looking at what, 7, 10, 12 degrees? I have no idea. Heaven knows how many reinforcing tipping points will kick in. I don't think we can confidently say it won't result in actual extinction. Even if it probably won't.

We'd lose both ice caps, so something like 60 odd metres of sea level. How many major cities and entire countries does that lose? I've seen maps that at just 4C much of the USA's farm land would be near desert, and the Sahara greening. Unprecedented temperature, habitat and rainfall changes with no idea which species will make it, and which not, maybe many we depend on to eat. How much forced and unwelcome migration? Which prediction is the accurate one? With that energy in the system are we looking at cat 10 super-hurricanes?

Does it matter if it's 0%, 1 or 2%, or even 10% are grubbing out a post-apocalypse zero growth life or whether it's Mad Max, 18th C or bronze age? Unrecognisable. Unpredictable. Survivors would tell fables that their ancestors did it. Knowingly. Maybe some other species gets its chance and does a less idiotic job.

I don't think the difference matters. At all.


Greenhouse owners generally spike their air to 1200-1500ppm CO2. That's the compromise between best cost and best for the plants and is lower than these species evolved in.

As to humans, 400ppm causes zero problems, matter of fact, OSHA says 1000ppm for continuous exposure. NIOSH says 10,000 ppm for a 10 hour work shift.

For instance: https://inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Carbon%20_Dioxide_Exposure_...


>As to humans, 400ppm causes zero problems

You mean it causes zero known problems.

Medicine and biology are not yet advanced enough to say in most case whether putting the human body in a condition humans haven't experienced in 800,000 years is harmful. It took decades to learn that asbestos is harmful. If the harm caused by asbestos were cognitive decline rather than shortened lifespan, it probably would've taken longer, and cognitive decline is the effect that appears at the lowest concentration of all of the known adverse effects of co2. (One study found cognitive decline after 2.5 hours of exposure to 1000 ppm.)

Plants use co2 to make their bodies just as we use proteins, fats and carbohydrates to make our bodies, so I am not particularly reassured by knowing the plants thrive at very high co2 levels.

Graph of co2 levels over the last 800,000 years: http://kaltesonne.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/co2-1024x576...


The GP obviously doesn't mean that 1000+ ppm CO2 is toxic, they mean that the changes to the environment it would cause are less than ideal for humans to thrive.

1000ppm decreases human cognitive ability by ~20%. It's hard enough to deal with these problems with the brainpower we have.

[1] https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.1510037


Humans in isolation can tolerate 400ppm. Offices and houses accumulate far more than outside it pushes to far higher inside, enough to breach health and safety recommendations, cause decreased performance and so on. We don't know where planetary equilibrium would settle at 400ppm as we're still emitting. Looking outside and no longer in isolation >400 seems to be causing some pretty wild changes.

I'd say that's far from zero problems.


From the pictures it makes the beach look like its covered in algae or seaweed. I don't think people will be very receptive to the idea if it looks like that.

I don't think people will be very receptive to the desolate hellscape that will be the world if we don't do drastic things to mitigate climate change.

I am not saying that this is the solution though.


So far it appears most ppl are looking forward to that desolate hellscape

There already are green sand beaches, which are considered something of a tourist attraction.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Green+Sand+Beach&client=fire...


Those pictures are heavily edited. When I visited Papakōlea several years ago, the sand had a green tint but looked more like this picture: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/photocontest/detail/natural-w...

If it's not sticky and smelly like algae then be it, people will get used to it.

I see a lot of comments about not harming luxury tourist beaches. But I would (perhaps naively) imagine there’s a lot of garbage beaches along the equator. Is this reasonable? Perhaps in polluted areas that aren’t especially valuable anyway?

Amazing! When you're team is hiring or looking for volunteers, let me know and I'll throw you some free job post credits to use on https://climate.careers :)

- Evan


My personal opinion is that, every time we try to do something that would not naturally happen, we're making things worse. Especially on a grand scale such as this.

You can't introduce a massive new variable to an environment, and not expect there to be some kind of negative effect. You're changing the environment this ecosystem has adapted to, in a radical way.

I think humans are still coming to terms with the possibility that we can't live like we do, with the number of individuals we have. And absolutely no one wants to hear that we either have to take their electricity, or let them die of cancer, metaphorically speaking.

You can't have seven billion lions, and expect there to be any gazelle. Exponentially so when the lions have laser guided ballistic missiles.


Anyone have a sense of the cost comparison to carbon sequestration via https://carbonengineering.com/

it sounds cheaper, just based on the idea that all you need to do is mine something, move it and spread it.

Trees get mentioned a lot for mitigation (as they should), but should we also be looking at kelp plantations too? A bonus would be addressing ocean acidification.

Now I'm curious where I can buy a ton of olivine. I've got $30 in my pocket and would love to build me a giant carbon-scrubbing sandbox.

Maybe consider places that sell supplies to metal foundries; olivine sand is used as a refractory in some ferrous casting processes. Or maybe check eBay or Mercadolibre or whatever your local equivalent is. I don't think there's a construction or pottery use for olivine sand, so the usual sand suppliers may not have it.

There are many listings on Alibaba & Aliexpress.

I'm recently in the camp of "Deep Adaptation"

What happens if we do this but we also reduce planetary carbon emissions in other ways? Will we cause another ice age?

We are so massively far away from being able to do that, it's not worth worrying about. Especially since active carbon capture methods can easily be switched off long before we approached any "dangerous" level.

Olivine beaches cannot be switched off, but you're probably right that the risks are manageable.

You can stop making new olivine beaches. The scale necessary means it would be a long, slow process.

The beaches will continue absorbing CO₂ long after you stop making them. I think this is probably a manageable problem but it's important to recognize that, as with emitting the CO₂ in the first place, the feedback can be a long time in coming, so there is a risk of the system running out of control.

We already have fairly functional knobs for increasing carbon emissions.

Well in that case the combustion engine will earn a second golden age. :-)

Whoever cares about climate should also read about the biotic pump theory.

Huh. I dunno about that, but I have definitely seen the coastal forests exhaling clouds up in N. California. FWIW.

your entire operation revolves around CO2 and you can't even bother to typeset the "2" in subscript on your webpage?

Where does one buy one ton of olivine in the US?

Well jeez. I know it's not a popular thought on HN, but climate change is a problem of such scale that it's going to need government-level funding and oversight to find and validate geoengineering solutions, and global-level funding and coordination to implement them. This third-way aspiration to a non-government solution just seems like a pipe dream.

Could it be the case that contemporary governments and economies are just simply not structured to be forward thinking in this way?

What if, in analogy to the transition out of feudalism, the next evolution of government and economies is one that allows for spending on future outcomes in a way that is impossible now? I have no idea what those institutions would look like -- I only know that hoping to solve global problems with the caveat that it needs to be profitable for someone has a whiff of obvious nonsense to me. And I also know, that at least in the US, the prospect that the government will implement large-scale change is patent nonsense.


It's possible to create a way out of this by taking finance structures and adapting them to service public goods. A climate project bank might issue loan/grant type funding for projects, in a model much like how the U.S. mortgage market and fannie mae works right now. Loans are assessed for risk and financial return, and we can use the same type of transactional examination for a hybrid of risk, financial, and carbon-reducing-sinking effect. Personally, I think issuance of loans at a discount relative to current commercial loan rates (maybe by offering a discount rate based off of a base of Fed rates), would offer strong leverage with elements of responsiveness to market fluctuations.

What says the end points on the receiving end of the monies don't just jack up the rates similar to the University system in the U.S.?

The end points receiving the money don't decide the rates. And because multiple loan originators exist within that structure, they compete to minimize overhead.

> Could it be the case that contemporary governments and economies are just simply not structured to be forward thinking in this way?

I'm confused that this is a quesiton that you're asking, as opposed to something that is blatantly obvious. The United Nations declared as such recently:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/18/ending...

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/climate-change-capitalism-eco...

    "Trusting that the free market capitalist dynamics will get us
    there, that of course is not going to happen," report co-author
    Paavo Järvensivu, an academic who specializes in economics and
    culture at Bios, says in a phone call with HuffPost. Economies
    that rely on the power of markets, notes the report, don’t even
    recognize the problem as they’re too focused on short-term
    profits to take account of longer-term issues like climate change
    and environmental destruction.

Well going on the tone in the rest of their comment I read that as a firmly tongue in cheek rhetorical question. As in: From the department of the blatantly obvious comes the question "Could it be the case...

By analogy to feudalism that we need a transformative change to something, an unknown something, that is different but a little better at seeing a big picture rather than endless blinkered dogma.


That quote is about markets, not governments. It's not great to mix up those two like the parent did. Governments are moving to mitigate climate change. Not all of them at the same pace, and none at the optimal pace, but things are certainly improving on the government front.

Most current governmental structures are innately intwined with the economic system.

Yes, which is why the government can fix what the market messed up, because market participants weren't charged for the costs of the externalities they are responsible for. Carbon taxes can change that.

At this point, carbon taxes are really pretty much ephemeral, something that is basically too little, too late. You're adding more tax to a pile that the company already doesn't pay.

The world could agree on Carbon Tax, and all the Tax will all be used for battling Climate Change. Funding Project like this one. ( Although. doubt this Project isn't without its downside, my guts reaction tells me there will be other problems in chemical reaction at this scale )

And it should be something like the EURO Cars emission standards, where the whole plan goes in multiple stages, giving time for businesses to adopt.

And all of a sudden all the business have an incentive to lower the Total Carbon emission, that includes everything they consume ( which would have Carbon Tax on it ). They could also buy Carbon Credit to offset any Carbon they produce. These Carbon Credit will obviously come from project like this or Renewable Energy.

Having the World to agree on Carton Tax is the hardest part.


And if the tax cripples business, it will slow emissions anyway

Also innovation.

There won't be much innovation going on in a +4° degree world. People will be busy fighting over food and water.

But there might be important innovation before then, such as ways to counteract and adapt to a +4° degree world.

Personally I'd rather not risk that "might" and instead hope for the "might" of sufficient investment to prevent that world.

The opposite of innovation is business as usual. Taxation always leads to innovation, sometimes they are not exclusively in the field of accounting.

Do you have any support for your claim that taxation leads to innovation?

The sibling fields of tax evasion and tax avoidance are both full of creativity.

If you want more technical examples, taxation systems that tried to get hard at personal transportation while mostly omitting business use led to both the SUV and to modern diesel. We may dislike both outcomes and making a bigger car more comfortable isn't exactly difficult, but the technology in modern diesel engines is absolutely amazing, even if adjusted for cheating. And clearly evidence to taxation influence, as it was exclusively developed in countries that went for fuel type instead of vehicle mass for being soft on commercial transport.

PS: and just think of the things some Finns are supposedly willing to do to extract a little bang from a given quantity of alcohol, taxation is the exclusive driver of that.


I don't know about 'leads to', I mean, innovation quite clearly precedes taxation, otherwise it would be rather difficult to invent it, but taxation definitely directly funds far more innovation than the private sector does, at least if we are talking about fundamental research.

I was boldly going with a universal quantifier ("always") which might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I wasvery careful of getting the direction right. "All taxation leads to (some form of) innovation" is a very different statement from "all innovation comes from taxation".

If you by innovation means coming up with loop holes then yes. If you mean it leads to some fundamental innovation that improves the taxed subject then I am pretty sure you would be hard pressed to find anything backing that claim up.

The important part is pretending something will be done (ideally by someone else), not actually tackling it.

I'm an advocate that places like YCombinator should be pushing the places they invest in to take this seriously.

Every company should have to present an environmental action plan and plan to become Carbon Neutral as part of its investment strategy. Right now, because it's the right thing to do, in future, because environmental exposure is a huge risk for companies

YC has led the world in tech investments and growth/value creation by typical measures. It should lead the world by environmental measures also.


Have you seen https://carbon.ycombinator.com ? It's less of a plan for going carbon neutral, and more of a list of moonshots for carbon reversal.

It seems the site doesn't work with https on my device. http://carbon.ycombinator.com

Good luck convincing anyone whose goal is to make money cheaply

True that. Unfortunately I'm now at a view that it will take hundreds of millions in wealthy developed countries dieing for people to take climate change seriously.


Can you point to a scientifically predicted and demonstrated (not just speculated) consequence of climate change we don't know how to deal with?

How do we deal with 10-12 feet of global sea level rise nearly instantaneously? There is a single glacier called in an Antarctica called Thwaites which is also known as the "cork" on an Antarctic sea that, if it melts or comes unstuck, could cause that much sea level rise that quickly.

"Thwaites is like a cork in a wine bottle—when it melts, it could trigger the collapse of a large portion of West Antarctica, equal to roughly 11 feet of global sea rise." ... "Winds are now pushing a layer of warm ocean water up underneath part of the glacier that extends out into the sea and melting it, faster and faster. If that part breaks off, the entire glacier would destabilize."

https://www.wired.com/story/antarctica-thwaites-glacier-brea... https://interactive.pri.org/2019/05/antarctica/thwaites-glac... https://interactive.pri.org/2019/05/antarctica/doomed-glacie...


"If" is the important word here.

If an asteroid hit we won't be just dealing with 10-12 feet.

Do you have any scientific proof that this will happen or that it's likely to happen?



Which is natural.

Hundreds of millions of refugees? Collapse of major ecosystems? Desertification? Flooding?

Demonstrated scientifically to happen over how long time, when and where?

It's in the IPCC reports, you can look it up.

No, it's not but thanks for kind of proving my point.

Scientifically demonstrated is not the same as speculated.


The effects of climate change are scientifically demonstrated in a similar way to evolution. We don't have a planet B for controlled experiments.

In other words speculated not demonstrated.

We do have economies B for controlled experiments and that data is pretty clear.

The richest countries are those who use the most energy to help them deal with nature.

Effects might happen depending on the temperature but we don't know which or how severe or when or if it will. We don't know how much humans affect it meaning that we don't know if it even make sense to do anything.

Evolution is not scientifically demonstrated. It's a way to interpret the data and observations from biology. It's the model that explains the best, but it's not in itself science just like climate science isn't science in any concise way but rather an interpretation of data.

It's that data which is being discussed and speculated about. We are very far from demonstrating even a fraction of what we speculate.


Modern physics is also just the model that best fits the data. By your criteria there is no science other than Mathematics.

Mathematics isn't science it's a tool used in science.

The most precise form of science we have is those that follow the scientific method ex. in physics where both theoretical claims and actual observations need to agree with each other plus predict the causality. And even here it's extremely hard to claim something is scientifically proven.

I am not sure what you mean with modern physics, can you be more concrete? What modern physics are just speculation and what does that have to do with the physics that isn't just speculation and theory?

Just because you believe a forthcoming climate catastrophe is real does not make it science in any meaningful way where we can talk about consensus and scientific predictions. You don't get a free pass to claim things just because you think the word as we know it might end.

Climate science is more akin to sociology or macroeconomics, i.e. a lot of speculation and interpretation and very little scientifically demonstrated foundation.


Literally all of science suffers from the problem of induction. So ultimately it's all just models that fit the data we have so far.

Climate science follows the scientific method too and stands on pretty solid foundations.


Climate science is interpretation of data, its not the data itself and even that data is highly varied in quality. In other words, its no a very precise form of science.

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