Reading this question How many trees would I have to plant to solve Global Warming? was a small inspiration.

If 5 billion small devices where released to the atmosphere to convert CO2 to O2 what could go wrong...?

  • besides the fact that we would have a lot of garbage to collect afterwards
  • a chance of rapid increase in O2 levels e.g. 1-3%, which could mean that fires could start easier now that more fuel (O2) exist?

PS: Fire does reproduce CO2...

This question may seem foolish but it is here for a reason. If not understood from some people this is not reason to close it. Some may understand it. Flagging it as "not-clear" is wrong.

The actual purpose of this question is to indicate that CO2 is a factor of climate change but not the only one. There are several factors that could be even higher in a criticality scale. Radiation of our own could be a very scary factor.

The "what could go wrong" part of the question is only there to show that "almost anything" could go wrong in a massive scale operation. So i was expecting something more in an answer or even a comment than a simple Google search of how much is the percentage of CO2.

The "Fire does reproduce CO2..." part was also written to indicate that a "natural" mechanism of preventing fire is to increase CO2 %.

When O2 percentage rises eventually (after a period of time and several fires) CO2 levels would also rise, so historical data on the percentage of O2 and CO2 such as in this search would be a good start for an answer that would want to indicate that there have been several climate changes in the past from which we could learn something provided that there were accurate data to back it up.

Provided the fact that there were so many comments, only one answer was given.

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    $\begingroup$ The CO2 content of the atmosphere is only $\approx$ 0.04%. It would not cause a significant change in the O2 level even if all the CO2 would be converted. But why should they be in the atmosphere? It could be done far more cheaply on the surface, essentially in large inverse coal power plants. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Dec 26 '20 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ How small are these devices, and how do they work? Note that there are already quadrillions of devices called plants and algae that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and organic compounds. Five billion more of them won't accomplish much. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Dec 26 '20 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ @peterh-ReinstateMonica nice observation regarding the CO2. So is such a small percentage be the sole reason for climate change? Greenhouse effect wouldn't it require much more percentage? To my opinion there are more factors than CO2. $\endgroup$ – Peter Darmis Dec 26 '20 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidHammen many times to calculate things in science models are used. Isotropic antennas is one model for example. In this case you could use a theoretical model device that has 99.9999...% efficiency. As a device it doesn't leave thermal waste. Of course your point is accurate why use a device when a tree does it better. Another point is that we destroy at a higher rate both trees and algae the past 50 years . $\endgroup$ – Peter Darmis Dec 26 '20 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterDarmis Sun gives us visible light, but the Earth cools by radiating out infrared. If anything can block this infrared, it will elevate the temperature of the Earth. How various athmospheric gases affect greenhouse effect, is well known with decades old technology. Also the quick growth of the CO2 ratio of the atmosphere is known (as I was young, it was yet 0.035%). That the average temperature of the Earth is with 1C warmer as it was in the pre-industrial time, is also known. What is not known: how this 1C warming actually affects us. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Dec 26 '20 at 20:28

My first thought is, are there devices which can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen or something else that is useful, also how large are these devices and how practical are they?

My second thought is how much energy & cost will be required to produce billions of such devices and will the manufacture of the devices contribute more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and waste to the environment?

My third thought is once constructed and operational, how much energy will each device need to operate and how will that energy be supplied?

My next thought is once the devices either become non-functional and need to be replaced or they have achieved the reduction in carbon dioxide required how will the devices be collected and disposed of? What will that cost, how much energy will that required and what negative effects will that have on the environment?

During the process of decarbonizing the atmosphere, what happens to the carbon or carbonaceous products the devices will produce? Will it be used or will it be dumped. If it gets dumped, how and where and how will this affect the environment?

If such devices are used what would be their aim, to increase atmospheric oxygen levels or to reduce carbon dioxide levels?

The effect of higher atmospheric oxygen levels will have on plants and animals is still still being investigated.

  • $\begingroup$ I think harder evidence will come for the Gigantism theory. To my opinion the plants where the first ones that had the benefit. $\endgroup$ – Peter Darmis Dec 26 '20 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks also for the links i will check them out. If you have any knowledge of accurate diagrams on this search google.com/… the ones that i have found are diverse and got me a bit confused. $\endgroup$ – Peter Darmis Dec 26 '20 at 22:58

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