Can technology save the climate? We asked ChatGPT and a journalist

We made up this query, which is just an excuse to ask you the real question of this article: Can you spot who wrote the answers to this fake question?

You may have heard of ChatGPT before – if not, it’s only a matter of time. Developed by OpenAI, this algorithm aims to answer your questions as if you were speaking to a human. And his answers fool the whole world.

Also Read: We Asked ChatGPT to Write Articles, Here’s What Happened

So much so that we asked the editors this question: Can such an AI replace a journalist? We conducted several experiments and this article is one of them. We sent this message to ChatGPT:

Write me a journalistic-style article that answers this question: Can technology help us fight global warming? More specifically, technologies for CO2 capture (solar geoengineering and CCS).

His answer came in seconds, about 450 words long. At the same time, we asked the same question to a journalist from the editorial board of Heidi.news, who knows the subject very well. By obviously informing him about the project, but without submitting the text created by ChatGPT. With two caveats: don’t quote directly and produce an article of the same size.

Below we offer the two texts “blind” (the order was chosen at random). Next week we’ll tell you who wrote what and go into more detail about what can be learned from that experience. In the meantime, we invite you to give us your opinion on these two texts and to send us your comments and questions through this form.

answer 1

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) and solar geoengineering technologies can play an important role in combating global warming by helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

CCS is a technology that captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plant, factory and refinery exhaust gases and stores it in underground or underwater reservoirs. This technique reduces CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, which are one of the main causes of global warming.

Solar geoengineering, also called solar aerosol climate modification, is a technique that reflects some of the sunlight before it reaches Earth to cool the atmosphere. This technique can be used to mitigate the effects of global warming by reducing the amount of heat received by the Earth.

Carbon capture and storage and solar geoengineering technologies can be used in conjunction with other green technologies such as renewable energy to support the transition to a more sustainable and green economy. For example, power plants can be equipped with CCS systems to capture the CO2 produced by burning coal, and these power plants can be powered by renewable energy to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In parallel, solar geoengineering can be used to reflect some of the sunlight to reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the Earth and mitigate the effects of global warming.

It is important to note that the technologies for carbon capture and storage and solar geoengineering on an industrial scale are still relatively expensive and underdeveloped. However, many governments and companies are interested in these technologies and are investing in their development to help fight global warming. Additionally, advances in technology can improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these technologies as they evolve.

In summary, carbon capture and storage and solar geoengineering technologies can be important tools in the fight against global warming and contribute to the transition to a more sustainable economy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. However, the development and implementation of these technologies requires significant investments and joint efforts at the international level.

answer 2

This is THE question of the hour, because these technologies crystallize a tension in the climate discourse. On the one hand, there is the optimism of those who believe (sometimes too much) in innovation – at the risk of delaying other necessary but unpopular measures. On the other hand, the observation that our emissions have not even started to decrease. It’s also an issue that’s expensive for manufacturers and investors.

Remember that the most effective solutions are not technological: we must first stop emitting greenhouse gases (GHG) and especially CO2 into the atmosphere. It’s scary easy, but it’s difficult because nations’ climate policies must align with the same voluntary fossil fuel abandonment. And for now, it must be acknowledged that climate diplomacy is slipping.

Let’s move on to ‘artificial’ CO2 capture technologies – as opposed to natural approaches such as reforestation. There is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), which captures CO2 at source in large, high-emitting factories. This approach remains experimental to this day, except ironically in the oil and gas sector, where the injection of CO2 makes it possible to increase the amount of resource extracted from a reservoir.

There is also direct capture of CO2 from air (DAC). The interest is that we can install the factories anywhere. The downside: pharaonic energy consumption that excludes the prospect of large-scale use.

In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) included these technologies in its scenarios. And his answer is nuanced. Especially on the side of renewable energies or natural approaches there are cheaper and more effective levers.

But CCS will continue to play a role in the net-zero energy transition alongside decarbonizing the rest of the economy. The reason is physics: CO2 has a 100-year atmospheric lifetime… Catching the excess can help avoid a dramatic temperature overshoot for living organisms.

Before we wrap up, a few words about solar geoengineering. For simplicity, let’s focus on Solar Radiation Management (SRM). The principle: increasing the proportion of solar radiation reflected into space in order to reduce temperatures. Several approaches are being explored: high-altitude aerosol injection, cloud break-up, etc.

For IPCC experts, these technologies are immature and insecure – even dangerous. What is needed are knowledge gaps about their potential and possible geographic disparities that would result from their use, which could go so far as to “create new risks for international cooperation and peace”.

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