Are Governments Thinking of Geoengineering Earth to Adjust to Climate Change?
Doug Saunders in today's Globe and Mail has written "the idea of geoengineering planet-scale projects to reverse climate change...has recently gained a lot more mainstream credibility in both scientific and policy circles." He goes on to talk about a major breakthrough, the convening of a blue ribbon panel consisting of scientists from the U.S. National Research Council, NASA, U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to evaluate potential geoengineering projects.
Whether these are projects aimed at mitigating climate change impact or reversing the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere, the proposed ideas have already been shown to be short on science. Talk about a bull in a china shop approach to the problem of global warming. The panel will toss around the idea of putting more chemicals into the atmosphere to make it more reflective so that solar heat doesn't get trapped as much by the methane and CO2 that we currently are emitting from industry, transportation, and energy creation. Another is seeding the ocean with iron to increase the capacity of the water to absorb CO2. And the third is treating soils with massive amounts of charcoal or biochar to trap CO2. The trillions of dollars we will ultimately spend on all of these remediation technologies represents a distinct human flaw. Instead of preemptive strategies these blue ribbon scientists would rather deal with the after-the-fact consequences of rising atmospheric temperatures and conduct a planet-wide geoengineering experiment.
Not to point out one of the obvious flaws in this blue ribbon panel but where is the representation from the rest of the planet? All the organizations gathered at this group discussion were American. A global remedy is not something one nation can undertake without involving the rest of the planet.
And why should nations speak for all of humanity when discussing the issue of climate change? Since the Kyoto Protocol they have proven to be woefully hopeless in developing collective climate change strategies. Instead we have a surge of environmental social network activists forming guerrilla movements to reverse human induced climate change. And municipalities both small and large have become activists as well in the fight to reverse global warming. Meanwhile national governments more concerned with GDP growth fail to see that carbon remediation represents a significant economic opportunity. A few days ago I wrote about the first four years of the carbon tax in the Province of British Columbia and how the end result has been a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions with no impact on economic growth.
But better we should conduct a planet-wide experiment seeding the oceans with iron (which by the way doesn't work as we recently discovered), or putting more reflective chemicals into the atmosphere without thinking about negative chemical impacts on the biology of the planet, or burning biomass to create biochar and the heat load from burning and its impact on the atmosphere.
Today our climate models are as sophisticated as the super computers that run them. We have more than a century-and-a-half of collected weather data. But in truth we still don't know enough to accurately forecast what we will experience in coming decades as CO2 levels creep upward from today's 400 parts per million to 450 by mid-century. All we know is both the atmosphere and ocean are warmer than they have been in recorded history and that the last two decades have seen a startling spike in temperature data. The spike correlates closely with the rise in CO2. So the answer is really simple. Stop creating more CO2. Move rapidly to a smaller carbon footprint. Create awareness along with action by introducing policies that move us away from burning carbon as rapidly as possible. And do this with the same dedication we have shown in waging war.
- About WFS
- Contact Us
- Frequently Asked Questions
- History of WFS
- Board and Council
- Press Room
- Futurist Gear
- Are You the Next CEO of the World Future Society?
- Book a WFS / Futurist Magazine Speaker
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
Free Email Newsletter
To sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter, enter your email in the box below and click Save.
I'm a regular blood donor. My blood type is "A," "Rh+." That can tell you a lot about your origins. But what I get excited about is the promise of finding a process by which we can end blood transfusions forever, mass producing all the blood we need rather than tapping the veins of donors every 56 days to keep an adequate blood supply in hospitals and clinics around the world.
Seawater is proving to be one way to combat climate change by reducing fossil fuel dependency for some ocean island nations. Taking a page from land-based geothermal power which uses the coolness below ground in heat exchange systems, islands are using the thermal energy gradient in a column of seawater to generate electricity.
Until Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson made the movie, most people hadn’t even heard the expression “Bucket List,” let alone knowing what it meant (things to do before I kick the bucket!).
A bucket list is one way to think about your future.
I recently watched an interesting documentary on the evolution of the British coffee shop market. I then had an idea for a new chain that is so sharp it would scratch your display if I wrote it here, so I’ll keep that secret. The documentary left me with another thought: what’s so special about authentic?
Unlike the United States which has chosen to rest on its Apollo Program laurels, Russia is reviving the Soviet dream to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon. The United States, however, has made it quite clear that it has no plans to return to the Moon unless it does it conjointly with other partners.
Last week, the IPCC gave us its weather forecast for climate change through the rest of the century. This weekend, the contributing scientists gave us what should be marching orders.
April 12, 2014 - There are two types of solar renewable technologies. The first, solar photovoltaics, is at best marginally efficient when converting energy from sunlight into electricity. And when the sun is not shining...well you get it. The second, solar thermal involves putting mirrors on motors to track sunlight.
There are two types of solar renewable technologies. The first, solar photovoltaics, is at best marginally efficient when converting energy from sunlight into electricity. The second, solar thermal involves putting mirrors on motors to track sunlight.