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.
How will we change as technology learns to communicate with our emotions?
March 7, 2014 - The greatest challenge renewable energy providers face is achieving a sustainable continuous supply of guaranteed power delivered to consumers either through the grid or off grid. That's the single issue holding back large-scale adoption of renewables.
Yesterday my wife Deb and I had lunch at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, and afterwards we’re given the typical fortune cookies that come with the bill. Jokingly I broke open the first one and asked, “I wonder if it’d be possible to create a real fortune sometime in the future and put it into these cookies?”
March 6, 2014 - I am finally back from Florida and once again sifting through the content my web crawlers and affiliations with social networks that provide me with the fodder I turn into 21st Century Tech blog.
Seth MacFarlane, the multitasking comedian and creator of Family Guy, and other raunchy fare, happens also to be the driving force behind the new version of Carl Sagan's classic science show COSMOS, which will appear Sunday on Fox and simultaneously on other networks, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I know a number of the writers and producers who have striven to create something stunning, vivid and updated for the 21st Century.
The crisis in Ukraine shows the continued relevance of soft power. Weak in soft power, Russia turned to less effective means to get its way.
I’ve always loved ideas and I think it stems from the fact that I’ve had so many to choose from. But it wasn’t about the sheer number of ideas I got to play with. Rather it was finding that one truly remarkable gem, the golden epiphany, hiding in amongst the others.