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"Geoengineering Is Inevitable" Topic

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395 hits since 10 Oct 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2018 10:17 p.m. PST

"Here's what's going to happen: Every year for the foreseeable future, scientists, activists, and citizens concerned about climate change will have a discussion in one form or another about geoengineering. There will be editorials and vague proposals in journals; there will be think pieces on the need not to do it, but to talk about it. These will increase in volume and urgency as our situation becomes ever clearer, perhaps starting right now, with the release of the latest and most dire Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

But then, one day, you will look up, and the planes will be in the sky. They will be dumping tiny aerosol particles designed to deflect bits of sunlight back into space. Maybe this will happen when 10 million people have to vacate coastal Bangladesh and start pouring into India. Maybe when the last resident of Kiribati finally gives up hope and moves to Fiji…."
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Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

Fun stuff!

It's a case of a cure that could be worse than disease. It's a case of desperation compelling a solution with unforeseen consequences.

What I find interesting is that anyone could do it. Large scale conversion to renewable energy, reduction of meat production, slowing deforestation, these take nation-scale or global scale organization, enforcement. But any country, any multi-millionaire could dive into geoengineering. If Elon Musk starts putting chaff dispensers in his rockets could anyone do anything about it? You could ban it in one country, but then he just launches somewhere else. You think someone with a hundred million dollars can't convince some tiny government somewhere to let him use their runways to fly his glitter dumping airplanes?

So while we all have to debate and participate (voluntarily or otherwise) in other mitigation, this is a solution that could be implemented with 90% of humanity not only non-participatory, but disapproving.

Imagine an oil-producing nation that's a bad actor (tough to imagine, but let's pretend). Wide scale adoption of renewable energy pushes the price of oil down, so they sink some of their billions into any one of a half-dozen plausible geo-engineering projects (the book Superfreakanomics described several). Now they can advertise: "fossil fuels are safe again!" and "your petro dollars help pay to cool the Earth!"

Reducing carbon output hasn't been too painful so far, but to get levels down enough to matter it's going to be hard. Geoengineering is easy. Human nature makes it seems inevitable. Not necessarily good, but inevitable.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 11:26 a.m. PST

Good points!


Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 11:33 a.m. PST

A silly solution in search of a silly problem.

phssthpok11 Oct 2018 8:33 p.m. PST

Irrelevant, we are moving into a new ice age as it is.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2018 11:09 a.m. PST



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