Climate Fixes

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Five years ago, geoengineering was considered to be "fringe."  Jeff Goodell, author of How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate, talks about how the controversial idea of adjusting the world's thermostat is starting to look sane.

Comments [13]

Old Sceptic

Let's see if I understand Mr. Goodell. Our government doesn’t have the will to take steps to reduce the production of greenhouse gasses in a timely fashion, industry is too afraid of lost profit, and the public is either too ignorant or too distracted to demand action.
So, these White Knights/Geoengineers will somehow get the same public that can’t agree on health-care reform, to agree to let a gutless government raise untold billions of tax revenue to fund some half-baked schemes that: a.) May or may not work; or b.) May or may not make things worse? Put your money on hell freezing over first!

Apr. 15 2010 05:36 PM

the's inevitable only because no one cares, much like social security being aloud to fail.

Apr. 14 2010 03:28 PM

Ok the HJS.....edit my comment insert 6000 years, still can't stop the inevitable!

Apr. 14 2010 12:00 PM
Eric McClure from Park Slope

DSal beat me to it:

Apr. 14 2010 11:52 AM
DSal from NYC

Speaking of Billionaires, Mr Burns from the Simpson hatches just a plan. He blocks the sun from Springfield forcing people to use lights continuously. Although he achieves his insidious plan by bulding a giant "umbrella".

Apr. 14 2010 11:43 AM bible says the planet's only 6000 years old

Apr. 14 2010 11:43 AM
Gerald from brooklyn

I know that this article doesn't talk about global engineering, but it's very important that people see the data concerning burning trash vs landfills being used for the purposes for generating energy - and why we don't really do that here in this country.

Apr. 14 2010 11:42 AM

What reason is there to believe that "salting" the air will have the effect your non-scientist guest claims it will.

A great many things that scientists have insisted - with absolute confidence - would have this and only this effect proved to have many more unpredicted effects.

To pretend that we can confidently engage in geo-engineering is sheer nonsense. Out understanding of atmospheric science is just not that good.

Apr. 14 2010 11:41 AM

Too much stress over something out of our matter what we do, the earth's climate is going to change, the earth is going to shift on it's axis and there is nothing we can do about a billions of years old planet!!

Apr. 14 2010 11:40 AM
Leo in NYC

Elizabeth Kolbert debunks some of this in a recent New Yorker review of Superfreakonimics:

A world whose atmosphere is loaded with carbon dioxide, on the one hand, and sulfur dioxide, on the other, would be a fundamentally different place from the earth as we know it.

Among the many likely consequences of shooting SO2 above the clouds would be new regional weather patterns (after major volcanic eruptions, Asia and Africa have a nasty tendency to experience drought), ozone depletion, and increased acid rain.

Meanwhile, as long as the concentration of atmospheric CO2 continued to rise, more and more sulfur dioxide would have to be pumped into the air to counteract it. The amount of direct sunlight reaching the earth would fall, even as the oceans became increasingly acidic.

“By far the preferred way” to confront climate change, Paul Crutzen has written, “is to lower the emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Read more:

Apr. 14 2010 11:39 AM
Sally from Ridgewood

What does he think about the suggestion that we paint the top of everything (roofs, highways, parking lot) white or reflective to mimic glaciers to reflect sunlight?

Apr. 14 2010 11:36 AM

Back in the glory days of atomic solutions for everything (Eisenhower nixed Air Force requests for nuclear powered airplanes), Edward Teller, father of the H-bomb, proposed using hydrogen bombs to disrupt and stop hurricanes. It turned out that a couple thousand hydrogen bombs *might* do the trick. Meanwhile, other research, only fully declassified in the 1990s, showed that fallout made its way around the world many times. Everyone on Earth was exposed to the fallout of above ground nuclear testing.

With a few exceptions, scientists had been convinced that fallout represented a fairly localized problem.

We should keep that in mind when some start telling us about treatments for the problem rather than treatments for the cause. Some of the proposals, like increasing the albedo of the Earth or chemical treatments of the oceans to increase CO2 uptake, should set of alarm bells.

The catch? Conservatives love the idea of forking over billions to private corporations to doing something that may be nothing - or worse.

Apr. 14 2010 10:58 AM

since no one wants to fix this problem, i was wondering how many climate refugees will have to be resettled in the USA?

Apr. 14 2010 10:16 AM

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