View Full Version : Geoengineering Comes with Huge Risks

2007-Jun-05, 08:07 PM
Over the coming decades, we're going to learn what kind of impact global warming is going to have on planet Earth. If the impact is as severe as some scientists are predicting, countries might take drastic action to stabilize temperatures. ...

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2007/06/05/geoengineering-comes-with-huge-risks/)

2007-Jun-05, 10:36 PM
I'm sorry, this story isn't science. It really isn't even policy masquerading as science. It makes two assumptions, one obviously wrong, to insist on reducing GHG levels.

Don't get me wrong, I am strongly in favor of reducing global atmospheric CO2 levels, independent of global warming--or even global cooling. I live in New Hampshire, and was active in getting SO2 emissions reduced not just because of acid rain, but because it made it easier for me to breathe.

It now turns out that reducing SO2 emissions from power plants probably contributed to global warming. (Or better phrased the SO2 emissions from high-sulphur coal plants partially counteracted the CO2 emissions.) Does this mean we should go back to burning high-sulpher coal? No.

Or to take a more ridiculous example: the primary greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere is water vapor. If you want to reduce your contributions to global warming stop watering your lawn. In fact, planting shade trees reduces global warming in several ways, one of them is due to reduced evaporation from forested land compared to grass covered land.

Why am I talking about all this? It is much, much more scientific than this article which plays games with statistics to try to score political points. If non-CO2 strategies were used to reduce global warming, this article implies that this would be bad? Why? Warming would be faster when the other climate control methods were stopped. But the degree of sophistry is beyond ridiculous.

Imagine on a hot day you go to turn on the air conditioning. Your wife stops you. "I can handle the current warming rate, but if you turn on the air conditioning, when it shuts off because the house is cool enough, the temperature will rise faster than it does now with the windows open." Of course, it is 90 degrees inside now (32 degrees C). If the air conditioning shuts off at 77 degrees (25 degrees C), the temperature in the house will certainly reach 78 degrees faster than it will reach 91 without the air conditioning. But of course, at 78 or 79 degrees the thermostat will kick in again.

So the argument is that if we turn the air conditioner on, then turn it off and leave the windows closed, eventually we will be warmer than if we had never closed the windows and turned on the air conditioner. But that is not an argument against air conditioning, it speaks to leaving the windows closed in summer with the air conditioning off.

Again, I am in favor of a lot of things that will reduce the overall CO2 level, and also of the other gasses controlled under Kyoto. I just don't believe in doing so for silly reasons.

2007-Jun-06, 05:15 AM
I think that relesing tiny reflectors into the atmosphere would work.

But we can do things that make it so we dont have to do that. If our government would start mass producing hydrogen cars now rather than later we could cut down about 90% of all the greenhouse gass emisions that is heating up our planet and causing globle warming.

Ronald Brak
2007-Jun-06, 05:24 AM
I haven't seen a geoengineering proposal yet that would be cheaper than reducing carbon emissions once halfway realistic numbers are used.

John Mendenhall
2007-Jun-06, 12:20 PM
Don't worry, at the current hysteria and hype level something idiotic will almost certainly be done in the name of reducing global warming. And we're all along for the ride.

Suggestion: buy real estate at about 160 to 170 feet above current sea level. Pretty good chance that your children will have beachfront property.

2007-Jun-06, 01:24 PM
Since this is my first post on this site, I hope I can come across sounding at least semi-literate.

I am a long time subscriber to a magazine published in the UK called New Scientist. One of the things that intrigues ( And disturbs) me as I read about the climate change issues is that there is a huge effort by governments to actively manipulate data and divert the public's focus concerning global warming. They go so far as to offer threats and block publication due to obscure clauses relating to sensitivity issues etc. I am not talking about toallitarian contries like Iran or Mozambique here, but 1st world countries as well.

As a result, scientists are locked in a struggle to find the balance point between presenting unbiased science, some of which may have a little uncertainty still waiting to be solved, or presenting just evidence that has a rock solid backing by evidence and is acceptable by the political lobbyists. Many times the language allowed in the presentation has to be watered down to allow some flexibility in it's interpretation.

Given that there is such an active effort to manipulate the facts, the concept behind this article came as no surprise. Maybe I am just cynical, but this seems like a simnple distraction from the real mission of coming to grips with the detailed mechanisms involved in Climate Change, mainly, understanding the precise impact that feedback mechanisms will play in accelerating the rise in temperatures and when they will become active players.

Governemnts would love nothng better than to involve and promote ideas such as these to further divert attention to the real issues which we all know will be very painful for both them ans the public. Don't be surpised if this suddenly gets a lot of funding and sucks up a lot of brilliant talent who are seeking jobs in the earth and space sciences, diverting them from where they are really needed.

My 2 cents worth.

John Mendenhall
2007-Jun-06, 02:15 PM
Since this is my first post on this site, I hope I can come across sounding at least semi-literate.

An enjoyable and rational comment. I agree with you.

2007-Jun-06, 05:39 PM
Considering the delays, failed launches, and downright disasters that have affected all space programs over the last half century, the chances of a geo-engineering project being realized seem somewhat less than remote. Although some systems like Delta, Atlas, and Ariane are approaching reliability, the total mass delivered to any useful orbit remains tiny and very, very expensive.
We'll surely meet with extinction from asteroid or comet collision or even the aging of the sun well before there are any large scale constructions in orbit.

2007-Jun-07, 06:09 AM
Cooling the planet by using satellites?
I think not.
Reflecting light back into space does have a cooling effect, but what about all the crops that NEED this solar energy? Not to mention plankton, algea, forests, bogs, ...
Start playing with changing the amount and type of light hitting the earth is just another means to mess something else up eventually.

2007-Jun-07, 01:49 PM
Maybe I'm too simple, but a program to plant trees to absorb the carbon and cool the land seems the way to go. I have 2 maple trees in my front yard that keep the temp on that side of my house 5-10 degrees cooler.