Humint Events Online: Geo-Engineering and Climate Change

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Geo-Engineering and Climate Change

This is a long and interesting piece, on the dangers of geo-engineering.
The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced its long-awaited reports on climate geoengineering in mid-February. The reports intelligently state at the outset that geoengineering is no substitute for reducing emissions. But the call for experimentation and research - and for federal government funding for it - is pervasive, loud and clear. And worrisome. A similar call for research was published as a commentary in Nature, conveniently timed just a few days ahead of the release of the NAS reports.
One approach to climate geoengineering would have us inject large amounts of sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect a proportion of sunlight - a form of "solar radiation management" (SRM). That could provide some temporary overall global cooling, though not evenly distributed. Models as well as the real world experience of volcanic eruptions show that this would have severe side effects, from disrupting rainfall over large areas of the planet to degrading the ozone layer.
Those who support research into SRM believe that its negative impacts must be seen relative to the disastrous changes, including to global rainfall patterns, which are already unfolding. However, as NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt has pointed out, rainfall is much more sensitive to changes in the amount of incoming sunlight (which would be reduced through SRM) than it is to greenhouse gases. Therefore, an earth with high greenhouse gases plus SRM won't be anything like the earth any of us have experienced. Experimenting with SRM is a bit like experimenting with heroin. You know even before you try it that it's not going to be good for you. Also like experimenting with heroin, it does nothing to address the underlying problems that lead to addiction. Pumping sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere would do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations.
To the contrary, it could be used as an excuse to continue to do so. Nor would it slow or stop ocean acidification, the other disaster caused by carbon dioxide emissions besides climate change. Because SRM fails to address the cause of warming, and instead just temporarily masks some of the symptoms, it becomes an addiction and would have to be maintained and even increased over time. Getting off the SRM drug would be especially problematic. Suddenly halting injection of sulphate particles would result in very abrupt and dramatic heating.

My thoughts--

1) I think geo-engineering is already going on to a certain extent, possibly in an attempt to mitigate the effects of global warming, although possibly to make it worse for very evil purposes such as wiping out much of humanity.

2) I do think human-induced global warming and climate change is a real threat. We have been and still are, pumping tremendous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere from burning hydrocarbon fuels (coal, oil, gas) that were stored under the earth for millions of years. I do worry that we have already passed the tipping point where positive feedback loops have been triggered (such as melting of arctic methane stores), which means we are screwed. The only way we might escape real climate catastrophe is if we immediately curtail the use of petroleum fuel and move to renewable energy on a massive global scale. I think this may happen but not quickly enough.

3) I do worry that as climate change worsens (again, possibly due to purposeful activity on the part of the secret government), there will be loud public calls for large-scale geo-engineering of the weather and climate. This will likely lead to disaster.

4) we need to stop the secrecy around chemtrails and geo-engineering

5) we need to stop the bullshit denials about human activity causing climate change and hold the seriously evil oil and gas companies to account.


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