Geoengineering may be tech's answer to global warming

Geoengineering may be tech's answer to global warming

Summary: There's already money going into developing geoengineering plans to combat rising temps on this planet. Shell Oil has stepped forward as an early supporter.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Government
2

There's already money going into developing geoengineering plans to combat rising temps on this planet. Shell Oil has stepped forward as an early supporter. There are a myriad suggestions on how to use mega-engineering projects to combat global warming. Sulphurous gases sprayed into the upper atmosphere. Blocks some solar radiation. Billions of aluminized, hydrogen-filled balloons in the stratosphere. Huge reflector mirros in space. Send the sun's rays away from earth. Making the oceans more carbon dioxide absorbent. Takes CO2 out of the atmosphere. The United Nations' IPCC has already begun to catalog proposals for large scale geoengineering.

Geoengineering has two major attractions. Governments like it because it can appear simple and means taking expensive action. Does not depend on conservation or asking or forcing people to change their energy use patterns. Corporations--maybe an oil company--can like it because it means huge expenditure of government money to hire private companies and engineering experts to carry out the geoengineering. This could make military and space exploration costs look tiny. Imagine in a few years: an entire planet of TV viewers glued to their sets to see if the International Atmopsheric Control Agency and its vendors can save humankind for only a few trillion dollars, or rubles if the US is bankrupt by then.

[poll id=27]

Here's a research paper outlining some of the more prominent geoengineering proposals to combat global warming. Here's a BBC version of what is being talked about. Here's a CNET blog about one suphates proposal.

As you would predict, there are geoengine-naysayers. Geoengineering could be just another big, bad attempt by man to control the complex climatic systems he doesn't fully understand. Interestingly, the anti-geoengineering arguments often sound much like the arguments from folks who say global warming is hooey. Don't do it, says one UCLA scientist. When some of these proposals were first made back in 1990, they faced widespread scorn. Now the media thinks they are being taken seriously. Just wait for the Congressional hearings next year. Like Alan Greenspan pretending he can manipulate the US eocnomy.

Of course, there are no current international treaties or even informal agreements about who or how or when any geoengineering could be done, or even tested. It could be like the early days of the atomic weapons race, tests going on all over the atmosphere. Sulphates vs. aluminum balloons, think of it as the gaseous Olympics.

Topic: Government

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

2 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • ....

    I can only seeing bad things happen with this... the answer is conservation, green energy solutions and minor changing of habits. It's also an aggressive pollution control and penalty system for those that fail to comply. Recycling and reforestation.

    All these things and a few others are the answer noone wants to hear. Get over it, that is the reality of what needs to be done. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
  • RE: Geoengineering may be tech's answer to global warming

    "Few seem to realise that the present IPCC models predict almost unanimously that by 2040 the average summer in Europe will be as hot as the summer of 2003 when over 30,000 died from heat. By then we may cool ourselves with air conditioning and learn to live in a climate no worse than that of Baghdad now. But without extensive irrigation the plants will die and both farming and natural ecosystems will be replaced by scrub and desert. What will there be to eat? The same dire changes will affect the rest of the world and I can envisage Americans migrating into Canada and the Chinese into Siberia but there may be little food for any of them." --Dr James Lovelock's lecture to the Royal Society, 29 Oct. '07

    There is a very inexpensive simple way to immediately cool the Earth: just put a small amount of aerosol into the air to dim the sun. We won't be able to stop rapid ecosystem collapse without geoengineering.

    "I'm going to tell you something I probably shouldn't: we may not be able to stop global warming. We need to begin curbing global greenhouse emissions right now, but more than a decade after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, the world has utterly failed to do so. Unless the geopolitics of global warming change soon, the Hail Mary pass of geoengineering might become our best shot." --Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, 17 March 2008
    dobermanmacleod