Sunday, March 16, 2008

GeoEngineering: Soultion or Risk? 2

In the first Carlin document (here) that I posted last time the paper starts off assuming that geoengineering IS the most efficient solution to the climate change issue. That I question immediately, but let's accept that statement.
A few of the Solutions on the table are:
  • Add Iron to the Oceans (will increase plankton growth and suck up CO2. tried it doesn't work.)
  • Sulfur Dioxide injection to the the stratosphere (think volcano eruption. wicked expensive, could damage ozone. nope.)
  • Put mirrors into orbit and reflect the sun light energy back. (is this even financially feasible, or is it?)
Patrick Huyghe from Columbia has a good discussion (here). He smartly brings up Biosphere 2. That project is a well know example for the problems that developed with the atmosphere. The more the scientists tried to adjust it, the more things got worse. Biosphere 2 was abandoned. In that write up Huyghe quotes from the curriculum coordinator for Biosphere 2 Josh Tosteson:

"Do we have the capacity intellectually to understand complex systems at the level of the globe well enough to make intelligently thought-through conscious perturbations that result in only the consequences that we want, and nothing else? My intuitive answer to that question is: No, we don't."
No we don't. Yeah, thats what I'm thinking too.

However, the experimentation will continue. So, two methods down, one to go. That brings me back to "Put mirrors into orbit and reflect the sun light energy back. (is this even financially feasible, or is it?)"
It would seem to me that, of those three, this method would be the least expensive and technologically most feasible, but not by putting 1000's of acres of mirrors in orbit.

hat else reflects light back to space? How about clouds? How about we make a cloud shade? We can add elements and chemicals to make the cloud reflect more effectively? (Anyone know what these may be?....barium and aluminum maybe.)

k... so it's apparently being done. This news story is reporting on GeoEngineering experimentation in action:

There are actually quite a lot of these videos. There is an air of super paranoia, conspiracy theory to it them but I'm sure that if I were on the other end of the camera and lived where they did I might come off in the same manner.

I would like to see some journal articles documenting the studies. If a readers knows of some please link them for me.

s I like to keep my posts short and fit within the 1..maybe 2 minutes of attention that google analytics tells me that I have of yours, Please come back for my post on RISKs.


  1. Is it "soultion" or "solution"? I prefer soultion myself, kinda James Brown-ish. This reminds me of China's attempts to dump "stuff" in the air in order to force clouds to let loose, to rain.

  2. nope thats a typo. but in retrospect, I think Ill leave it.

  3. Joe:

    Solar radiation management using stratospheric particulates is, without question, the least expensive means to prevent catastrophic warming. Every person who has looked into this comes away with the conclusion that the cost is so small as to be irrelevant. You might disagree on other grounds, but cost is not a problem.

    David Schnare, Ph.D.

  4. Thank you Dr. Schnare for commenting. The lower cost of that method is part of my intended conclusion.

    My disagreement is that I do not currently believe we (scientists) are able to avoid 'unintended consequences' (UC's), and that those US's will be more detrimental in the short term to the human population that if we change our dirty ways and let nature take it back for herself.

    I still have post on what I see as the Risk waiting in the wings. So keep an eye out for that.