Friday, February 02, 2007

COULD A LARGE MIRROR DEFLECT GLOBAL WARMING?


So, if you thought the Iraq Occupation was as bad as ideas got, check out this policy proposal from ABC News. My favorite part is where it says "Not a scientific survey."

3 comments:

Nephos said...

Oh, don't knock it! I love this stuff because, like who is going to stop someone from doing it? It's totally James Bond. You can imagine Specter out on some isolated islands building rockets designed to drop the planetary temperature a couple of degrees by obstructing sunlight.

Seriously, I strongly suspect that this is the way things will go given an absence of obvious mechanisms for diminishing our desire for chemical bonding in dead things. From talking with those in the know, this sort of geo-engineering is both plausible and easily practicable.

Rionn Fears Malechem said...

Wait! You missed one. It's plausible, practicable, and guaranteed to leave us much, much worse off. These are the people who brought you the New Orleans levy system and the Occupation of Iraq, not to mention Star Wars (the paranoid Teller fantasy satellites, not the movie) and inner city interstates. And if they screw up badly enough on the first try, subsequent ones won't matter.

Nephos said...

Guaranteed?

So, for what it's worth, people have now run detailed climate model simulations of what would happen if we put a bunch of sulfur haze in the stratosphere. What I've heard (over beers mind you) is that the effect is rather surprisingly simply to counter act CO2 warming. The models at least don't point to any hugely disastrous consequences associated with the stratospheric injection itself. The clearest analogy is to Volcanos. Somehow we seem to survive Pinatubos to enjoy the sunsets.

Look, whether deliberate or not, we have already geo-engineered. We are long past the point where the planet hasn't been fundamentally altered by human activity.

And anything that's deliberate has - as you say - a huge potential for hubris and unintended consequences. But here we are, with the Arctic rapidly melting, and more to come for tens of thousands of years. When the more serious options only cost billions a year, my bet is on it happening, whether we like it or not.