Headline, March05, 2014


EVERYONE -every single one of us knows,  what must be done about climate change,  but no one is doing anything about it.

More than two decades of  speeches and  summitry  have failed to thin out emissions of greenhouse gasses.

In fact, emissions are accelerating; a quarter of all the carbon dioxide ever pumped into air by humans was put there in the decade between  2000  and 2010. It will hang around for centuries:

Meaning that future is sure to be hotter, even if all the greenhouse-gas emissions cease overnight.

The official ambition of limiting the global temperature rise to  2 degrees C looks increasingly like a   "very silly and a bad joke".

Officially, the plan is still to fix the problem by cutting emissions at their source; cleaning up the factories, cars, ships and homes whose engines and heating systems pump-greenhouse gases into the air.

But what if there were another way?  In 2006, depressed by the lack of progress on emissions,  Paul Crutzen,  an atmospheric researcher, broke a long-standing taboo among climate scientists:

By publicly pointing-out that if humans have the power to heat the planet, then they also have the power to cool it down again. While  environmentalists wring their hands about the effects of industrial civilisation, a number of  "geo-engineers"  are advocating:

Seizing control of the climate, tinkering with Earth's atmosphere or its surface in an attempt to slow the planet's heating.

It sounds like some impossible technocratic fever-dream from the 1950s. But two books argue that it is not.

Among the ideas about planetary cooling are artificially brightening ocean clouds to increase the amount of sunlight they reflect into space and

Building machines that suck greenhouse gasses directly from the air. Most are poorly understood, expensive or both. But one idea looks so cheap and technological convenient that, as far as anyone can tell:

There is nothing to stop it being started almost immediately. This would be to use fleets of aircraft to slightly  dim the Sun,  mimicking the after-effects of volcanic eruptions by filling the upper atmosphere with a fine haze of  sulphate particles.

Both Clive Hamilton, an Australian Philosopher, David Keith,  a Canadian Physicist, agree that the physics and the engineering of such a global dimming are plausible.

Both also agree that it would be a bitterly contentious move, politically tortuous and possibly even self-defeating in the long run.

There, though, the agreement ends. Mr Hamilton believes geo-engineering is a bad idea; politically unworkable, hubristic and ethically dubious.

Mr Keith argues that it may be a good idea: morally attractive, workable and affordable. Applied with caution, it may time to build time to build a  "low carbon civilization".

To say that geo-engineering is controversial is an understatement. Mr Keith points out that shrouding the sky would be an uneven, imperfect fix. It could certainly reduce average global temperatures.

But it could do nothing to stop other consequences of greenhouse-gas emissions, such as making the oceans more acidic. And although the average temperatures would fall, that would hide a lot of regional variation.

Reflecting sunlight only works during the day, whereas greenhouses gases warm the earth all the time. So a globally warmed out and geo-engineered world would have warmer nights and cooler day:

Than one in which levels of greenhouse gases had never risen in the first place. Sulphate cooling is most effective in summer and least effective in winter.

That, in turn, would lead to variations in local weather patterns.

"'It is here that some of  the political difficulties  become apparent"'.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders of the World.  See You all  -Your Excellencies,  on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"' ^ Students At The Center Of Solutions > "'

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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