Headline August04, 2014



Everyone 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 gases. In fact, the emissions are accelerating-

A quarter of all the carbon dioxide ever pumped into the air by humans was put there in the decade between   2000  and   2010.  It will hand around for centuries, meaning that that the future is sure to be hotter:

Even if all  greenhouse-gas emissions cease overnight. The official ambition of  of limiting the global temperature rise to 2degrees C  looks like a very 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 the 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 civilization,  a number of        ''geo-engineers''   are advocating seizing control of the climate, tinkering with the 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 green-house gases directly from the air.

Most are poorly understood, expensive or both. But one idea looks so cheap and technologically 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, and David Keith, a Canadian Physicist, agree that the physics and the engineering of such global dimming are plausible.

But they 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 eventually dubious. Mr Keith argues that it may be a good idea: morally attractive, workable and affordable.

Applied with caution, it may buy 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 average temperatures would fall, they would hide a lot of regional variation. Reflecting sunlight only works during the day, whereas greenhouse gases warm the planet all the time. So, a globally warmed and geo-engineered world:

Would have warmer nights and cooler days 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.

The Honour and Serving of the Post continues. Thank you for reading and don't miss the next very important one.

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

''' The Scorcher '''

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice of the Voiceless


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