April 8, 2009

CHIEF Mad Scientist Alert!

"in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."
Listening to these guys, that is exactly how I feel.

AP Newsbreak: Obama looks at climate engineering

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.

John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.

"It's got to be looked at," he said. "We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table."

Holdren outlined several "tipping points" involving global warming that could be fast approaching. Once such milestones are reached, such as complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic, it increases chances of "really intolerable consequences," he said.

Twice in a half-hour interview, Holdren compared global warming to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."

At first, Holdren characterized the potential need to technologically tinker with the climate as just his personal view. However, he went on to say he has raised it in administration discussions.

Holdren, a 65-year-old physicist, is far from alone in taking geoengineering more seriously. The National Academy of Science is making climate tinkering the subject of its first workshop in its new multidiscipline climate challenges program. The British parliament has also discussed the idea.

The American Meteorological Society is crafting a policy statement on geoengineering that says "it is prudent to consider geoengineering's potential, to understand its limits and to avoid rash deployment."

Last week, Princeton scientist Robert Socolow told the National Academy that geoengineering should be an available option in case climate worsens dramatically.

But Holdren noted that shooting particles into the air — making an artificial volcano as one Nobel laureate has suggested — could have grave side effects and would not completely solve all the problems from soaring greenhouse gas emissions. So such actions could not be taken lightly, he said.

Still, "we might get desperate enough to want to use it," he added.

Another geoengineering option he mentioned was the use of so-called artificial trees to suck carbon dioxide — the chief human-caused greenhouse gas — out of the air and store it. At first that seemed prohibitively expensive, but a re-examination of the approach shows it might be less costly, he said.

This story is getting a lot of attention today, as it should since this is a very important person in a very powerful position that can influence policy. Before I get into it. let me say that I seriously doubt it will ever happen, (the shooting of particles into the atmosphere). The reason is that it would pretty much require an international agreement or treaty of some sort to make it happen. In other words the most powerful countries in the world at least would have to agree to do it, won't happen.

Every time this comes up though I point out the absolute absurdity of it. First off if they are real serious about it why not just abolish all clean air restrictions and go back to polluting as we did post WW2? Until we got a handle on real air pollution beginning in the 70's, this was precisely what we did, emit aerosols into the atmosphere.

To show exactly how bizarre the entire AGW theory is,that real air pollution and those aerosols in the atmosphere are the reason given by proponents of AGW for the cooling that occurred in those decades despite the ramp up of CO2 emissions! They basically say that pumping all that pollution into the atmosphere during the boom of post war industrialisation masked the warming that would have occurred from CO2 this is why it cooled for about thirty years. Then when we cleaned up our air through technological advances and legislative mandates, the CO2 generated heating was let lose so to speak.

So by that reasoning, China which does not have advanced pollution control technology on their coal plants and is emitting real air pollution far beyond what the US did in the 60's is actually cooling the world?

Do you begin to see the absurdity of it all? Yet the scary part is this; A man in the position of John Holdren is so bitten by the bug so to speak, that he seriously considers this as an option, or is willing to say anything to convince people that to save the world such lunacy must be on the table.

If this truly is a serious suggestion, I got one better, kill two birds wit one stone-let's build more coal fired coal plants without pollution control on them!

Might I also point out again, that it could also backfire if we suddenly had several large volcanic eruptions. So our mad scientist have saved us from their man made global warming by injecting particles into the atmosphere, then surprise we have a couple big natural volcanic eruptions, the combination of which sends the globe into an ice age. Yeah scientist! 


  1. My Flabber is Beyond Ghasting.
    This whose boss is saying that they will not restrict C02 until China and India does...
    After all the pre-election noise.
    Youre heard the story about the Krauts and Koreans pouring iron shavings into Antarctic waters to stop the warming only to have them gobbled up...
    The Clampetts are running the world!!!!

  2. Dear Skeptics Corner:

    I think the above comments have missed an important point.

    Those - like me - who think anthropogenic (that is, man-made) global warming (AGW) will never become a problem should promote the idea of the geo-engineering. I explain this as follows.

    Some people argue that decarbonisation measures are "insurance" against AGW, but they are not any "insurance" of any kind. And the proposed geo-engineering technology would be "insurance" against any possible effects of AGW.

    At present AGW is a risk and not a threat because there is no evidence that AGW exists. However, the possibility that AGW might become "dangerous" is enabling (excusing?) policies with serious economic consequences. These policies are justified as a "precaution".

    However, there could be no reasonable justification for now introducing decarbonisation measures such as carbon taxes, or cap-and-trade, etc. if there were potential geo-engineering methods to rapidly reduce the direct effects of AGW. This is because
    (a) no decarbonisation measures would be needed until AGW began to become a problem and then the geo-engineering could be a 'stop gap' while the measures were introduced
    (b) no decarbonisation measures would ever be needed if AGW never became a problem.

    All the technology for such a 'stop-gap' exists and has been proven in use. Aluminium coated balloons could be launced into orbit to reflect some of the Sun's rays and, thus, to reduce radiative forcing from the Sun. A few such balloons have been orbited and it is merely a matter of replication to launch the required number to negate the enhanced radiative forcing from GHGs.

    If AGW does not become a problem then the possibility of the technology would have avoided the costs of decarbonisation.

    If AGW does become a problem then this technology would be expensive, but not as expensive as decarbonisation. Indeed, the savings made by not having had to decarbonise for some decades would probably pay for it.

    So, the proven technology for a geo-engineering response to AGW removes any need for - and removes any possibility of benefit from - introduction of decarbonisation measures now.

    Richard S Courtney

  3. Geo-Engineering is nothing new to the climate scare crowd. These extracts are from the book “Omega – Murder of the Eco-system and the Suicide of Man , Paul K Anderson, 1971, (see how the language hasn't changed much!)

    Controlling the Planet's Climate, J. 0. Fletcher (Rand corporation)

    Notice the date: 1971 - Global Cooling, you know that period when scientists weren't really getting excited about it.....


    The largest scale enterprise that has been discussed is that of transforming the Arctic into an ice-free ocean.

    Three basic approaches have been proposed:
    (a) influencing the surface reflectivity of the ice to cause more absorption of solar heat;
    (b) large-scale modification of Arctic cloud conditions by seeding;
    (c) increasing the inflow of warm Atlantic water into the Arctic Ocean

    under certain conditions, only one kilogram of reagent can seed several square kilometres of cloud surface. It is estimated that it would take only sixty American C-5 aircraft to deliver one kilogram per square kilometre per day over the entire Arctic Basin (10million square kilometres). Thus,it is a large but not impossible task to seed such enormous areas.

    The basic idea is to increase the inflow of warm Atlantic water by stopping or even reversing the present northward flow of colder Pacific water through the Bering Strait. The proposed dam would be 50 miles long and 150 feet high.

    Two kinds of proposals have been discussed, a dam between Florida and Cuba, and weirs extending out from Newfoundland across the Grand Banks to deflect the Labrador current as well as the Gulf Stream.

    The Pacific Ocean counterpart of the Gulf Stream is the warm Kuroshio Current, a small branch of which enters the Sea of Japan and exits to the Pacific between the Japanese islands. It has been proposed that the narrow mouth of Tatarsk Strait, where a flood tide alternates with an ebb tide, be regulated by a giant one-way 'water valve' to increase the inflow of the warm Kuroshio Current to the Sea of Okhotsk and reduce the winter ice there.

    Dams on the Ob, Yenisei and Angara rivers could create a lake east of the Urals that would be almost as large as the Caspian Sea. This lake could be drained southward to the Aral and Caspian Seas, irrigating a region about twice the area of the Caspian Sea. In terms of climatic effects, the presence of a large lake transforms the heat exchange between the surface and atmosphere.

    If the Congo, which carries some 1,200 cubic kilometres of water per year, were dammed at Stanley Canyon (about 1 mile wide), it would impound an enormous lake (the Congo Sea). The Ubangi, a tributary of the Congo, could then flow to the north-west, joining the Chari and flowing into Lake Chad, which would grow to enormous size (over 1 million square kilometres).

    The proposed North American Water and Power Alliance is a smaller scale scheme. It would bring 100 million acre-feet2 per year of water from Alaska and Canada to be evaporated by irrigation in the western United States and Mexico.

    Of course none of this ever happened, at least not that I noticed!

    In that same doomsday book there is a chapter by guess who? John Holdren and his long time gloom chum, Paul Ehrlich:

    Population and Panaceas - A Technological Perspective, Paul F. Ehrlich and John P. Holdren

    The main thrust was a demand for immediate population control:

    "As we will show here, man’s present technology is inadequate to the task of maintaining the world’s burgeoning billions, even under the most optimistic assumptions. Furthermore, technology is likely to remain inadequate until such time as the population growth rate is drastically reduced."

    They did touch on aerosols:

    "The only heat which actually leaves the whole system, the Earth, is that which can be radiated back into space. This amount steadily is being diminished as combustion of hydrocarbon fuels increases the atmospheric percentage of CO2 which has strong absorption bands in the infrared spectrum of the outbound heat energy. (Hubbert, 1962, puts the increase in the CO2 content of the atmosphere at 10% since 1900).

    There is, of course, a competing effect in the Earth’s energy balance, which is the increased reflectivity of the upper atmosphere to incoming sunlight due to other forms of air pollution. It has been estimated, ignoring both these effects, that man risks drastic (and perhaps catastrophic) climatological change if the amount of heat he dissipates in the environment on a global scale reaches 1% of the incident solar energy at the Earth’s surface."

    There were only a few short years left to save humanity and the planet:
    "We need dramatic programs now to find ways of ameliorating the food crisis to buy time for humanity until the inevitable delay accompanying population control efforts has passed.

    But it cannot be emphasized enough that if the population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come."

  4. I don't belive global warming will ever stop only slowed, it is inevitable. less sking and more surfing!

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