March 8, 2011
A Modest Proposal to Fix Global Warming
By Jed Babbin
As surely as the cherry blossoms will emerge after another cold, bleak Washington winter, so will the global warming muezzins resume calling us to prayer at their green altar. But now, thanks to National Geographic's Charles Choi, we are reminded that if global warming actually occurred, any American president can not only end it but reverse it with the push of a button.
In a brilliant but little-noticed article, Mr. Choi reports that a small nuclear war -- one that employed only 0.03 percent of the world's nuclear arsenal -- would result in reversing earth's long-term warming trend and result in global cooling by 2.25 degrees, according to NASA computer models. It's a wonder that Al Gore didn't think of this a decade ago.
The NASA modelers apparently found that explosions of 100 Hiroshima-sized warheads would produce the desired effect by blasting so much dirt and dust into the atmosphere as to reduce the effect of the sun's rays.
The model is based upon historical fact. The eruption of volcanoes, such as the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, actually caused this effect but more briefly. And we don't want to overdo it. The eruption of Indonesia's Mount Tambora in 1815 caused widespread famine and unrest. In the NASA model, the one hundred warheads being set off would cool the tropics, Europe, Asia, and Alaska by about 5-7 degrees and parts of the polar regions would actually warm a little. The globe's temperature would be cooled by about one degree Fahrenheit for a decade.
Agriculture would be affected, and the earth would, for a while, be "…a colder, hungrier planet." But how much colder and hungrier will the world be after the nuclear explosions than it would be if, say, a carbon tax scheme such as the one Henry Waxman and Nancy Pelosi wanted were made law? Or if the Kyoto Treaty were revived to impose cap-and-trade on the world's productive economies while those such as China and India were exempted? Or if we allowed the Arab world rebellions to starve us of oil because we are crippled by liberal group-think that prohibits offshore drilling and the construction of new nuclear power plants?
Mr. Choi doesn't report any NASA modeling on those prospects, but from the economic studies of cap-and-tax and such, we know that food will be more expensive and scarce, people will earn less and subsistence farming may become the new fashion on the Upper East Side.
But there is a better way, and it makes use of the best technology and skills of NASA. We need a Kubrick annex to a new Kyoto Treaty.
Stanley Kubrick, the genius who created Dr. Strangelove based on Peter Bryant's novel, centered us on the idea of the "Doomsday machine," a Soviet superbomb designed to destroy all life on earth by creating the "nuclear winter," a century-long version of the Mount Tambora eruption. It was to be detonated automatically in the event of a nuclear attack on Russia.
Under the Kubrick Annex, all of the signatories to a new Kyoto Treaty would agree that their nation would be the site of one of the hundred Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons modeled by NASA. No nation could be trusted to detonate one on its own soil, so someone of unimpeachable character and authority -- the UN Secretary General -- would have to be the keeper of the keys. And, because the SecGen might be someone such as Nancy Pelosi or Ban Ki Moon, the occupant of that office shouldn't be given more authority than to maintain the nuclear weapons and the computer controls over them that would detonate them all simultaneously and automatically if the temperature of the globe rose more than the agreed amount.
Nations such as China and Russia could easily agree to this, given their geographic expanses. But for smaller countries such as France and Great Britain it would be a far greater burden. So the Kubrick Annex would have to allow them to pay other nations to host the warheads that could otherwise destroy vineyards or sheep moors. The nations would be left to their own to negotiate a fair "nuke and trade" rate of payment.
And, of course, there would have to be a Khamenei Codicil to the Kubrick Annex. Nations (and the Palestinians) that have demonstrated a fondness for suicide bombings would not be eligible to host nuclear weapons or to pay for other nations to host weapons for them unwittingly.
The elegance of this system would be obvious to all concerned, especially the global warmists. They would gain the absolute assurance that global warming will not end life on earth, though they would have to give up their moral superiority to a supervening authority. Unfortunately, this would mean that they would all have to get real jobs, which they can seek in government or academia. The smartest of the lot will seek employment at the UN, where the bureaucracy is so magnificently overpaid that they can only be compared to California public sector union members.
For those of us who believe global warming is a scam, the benefits will be immediate and personal. No longer will we have to endure cocktail party lectures about our duty to trade our 500-horsepower Mustangs for Nissan Priuses and Chevy Volts. No more will our college-age children come home for the sole purpose of measuring our carbon footprints and redesigning our lives' plans to achieve social responsibility. We might even be able to buy incandescent light bulbs again even though they use more electricity than their dimmer mercury-filled counterparts. (We will have to think of another solution to another liberally-manufactured problem to restore our ability to buy toilets that flush rather than stir.)
Think of all the green jobs that would be created. The design and manufacture of hundreds of nuclear warheads and computer controls for them, the transportation, maintenance and all that equipment are sure to require the creation of thousands of jobs in hundreds of countries. President Obama, this is your moment. It is a time for international leadership. And it is all within your grasp. Or not.