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More on geoengineering

25 Oct 2023 | OP ED Watch

We talked last week about a proposal to refreeze the poles, which last we checked are already frozen. But the aspirations of geotinkerers don’t end at messing with the Arctic. There are all kinds of geoengineering proposals out there, from reflecting away sunlight to sucking carbon out of the air. And when people talk about the latter, they don’t even seem to think what would happen to crops if they were partly successful, let alone how bad it could get if the process works and they lose control of it, a frightful outcome that is probably more likely with bioengineering than mechanical approaches but surely too terrifying to risk.

Even the Guardian’s “Environment Editor” Fiona Harvey just did an “experts say” against the practice, sort of:

“Governments should place a moratorium on efforts to geoengineer the planet’s climate, as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the climate crisis takes hold, a panel of global experts has urged. Geoengineering is highly controversial, but discussions of its feasibility are gathering pace as the impacts of extreme weather, driven by climate breakdown, grip the planet. There is no global agreement on geoengineering, and no rules on what countries, or businesses, can do.”

And while something called “the Climate Overshoot Commission” just “called on governments to phase out fossil fuels… and start using technologies to remove carbon dioxide, such as carbon capture and storage and the capture of carbon directly from the air”, Harvey added:

“Governments should also allow academics to investigate the possibilities of geoengineering, chiefly in the form of solar radiation management, which involves attempting to reduce the amount of sunlight striking the Earth’s surface, for instance through whitening clouds to be more reflective, or setting up mirrors in space. But governments should not embark on any such activities, the panel warned, because of the dangers involved in tinkering with the global climate in ways that are not yet well understood.”

Not yet. No. You could say that. But just when we were getting sour, even cynical, the piece cited “Pascal Lamy, the former chief of the World Trade Organization, who chaired the Climate Overshoot Commission”, including that:

“he warned that the world could not ignore the possibility of geoengineering, as some countries could start to investigate and experiment on their own. He said: ‘There is an increasing international discussion of solar radiation management. But the danger is of unintended consequences, and of transboundary consequences.’ Scientists could not say whether solar radiation management was safe, and the precautionary principle should be applied, he said.”

Good for you, sir. Now can we just raise the issue of wrecking the energy basis of our economies in the hope of changing the weather? Maybe something to avoid until you’re sure it’s not incompatible with “the permanence of genuine human life” of the kind where we have reliable food, clothing, shelter and even a few amenities like travel and fun.

4 comments on “More on geoengineering”

  1. Regarding CO2 capture, the problem that hardly ever gets mentioned is how much energy is needed to extract the CO2, and where will that energy come from and at what cost? PBS published an article that a coal plant had a CO2 capture unit installed, and it consumed 30% of the entire plant's electricity production.
    On the other hand, we KNOW that water vapor contributes more to the greenhouse effect than CO2, we know that in humid areas nighttime temperatures don't get below dew point, and it's incredibly easy to extract water vapor from the air. Instead of spending a penny on CO2, we could install & run outside dehumidifiers in humid areas and actually make a real, immediate impact.
    Finally, "geoengineering" is just a scary label for something that can be both common sense and not a big deal. For example, in warm areas where AC consumption exceeds heating, covering all roofs with broad-spectrum reflecting white material reduces energy consumption, makes buildings more comfortable, and sends the sun's energy back into space. There are ZERO environmental concerns. It isn't wacky, or sci-fi, or potentially harmful in anyway. Likewise, installing heat-reflective coverings for parking lots improves quality of life by protecting you & your car from the rain as well as heat. Warm areas lose ridiculous amounts of water from reservoirs through evaporation. Floating reflectors on the surface of the reservoir not only physically block evaporation--meaning more & cheaper water for people, agriculture, & industry--it also keeps the surrounding area cooler by (again) sending the sun's energy back into space.
    Criticizing these ideas for places that are warm is like criticizing building tech that captures as much of the sun's heat as possible in Canada to reduce heating bills.
    These ideas for rejecting sunlight are FANTASTIC for warm regions. They make life better. They lower costs. And they just happen to silence the climate alarmists . Anyone serious about criticizing the climate industrial complex SHOULD SUPPORT THESE COMMON SENSE INITIATIVES in warm regions.

  2. Plants come in two main types known as C3 ad C4, depending on the way they convert CO2 and water into organic material. Most food plants are C3. (Corn and sugar cane are C4, almost everything else is C3). C3 plants thrive on high CO2 concentrations, whereas C4 are an evolutionary adaptation to lower CO2 levels.
    Crop yields for C3 staples such as wheat, rice and beans have been steadily increasing worldwide as CO2 levels have increased. If a really efficient worldwide carbon capture system were introduced to bring CO2 back down to about 340 ppm, the result is likely to be worldwide starvation as crop yields plummet.

  3. Geoengineering is dangerous as described by climate alarmists,when it could have transborder impacts leading to possible conflicts.Merely reflecting heat back into space isn't a problem in itself.But when I hear absurd ideas like mirrors in space,I just shudder.It's not gonna change the weather!

  4. But, Roger, you don't seem to realize that to the elites "worldwide starvation" of the masses is a desirable outcome. So long as sufficient numbers of proles survive to maintain and support the elites' lavish lifestyles a massive die-off of proles would be a good thing!

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