We WILL Try Geoengineering, Not Might

David Trammel's picture

I agree with the point of this article, someone is going to try using aerosols into the upper atmosphere to mitigate climate change. The technology is there, its relatively cheap and government action against what is coming isn't any where near the level it needs to be. Hard not to see some well meaning trillionaire not stepping up and paying to have it done.

"Think Climate Change Is Messy? Wait Until Geoengineering - Someone's bound to hack the atmosphere to cool the planet. So we urgently need more research on the consequences, says climate scientist Kate Ricke."

Love this quote btw:
KR: There might be some technical experts, like me or other people who have worked on this, that would say: ‘Yes, I've seen enough to believe it.’ But in order to have collective decision-making at the global scale, you need science that's viewed as legitimate by everyone. Not everyone, but a lot of people. And we're not there, by a longshot, with geoengineering.

But that's why we need more research. And we need more diversity of who's doing research and where, because the results are going to need to be viewed as legitimate by a much broader group of people. They're not right now. That's definitely not true.

"WIRED: Why not?

KR: Because it's been a small group of mostly elite university white dudes in North America and Europe who've done all the research. And people just don't automatically trust a small group of elites like that. It's actually important that the ministry of the environment in Bangladesh has someone who's Bangladeshi talking to them about geoengineering science. So that, I think, is the biggest problem with the science right now."

Ken's picture

This isn't a very in-depth article but it does raise an interesting point, namely that someone is very likely going to propose that we try this and at the moment, we simply don't know enough about the details and potential consequences to make an informed decision.

Or, as is pointed out in the article, someone who 'knows better' and has billions to burn, will take it upon themselves to act unilaterally, whether the rest of us think it's a good idea or not. I have very little doubt that Elon Musk or Bill Gates would hesitate to experiment with our entire planetary atmosphere if they thought it was the best option.

Perhaps, and this is a very tenuous 'perhaps', the paranoid conspiracies about "chem-trails" is based on uninformed observations of aerosol spraying that is already being tried? Or perhaps it's simply just the dramatic increase in jet travel over the last few decades and it's simply all that jet fuel exhaust up in the atmosphere?

A loaded 747 is said to burn 1 gallon of jet fuel per SECOND of flight. The FAA brags that there are 5,400 aircraft in the air during peak operational times, just in the US alone. Even figuring that a little 737 uses about a quarter of the fuel of a 747 and figuring that all those flights are smaller fuel "efficient" jets, that still adds up to 4,860,000 gallons per HOUR being burned by commercial jets in the US alone. Looking at these numbers, it appears to me that we are ALREADY busily filling the upper atmosphere with prodigious quantities of particulate pollution... mostly while going on vacation!

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