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Thinking Big on Global Warming

Wall Street Journal – October 15, 2007

I think that this is a terrible idea!

This opinion published by the Wall Street Journal suggests that mankind release more pollutants into the atmosphere that will deflect some of the sun and thereby reduce the amount of global warming that we are incurring.

How does adding more stuff to the atmosphere help? What are the side effects? Isn’t this a cosmetic surgery approach to being overweight?

Just like the case of an individual being overweight. The last remedy to save that person should be surgery. Rather, diet and exercise should be employed to make the individual a healthy being. Adding pollutants to the atmosphere as a “sunscreen” has the potential to cause more harm than good and the bad part of the bargain is that we won’t know the side effects until we take the medicine.

In the US, we have the FDA which tests medical procedures for years before allowing average patients to succumb to a new technique or drug. Where will the test planets be for such a dramatic change?

Also, please understand that I am not an enemy of fossil fuels as the article describes. I am simply a realist that doesn’t believe in extremes on most issues.

Since the 1980s, man-made emissions of greenhouse gases have been designated as the principal culprit, especially CO2 emitted by the burning of coal and petroleum products.


Yet no binding agreement has been reached on reducing global CO2 levels, let alone on the means to assure compliance. Decades into this debate, we have neither widely agreed-upon limits on future greenhouse gas emissions nor the administrative capabilities to implement such limits. Moreover, climate scientists warn that emission controls alone may not stabilize the climate.


One approach rarely discussed at global warming conferences is to develop capabilities for increasing the fraction of sunlight that is reflected outward by the upper atmosphere back into space. This approach is called “climate geo-engineering.”


We know it would work because it happens naturally all the time. Clouds routinely deflect sunlight and thereby cool the Earth. Volcanoes — when they erupt and inject millions of tons of fine particulate material into the stratosphere (mostly sulfate aerosols) — have also cooled large regions of the globe.


But beware. Do not try to sell climate geo-engineering to committed enemies of fossil fuels. Although several geo-engineering options appear to be highly cost-effective, ideological opposition to them is often fierce. Fashionable blogs are replete with conspiracy theories and misinformed attacks.

You can read the rest of this ill-conceived idea here.

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