Tuesday, January 30, 2007

terraforming for dummies

[Bush] cures are another form of denial via energy bulletin
Another proposal, from a scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado, suggests spraying billions of tonnes of sea-water into the air. Regrettably, the production of small salt particles, while generating obscuring mists, could cause droughts in the countries downwind. Another scheme would inject sulphate particles into the stratosphere. It is perhaps less dangerous than the others, but still carries a risk of causing changes in rainfall patterns. As for flipping a giant mirror into orbit, the necessary technologies are probably a century away. All these fixes appear more expensive than cutting the amount of energy we consume. None reduces the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which threatens to acidify the oceans, with grave consequences for the food chain.
The demand that money and research be diverted into these quixotic solutions is another indication that Bush's avowed conversion to the cause of cutting emissions is illusory...

In the first case, these hypothetical techniques proposed to address global warming are all extremely energy intensive (as are proposed techniques for excess carbon to be interred during production of energy.) If one is constantly spending energy to make up for the fact that one is constantly spending energy, there is bound to be less energy on hand for things like stir fried goat tacos for the super bowl party on the plasma telly.

Let's be frank. These ideas are desperate proposals for ad-hoc experimentation on our last planet. Asinine techno-fixes from folks who can't or won't cross their respective peer groups but don't mind torching the globe, if only they can maintain their professional dignity until they die.

The most reliable way to generate a linear outcome for the climate is to head back for familiar territory. Climate models are tuned for the stuff that has been observed, not the outlying edge cases which have a whiff of extreme non-linearity - along with the sulphur. Obviously, it is past time to give up carbon energy in measured chunks, replacing it with conservation and systems which can use ambient energy.

The thoughtful approach isn't yet in the cards. As Jesus observed, (sic,) it is easier for a (carbon rich) human to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for them to enter the Kingdom of (Earth). Because plastic is forever.

I'm getting concerned that Peak Oil, when it breaks through the plateau, could be a barrier to a planned energy descent to prevent runaway global warming. Yes, we'll be burning less - the question is will it be enough less.


At 8:37 AM, November 29, 2008, Blogger yusufyusuf said...

Nice blog...


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