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1,500-Ship Fleet Proposed To Fight Climate Change 692

Posted by timothy
from the sponsored-by-viagra dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "According to UK and US researchers, it should be possible to fight the global warming effects associated with an increase of dioxide levels by using autonomous cloud-seeding ships to spray salt water into the air. This project would require the deployment of a worldwide fleet of 1,500 unmanned ships to cool the Earth even if the level of carbon dioxide doubled. These 300-tonne ships 'would be powered by the wind, but would not use conventional sails. Instead they would be fitted with a number of 20 m-high, 2.5 m-diameter cylinders known as Flettner rotors. The researchers estimate that such ships would cost between £1m and £2m each. This translates to a US$2.65 to 5.3 billion total cost for the ships only."
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1,500-Ship Fleet Proposed To Fight Climate Change

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  • That's what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by matt4077 (581118) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:43PM (#24912821) Homepage
    Two days of war?
    • Re:That's what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:48PM (#24912861) Homepage

      I'd think a bad idea.

      What happens when we get the clouds at this and that location instead of wherever it would be generated without the ships?

      Are we 100% sure how the weather will be affected by the ships?

      Will richer countries try to get more water by controlling the rain?

      What if mother nature takes care about the CO2 emissions without us interfering?

      What if it doesn't affect things that much? Or much more than we believe?

      Would it be like, you know, much "easier" and safer to stop using fossile fuel? Even if it would put development backwards "a bit" for the moment?

      • Re:That's what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:08PM (#24913059)

        "a bit" is a bit of an understatement. Billions would die without fossil fuels.

      • She will. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:09PM (#24913071)

        What if mother nature takes care about the CO2 emissions without us interfering?

        One way or another, she will. But the kick in the balls is, we may not like how she takes care of it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Isnt water vapor a greenhouse gas? Im guessing after we complete this project we will have to spend 15b on some cleanup of the new mess we have made. And then 90b to clean up the subsequent "fix".

          • Re:She will. (Score:4, Informative)

            by pushing-robot (1037830) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @08:26PM (#24914957)

            Step 1: Turn the ships off.
            Step 2: Wait two weeks for all the water vapor to precipitate.

            Do I get my $15b now?

            Water vapor doesn't stay in the atmosphere for very long at all — maybe a week or two. Other greenhouse gases vary: Ozone lasts a few weeks, methane, about a decade, CO2 and fluorocarbons, close to a century.

            But in each case, "cleanup" is just a matter of waiting. The hard part is stopping production, but in the case of these ships it's as easy as flipping a switch.

      • Re:That's what? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:27PM (#24913243) Journal

        When it comes right down to it, no we are not 100 percent sure, richer countries WILL try to get more water if it does work, mother nature is a non-existent entity, that's what expiriments are for and it probably will, probably but it probably won't do the job.

        In the end having the data and knowing if/how we can alter the climate will be far more beneficial than not. We're changing the environment without thought, this is changing it with thought.

      • A desperate measure (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AySz88 (1151141)
        I agree. It's a nice thought experiment, but nobody is going to do this unless we were really, really desperate to change our climate. I hope we don't see this implemented, because it would probably mean that we'd have gotten in trouble of Hollywood-esque proportions.
      • Re:That's what? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gregbot9000 (1293772) <mckinleg@csusb.edu> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:59PM (#24913509) Journal
        I wouldn't mind slowing development down to save the world, but I have a lot of things that I could do without. People in Africa or China might not be so keen on that idea though. People who are on the losing side of a statues-que don't really care a lot to maintain it, even if it is the current weather patterns.

        Would it be cheaper to just mitigate the change? Build irrigation canals from Alaska and quadruple the levies on the Mississippi? I think we should do whatever is cheaper in the long run. I don't think it will be trying to change ourselves to fit the planet, I think we should embrace global warming and finally take control of the environment itself and put the final nail in Gia's coffin. Stories like this help give hope that there are people out there actually trying to solve the problem by moving forward instead of advocating a return to the 1930's

        BTW to the "environmentalists" out there, their isn't a "natural" environment anywhere in the US, small things like the introduction of earth worms and bee's and fire suppression have dramatically changes the very nature of our forests, even before that, the Natives engaged in controlled burns and selective harvesting. The entire planet is a garden people have been modifying. I just want you to know that nature has been dead for a long time. when you protect the trees and the forest it is exactly the same as if you were debating whether or not to pull up the daisy's in your back yard. Environmentalism is a luxury like gardening. Though I still agree with you when it comes to green spaces in cities and arsenic and Mercury in the air.
        • Re:That's what? (Score:5, Informative)

          by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday September 07, 2008 @05:20PM (#24913667) Homepage

          Build irrigation canals from Alaska and quadruple the levies on the Mississippi?

          Oh, that ought to be just a cheap, quickie little fix ... The proposed cost of the Alaska Natural Gas pipeline which is supposed to run between 800 and 1000 miles is around 20-40 billion dollars. That's one weeney little pipe, not a canal. Going from Southeast Alaska / Western Canada (where all the water is) to anywhere in the midcontinental US (where is water isn't) has to go at least 1500 miles and through such minor obstacles as the Rocky Mountains.

          Call me negative, but I don't think it will work.

        • Re:That's what? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @07:18PM (#24914529) Homepage

          Tss, bullshit, the average american or european consume waaay more energy and resources than someone in china, why would they have to cut down the most? Or even at all? If we would have want to make it "fair" we would have to cut down much more on consumption and luxury in the western world first.

          Also IF it will happen bad things who will suffer the most? For sure not the most rich people, maybe in materialism loss but I would believe that the poor people will take the hardest hit, since they can't afford to travel and maybe can't get into other countries and don't have a good education and so on so on. So in that case if we do anything they will suffer the most, and they wasn't the ones causing it in the first place!

          Sure doing something about it will affect people in the western world the most, poor people in africa without electricity, a car and so on will probably not even notice the difference, or only slightly, but that is the most fair and correct way to solving it.

          (And while doing it may I suggest to reserve say 1/2 of the area in every country for the wild life to?)

          So please stop this "omg I think so much about the poor so we can't hinder them from reaching our standards"-bullshit.

          The solution, or not doing anything, MAY cost more than to do something. Same with nuclear power, who knows in the end what it will cost? Sure it's efficient now, and seems like a good deal, but who will know for sure in the end? With wind and solar power you know they are "more expensive" for now but at least there isn't many hidden costs or future risks. You know the price.

          I agree with you that most of the planet isn't wild life / nature longer, a very huge area is crops and such and all the elephants, tigers, lions and shit probably lives in small reservates, it's not how the live in whole continents.

          • Re:That's what? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by daBass (56811) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @08:37PM (#24915019)

            Tss, bullshit, the average american or european consume waaay more energy and resources than someone in china, why would they have to cut down the most?

            And much of the energy used in China is used to manufacture goods for export - the things we consume too much off!

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by aliquis (678370)

              So? Stop consuming them and they won't make them. Simple as that.

              And my point was already that it's the consumers "fault" they produce the things.

      • Re:That's what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fjan11 (649654) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @05:06PM (#24913549) Homepage

        The beauty of this idea is that you can start small, measure what happens and stop right away if it doesn't work as intended or if it turns out to have side effects.

        The idea that China and India will stop their fossil fuel intake while the US uses 10 times as much is about as realistic in a geopolitical sense as, oh I don't know, sending an army to Irak and expecting democracy to appear.

      • Re:That's what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Damarkus13 (1000963) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @05:08PM (#24913569)
        I agree with you. Every time I hear a story with a title something like, "We can FIX global warming by messing with some other aspect of the weather system!" It makes me cringe.

        We don't really know what's going on (I would love it if someone has a link to an article about an accurate computer model of the weather system, but I've never found one.) We see the average global temp increasing along with greenhouse gasses (but now the Germans are telling us GW is taking a hiatus, which means most all of our previous models are wrong), so lets cut back on the greenhouse gases (hell, hopefully eliminate man-made greenhouse emissions), not screw with the weather system even more.

        • Re:That's what? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @07:27PM (#24914583) Homepage

          But then people say "hey it's no idea we can't get back to stone age!"

          But uhm, we can do SOMETHING, we don't need a new computer every second year, we don't need new clothes all the time, we don't need local grown oil powered green house vegetables if there are some sun light grown somewhere else. Do we need that 340 watt lcd tv? Pre-cooked food, freezed and microwaved? Can't we take the bike a little more often?

          But oh no, doing something must mean to stop everything!!

        • Re:That's what? (Score:5, Informative)

          by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @10:58PM (#24915839) Journal
          "Germans are telling us GW is taking a hiatus, which means most all of our previous models are wrong"

          The German paper used the same models but with slightly different assumptions and they arrived at similar conclusions about the long term trend (post - 2015). It's an interseting paper but the Germans themselves would agree it's complete nonsense to say it "means most all of our previous models are wrong".

          "I would love it if someone has a link to an article about an accurate computer model of the weather system, but I've never found one."

          There is no single accurate model and there never will be. Accuracy is a function of mankinds future actions, the precision of observations and the resolution of the numerical analysis amoung other things. The models themselves are basically Finite Element Analysis [wikipedia.org] models, thus the need for very powerfull number crunchers. They account for forcings and some of the major feedbacks but cannot account for feedbacks we know very little about ( thus the hand-wringing about "tipping points"). It's generally agreed that at best they can only predict large scale climate changes (ie: continental proportions).

          The MET office [metoffice.gov.uk] in the UK is a good source of info on models and even has a computer program you can tinker with yourself (I will let you find that yourself). Thier list of climate center sites is also very useful. [metoffice.gov.uk]

          The IPCC site [www.ipcc.ch] has become close to useless since it's last redesign and it is difficult to find stuff on it. However the MET office provides an accesible way to read the reports [metoffice.gov.uk]. The IPCC does not conduct science, it reviews it. The RANGE of conclusions in the report are derived from thousands of simulations from various models and are distilled down to worst, best and most likely senarios.

          Yes I know the MET is a single source, it just happens to be a good one and will point you in the right direction. If you are looking for a good climate mythbusting site then you might want to try realclimate [realclimate.org].

          "[TFA] makes me cringe."

          Ditto!
      • Re:That's what? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hedwards (940851) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @06:42PM (#24914283)

        Sigh, I don't imagine you could spend some time in science class actually studying things.

        The theory behind this is reasonably sound, the issue like with most others is that it's expensive and nobody knows whether it's going to be cost effective when compared with other possible options.

        This has nothing to do with CO2 directly and everything to do with temperature. What they're trying to do is reflect back more of the incoming solar radiation to lower the temperature.

        Suggesting that there are consequences of that sort is kind of silly because the most likely outcome is nothing. Additionally any affect is only going to last as long as the ships continue to spray the mist. It isn't going to go on indefinitely.

    • Re:That's what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:50PM (#24912883) Journal

      Two days of war?

      Or more to the point less than the cost of cleaning up after one hurricane.

    • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @06:58PM (#24914407) Homepage

      Two days of war?

      I'd prefer to look at it as every able-bodied living person obtaining a $0.99 rubber chicken and shaking it at the sky... Costs the same, involves the entire world community, and is just as useful.

  • Headline (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FuturePastNow (836765) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:46PM (#24912839)

    I saw this on the Discovery Channel. The rotor-sails look very interesting.

    One question for any Chaos Theory fans: what are the long-term effects of creating large, man-made clouds over the ocean?

  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:47PM (#24912845) Homepage

    Where's the obligatory whatcouldpossiblygowrong tag?

    I mean, come on, use your imagination: a autonomous robotic fleet of cloud spewers gone astray?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BitterOldGUy (1330491)

      ..a autonomous robotic fleet of cloud spewers gone astray?

      I for one welcome our cloud spewing robotic overlords! We need the rain here in the S. East!

  • Futurama (Score:5, Funny)

    by asills (230118) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:47PM (#24912853)

    And here I thought dropping an ice cube into the ocean was a really far fetched idea and nobody would take it seriously.

  • A Bad Doctor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adreno (1320303) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:48PM (#24912865)
    A bad doctor treats symptoms without addressing the underlying ailment. With China and India (1/3 of the world's population), and other parts of the world booming, the release of greenhouse gasses is only going to accelerate. If we took this money and invested it into researching and implementing green alternatives to our current fossil-fuel infrastructure instead, more progress would be made in the long run.
    • Re:A Bad Doctor (Score:5, Insightful)

      by belmolis (702863) <billposer@nOSpam.alum.mit.edu> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:53PM (#24912921) Homepage

      But it is also a bad doctor who treats the underlying cause without treating the symptoms if it will take a long time for the disease to go away and the symptoms are bothersome. Techniques like this should probably be used in conjunction with attempts to eliminate the causes of global warming.

      It isn't as if this is so expensive that no money would be available for other approaches. Sure, $5 billion sounds like a lot, but it is only 0.5% of the what the US has spent on the Iraq War so far.

      • Re:A Bad Doctor (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Adreno (1320303) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:20PM (#24913195)
        Uh huh... try convincing the public to dedicate such government funding to a scheme that would place 1500, 300-ton boats on open waters. You're now talking about higher frequency of ocean collisions; increased wreckage after damaging storms (and thereby increased maintenance costs all around); the energy expenditure (and CO2 release) required to produce such ships in the first place; and so many other counterproductive scenarios. Copper is being stolen from facilities across the U.S. as prices rise even today - what's to stop someone from going out to salvage an unmanned ship in international waters if it is constructed of materials desired? Our Coast Guard can't even track many drug-runners in the Caribbean, and you want to place 1500 ships on the ocean and cross your fingers that no one touches them? There are many other, more direct paths to solving this global problem, than the construction of a huge fleet of water-spraying ships that *may* increase sunlight reflectivity by a significant amount while likely instigating numerous practical issues in its implementation.
        • Re:A Bad Doctor (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GayBliss (544986) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @05:38PM (#24913795) Homepage

          You're now talking about higher frequency of ocean collisions;

          Do you realize how big the oceans are? The chances of any ship even seeing one of 1500 ships scattered around the globe is practically zero unless they are placed near a port or on shipping lanes. Ships go from one port to another on very specific routes, they don't wander around the oceans. Keep them out of the shipping lanes and nobody will ever see them.

          increased wreckage after damaging storms (and thereby increased maintenance costs all around);

          Negligible

          the energy expenditure (and CO2 release) required to produce such ships in the first place;

          Negligible

          what's to stop someone from going out to salvage an unmanned ship in international waters if it is constructed of materials desired?

          I think ships are made primarily of steel and not copper. It would be a whole lot cheaper and easier to just raid the local junkyard.

          Our Coast Guard can't even track many drug-runners in the Caribbean, and you want to place 1500 ships on the ocean and cross your fingers that no one touches them?

          They could track them very easily if they knew where they were in the first place. I seriously doubt they are just going to let these ships wander around aimlessly through the oceans with no way to find them and identify them except by searching for them. If such a plan were implemented, I'm sure they would know exactly where they are at all times.

          There are many other, more direct paths to solving this global problem,

          Really? This seems like a very cheap and direct solution if it indeed works.

          than the construction of a huge fleet of water-spraying ships that *may* increase sunlight reflectivity by a significant amount while likely instigating numerous practical issues in its implementation.

          If the best experts agree that it might work, it's worth testing on a small scale and see what happens in terms of cloud reflectivity and any adverse effects. It could probably even be tested to some extent without building a single ship.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CodeBuster (516420)
          Well, we could always arm the ships with automated weapons systems and IFF and program them to repel boarders who have not entered the proper codes or have the right IFF transponder. GPS tracking systems with silent alarms are another possibility. There are ways to mitigate the risks from pirates (the real at sea kind in this case).
    • Re:A Bad Doctor (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:15PM (#24913151)

      A good doctor treats the symptoms as well as the ailment - more so when the ailment itself can't be cured. Quality of life is important.

      This is a plan that could in theory be put into practice tomorrow, partially relieving those symptoms while longer term cures are being put into place.

      While the relatively rich first world has the money to build new infrastructure - to work towards that cure - development takes time, and current alternatives don't have the capacity to meet current energy demands. That *WILL* change, but not for some time. Here in the UK, there's a lot of emphasis on making this change at the moment, but even if we start replacing everything today it will be decades before we can completely phase out our existing coal plants. In the US, it's even worse as your grid needs to be redesigned and rebuilt from scratch to accomadate wind farms and their ilk. No small task.

      The only countries for which this will be 'easy' are those able to tap geothermal reserves.

      For the second and third world these green alternatives are currently too expensive, and will likely remain so until the technology is being produces in such quantities as to be considered a commodity. Even then, the third world will likely be unable to afford anything except used hand-me-downs from the first and second.

      So, what do you do?
      A) Treat the symptoms and buy the time for all of this to happen - affirmative action

      B) Treat the symptoms and forget to treat the ailment - what you think will happen

      Or

      C) Treat the ailment and ignore the symptoms - your suggestion

      For the record, taking action C would also be more expensive financially, as treating those symptoms also reduces the amount of damage inflicted.

      I admire the idealism, but you need to consider the reality of the situation at the same time or you end up making popular, but ultimately bad decisions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cairnarvon (901868)

      There are a lot of people saying things like ``if we took this money and instead did x'' every time someone comes up with one of these plans, but at the end of the day, none of that money is actually being spent, neither on this nor on x.
      If we took the money from any of the vastly counterproductive things we waste money on (Iraq being the obvious example) rather than taking it from things that might actually work, we might actually get something done.

  • Genius (Score:5, Informative)

    by OpenSourced (323149) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:50PM (#24912897) Journal

    Pure genius. Take a system you don't really understand, but depend on for living, and drastically modify a variable to see what happens.

    At least, after that, the farmers affected with drought, or torrential rains, or whatever, will be able to sue somebody.

    • Re:Genius (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:39PM (#24913335)

      Pure genius. Take a system you don't really understand, but depend on for living, and drastically modify a variable to see what happens.

      That's exactly what we've been doing for more than a century now.

    • Salty clouds? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stephen Ma (163056)
      We also don't know what salty clouds will do to the world. All the clouds at the moment have only fresh water. What would happen if the clouds (and rain) became salty? Will all the world's farmland be poisoned slowly?
    • Re:Genius (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster (516420) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @07:34PM (#24914633)
      We are already effectively conducting a vast uncontrolled experiment with many uncontrolled or poorly controlled variables by burning fossil fuels and continuing to live as we have been living. If a bad outcome is unavoidable without additional changes then we must at least try to change, even though the results might be unpredictable because what is the alternative?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by toddestan (632714)

      Well, at least with this proposal, if it doesn't work out you tell the ships to stop making clouds, the existing clouds will dissipate fairly quickly, and you're basically back to where you started. In that sense, it seems less drastic and risky than other things I have heard thrown about.

  • Thus (Score:5, Funny)

    by CSMatt (1175471) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:51PM (#24912913)

    solving the problem once and for all.

    ONCE AND FOR ALL!

  • by martinw89 (1229324) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:52PM (#24912915)

    It will be interesting to see if this idea gains more ground, and if there will be a general scientific consensus on this proposal. Personally, I wonder if this method could actually cause MORE problems. But I have absolutely no credentials and nothing to back this up with. So, what will the consensus be?

  • Ahoy there matey! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:52PM (#24912917) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who assumed that these would be pirate ships? [wikipedia.org]
  • Lime... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pedrito (94783) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:56PM (#24912947) Homepage

    I'm kind of fond of the resurrection of the lime [slashdot.org] idea, in part because it addresses at least 2 problems at once, though I don't know what the economics of it are in comparison to this. In addition to reducing CO2 overall, it also makes the sea more alkaline, which is good for sea life, in particular, coral. A lot of coral has been wiped out because of increased acidity in the ocean (due to, surprise, increased CO2 absorption).

  • by polar red (215081) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:04PM (#24913031)

    the US government gave a few hundred billion dollars to the upper class today, by buying out freddie and fannie ...

  • Better idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joebert (946227) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:05PM (#24913035) Homepage
    I've got a better idea.
    Lay pipelines from the ocean leading to the desert and spray saltwater over the desert & let nature do the rest of the work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by HeLLFiRe1151 (743468)
      You mean like Death Valley which is below sea level? Which mostly is a prehistoric salt water lake anyways. Stop making sense, it upsets the balance of power for elitists.
  • by vandelais (164490) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:25PM (#24913227)

    Where will the ships get the salt water from?

  • Ok, go ahead (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thermian (1267986) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:29PM (#24913261)

    But say goodbye to the Caribbean Islands before you do.

    Millions of tons of sand from the Sahara are carried across the Atlantic and deposited on the Caribbean Islands every year. Start seeding more then the normal amount of clouds in the Atlantic, and you risk blocking this sand transport mechanism.

    If that happens, erosion will soon destroy those Islands.

    Mind you, if these hurricanes continue, they'll cease to be habitable anyway, so it may be they're screwed whatever happens.

  • Salty rain??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by advocate_one (662832) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @04:41PM (#24913355)
    surely that would kill plants and create another disaster in failing crops...
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @06:11PM (#24914013) Journal

    ...I actually RTFA. And I still think it's ridiculous.

    Each of these ships weighs 300 tonnes (which I presume is close enough to a ton for engineering), or 600,000lbs. You're telling me you can build a ship for $5 a pound? I call bullshit. Steel is one of the least expensive materials, and raw steel is running close to $1/lb delivered, with absolutely zero fabrication, zero assembly, zero testing, zero commissioning, and zero operation. There's no way you can build a durable, seagoing ship for $5/lb.

    Second...what powers these things? Oh, sure they use rotating sails. Bullshit. That was scrapped long ago. It has all the drawbacks of powered propulsion (you have to spin them with motors) and all the drawbacks of sails (if there is no wind, you have to propulsion). Every first year aero engineering student learns about these things.

    No, even if the concept works (which is, imho, questionable), I predict it will cost at least an order of magnitude greater than planned. Why not spend the money to advance solar collection techniques and battery/storage technology to avoid both the CO2 problem with fossil fuels, and the inherent limits to fossil fuel usage?

  • Newtons 2nd law... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Admin (304403) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @07:22PM (#24914539)

    There is no free lunch.

    Manufacturing 1500, 300 ton ships will generate more pollution than the ships can remove in their lifetime. That is alot of steel, coal, oil(lubricants), and electronics, at the very least.

  • by narcberry (1328009) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @07:25PM (#24914565) Journal

    You guys don't trust your expert meteorologist's weather over the next several days. Please stop trusting your politicians about weather over the next several decades.

  • by dr2chase (653338) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @09:13PM (#24915231) Homepage
    Cooling the earth for a few billion dollars is chickenfeed. What if some large country (us, China, India, Brazil, just for example) decides that they'd like a little extra cooling? Too bad for Canada, eh? If this (or any similar "cheap" cooling technology) works and is deployed, it will make for some interesting negotiations.
  • But where (Score:3, Funny)

    by rossdee (243626) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @09:17PM (#24915247)

    would we get a heroine to inspire such a fleet? She would have to be 50% more beautiful than Helen of Troy...

  • by jandersen (462034) on Monday September 08, 2008 @02:17AM (#24916725)

    To be fair, I think this is probably just part of a major brainstorming session on how to solve our problems with climate change.

    Personlly I think we now have little alternative but to endure the changes and try to adjust; we might save the situation IF there had been the polical will to make the sacrifices necessary, and IF everybody in the world genuinely saw the need. But we don't. However, it still makes sense to get rid of burning fossil fuels and wasting resources that cannot be replaced - we will need that skill. And it still makes sense to put an effort into saving bio-diversity everywhere on the planet, because we will need every bit of it that we can save.

    But this idea - like the ideas with the space mirrors and spreading particles in the atmospere - is simply stupid. It's like paying off a debt with a loan - it isn't necessarily a bad idea, but before you engage in that, you want to be absolutely sure that it doesn't leave you worse off. I can see a lot of problems with this scheme without even having thought about it: we are spraying salt water up in the air - where is that salt going to end up? Or rather, how big a part of it will end up on land, where it could potentially be a problem?

    And how many sea creatures - fish, jelly fish, dolphins etc - will this scheme kill by shredding them and blasting the up in the atmosphere? If we implement this, we will want it to have significant impact - but then the unintended side effect will most likely also be significant. As far as I can see, we can probably adjust somewhat to the worst of global warming, simply by not living beyond our means.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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