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Earth Science

Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
First time accepted submitter merbs writes At the first major climate engineering conference, Stanford climatologist Ken Caldeira explains how and why we might come to live on a geoengineered planet, how the field is rapidly growing (and why that's dangerous), and what the odds are that humans will try to hijack the Earth's thermostat. From the article: "For years, Dr. Ken Caldeira's interest in planet hacking made him a curious outlier in his field. A highly respected atmospheric scientist, he also describes himself as a 'reluctant advocate' of researching solar geoengineering—that is, large-scale efforts to artificially manage the amount of sunlight entering the atmosphere, in order to cool off the globe."
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Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering

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  • Just be careful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @01:59PM (#47758605) Homepage Journal

    So long as they don't accidentally break some important system that they forgot to account for, I'm all for it.

  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @01:59PM (#47758625)

    We know there is an ice age tipping point just a few degrees colder then present. Geo-engineering could fuck us all if they trust a climate model that overestimates.

    Alternatively we could all be driving 10 liter W-16s, just to save the planet.

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @02:06PM (#47758689)

    Yeah, that was my first thought. Before you go fucking with something as important as the climate, you had better be DAMN SURE you know EXACTLY what you're doing. Some systems are just not to be fucked with lightly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @02:17PM (#47758827)

    If people thought conflicts over rivers, lakes, land were bad wait until one country is setting the thermostat.

  • by castle (6163) * on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @02:22PM (#47758885) Homepage

    And they already do this stuff at varying scales. Want to increase/decrease rainfall? Been doing it since the 60's and probably earlier.

    I say climate scientists are a pretentious lot. And while I hate to be considered an unreasonable person with regard to respecting scientific opinion, climate science is a major source of ridiculously dangerous and harmful ways to do the wrong thing and throw a complex poorly understood system awry. Thanks for the Ice Age/Marsification/Greenhouse World you self-righteous boffins! ;) but complex organic systems are probably pretty resilient, so perhaps it'll just be a temporary roaring correction til Mama decides to purge the fleas on her back who pretended at trying to fix a system that is self-regulating by doing grossly ridiculous things in the interests of saving us from the over-hyped threat of the generation. ..!..

  • by matbury (3458347) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @02:45PM (#47759163) Homepage

    Geo-engineering to counter the effects of CO2 is like someone taking sleeping pills to counter the effects of habitually doing amphetamines at an alarmingly increasing rate. If that doesn't convince you, how about listening to a well-informed 3rd party who isn't chasing research funding for their pet geo-engineering project: Can Geo-Engineering Save the Planet? - Christopher Williams on Reality Asserts Itself http://therealnews.com/t2/comp... [therealnews.com]

  • by Mr_Wisenheimer (3534031) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @02:49PM (#47759205)

    Who is "we", because it most certainly does not include Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, the petrochemical corporations, or any of their shills and acolytes, and that is a pretty large segment of the population.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @02:56PM (#47759257)

    I see you're still using electricity.

  • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @03:19PM (#47759469) Homepage Journal

    Well bad news, we've been fucking with it heavily for a couple hundred years with no plan whatsoever, and we're still mostly acting like it's no big deal.

    No, we've done very little to purposely change the environment (and nothing at the global scale). Our various industries all give us guaranteed benefits (though not necessarily net benefit), and the effects on the environment are a side-effect, and comparatively small. If we decide to intentionally target the global environment, the effects could be much bigger.

    I'm not saying climate engineering is a bad idea, but keep in mind that people are arrogant and overconfident. Test everything, even if it means going slowly. We don't have a backup planet in case there's a mistake, and we really can afford to wait decades before implementing these measures.

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @04:13PM (#47759945) Homepage

    But morons like you [...] bitches of science denial [...] Stupid, ignorant, FUD spread prick.

    I suppose, this was another example of the sophisticated argument exquisitely worded in order to convince an opponent, rather than shout him down...

    Can I subscribe to your newsletter? Thank you!

  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @05:22PM (#47760501)

    the effects on the environment are a side-effect, and comparatively small. If we decide to intentionally target the global environment, the effects could be much bigger.

    We can only hope, but I find that extremely unlikely. How many dollars have been spent on dredging up carbon and dispersing it into the atmosphere in the last 200 years? The US spends a trillion dollars per year on gasoline alone, and the US is about 1/4 of world oil consumption (less by now). Global coal consumption is over 7 billion tons per year. That is a ton of coal for every man, woman, and child on earth, per year, every year, for decades on end.

    What this means is even if we find some means of restoration that is 100 times as potent at cooling the planet as CO2 is in warming it, the task is incomprehensibly huge.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @05:31PM (#47760597)
    Individual effort is precisely the wrong way to approach the problem. No individual has a measurable impact on the overall environment. The only thing that would work is manipulating the natural economic incentives that are pushing us towards disaster.

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