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1,500-Ship Fleet Proposed To Fight Climate Change

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the sponsored-by-viagra dept.

Earth 692

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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692 comments

That's what? (5, Insightful)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912821)

Two days of war?

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

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912861)

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? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913059)

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

Re:That's what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913357)

ATTN:

I just took a massive shit. If anyone is hungry or curious, I didn't flush. Check the west bathroom, first stall.

-- Rob

She will. (5, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:That's what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913103)

1) Clouds are not a limited resources. Generating some clouds some places won't mean regular clouds won't appear.

2) No, we're not 100% sure. So?

3) Yes, richer (or powerful) countries may try to get more water (I'm thinking Israel and China here). That doesn't mean poor countries will get less.

4) "Mother nature" is a fucking piece of rock. If you think a piece of rock will take care of anything, you're an idiot.

5) What if it doesn't affect things that much? Nothing. Let's try...

6) Easier to stop fossil fuel? Are you out of your mind? Our whole society and our way of life is based on this. Changing a whole society is certainly not easy. Particularly changing every trucks, cars, ships, planes, as well as a lot of heat generating systems (particularly in industries) and so many other uses for fossil fuel is a daunting task. Why not just kill 5 billion humans so pollution won't be a problem anymore. It certainly would be an easier task.

There are dangers for playing with meteorology and I have my doubts about the project. But all your arguments are dumb.

Re:That's what? (1, Interesting)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913423)

I agree with you except 2 points:
  • We need to do enough research to make sure it won't cause a hurricane / tsunami first (would make an interesting weapon if they were stealthed).
  • Israel probably could change their weather, but it would be hard for China as the ocean is to their East and they're above the equator. I suppose they could pipe the water long distances, but that would require a lot of energy.

    This is interesting as I've been wondering if making huge lakes by excavating / pumping salt water in the desert would make more predictable weather for the great plains or if it would cause more volatile weather.

Re:That's what? (3, Interesting)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913243)

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.

Re:That's what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913301)

What about if it started raining SALT!?! Something like that would be very very very problematic! Typical western science solving problems with problems...instead of lessen dependency on oil, why not invade oil producing countries and important pipeline countries?

A desperate measure (2, Interesting)

AySz88 (1151141) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913351)

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? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913047)

What ever that post is, it isn't off topic... (Hint to the mods, according to the guidelines for moderation, the first post is never off topic. More to the point though, asking about the cost in relation to the Iraq war (which I was going to do until I saw this post), is also quite relevant. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan not only cost lots of money (and don't seem to be doing much), but also put out lots of carbon dioxide. Which makes the greenhouse affect more noticeable, and climate change more pronounced as well.)

There are invariably comments about "how much" various projects like this cost. But compared to war, this is a pittance.

Posted anon., 'cause I'm a coward.

Great idea...! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913407)

Let's tell the politicians they'll be able to buy their way out of it .... using untried methods which could easily make things worse, not better.

Which part of that previous sentence to you think a politician will hear? Which part will be blocked out?

Headline (4, Interesting)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:Headline (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912863)

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

In Central Park you get rain instead of sunshine and a whole lot of people get eaten by prehistoric animals?

Re:Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24912995)

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?

Massive flooding inland resulting in tens to hundreds of billions in damage a year. Additional cloud cover reducing plant growth. Ironically increased cloud cover can cause droughts in neighboring areas since heavier clouds will tend to dump on one area and leave another neighboring area in drought. It's similar to what happens with mountains where one side is wet and the other dry. Truth? It's impossible to be sure because there are too many unknowns including the affect of large amounts of salt in the atmosphere and raining down on land. The idea I'm sure is it'll all rain back down in the oceans but that's unlikely. Also even if this happens we're talking changing ocean weather patterns that will affect shipping and ocean life. Our track record on climate engineering for positive benefit is pretty miserable. Simply relocating CO2 to the ocean from the atmosphere causes the oceans to go acidic. It's already happening and may be a major factor in coral bleaching so we are talking about dramatically increasing the rate this happens. The real solution is to not release the CO2 in the first place not try to dump it somewhere else especially when that place makes most of the oxygen and a large percentage of the food. It's like dumping sewage in a river. Who's that going to hurt? Do you get your water from the river and fish to eat? We're in a closed ecosystem and everything has a ripple effect.

Re:Headline (1, Insightful)

smashin234 (555465) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913067)

chaos theory has everything to do with this even being introduced...

Global warming is being modeled due to chaos theory stating that it is possible to predict the future of complex systems.

However, another part of chaos theory says its impossible to control in any way a complex system and any attempt to do so will result in unforseen consequences and more then likely castatrophic results...

So trying to fix CO2 through global methods is a wasted effort to begin with. The best that mankind can do is reduce CO2.

Re:Headline (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913259)

I don't disagree with you that we should reduce CO2 levels, but you need to do some more reading on what chaos theory implies.

It doesn't say it's impossible to control in any way a complex system. It doesn't say any attempt to do so will result in unforeseen consequences. It says nothing about catastrophic results. It doesn't say that it is possible to predict the future of complex systems.

That's not the best we can do (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913409)

So trying to fix CO2 through global methods is a wasted effort to begin with. The best that mankind can do is reduce CO2.

A chaotic system can't be completely controlled forever, but parts of it can be controlled for a while. Nonlinear dynamic systems are everywhere. Controlling small aspects of these systems is the essence of technologically driven change. We'll get a new problem after the ships are deployed, but unintended consequences have been occurring all along with every change we make. Our descendants will do what every generation has done before them, take the planet as they receive it and carve out the best life they can for themselves. It's not up to us to solve their problems for them, but rather to give them good tools and knowledge to fight for themselves.

conventional windmills instead of Flettner rotors? (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913269)

There are some funny aspects to this design: Why would they choose flettner rotors over conventional windmills? I am pretty sure you can use windmill in the same way as an autogyro to provide propulsive force, the same as these magical rotors. The advantage would be that the rotation of the blades creates big G-forces, and thus pressure if you happened to run a waterpipe to the blade-tip. This pressure then could be used to atomise seawater into a large volume of air.
If there was some easy process to store the electrical energy from the windmills (like a giant battery, hydrogen is much too voluminous), one could let these ships loiter in windy regions harvesting energy instead of only spraying some saltwater in the air.

Huh? (4, Funny)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912845)

Where's the obligatory whatcouldpossiblygowrong tag?

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

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24912855)

Don't you mean the obligatory ohnoitsroland tag?

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913087)

..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!

What will definitely go wrong? (1, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913207)

For contrast with "what could possibly go wrong"....

What could definitely go wrong if we don't?

Because the world is going to have a surplus of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for decades to come one way or another, even under very aggressive carbon-dioxide emission reduction schemes.

Re:What will definitely go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913417)

Why don't we take that $2.5B to $5B and supply homes with solar panels. That could cut CO2 emissions and put us on a better path anyways. I know it won't provide all homes with all power but it certainly would be a good step. Maybe we could just stop the war a month early and get the money that ways. It doesn't matter because once China and Russia are done cashing those bonds our economy is gonna collapse anyways. I hope you guys have enough bullets because it is coming......

Somebody else that watches Sci/Discovey (1)

Gendo420 (656068) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912849)

they talked about this a few weeks ago on one of those educational programs. Not really new or newsworthy at the moment, but what do I know

Futurama (5, Funny)

asills (230118) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912853)

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

Re:Futurama (5, Funny)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913055)

Fortunately our handsomest politicians came up with a cheap, last minute way to combat global warming.

Re:Futurama (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913439)

I keep telling people, corks in cows arses is the way to go, but every time i tell someone they try to have me committed. Why won't anyone listen to me!? The cows are EVIL I tells you.

A Bad Doctor (5, Insightful)

Adreno (1320303) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912921)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913091)

A bad doctor treats

But it is also a bad doctor who treats

I don't think it's doctors who are going to solve this problem.

Re:A Bad Doctor (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913253)

Oh - Doctors will definitely be in on it- maybe not medical doctors so much, but lots of other kinds of doctors.

Re:A Bad Doctor (4, Insightful)

Adreno (1320303) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Treating symptoms (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913339)

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.

Only this is like treating baby's "symptom" of screaming it's head off due to teething and possible gum infection by rubbing some cocaine into kid's gums.

There sure is going to be some apparently beneficial effect, and once the kid stops teething and the infection subsides - it might even seem as perfectly clever thing to do in the future.
So much that some TV hack like say... Oprah... or Dr. Phil might promote it on national TV.
Which would lead the lower part of the IQ curve to jump on that "treatment" for nearly any kind of pain their kids yell about in the future.

And... just like pumping large quantities of salt water in the air - only years later would we see the full consequences of such "treatment".

A bad doctor doesn't treat the symptoms. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912943)

You are crazy. This is a such a small amount of money, and could alleviate fallout from global warming. If it works, it would be money well-spent. It makes no sense to turn up you nose at this kind of technology as part of the solution to global warming.

Re:A Bad Doctor (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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:A Bad Doctor (1)

Adreno (1320303) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913307)

I never suggested we ignore the symptoms. Rather, I would like to suggest that placing 1500, 300 ton ships on the ocean to continually spray water into the air would likely cause MANY more problems than it could potentially alleviate.

Re:A Bad Doctor (0, Flamebait)

bartyboy (99076) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913211)

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.

Yeah, how about China and India do their part, too? Why is the onus on the West to cut back on greenhouse emissions while the Far East countries accelerate their output?

Re:A Bad Doctor (1)

mean pun (717227) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913375)

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.

Yeah, how about China and India do their part, too? Why is the onus on the West to cut back on greenhouse emissions while the Far East countries accelerate their output?

Why do you think that `we' and `our' didn't include China and India?

For every action... (1, Interesting)

Nezer (92629) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912879)

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." - Sir Issac Newton

I, for one, am curious about the effects of moving all this CO2 into the oceans. Surly this will not be without it's consequences. Just as moving this CO2 that was locked for millions of years underground out into the atmosphere has had its effects, so to will this.

Still, I applaud the effort to help solve the problem and this "solution" would, at the very least, buy us some time but it will come at a cost that has yet to be known (and I'm not talking the direct fiscal cost talked about here).

Re:For every action... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913045)

Uh? They're talking about enhancing the reflectivity of low-lying clouds above the oceans, not moving CO2 into the oceans.

And Newton's Third Law's reaction to spraying salt water into the air is to push your ship a little deeper into the ocean.

Re:For every action... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913069)

Read the article. They're not moving CO2 anywhere, just changing the albedo of the clouds to reflect more light.

Re:For every action... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913325)

They're not talking about C02 sequestering, but about creating a cloud layer over key areas, like the polar ice sheets.

These clouds would reflect light back into space, resulting in a drop in temperatures in these regions. As Climate is a global system, this would have knock-on effects on the rest of the world that current simulations predict would counter global warming trends, for as long as the ships remain operable.

Genius (4, Informative)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912897)

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 (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913051)

No doubt those implementing such a scheme would wait until the very last ship was built and would then press the "Run for 50 years" button, rather than testing the first few dozen for a few months at a time. No doubt whatsoever.

Re:Genius (1)

MikeElectric (1328933) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913215)

How is this any different from GM crops? That's an ongoing experiment that will probably end in disaster, but, the key is "Today's Profits". Profits today, in a capitalistic system, always outweigh the long term consequences of being wrong. Get With "The System" Man.

Re:Genius (4, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Vaporware Wacko Idea (-1, Troll)

MikeV (7307) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912901)

Old news - saw this on a Discovery Channel special along with all sorts of other wacko ideas. And that's where it will remain - as a wacko idea. And as such, very much worthy of notice from /.

Hmmm, Flettner also has horrible tacking performance and downwind performance - it will very quickly be ruled out as an option for certain. You know, if it was a serious project, they'd use something that was tried and true rather than some short-lived gimmick from the middle part of last century.

Meanwhile, legitimate solutions continue to be ignored as more wacko and out-on-a-limb ideas are thrown into the pot to dilute it and render it completely ineffective. Me? I eagerly await being able to don a grass skirt and dancing under a coconut palm in the middle of December in Northern Texas, thoroughly scaring my nosy neighbors. So ya'll just keep up with the crack-pot ideas that will never go anywhere.

Global Money Making Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24912907)

The GW money making machine is in full swing, ripping off as many taxpayers as possible. Great job, you con artists!

Re:Global Money Making Machine (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913039)

The GW money making machine is in full swing, ripping off as many taxpayers as possible. Great job, you con artists!

Speaking as a fully paid-up card carrying member of the bunny-loving, tree-hugging, knit-your-own-yoghurt brigade, and having paid an interest in global warming since Hansen et. al. (1988), I must say I'm sitting here on top of a big pile of money just cackling to myself whilst I light myself another Monte Cristo and finish of the last of the Montrachet '86. Thank-you so much to all those fools who cut down on their carbon emissions, thus ???, allowing me to profit! Muahahahahahaha.

Re:Global Money Making Machine (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913415)

Global warming is part of a natural cycle. It happened many times before. They're finding human artifacts [google.com] underneath melting glaciers in the Swiss Alps, for crying out loud! What does it mean?

It means that the earth was warm enough at one point in the past for humans to live in areas that are still covered with ice.

It means that there were no glaciers in those areas a few thousand years ago because the earth was warmer than it is now.

It means that humans did not cause global warming then.

It means that SUVs are not causing global warmning now.

It means, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

It means, stop ripping me off with your carbon footprint taxes.

It means, take your footprint and your carbon and pack them up your asses. LOL.

Re:Global Money Making Machine (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913041)

a few billion dollars ? as opposed to the the hundreds of billion dollars made by the oil-industry ?

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. (4, Interesting)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Redefining the problem... (1)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912923)

So, the problem isn't global warming, but that our clouds aren't reflective enough? It's a chrome-plated bandaid.

Re:Redefining the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913089)

Bling bling bitches !

Being as WATER VAPOR is the #1 greenhouse gas.... (1)

simhomer (1313095) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912929)

Being as WATER VAPOR is the #1 greenhouse gas, I fail to see how SPRAYING WATER into the air would be helpful.

Oil (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912939)

And how will this deal with the rapidly depleting fossil fuel supplies?

This sends out the wrong message, that we can continue on unchanged.

Re:Oil (2, Insightful)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913161)

Oil may have turned the corner, but there are more fossil fuels than that. There are literally hundreds of years' worth of workable coal deposits. What worries me is that atmospheric pollution is a classic tragedy-of-the-commons. So long as there's a sufficiently industrialised civilisation to dig it up and burn it, we're going to be emitting fossil CO2 at, at best, mid-20th century levels for the foreseeable future. Look out Jurassic, here we come. (Oh yeah, and the water-vapour-cloud-seeding-ships idea fails at the first hurdle, namely that (even if it worked, which I seriously doubt as the clouds would be too low in the atmosphere) the whole thing stops working the day the ships do. Dirty coal does at least produce relatively long-lived and high sulphate aerosols. (Now if only there were a cheap simple way to capture the CO2 at the generator site, but still emit the sulphates...) Over the past 20 years, my level of optimism for the future (vis a vis climate change) has followed a curve very similar to the NSIDC sea-ice extent for 2008 [nsidc.org] (except that my optimism only flat-lined at the point where I couldn't think things could get much worse.)

Lime... (2, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912947)

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).

Earth's system is self-healing... (0)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912953)

Earth's climate system is self-adjusting and self-healing. Its the only way life could be possible for so long- if it wasn't it would be stuck in some extreme, like Venus.

While prone to saying this might mess things up with that system, I'm leaning more towards "this will overall do absolutely nothing except waste money".

How do you know? (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913099)

How exactly are you so sure the earth biosphere is 'self healing'? Seen from the Venusian point of view, earth is stuck in an extreme, not venus. But 'life' is not a person, so don't attribute reason, self-awareness and purpose to it. It just is, and it will most likely continue, wether we manage to extinct ourselves or not.

Re:Earth's system is self-healing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913433)

I don't doubt that Earth as a whole will survive. I don't even think the odds are dramatically against humanity's survival as a species. However, I would personally like to avoid having, for example, 90%+ of the individual members of the human species die off from starvation because our climate changes killed off a majority of crops in the world, or have coastal cities flood from rising water levels, or create any new deserts of what used to be arable land. These things count as undesirable in my book, even if they don't result in the death of Humanity as a species. I would prefer that the climate remains relatively stable, instead.

Nature doesn't noticeably tend towards mercy. Plenty of species have gone extinct. Plenty more will. I would prefer that humanity not be one of them.

US$2.65 to 5.3 billion is peanuts (3, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913031)

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

Better idea (2, Interesting)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913035)

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:Better idea (3, Funny)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913131)

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.

after the cold war we get the climate war ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913063)

Apart from the fact that we would be seriously screwing around with a system we only partly understand, do we really think the whole world actually wants the climate we create ?

Answer: Of course not. Some other parts of the world will not like this change because it not only cools down the planet, it will also have all kind of other effects on the global climate.
Other nations will be compelled to counter our counter-measures and before you know it we have a "climate war" on our hands with even more devastating consequences for the global climate than doing nothing at all.

First things first. (0, Troll)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913175)

Before I could be convinced to vote for a project like that, it would be necessary to show me that carbon dioxide is, in fact, responsible for global warming.

Read the news, folks! Not only is it far from proven, there are other theories that are a lot more likely. And if THEY have any truth, then this would be a vast waste of money.

Not that the war isn't.

Industry Admits Global Warming is a Problem (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913203)

I always said that global warming would not be a problem until the day industry could find a way to fight it and make money off the government to do so.

Cabinet-level science question (2, Funny)

vandelais (164490) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913227)

Where will the ships get the salt water from?

Re:Cabinet-level science question (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913295)

Where will the ships get the salt water from?

Duh, they'll outsource Saline collection to India, obviously.

Re:Cabinet-level science question (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913359)

I think we should buy a bunch of salt from our domestic salt-producing mines. Have each ship take the water from the ocean, turn it into freshwater, then we'll add some of the stored salt to make it salt water! Of course, we'll need a lot of energy to turn that unpure seawater into freshwater, so we'll add an onboard generator to produce power using "clean coal"

Brought to you by "salt miners for selling more salt" and "Clean Coal, it's cleaner than just coal, look at the name!"

I happen to own a salt mining company

Ok, go ahead (4, Interesting)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Ok, go ahead (1)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913395)

Say goodbye to those islands, either way. If we do nothing, what do you think rising sea-levels will do?

I have a better idea (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913279)

The warm ocean temperatures of the tropical Atlantic make for a huge buildup of atmosphere-cooling hurricanes. I propose that we simply warm the oceans and and let already existing phenomena create ever-massive storms. They can lift and transport a huge amount of water. We'd have a quickly-cooled streak of weather that would barrel westward into the southeastern US - yearly!

  I think this plan is great, and we simply need a way of warming ocean temperatures just a degree or two. Perhaps if we melted down one of the ice caps...

Cheap (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913281)

Actually that is really, really cheap compared to other methods. And other methods won't even work, because the politicians will never be able to agree upon quotas much less enforce them (India, China, Brazil). Their population is so indoctrinated by propaganda about the evil west that they would think global warming is a western invention to prevent them from attaining equal status.

But in such a complex system, where would you spray the water? I heard the climate is so vast and complex that there are even places where it gets colder because of climate change.

Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913289)

Please stop with he "let's not mess with nature route." We already are. Every time you do basically anything (turn on a PC, drive, brush your teeth) you are doing something "unnatural" and, in a tiny way, contributing to climate change. Also, this is not a solution, it's a cheap, elegantly simple stop-gap. Of course, we need to reduce emissions, but this will take decades. This type of system will t least temporarily reduce temperatures and it can be turned off if something goes awry.

I for one welcome our new cloud spewing global warming abatement overlords!

To Be Used By Whom?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913311)

Not the U.S.S.A. That money is need to fund the Wars On Everybody [whitehouse.org].

P.S.: Vote For Flight Safety: Vote AGAINST John McCain

Absurd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24913341)

This is insanity.

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