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Public Supports Geo-Engineering

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the turn-antarctica-into-a-penguin-hotel dept.

Earth 164

Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC is reporting that there is strong support among the public in the U.S., U.K., and Canada for research into geo-engineering with approximately 72% respondents supporting the research (PDF). The survey was focused on solar radiation management. The article also mentions the U.K. Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) project, which would inject water particles into the upper atmosphere as a prelude to spraying cooling sulphate. Researchers for the SPICE project calculate that 10-20 balloons could cool the global climate by 2C. Also mentioned in the article is the voluntary moratorium on the procedure by the international Convention on Biological Diversity."

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164 comments

I for one (2)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823278)

Welcome our new balloon overlords.

Re:I for one (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823618)

And I, for one, welcome simplistic, populist answers to complex questions.

Beats the hell out of thinking.

Re:I for one, Interesting? (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824882)

Provide thoughts to the semi-literate and below-average IQ people from the cruel thoughtless class of people in politics, business, and religion.

Well, it works at getting reelected, making stealing legal, and public oppression righteous.

Godddd bless them for all their self-helpful lies.

Re:I for one (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825124)

And I, for one, welcome simplistic, populist answers to complex questions.

Let's face it, coming up with geo-engineering solutions to global warming are a lot less troublesome for the most powerful than actually attempting to address AGW. It costs less because there really isn't any intention to act on those geo-engineering plans. Plus who the hell is going to pay for the geo-engineering once we shrink government and drown it in a bathtub? You think Exxon and the Koch Brothers are gonna pitch in and save the world with trillion-dollar geo-engineering projects? How they gonna get that past the shareholders? And it keeps people quiet thinking that "technology" is going to save them. This way, they won't worry so much about climate change and certain income streams won't be interrupted.

I don't think it's accidental that stories are published so soon after the Berkeley Earth Study, in which Richard Muller, the Last Great White Hope of global warming deniers, published the results of their study which indicated that, well, the alarmists were right all along. One of the big denialist bloggers, who said that "If Muller's results show warming, then OK, I'll abide by it and accept it then". That's how sure they were that the Berkeley Earth Study was going to settle those climategate phoney-baloney scientists hash once and for all. So sure were they that the Koch Bros pumped money into Muller's group.

Well, surprise surprise, now they're saying that Muller, the guy they said was the Last Honest Scientist, betrayed them by showing that "climategate" really didn't mean what they thought it meant and anyway, he used faulty models, or something. Two weeks ago, he was a hero and come what may, what he said would go, but today he is transformed into just another one-a them eggheads who thinks he's high and mighty just because he's got "data". Plus, it got really cold the other night so there can't possibly be global warming and on top of that, even if there is global warming it don't mean we should try to find alternative energy sources, unless those alternative sources involve huge transfers of wealth to a handful of big energy companies. 'Cause if we don't do that safe-as-milk fracking we're not gonna have any hot water to take showers and we'll all end up stinking like those dirty hippies in New York who ought to be locked up under the goddam jails, hawr hawr.

Yeah. Geo-engineering. That's the ticket. Nothing to worry about because we're just gonna schpritz a bunch of stuff into the exosphere and create like huge levelor blinds to keep the earth cool and you know because we can make iPhones that means we can totally do all that geo-engineering stuff if the time comes. And high-tech stuff is so cool as long as it's not that faggy "alternative energy" nonsense which can never happen because it's been like years and they still can't run cities off a pinwheel so clearly it's just a failed idea. And it makes the liebruls crazy so, DRILL BABY DRILL!

Re:I for one (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826086)

Best rant of all day.

Re:I for one (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825498)

Is anyone else having "Highlander II" flashbacks?

Re:I for one (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826108)

Since when did "thinking" become a part of environmental policy? You talk about populist answers like they're worse than "Alright, what part of this world can I sell and will I be dead before selling it causes any problems."

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37826406)

But do they run Linux?

Let the loathing begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823294)

Slashdot is one giant troll.

Re:Let the loathing begin (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824938)

At least /. is not loaded with loathing idiots.

If stupidity or selfishness were made crimes, then the Washington DC mall would be the center of a large penitentiary.

What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823296)

Anytime man messes with this stuff you can bet there will un-intended consequences.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823404)

Probably. That in itself doesn't really rule it out as a possible course of action though. The question then is whether the (likely) unintended consequences of this will be worse than the (now apparent) unintended consequences of our burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823722)

And who will make that decision?

Re:What could possibly go wrong (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823736)

The public has made it clear they can't be bothered to do anything.

The politicians are too spineless to mandate real changes.

What options are left? The way I see it this is going to happen so we might as well start experimenting NOW.

Not sure how they're going to pump water 20km up in the air though. It would need a hell of a pump and an even more hellish pipe to hold the pressure. What size balloon could even lift that much? I suspect they haven't thought their cunning plan all the way through...

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823928)

Not sure how they're going to pump water 20km up in the air though. It would need a hell of a pump and an even more hellish pipe to hold the pressure. What size balloon could even lift that much? I suspect they haven't thought their cunning plan all the way through...

Easy peasy, just run it up the side of the space elevator.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823970)

how they're going to pump water 20km up in the air

Simple - just use a space elevator. Now I guess we have some work to do.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824010)

I suspect they haven't thought their cunning plan all the way through...

Yes, those concerns are not a all obvious. I'm sure you are the first to think of them.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823484)

The problem is that we try to MacGyver a solution without having any real sense of the problem, the million feedback loops that run through it, or the critical impacts our bailing wire and bubblegum solutions will product. Our history is rife with examples of simple solutions that horribly blew up in people's faces. If you're gonna screw with the planet go slow, get clues, make models, test worst case scenarios and for the sake of all that's holy, have a friggin exist strategy. That and the funding to clean up any messes you make (plan big, you're screwing with the entire ecosystem!)

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823592)

Of course some people feel we are in the same predicament as the guy that's been thrown out of an airplane without a parachute. He really wants to try and use his shirt as chute and maybe even flap his arms, and he's getting really sick of the guy putting him in a bear hug and yelling in his ear, "Go slow and think it through, those ideas probably won't work"...

Re:What could possibly go wrong (2)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823804)

Except in the situation you describe the consequences of not acting are well understood and imminent. In the climate change realty we face there is NO IMMINENT DANGER, just a longer term view of some potential outcomes; that we have been wrong about before.

The cautionary principle applies here. We don't know the consequences of dumping billions of tonnes of carbon emissions into our atmosphere so we should probably try and cut back on that; but its already happening and things have gone "ok" so far. On the other hand we don't know much about chemically altering our upper atmosphere to reflect energy away. Might not be so wise to fool with that until more modeling has been done.

Also we have an "energy crisis" last time I looked at the news paper. Perhaps reducing our access to the one truly "free" source of power we have is not such a great plan?

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825454)

We don't know the consequences of dumping billions of tonnes of carbon emissions into our atmosphere

I don't know where you've been hiding for the last 20 years, but yes, we do know. Unfortunately, there's no brick wall that will tell us "stop or die." If we do hit a brick wall, it will just tell us "die."

On the other hand we don't know much about chemically altering our upper atmosphere to reflect energy away.

Well, there we agree. It's stupid to do this unless the consequences of not doing it are horrific (as in several billion dead) and we're reasonably sure it will help. This wouldn't do anything for acidification of the oceans which is the effect of our carbon emissions that could potentially decimate us in the near term.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823616)

have a friggin exist strategy

Ha ha Freudian slip!

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823904)

If you're gonna screw with the planet go slow, get clues, make models, test worst case scenarios and for the sake of all that's holy, have a friggin exist strategy.

Sage advice from the 1940s which fell on deaf ears in the copulate-like-bunnies 1950s. Screwing with the planet dates back to the invention of agriculture. Then came the industrial revolution with soot, SO2, and aerosols. By my count were entering round three, at the very least. Neither of the first two rounds were preceded by any kind of useful model. Another one I should probably include is air transportation as a pathogen vector. Well, we're all still alive. So far, so good.

I guess the exit strategy on copulate-like-bunnies would be to refuse to feed two billion people. But since the consensus seems to be feed all those mouths (present company included), and we can only do so by continuing to burn fossil fuels, and much of the world's population resides near sea level, perhaps we're best served with a thoughtful blend of prudence and haste.

One of the things that could possibly go wrong is that Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

BTW, is it standard costume etiquette for precautionary superheros to enter the conversation swinging their hat like Slim Pickens surfing his big salami?

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823996)

If you're gonna screw with the planet go slow, get clues, make models, test worst case scenarios and for the sake of all that's holy, have a friggin exist strategy.

Sage advice from the 1940s which fell on deaf ears in the copulate-like-bunnies 1950s. Screwing with the planet dates back to the invention of agriculture. Then came the industrial revolution with soot, SO2, and aerosols. By my count were entering round three, at the very least. Neither of the first two rounds were preceded by any kind of useful model. Another one I should probably include is air transportation as a pathogen vector. Well, we're all still alive. So far, so good.

I guess the exit strategy on copulate-like-bunnies would be to refuse to feed two billion people. But since the consensus seems to be feed all those mouths (present company included), and we can only do so by continuing to burn fossil fuels, and much of the world's population resides near sea level, perhaps we're best served with a thoughtful blend of prudence and haste.

One of the things that could possibly go wrong is that Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

BTW, is it standard costume etiquette for precautionary superheros to enter the conversation swinging their hat like Slim Pickens surfing his big salami?

By copulate like bunnies, I assume you mean that we overpopulated the earth. There is no actual proof of that. In addition in Western countries, obesity has risen to alarming rates while in third world countries people are starving. While I do believe there is a maximum number of people the planet can ultimately support, the food problem seems to be one of distribution, not capacity to produce.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823574)

That all depends what the consequences of doing nothing are doesn't it? Lets say we hit an absolute worst case scenario: the oceans are showing every sign of being at or past the tipping point of an anoxic event [wikipedia.org] , a sudden positive feedback induced drop in global ocean oxygen levels. The effects of the CO2 in the air are still going to be building up for years or even decades even if all man made CO2 production stopped immediately. It's possible with immediate, global, brute force intervention such an event could be averted; the risks of knock on effects be damned, millions and possibly billions will die if we do nothing.

So the real question is where is the cutoff point. At what point do the risks of unintended consequences outweigh the risks of doing nothing at all. Flooding of coastal areas? Dust bowl style droughts for years on end? Flooding of formerly desert regions? Ironically, we don't have the technology or will to directly address the threats of global warming. Significantly cutting CO2 emissions just isn't possible today without significant loss of life or at least quality of life. We probably do, however, have the means to address warming in a brute force way. Spreading particulates into the upper atmosphere might not sound great, but if the global temperature is 2C higher than it was during the rest of recent history it may be preferable to the alternative.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

Skywolfblue (1944674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824214)

The problem is that it adds permanent consequences (weather impact, long term solar reduction) without actually countering CO2 levels.

It's like a partial band-aid for temperature only. Only this band-aid comes with really nasty side effects.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825492)

Unfortunately, in every model I've run, temperatures continue to rise well after all the people are dead.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824188)

Nonsense! Science will make Mother Nature his bitch.

Aperture Science will fix our problems! Just ask Cave Johnson--he's got the ticket, buddy.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825020)

Heck, forget unintended consequences; people have been pointing out for ages the problem with solutions like this one. First, it's only masking. So it must continue to operate and grow ever bigger and bigger of an operation. If it ever fails -- or, if we find some other devastating unintended consequence and have to stop -- all of the "masked" effects suddenly appear in a very short amount of time. Second, we already know that spraying high-altitude sulphate particles is bad for both ozone and acid rain, decreases sunlight available to plants, provides an uneven heat compensation profile, and would likely cause major drought in monsoon areas [rutgers.edu] . Third, this does nothing to address the other (and potentially larger) consequences of ever-rising CO2 levels, such as ocean acidification.

Some geoengineering proposals have promise. This is not one of them.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827206)

It must keep increasing? What, from 20 balloons to 40? This is an easy, cheap solution, but you people STILL want to starve half the world to death, and impoverish the rest to satisfy the Climate Gods.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825618)

Anytime man messes with this stuff you can bet there will un-intended consequences.

You mean messes with climate by doing things like this? Or messing with climate like we do every day?

Don't inhale! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823328)

Wow. We will be able to have toxic air that's 2C lower. That'll be soooo much better to breathe.

Another term for "nuclear winter" (3, Insightful)

Tyrannosaur (2485772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823336)

"The survey focused on "solar radiation management", which involves reflecting energy from the Sun away from the Earth's surface, and received support from 72% of respondents." Exactly like a nuclear winter. Except with 72% support. You really can artificially get any result from a survey.

Re:Another term for "nuclear winter" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823360)

Not to mention cooling is a horrible awful plight. I like the sunlight, it means we can eat.....

Re:Another term for "nuclear winter" (2)

what2123 (1116571) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823470)

Yeah there is nothing like having longer winters and colder winters. Winter/cold months are always harder to weather. Ha, just think of all the extra coal and oil that will have to be burnt to keep people warmer for those longer periods of time. OTOH, we could let some ice melt and millions live on "new" beach front properly a couple miles back from their current boundaries and learn to be more efficient and our resource usages.

Re:Another term for "nuclear winter" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823910)

global warming is just a hoax anyways. there is never going to be more matter in the sun, and it will continue to fuse and fission matter by they same declining cycle. deserts become rainforests then just forests and eventually tundra. human intervention can only make slight changes thanks to greenhouses and water conservation. eventually the planet freezes solid. because heat energy radiates outward and energy can never be turned into matter, plants turn air soil and water into their plants and fruits etc. solar energy simply makes them molecules warm enough to vibrate the matter together in reaction. there is a set range wherein life can form and thrive (40-140f for most life) a few autotrophs can survive well above 140f but they have limited lifecycles within (volcanic) vents and geysers.

Re:Another term for "nuclear winter" (3, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823890)

I wonder if they would be as supportive of this kind of initiative if they knew it was Di-Hydrogen Monoxide that they were injecting into the atmosphere!!!

Re:Another term for "nuclear winter" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825214)

You mean the main ingredient of this? http://esmeraldasquietlife.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/radithor.jpg

Re:Another term for "nuclear winter" (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824154)

Morpheus: "We don't know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power. It was believed they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun."

Kind of a disturbing thought.

Re:Another term for "nuclear winter" (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824918)

Disturbing that anybody would take the plot from the Matrix seriously. People need food grown from the sun. Machines could do a lot better getting their energy from alternative sources.

Re:Another term for "nuclear winter" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824476)

"which involves reflecting energy from the Sun away from the Earth's surface"

For some reason, this has the word's 'energy cartel' all over it. Can we really trust any government or private entity (or the governmental-industrial complex) to allocate sunlight? Just look how government(s) create cartels out of everything else. From the agricultural cartel (ie: Monsanto and its abuse of the patent system and the fact that there are very few independent farmers that supply much of our food anymore, which is also partly thanks to expensive FDA food regulations as well), to the public airwave broadcasting cartel, to the pharmaceutical cartel, to the drug cartel (which is created through drug prohibition, just like the mafia was created through alcohol prohibition), to the cableco cartel, to snail - mailbox delivery monopolies (USPO), to electricity delivery monopolies (and GE doesn't even pay taxes), to the oil cartel, and the list goes on. Heck, even look at freeways and toll lanes and how government hands over various freeway lanes to private entities. Government regulation invariably results in the formation of cartels. Do we really want the government directing sunlight energy? Can we really expect them to direct it in the public interest, or the interests of the government - industrial complex (the interests of energy companies)? The government will invariably try to find something that should be free (or much cheaper) and make it cost (more). It's what government does.

Schadenfreude (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823372)

I'm sure the public rted all the changes that came with the Industrial Revolution as well and now look what we have.

We really need to stop masking symptoms it's disgustingly ridiculous.

Re:Schadenfreude (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825104)

supported* stupid mobile

Re:Schadenfreude (2)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827228)

I would be the first to congratulate you on giving up all that the Industrial Revolution has offered, and going to live in the forest with happy little squirrels and such and leave the rest of us alone.

When it gets cold outside, you don't launch a project to adjust the axis of the Earth. You put on a fucking sweater. "Masking". Christ.

Geo Engineering is important. (3, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823398)

I support Geo Engineering.

Otherwise thousands of owners of Geo Metros, Prizms and Storms would have no way to fix their cars when they repeatedly break.

Re:Geo Engineering is important. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823670)

I had a geo storm. totalled it twice, and keep driving. The thing was a tank. Slow as a tank too.

Re:Geo Engineering is important. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823762)

My father had a Geo Metro that continued to function after one of the three cylinders just stopped firing.

It made for the slowest-accelerating car in the known universe--A plastic bathtub of death that made every merge into traffic a near-death experience.

But I'll be damned if it didn't keep driving on just two cylinders for years.

Re:Geo Engineering is important. (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824608)

I had a Geo Metro that stopped running after someone parked it on the lawn.

Of course, that someone was an old lady that hit it in the drivers rear corner, launching it up a curb sideways and into the lawn 4 feet away. That poor car....I had just paid it off...

Re:Geo Engineering is important. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824958)

Geo Metros don't break, ever. Unless you crash them or abuse them or something. Damn reliable cars.

Title twists the facts (4, Informative)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823406)

There was strong support for allowing the study of SRM. Support decreased and uncertainty rose as subjects were asked about their support for using SRM immediately, or to stop a climate emergency.

Re:Title twists the facts (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826236)

>>There was strong support for allowing the study of SRM. Support decreased and uncertainty rose as subjects were asked about their support for using SRM immediately, or to stop a climate emergency.

Which is pretty reasonable on the part of the general public, really.

It seems like it is climatologists that are opposed to geoengineering these days, which strikes me as being quite odd for people who presumably care a great deal about rising global temps. But then again, climatologists have never been especially good at issuing sane policy recommendations.

Creating global dimming via various means won't stop issues related to the ongoing acidification of the ocean, but it could certainly be used to reduce global temperatures. The only real issue is determining *who* gets to set the global thermostat.

But geoengineering is not the same as creating global dimming via various means - if we can implement widespread carbon scrubbing / capture systems and find a use for that carbon, that's a solution that ought to make everyone happy. And there *are* certain ways said carbon could be put to use productively, rather than trying to (expensively) store it indefinitely.

Re:Title twists the facts (2)

Mateorabi (108522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827132)

The reason climatologists are opposed to it is that they understand the differing timescales of the problem and the solution. CO2 has a atmospheric residency on the order of hundreds of years. The sulfur particulates must constantly be replenished (and in ever increasing quantities, if CO2 is not checked.)

SRM is grabbing the wolf by the ears. Once you commit to it you can't stop, or all the solar forcing you'd been masking comes back with a vengeance....it's like you hadn't even tried to begin with.

That, and the short-attention-span public, seeing temporary fix and not realizing how tenuous it was, would think "Problem Solved!" and be even more reluctant to solve the root of the problem.

Now something like a solar shade MIGHT be maintainable.....except that it's not close to feasible with today's tech. And it still lets the public/politicians kick the can down the road with CO2 until the problem comes back.

Carbon scrubbing may be necessary, and attacks the root. But unless you force the bad actors to pay up or shut up, the good Samaritans end up footing the bill. And if it works the bad actors will just want to dump that much more CO2 into the air. Good luck getting carbon credits (which do a great job in leveraging free market forces to solve the problem) into law any time soon.

Echo the AC: "What could possibly go wrong?" (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823438)

10-20 balloons could cool the global climate by 2C.

If this is true, nobody is going to be able to stop a rogue state (probably located near the equator) from doing this - hell, some of the Pacific Islanders could probably pull it off with the money they make selling stamps to collectors.

Re:Echo the AC: "What could possibly go wrong?" (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823662)

I don't think we have to worry about that, a giant balloon is an easy target.

Re:Echo the AC: "What could possibly go wrong?" (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824190)

I don't think we have to worry about that, a giant balloon is an easy target.

That's why you make a really freaking big balloon and hang an orphanage full of nuns underneath it, with numerous webcams. And kittens and ponies for the cute orphan kids to play with. Heck turn it into a telethon for those young victims of global warming and you can get angsty americans to pay for the whole thing one paypal / bitcoin donation at a time.

If even I can come up with that P.R. solution, I'm sure a real marketing guy could do much better.

Re:Echo the AC: "What could possibly go wrong?" (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824402)

Sure, if you can make them survive 20 km high.

Re:Echo the AC: "What could possibly go wrong?" (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823932)

yes, no one could possibly stop them, unless they invented some super high tech future machine that could fly and yet still have the incredible power required to destroy a balloon. What nation on earth could ever achieve such a degree of technology? We are most certainly doomed.

ironically, and equatorial state couldn't (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824820)

I read an article about this scheme...due to prevailing wind patterns you actually want the balloons in the north and south hemispheres. Interestingly, right about over the Alberta/Saskatchewan tar sands would be pretty much perfect, which is handy because they have *huge* piles of waste sulfur just sitting there ready to be sprayed up into the atmosphere.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823454)

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823564)

They they can prove that this won't trigger an Ice Age how?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823778)

What could possibly go wrong?

In terms of geoengineering, there is the obvious that will go wrong. For starters, all these schemes are schemes to alter the planet so it copes better with high CO2 levels. But this is a wrong approach. It is like running over hot coals and being happy surface boiling is preventing skin burns, then extrapolating this that you can stand indefinitely on these hot coals if you only had enough water sprayed under your feet.

Geoengineering are all temp-fixes. And as we know from real engineering, a temporary fix will become permanent. The downside is all the mitigation to try to stop warming is temporary. As soon as you stop applying the fix or when the fix becomes overwhelming, the entire scheme could collapse sending the planet into much stronger and violent warming than if it is was "gradual" (ie. insanely fast on geological scale anyway). It's like drinking more alcohol to prevent a handover while you are drunk.

So, how about addressing the real problem? How about stopping emission of additional CO2 instead of kicking down the garbage down the road and letting it accumulate?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823936)

Because that would require real cooperation and self-control, neither of which human beings seem capable of doing on any large scale. Don't worry though, we'll breed ourselves to death before then.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824260)

It's the same thing as with our economy. Short term fixes which will eventually result in long term problems. And they keep saying "oh, we just need this and then we'll be fine". We should slaughter those people.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827248)

*Water puts out hot coals.

I don't think you thought your brilliant critique of this plan through.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823784)

Oh, let's see. The sulphur could acidify huge swaths of ocean, killing off entire ecologies. Oops! My mistake. This could happen on the ocean AND land, and probably the clouds too, which support their own microbial populations whose effects on other ecological systems is as yet unknown.

The acidification could also seep into limestone caves worldwide, increasing decay and creating new sinkholes in certain areas (and destroy cave life), not to mention the deterioration of plain old commercial cement across the planet, but you weren't expecting that bridge to last forever, were you?

And the fact that this appears NONREVERSIBLE if something goes wrong appears to be icing on the cake.

People are sceptical (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823474)

However, the survey showed that three-quarters of the people questioned thought that the Earth's climate system was too complicated to be "fixed" with just one technology.

The acceptance of the research is partly because people don't believe it can have any significant effect. The 2C cooling with 20 balloons is a bold claim.

Re:People are sceptical (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825568)

I'm heading down to the party supply store to buy 20 balloons so I can try it out.

Re:People are sceptical (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825578)

Nope, it's just 1.7C cooler.

How do we test this? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823640)

It's not like we have a spare Earth for testing purposes.

Re:How do we test this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824440)

Well whats the worse that could happen right? :D

Re:How do we test this? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824484)

Right. A whole bunch of post-apocalyptic movies come to mind. But I'm sure it'll come out ok, because it'll be done by real scientists, right?

Re:How do we test this? (1)

Archwyrm (670653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825344)

We're not deploying a hotfix on a production planet on my shift, dammit! You can do whatever you want after I go home though.

chaotic system + high altitude sulfate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823666)

Yep, that's the best thing you can do to a huge, nonlinear, dynamic system that we only partially understand: poke it and see what happens.

EDIT: captcha was "gamblers." No joke.

Who Wouldn't... (1)

Ragun (1885816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823772)

Who wouldn't support Geo-Engineering?

Geo-Engineering is cool.

Already being practiced (0)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823794)

Large-scale geo-engineering operations are already being practiced as can be seen in this documentary [youtube.com] .

Re:Already being practiced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823882)

Cue XKCD comic: http://xkcd.com/966/

Only feasible plan (3, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823802)

It's not like voluntarily limiting CO2 emissions has any chance of success, at least not in a democracy. We will keep burning fossil fuels until the extraction costs become too great. We might as well invest in a plan that is at least plausible.

Re:Only feasible plan (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824254)

We will keep burning fossil fuels until the extraction costs become too great.

Which is extremely rapidly approaching... Not just costs, but you also need an economy stable enough to support long term energy harvesting schemes...

Re:Only feasible plan (1)

chronoglass (1353185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824514)

but the "costs become too great" requires emotional response.
the cost of fuel in most countries is 3 times ours... and they are cruising along with the same vigor we are.

we have a looooooooooong way to go before the first person burns to death because of global warming.. and even longer until it's someone that people might get up in arms about.

Dinosaurs TV series (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823832)

Reminds me of the Dinosaurs TV series.

I live in Canada, Damnit!!! (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823852)

And I drive a soft top...
I like global warming.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823864)

This is a science that needs to be taken much more seriously. People get so caught up with the petty going-ons of us humans, when there are things affecting life as we know it.

Because it's easier than conserving (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823902)

Of course people are going to support large-scale 'fixes' rather than having to car pool.

And we are very bad at risk estimation, especially for things we have no experience with. So given vague probability of 'oops we might toast the earth or kick start a new ice age' versus the price of gas doubling, the first choice is going to look pretty attractive.

I don't agree with that, but I think that's what you're dealing with.

Re:Because it's easier than conserving (2, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824742)

Car pooling is a stupid idea. It doesn't work. Get over it.

Don't be so fast to reject it! (3, Insightful)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823946)

RESEARCH into geo-engineering is a good idea. What we are doing right now is basicly geo-engineering, but with a blindfold. To think, that we have no clue what we are doing is pretty scary if you think about it. So yes, research it please.

Applying this knowledge to actively geo-engineer is a whole different story though... (as opposed to identify where we are already doing it without knowing and putting a stop to it).

Re:Don't be so fast to reject it! (1)

greenbird (859670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825914)

To think, that we have no clue what we are doing is pretty scary if you think about it.

I think it's even scarier that we have arrogant supposedly very smart people who claim they have a real understanding of something as complex as a planetary system and, really terrifying, think they can make accurate models of it on a computer.

All I have to say is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824058)

Beware of unintended consequences!

This is necessary (3, Insightful)

cartman (18204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824184)

Half the population doesn't believe in global warming, and the other half is subdivided into the following groups: 1) people who don't care enough to do anything about it; 2) environmentalists who will protest outside of nuclear power plants, make the problem worse, and who basically caused this predicament in the first place more than anyone else by aborting the nuclear revolution.

I would say the chances of concerted, rational, worldwide effort to massively reduce carbon emissions are about 0.00001%.

What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824204)

Rabbits and cane toads in Australia seemed like a good idea too...

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824208)

Guess what, if you ask your barber whether you need a haircut or not, the answer will be "yes you need a haircut".

Confirmation bias, much?

Research is good, spraying sulfate in the atmosphere is idiotic. Test in a closed system and simulations first and then figure out how to make planet Venus habitable, THEN come back and experiment with the global climate on Earth.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37826114)

spraying sulfate in the atmosphere is idiotic

Stupid volcanoes.

Make sure you use a chemical that causes Cancer (1)

chrisphotonic (2450982) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824304)

That way you can kill off the people that are the source of the 'carbon' problem.

Too bad plants breath carbon dioxide. We were also the last hope that plants had to get into space, and find more habitable planets.

The plants are very sad now.

M. Burns said it best. (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824412)

"Since the beginning of time man has yearned to destroy the sun."

Everyone's a Climatologist these days. (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824590)

For crissakes, half of the public has an IQ at or below 100 (the other half obviously at and above, by definition).

The "public" is dumb. I guess I should count myself among the public too, because I'm sure not qualified to be a climatologist, except from my armchair.

While I posted on here that geoengineering is "a swallowed fly" as the song goes, I can only express my opinion as to the possible effects. It doesn't make my opinion have any weight, though.

What we do to the climate should not be a popularity contest.

--
BMO

"strong support among the public" (2)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824788)

"Strong support among the public?" means absolutely nothing when 92% and 55% of the population incorrectly defined the terms geo-engineering and climate engineering respectively. Abstract: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044006/pdf/1748-9326_6_4_044006.pdf [iop.org]

Lying with statistics is always bullshit.

Academic, Political, Religious, Biz-C*O lying for money or privilege is a gross injustice to the public, which very regrettably is not punished by public floggings.

Re:"strong support among the public" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37827240)

How about your own bullshit? That 80% of the population, when you walk up to them and say "please define geoengineering" think this is related to broadly "engineering to do with the ground or things in the ground" doesn't mean that they are unable to have an opinion _when a context is supplied_.

The picture you are painting is that the 92% number somehow makes any opinion expressed from the public about geoengineering irrelevant, because they don't know what geoengineering is. In reality, any situation people would express their opinion about geoengineering (in an election, in a ballot, in response to a news report on TV etc) is going to have this context supplied. The second term, climate engineering, contains the context baked into the term with a much higher response rate. Granted, you don't know if they think climate engineering is altering the climate or building airconditioning systems.

I for one welcome our new dragon overlords (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824900)

I for one welcome our new dragon overlords, and look forward to their sulfur-enabled atmosphere allowing them to rid the Earth of all humans.

Which is kind of amusing, in that humans will make it possible for dinosaur-like avians to replace them, after we muck up earth by burning fossilized trees and dinosaurs.

Pern, anyone?

The public? (1)

subl33t (739983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825002)

The public also give strong support for "Jersey Shore"

Causes (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825960)

The problem with global warming is not whether it exists but what the cause of it is.

VERY STUPID VERY DANGER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37826690)

What do human know about climate?

What even scientists have not fully understand this non-linear system.

PLEASE do not do until we really know about it.

most of the people are stupid unaware

so Do not make decision based on head counts, Please make reasonable decision.

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