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Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the warm-up-the-cloud-gun dept.

Earth 343

Lasrick (2629253) writes "Tom Wigley is one of the world's top climate scientists, and in this interview he explains his outspoken support for both nuclear energy and research into climate engineering. Wigley was one of the first scientists to break the taboo on public discussion of climate engineering as a possible response to global warming; in a 2006 paper in the journal Science, he proposed a combined geoengineering-mitigation strategy that would address the problem of increasing ocean acidity, as well as the problem of climate change. In this interview, he argues that renewable energy alone will not be sufficient to address the climate challenge, because it cannot be scaled up quickly and cheaply enough, and that opposition to nuclear power 'threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change.'"

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The Chinese could pull this off (1)

coolmanxx (150620) | about 5 months ago | (#46751113)

They sure have the cash to finance such a large planetary terraforming project.

Re:The Chinese could pull this off (4, Informative)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46751791)

So does the US. The Constitution gives the government the power to coin money. The Fed gives the government zero cost borrowing. The Modigliani-Miller theorem of finance shows that how you finance a good idea doesn't matter. If climate engineering is a good idea, we can finance it.

Finance should never be used as an excuse not to carry out a good idea.

What if we overcorrect? (5, Insightful)

ubergeek2009 (1475007) | about 5 months ago | (#46751117)

I'd be leary of either overcorrecting for climate change or having massive unpredicted effects. I'm all for trying to fix the problem. I just don't think our climate modelling is yet good enough.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (4, Insightful)

Knee Patch (2647703) | about 5 months ago | (#46751133)

If you thought our influence on the environment was bad before... just imagine what it will be like when we are actually trying.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (5, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | about 5 months ago | (#46751255)

Some people still try to debate things that are already settled and others look for solutions before everything becomes a problem. Mankind has a huge list of fuckups to fix - but we either continue as is or we continue to try to improve things. Your viewpoint is incredibly pessimistic. Very few people would say life was better 200 years ago than it is today. Let's take that viewpoint and move forward with it.. We need more Star Trek and less Water World.

Either way, we should be investigating options like these.. You're being pessimistic during the initial stages of discussion - so it brings very little to the table.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751459)

>Very few people would say life was better 200 years ago than it is today.

Very few of the people you'd ask were alive 200 years ago. Even assuming those people knew what life was like 200 years ago, you're asking for opinions which means the responses would be all over the board.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46751511)

Very few of the people you'd ask were alive 200 years ago.

Irrelevant. The lifestyle available 200 years ago is still available today. Yet practically no one voluntarily chooses to live that way. You can go out in the woods, build a cabin, and live without electricity or indoor plumbing. You can grow potatoes or mill your own wheat, and learn to shoe a horse. The only thing you can't have is the smallpox.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 months ago | (#46751655)

The only thing you can't have is the smallpox.

...and slavery, and lack of medical care, the lack of a civilized global society...

Sure, you can go out into the woods and live 'off the grid', as it were, but you do so while being completely protected from invasion, wars, raids, and etc - about the only thing you have to worry about is the occasional criminal or two. You can also do so knowing that if you get an infection or suchlike, modern medical help help is not really that far away. Finally, you do it with a huge advantage in knowledge that the 200-years-gone man never had, or could have even if he wanted it.

It's a far cry from the life of a typical family trying to settle, say, Western Kentucky in 1814, where dying young (if you were lucky enough to make it to adulthood in the first place) was pretty damned common. ...they did get to see more stars at night, though.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46751661)

The only thing you can't have is the smallpox.

Perhaps not, but we have some pretty nasty things you CAN catch that where not a serious problem 200 years ago. Some will kill you for sure..

Re:What if we overcorrect? (2)

Sique (173459) | about 5 months ago | (#46751743)

They were not a serious problem 200 years ago, because 200 years ago, there were many more serious problems overshadowing them. Basicly the only illness you can catch today that didn't exist 200 years ago is AIDS.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 months ago | (#46751503)

...that are already settled...

So, before we make that pronouncement stand as incontrovertible fact, two things are needed...

1) where can we find a completely accurate (or even reasonably accurate) climate model? Even pro-AGW climatologists would shy away from claiming that they have one. Point is, the science is not "settled", unless everyone is agreeing on the mere fact that climate does change over time (which, seriously, no one credibly argues against).

2) what is the rate of change, and is is accurate enough to take action against? If we overestimate, then our best efforts may well over-correct, and we touch off a new ice age. If we underestimate, then there is little-to-no remediation. As it is, there's still too much slop factor, and the degree of confidence isn't high enough across the spectrum of scientists.

Very few people would say life was better 200 years ago than it is today.

This is disingenuous due to the fact that you left out *why* life is better now than it was 200 years ago. Was it primarily due to politics, culture, technology, medical/scientific knowledge... what? Most of what I just listed has bugger-all to do with the climate. In fact, if memory serves we were going through a mini-ice-age around 200 years ago, which makes your advocacy of dragging down global temperatures from today's averages just a touch ironic, no? ;)

Either way, we should be investigating options like these..

Investigate all you like, but do it with two caveats:

1) climate does change, and trying to keep everything just like it is in the 1980s (or whenever) may do more damage than just letting it cycle naturally.

2) before your investigations turn into actions, you'd damned well better know for certain what you are doing - making mistakes on a global level will have global consequences, and will last for a very long, long time.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46751755)

... trying to keep everything just like it is in the 1980s (or whenever) may do more damage than just letting it cycle naturally.

Oh yea, we want to go back to 1980? Shesh, does ANYBODY here remember what LA looked like in the 80's? Apart from all the women in big hair and the plaid suits going out of style? No, don't want to go back to the orange brown haze myself.

It's like all the environmentalists who want us to go back to horse and buggy days..... They are NUTS! Does anybody remember how many people DIED from preventable illness and substandard sanitation? From starvation? There are a LOT more people on this earth now days and there is just no way we go back, unless the majority of folks take one for the team and just die. Just not a workable option here folks.

I'm with you, only I'll add that a good part of C02 production comes form farming if you consider fertilizer production, Cow flatulence, fossil fuels to power the equipment, pump water and transporting food stuffs/raw materials etc. We simply cannot eliminate that, or a lot of people will starve and die.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751567)

Climate Change is far from settled. There ARE questions that remain unanswered, the MAIN one is if the noted climate change is actually something we (man) is largely responsible for. There remain many questions, many valid questions. Yet, there are those who will take ideological exception to anybody posing questions as if this is settled science, that the world is in self destruct mode somehow caused by man. I may not be man's fault, at least not mostly his fault. We don't really know. We also don't know exactly WHERE this is all going. We have some dire predictions from the ideologues who have been notoriously inaccurate in the long term, yet even with their track records they get listened too because of the emotional presentations of their arguments. Remember the disappearing Ice Flows with the Polar Bears in Al Gore's movie? Oh the horror (but it wasn't really true.)

First, until we know and it is settled that we KNOW what's going to happen, how on earth can we even contemplate trying to change it? Right now, we struggle to forecast the weather a week in advance at a single location and somebody wants to tell me they can forecast the climate world wide in a decade? It cracks me up to think somebody out there is trying to say they can. Yea, and you can forecast the future of the Stock Market too... Nada going to happen.

But I'll bet there are the ideologues out there who will crank up the rhetoric and try to make such positions as I hold out to be uninformed or stupid, after all it's "settled science". But that's because this has gone way beyond science facts and is now an ideology, an Ideology that is slowly divorcing itself from any semblance of science or fact that can be questioned.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 5 months ago | (#46751777)

Climate change is quite well understood (science is never settled). And the question if climate change is something we are largely responsible for is answered with a sound yes. There are some nests of people still trying to argue that, but they are mainly located in the U.S.. The rest of the world just shrugs the shoulders about the ongoing debate in the U.S. and thinks: Americans, ey? Can't just accept a fact, if it means they might be wrong.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (2)

goombah99 (560566) | about 5 months ago | (#46751293)

I recently read that at the same time light bulbs have gotten more efficient, total lighting power expenditure has gone up! Evidently, it's a combination of people using a lot more light when lighting gets cheaper to operate, and more ligthing being installed in general.

I can imagine if we start offsetting global warming we will produce more of its anthropogenic causes.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 5 months ago | (#46751615)

I recently read that at the same time light bulbs have gotten more efficient, total lighting power expenditure has gone up! Evidently, it's a combination of people using a lot more light when lighting gets cheaper to operate, and more ligthing being installed in general.

I can imagine if we start offsetting global warming we will produce more of its anthropogenic causes.

You forgot about the population of the world growing every day. Even as we reduce our time spent in the swimming pool, there's more swimmers being added every day increasing the overall draw.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751173)

Nothing should be implemented that can be quickly stopped.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 months ago | (#46751261)

Nothing should be implemented that can be quickly stopped.

That's a bit of a problem with slow-changing things like climate... a high amount of effort is required for even a short-term budge, and when you found out you gave it too much gas, it's too late to stop it, even if you let your foot off the accelerator.

Think of it like trying to drive a supertanker or uber-sized cruise ship down a very narrow channel... it takes a very experienced person to steer and accelerate the things safely through tight quarters (and they don't really come with brakes per se).

Carrying the analogy back to the climate, no one is sufficiently experienced enough to know how to apply steering and acceleration (or braking) properly and/or efficiently. Hell, analogy-wise, we don't even fully know what the currents we're sailing through are doing.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46751593)

That's a bit of a problem with slow-changing things like climate... a high amount of effort is required for even a short-term budge, and when you found out you gave it too much gas, it's too late to stop it

This is not true for some proposals. For instance, fertilizing the oceans with trace amounts of iron can drastically increase the amount of CO2 taken up by phytoplankton. But if you stop spraying the fertilizer, the phytoplankton will absorb all the available iron within a few weeks, and then the process will stop. The iron will not only reduce CO2, but will also cause big increases in fish populations, thus relieving pressure from overfishing. Some may say we should leave the oceans alone, but that is silly considering what we are already doing to the oceans today. This could balance out some of the other harm.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 months ago | (#46751719)

For instance, fertilizing the oceans with trace amounts of iron can drastically increase the amount of CO2 taken up by phytoplankton. But if you stop spraying the fertilizer, the phytoplankton will absorb all the available iron within a few weeks, and then the process will stop.

Honest question - would doing this induce a population crash [wikipedia.org] ? If so, then the results could cause more harm than good (or would the recovery cycle be too fast to have an impact?)

Re:What if we overcorrect? (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#46751373)

It's OK. In the winter the gorillas will freeze to death.

Using Linux solves all problems (-1)

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Re:What if we overcorrect? (0)

MacroSlopp (1662147) | about 5 months ago | (#46751241)

As a design engineer, I always like to have a couple of prototypes before I commit to a design because '1.0' doesn't usually work.

Re:What if we overcorrect? (3, Insightful)

ubergeek2009 (1475007) | about 5 months ago | (#46751329)

Exactly. The only problem is we only have access to one habitable planet to toy with. I think it makes more sense to just adapt to the changes that will happen rather than try to manipulate a system we don't understand and can't afford to completely destroy.

I am against any climate engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751257)

Let's suppose we have a consensus (which we don't have), that GW is human caused and it's not a short term fluctuation. Climate engineering will make it only worse. Climate is a complex system, if you start poking it, you'll get a lot of unpredicted side effects. You cannot make a single change, that will bring positive results everywhere. Just take for example the Russians and the Caspian Sea - they used its water to make the grasslands around fertile which was a positive change, but the sea itself suffered - the result is an local ecological catastrophe. If you project such interventions globally, you'll get some very strong reasons for a conflict between nations - even whole continents.

I meant the Aral Sea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751311)

it's a next to Caspian Sea, they once formed a single body of water ...

Re:What if we overcorrect? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46751309)

syfy movie of the week

No shit Sherlock (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#46751125)

Its pretty much required at this point for us to do something to correct the problem in one way or another, even if its as simple as stopping the massive amounts of emissions and planting a few more trees (or some other actual carbon consumer, I am not qualified to make that particular determination :)

Re:No shit Sherlock (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751183)

trees, and [plants' are carbon neutral, not a carbon sync.
So you would need a way to lock up the wood after the tree is cut down.

Remember , half the CO2 the inhale, they exhale at night, and the rest returns to the environment via rotting.

Re:No shit Sherlock (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 5 months ago | (#46751213)

So you would need a way to lock up the wood after the tree is cut down.

Where do you think coal comes from?

Re:No shit Sherlock (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751259)

millions of years, pressure, and plate tectonics.
.

Re:No shit Sherlock (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46751361)

Where do you think coal comes from?

From the Carboniferous.

Re:No shit Sherlock (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#46751589)

Back before white rot fungus evolved to break down lignin. So the plants fell and their woody parts did not ever decompose. Now they are broken down into CO2 and Methane through biological action.

Re:No shit Sherlock (1)

Livius (318358) | about 5 months ago | (#46751299)

They are a carbon sync, but no so much a carbon sink.

Re:No shit Sherlock (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751479)

My apologies, I was doing video stuff over the weekend.

Re:No shit Sherlock (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751281)

I don't know, but I've got the impression that we humans have damaged enough already.
At this point in the game there may only be one way out of the mess we created:
1) cleaning up
2) packing up
3) leaving quietly

(And by cleaning up I mean shutting down all industrial activity and preventing even bigger disasters as a consequence of neglected maintenance, etc.)

Re:No shit Sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751363)

Its pretty much required at this point for us to do something to correct the problem in one way or another, even if its as simple as stopping the massive amounts of emissions and planting a few more trees (or some other actual carbon consumer, I am not qualified to make that particular determination :)

Yet you feel qualified to say we have to do something? I'm not so sure...

I'm not so sure that there is an issue to fix here, much less that man kind is responsible for "the problem" you seem to think we need to correct. We simply don't have enough information to be able to really say for sure. We have models that seem to indicate trouble, and theories about what the models say the cause of the "problem" is.

But I know for sure, that there still are valid questions about what you assume is true There have been a parade of alarmists (Al Gore et.al) over the past decades who have made predictions which have proven to be totally false, or relied on arguments that where patiently false to advance their cause. There has been a lot of assertions, yet little discussion about the problems with the theories. I also know for sure that there has been an adoption of a specific version of the truth that has become rabid in its support and intolerant of alternate views. You cannot question the conclusion. You cannot question the methods. You cannot question. Which tells me that this "issue" has moved out of the realm of science and into an ideology. But that's what Al Gore and his ilk where trying to create.... But I digress..

climate engineering?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751159)

LOL! good luck with THAT!

Climate engineering? (2)

Stumbles (602007) | about 5 months ago | (#46751167)

Right. There isn't an engineer or a group of engineers smart enough to do that without dire consequences.

Re:Climate engineering? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751197)

Considering this is a non-problem to start with, we'd absolutely be doing more harm than good. This was the most brutal winter I've seen in over 20 years. It seems like every other day I was plowing more global warming off my driveway and we just got another 5" of global warming last night that I had to shovel off my walk.

Re:Climate engineering? (1)

ubergeek2009 (1475007) | about 5 months ago | (#46751267)

The climate and global weather systems aren't some homogenous entity. Local climate and weather is not only coupled to transient effects from the sun and random fluctuations, but also geography. Some places will get hotter, some colder. Others will have more precipitation and others less.

Also, FYI warm air can carry more moisture. So a warmer upper atmosphere == more possible snowfall.

Re:Climate engineering? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751561)

the upper atmosphere is not getting warmer. Only the lower atmosphere is warming. In fact, the upper atmosphere is cooling.

Clouds generally appear below 18 kilometers.
.

Re:Climate engineering? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#46751365)

Considering this is a non-problem to start with, we'd absolutely be doing more harm than good. This was the most brutal winter I've seen in over 20 years. It seems like every other day I was plowing more global warming off my driveway and we just got another 5" of global warming last night that I had to shovel off my walk.

Why do so many people confuse [nasa.gov] weather with climate?

Re:Climate engineering? (0)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 5 months ago | (#46751687)

Why do so many people confuse weather with climate?

Because climate IS weather? It's just lots of it averaged over time. This winter is a valid data point that will drag down the average temperature for the decade, and that statistical behavior is perfectly acceptable. What did you think you were measuring, anyway? Tree rings?

Sure there is. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751317)

Any engineer can STOP USING the crap we're dumping into the environment that's responsible for increased atmospheric heat retention, toxic pollution and nuclear proliferation. They won't have a job for long, but that's a different subject.

nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1, Troll)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 5 months ago | (#46751185)

While we've proven we can engineer nuclear power plants, we've also proved we're completely incompetent at maintaining them.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751233)

Ironically, we'd be better off if we were less afraid and more able to do what makes sense rather than being hamstrung by regulations that are compliance, rather than safety-focused.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (3, Informative)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 5 months ago | (#46751327)

Accidents happen, yes, but nuclear is still arguably the safest (deaths/TWh) form of energy on the planet: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ja... [forbes.com]

Even wind, hydro and solar are more dangerous.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 5 months ago | (#46751403)

You say 90 people per year die from Wind energy, I call BS.

How does wind energy kill people ?

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 5 months ago | (#46751419)

actually it wasnt per year, its per trillion kWh, still my question is the same, how does wind energy kill people.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751483)

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3cd_1383772851

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751583)

http://www.caithnesswindfarms.... [caithnesswindfarms.co.uk]

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 5 months ago | (#46751739)

Construction and maintenance deaths. Wind requires far more individual generators than nuclear or any of the fossil fuel plants which means a greater level of maintenance and construction time for the same generation capacity. They are also high up in the air, which means higher risk.

Construction and maintenance always has a % chance risk of death or serious injury. Add height to that and the outcomes get worse. This isn't exclusive to wind farms.

Basically people fall while working on the wind farms and go splat. According to http://www.caithnesswindfarms.... [caithnesswindfarms.co.uk] there were 145 wind farm fatalities in the UK alone from 2009 - 2013 145 people died working on wind turbines.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751499)

They fall off.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751627)

I'd imagining it's from workers falling and getting crushed while building and repairing the things. From what I saw on dirty jobs, they looked like a real bitch to maintain and construct.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (2)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 5 months ago | (#46751631)

You say 90 people per year die from Wind energy, I call BS.

How does wind energy kill people ?

I rescue people caught in a Windmill on a weekly basis. You'd be amazed at how many drunks want to ride it to the top.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 5 months ago | (#46751689)

Quote from the link - "It is notable that the U.S. death rates for coal are so much lower than for China, strictly a result of regulation and the Clean Air Act (Scott et al., 2005). It is also notable that the Clean Air Act is one of the most life-saving pieces of legislation ever adopted by any country in history. Still, about 10,000 die from coal use in the U.S. each year, and another thousand from natural gas. Hydro is dominated by a few rare large dam failures like Banqiao in China in 1976 which killed about 171,000 people. Workers still regularly fall off wind turbines during maintenance but since relatively little electricity production comes from wind, the totals deaths are small. Nuclear has the lowest deathprint, even with the worst-case Chernobyl numbers and Fukushima projections..."

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1)

wiggles (30088) | about 5 months ago | (#46751513)

If we were *completely* incompetent, every one we've ever made would have melted down. As it stands, I can only name 3.

Re:nuclear power means unintended geoengineering (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 5 months ago | (#46751635)

If we were *completely* incompetent, every one we've ever made would have melted down. As it stands, I can only name 3.

One was sabotage as well, so 2 right?

Sulfuric Acid. (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 5 months ago | (#46751191)

While it's not a solution most people want to consider, pumping sulfuric acid into the atmosphere would counter act the green house effect. But it's sort of the "old lady who swallowed the fly" issue since we then would need to figure out what to do about all the acid rain.

Re:Sulfuric Acid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751295)

I've already got asthma. Perhaps there's some other molecule with high persistence that could reflect sunlight. Double props if we could release a second, naturally degradable compound that would precipitate the reflective compound out of the atmosphere.

Brilliant! (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 5 months ago | (#46751193)

So if global warming is real, and it's due to us fucking around with nature with total disregard of side-effects, then the answer is to fuck around with nature some more?

Re:Brilliant! (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751275)

yes.
One was random ignorant circumstance, the other a planned way to go forward and start correcting it.

Re:Brilliant! (0)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 5 months ago | (#46751669)

That worked so well with DDT.

the 70's called (3, Interesting)

dlt074 (548126) | about 5 months ago | (#46751215)

good thing we didn't cover the poles with dark soot, like they were calling for in the 70's to stop the impending ice age.

Re:the 70's called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751333)

Maybe we should keep the idea handy, because the Earth is indeed heading into another ice age eventually. An ice age *is* impending, but it's on a multi-thousand-year timescale. We will have to do something about it or accept ice covering a good chunk of northern continents (e.g., in North America, scraping down to about the latitude of New York, and in Europe covering Scandinavia, the UK, and the North Sea and Baltic), but the temperature and ocean acidity spike that's expected in the next century or two is a rather more pressing concern.

Messing with the system on a global scale in either way is rather risky. Fixing one unplanned experiment (doubling CO2 concentration) with another one would be a huge risk.

Re:the 70's called (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | about 5 months ago | (#46751369)

We're just getting rid of one of them, instead.

Re:the 70's called (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 5 months ago | (#46751375)

Well, I've been warning against any mitigation of gw -- moving inland slowly over 100-300 years is a minor hassle (buildings get old anyway).

But accidentally overshooting and inducing an ice age (which can start in as little as 1-2 years) will actually and rapidly kill billions.

Re:the 70's called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751473)

Which would thrill Greenpeace and other groups of that kind to no end.

Re:the 70's called (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751387)

No one called for that, and when ever someone brings up global cooling, it's guaranteed they don't know what global climate change is.
Hint: There is more particulate matter in the air; which reflects some sunlight. There is also CO2(and other) green house gasses that traps the energy.
The energy trapped is greater the the energy lost from sun lighting reflection

Also, we are in an ice age.

Re:the 70's called (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 5 months ago | (#46751699)

Citation needed.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 5 months ago | (#46751221)

Watch Snowpiercer - good movie.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#46751271)

On Netflix now is "Pandora's Promise". Released last year, this documentary talks about the specific IFR type nuclear power referenced in the fine article. It is a little one-sided, but pretty interesting overall. The reactor can enrich depleted uranium, and burn it over and over until all the uranium is gone. It is not prone to meltdown, either.

Maybe if Clinton... (4, Interesting)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 5 months ago | (#46751223)

had not be so busy getting a knobber, we might not have this problem:

Then again AlGore would not have a job being a global alarmist alarmist either...

"BAS: Are you surprised that so many environmental groups remain vehemently opposed to nuclear power?

Wigley: “Saddened” would be a better word. Often the main concern of those groups is proliferation—the use or theft of nuclear material to make weapons. I think that that is a misrepresented issue as well. One of the saddest things was when the Clinton administration shut down the program on fast reactors.1 Clinton, [Al] Gore, and John Kerry are to blame there. If that program had not been shut down, and fast reactors had continued to develop, within maybe three years we could have started building Integral Fast Reactor systems with the whole nuclear cycle on one site—reprocessing waste materials onsite and having very little residual waste to deal with. If that had happened, I don’t think we would have a global warming problem now at all. We could have started on a pathway of rapid introduction of fourth-generation nuclear technology, and we would have gained 20 years in solving the climate problem

Re:Maybe if Clinton... (1)

ubergeek2009 (1475007) | about 5 months ago | (#46751307)

I agree that nuclear is part of the solution to our current problems, but we have to get over the social issue first. Nuclear is safe the public just associates everything to do with radiation and nukes with death.

I personally think that nuclear fission plants should be used until we can get fusion working for energy production or we can make space based solar reasonably effective.

Re:Maybe if Clinton... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#46751527)

The type of reactor is important. There isn't enough uranium for us to power out of this with light water reactors. We need breeders. Thorium, traveling wave, IFR that take spent fuel as input and self-enrich.

Re:Maybe if Clinton... (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751399)

Yes, a politician coming forward and explaining we are having a climate problem is alarmist.
All people like you did is make it a nearly untenable topic for politicians becasue ass wipe like you come out and tlak about non sequitors and use it to rub you partisan dick all over the place.

If anything, his alarm was loud enough.

Re:Maybe if Clinton... (0)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 5 months ago | (#46751705)

Was it alarmist in the 1970's when we had an ice age coming? Whether global warming actually exists or not, the progressives have seized on global warming as an issue for one and only one reason -power over the people. (And, BTW, it was clinton rubbing his partisan dick all over the place instead of doing his job...)

I told you so (2, Insightful)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#46751235)

If anthropogenic global warming is not only real but as apocalyptic as its proponents claim, we will not only have to go nuclear but we will have to geoengineer our way out of it. None of the processes outlined in this article, like spraying high-albedo compounds into the upper atmosphere, can run away. We can implement a method to the point where we start to get observable effects, and then back off if problems develop. In other words, we need to be as adventurous and willing to assume large-scale risk now as we were when we ran the Manhattan Project.

To put it another way: the greenhouse effect, if it is actually happening, is already a form of geoengineering. It is making cold countries warm. If it's going too far, the geoengineering steps in this article are what it might take to arrive at the stable, human-based optimum we want for our long-term survival.

Re:I told you so (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 5 months ago | (#46751265)

I'd mod you up, but the ifs are out of place.

There's no "if", it's happening right now.

Re:I told you so (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751425)

Other than 17 years 8 months of no warming.
Other than ACTUAL warming, yes, we are having warming.

lol, idiots. Queue the anti-science people claiming that actual data is not relevent to scientific discussions.

Re:I told you so (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46751455)

I would prefer we built giant 'shields' be tween us and the sun so that we can move them if need be.
I don't want to spray anything into the atmosphere.

Really, if we could figure out how plants work so efficiently on a the molecular level to get CO2 and convert it to sugar, O, and H we could solve this issue..

But, yeah 4 Gen nuclear plants need to be built, and ran by the government, not private industry.
  Remove the profit and bonus motivation, and people won't try to find ways to skirt, or delay on maintenance so they get a bigger bonus.
Charge cost plus 1 cent a KWh.

I would built the first ones near coal plants.
I would also take a 20x20 mile square of real estate in Arizona or New Mexico, and create a multi technology solar power plant and power a nearby city. Use it as RnD so private companies can replicate it.

Re:I told you so (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 5 months ago | (#46751697)

So you want to reduce the amount of growth in plants by reducing the amount of sunlight they get?

Denial of the root cause (0)

spirit_fingers (777604) | about 5 months ago | (#46751253)

Human beings are incapable of sufficiently modifying their material expectations, and hence their behavior, to address this crisis. The underlying cause of our current global environmental emergency is overpopulation. There are simply far too many of us and we continue to multiply at an obscenely accelerating rate. We've been too successful as a species for our own good, but our increase in numbers has not been met with an increase in wisdom or political will to deal with our own trashing of the biosphere. We're screwed. We won't reduce our population and we're too lazy and cheap to deal with the problem. We're going down, but before we dissolve into a gigantic cesspool of our making we'll take most higher animal and plant species with us.

Re:Denial of the root cause (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46751581)

There are simply far too many of us and we continue to multiply at an obscenely accelerating rate.

Well, no.

Whether there are too many of us is debatable, but it is NOT debatable that the rate of population increase has been decreasing steadily for decades.

Current projections show population peaking under 12 billion, and declining thereafter.

So, no, we're not continuing to multiply "at a obscenely accelerating rate".

So, I'll assume the rest of your rant is as devoid of fact as the part I quoted, and not waste time either reading or responding to it.

Re:Denial of the root cause (2)

Qwertie (797303) | about 5 months ago | (#46751613)

Uh, have you noticed that the countries with the most wealth seem to have the least children? So my (naive) view would be that increasing the "material expectations" of the population, by increasing the wealth of the masses, has a better chance of avoiding dangerous overcrowding than keeping the majority of the world poor. One-child policies like China's, while on the extreme side, are also effective.

I suppose when you talk of "material expectations" you are thinking of North Americans and their rampant consumerism. I submit that this is not a problem with "human beings" so much as a problem with Americans and other affluent cultures. "Human beings" are certainly capable of living with less; most often this occurs due to lack of wealth, but there are a lot of things that we could voluntarily give up without harming our quality of life.

For example, when you go to McDonald's, do you really need the 3 napkins they give you automatically? Does your Big Mac really have to come in a box that you immediately throw away? Could re-usable plastic cups be used instead? Likewise in our home life, I know most people could find, if they wanted, ways to reduce waste and use less energy. Did you know you can turn the stove off before you remove the pot, and it can keep cooking for up to several minutes? Did you know apples with blemishes are safe to eat? Personally, I have a good quality of life as I try my best to reduce waste, but I know many of my peers waste a lot of food and goods and their lives are no better for it. I submit that this is an issue of human culture rather than human beings.

smart specialist, dumb generalist (1)

PermacultureEngineer (2712673) | about 5 months ago | (#46751321)

This guy is a climate scientist but obviously knows jack-all about energy systems.

he argues that hat renewable energy alone will not be sufficient to address the climate challenge, because it cannot be scaled up quickly and cheaply enough, and that opposition to nuclear power 'threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change.'"
Which ignores the fact that both solar and nuclear have had recent explosive growth, while the last time a nuclear plant came in on time and on budget was back in the 50's when they thought that radiation was good for you.

Are we so in thrall to our fossil fuel overlords (1)

Grey Geezer (2699315) | about 5 months ago | (#46751337)

that we can't just end the carbon binge we are on?

Re:Are we so in thrall to our fossil fuel overlord (2)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 5 months ago | (#46751431)

Give a time frame for "just end" that would not put the whole world back into the stone age? The #1 cause of pollution (or carbon de-sequestration for you pointy types) is poverty. http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/... [adamsmith.org]
Just think about how it will be if you are drinking your starbucks that was heated by burning cow dung...

Re:Are we so in thrall to our fossil fuel overlord (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751541)

Since you will not be able to bring in coffee beans it will probably be french roasted (burnt as done by Starbucks) cow dung, it might be an improvement.

Re:Are we so in thrall to our fossil fuel overlord (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 5 months ago | (#46751597)

Just think about how it will be if you are drinking your starbucks that was heated by burning cow dung..

Well, it might taste better. :)
I love good coffee. Therefore I can't stand Starbucks.

What? (1)

slapout (93640) | about 5 months ago | (#46751339)

Didn't any of you people watch "The Time Machine"?!

The Science article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751393)

I didn't notice any links to the article in Science that was mentioned. Here it is [sciencemag.org] , although it is paywalled. If you search for the title ("A Combined Mitigation/Geoengineering Approach to Climate Stabilization") you might find some non-paywalled copies or preprints.

Taboo?? (3, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | about 5 months ago | (#46751411)

I don't think there is much of a taboo on discussing climate engineering. It's just that all of the proposals I have heard about are just stupid / won't work / would screw up things more, etc. Then there is the "what could possibly go wrong" factor.
It's fine to discuss climate engineering but they'll have to come up with something much better than anything now out there.

Re:Taboo?? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 5 months ago | (#46751717)

My problem with it is that in general people aren't as smart as we believe we are. We keep coming up with new things that have terrible side effects but when something new comes along we don't possibly believe that anything could go wrong with it. Maybe we are just hopelessly optimistic.

Yes we should spew particulate matter (carbon) (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about 5 months ago | (#46751501)

Into the upper atmosphere this will dull out the sun which our largest climate variable!

It's springtime (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 5 months ago | (#46751529)

Tom Wigley is one of the world's top climate scientists

That's damning with faint praise. It's springtime. The climate ninnies are out in full force.

and one and only one mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46751671)

and one and only one mistake, and the atmosphere is all burned off and we all die a horrible death....and i'll add you rich turds get to come with us....

Incorrect Analysis (1, Flamebait)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#46751691)

Look, real climate change impacts are cradle to grave for power sources.

When done that way, nuclear fission causes water to heat, the mining process is extremely impactful, and the amount of risk and capital required make it no more efficient than reducing the impact of existing coal power plants by converting them to more efficient (as in double the output per ton of coal) by cogeneration.

The problem is really one of massive subsidies for wrong-headed energy sources.

Coal, oil, and natural gas.

Get rid of the tax exemptions for those and the below-market rate leases for drilling and exploitation and shipping and the market self-corrects.

Take the money saved by removing those exemptions and put it into low-cost 1 percent capital loans to build solar, wind, and micro-hydro power sources instead. The problem with those sources is coming up with the capital to switch, not the cost to operate (solar is already cheaper than everything except coal, for example, and that's with massive coal subsidies and tax exemptions).

Climate lobby won't accept this as an answer (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#46751753)

What they want is control over global industry, insane amounts of unaudited "international aid money" and absolute moral authority.

Solve the problem and you take away their power, their money, and their claims to moral superiority.

This is something they will never let die.

If we fixed the climate tomorrow they'd still be harping about it.

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