Thursday, June 01, 2017


Exposing the Geo-clique

Nobody knows what the system-wide effects of these techniques will be, because we really don't understand how the complex earth system works. All the scientists can do is model the known variables and see what the computers predict. Over the years, they have gotten better, but the models are still somewhat crude. So the scientists involved have met in secret for decades, knowing that the public would be skeptical or hostile to their plans.

The silence was broken in 2006 by Paul Crutzen, the same man who suggested the name anthropocene for the new geologic era earth scientists now agree has begun. Crutzen is skeptical of climate engineering, but he realized a backroom juggernaut was forming, and thought public scrutiny was overdue. The danger is that, once people believe that climate engineering can solve climate change, then our old fossil madness might be embraced with even greater fervor.

Hamilton's account of the history of the formation of the global geo-clique is fascinating – and chilling. Almost every climate scientist in the West worked at Lawrence Livermore Lab, including Edward Teller, inventor of the hydrogen bomb, and a hugely confident proponent of climate engineering. From Lawrence Livermore, the hot spot shifted to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), which was in charge of the failed Star Wars project which besotted Ronald Reagan. Today, a “Bipartisan” Policy Center is the key organization for sorting out the various schemes, keeping climate engineering squarely inside the Beltway.

The momentum for all this built while we were not paying attention. With all the uncertainties, and the enormous hubris of taking on god-like powers, solar radiation management is almost certain to be deployed, either early on as a preventative measure (within twenty years), or as a last-ditch effort to save civilization (whenever climate disequilibrium hits an emergency level). For this reason, the way what looks sadly inevitable is regulated, and by whom, becomes of huge importance. Since it has been part of war games for quite awhile now, the danger is for unilateral action, or that allied blocks of nations will deploy SRM without consulting the rest of the world. The best outcome would be to have a world body like the UN oversee the research and deployment of this tool.

But the problems are enormous, since there will be winners and losers no matter how the application of sulfate aerosols is tweaked. All the modeling thusfar indicates that the Indian monsoon would be severely affected by lessening solar radiation striking the oceans. And China is so big, that any alterations we initiate in the climate will help some areas and hurt others, exacerbating regional and ethnic tensions there. Climate engineering's problems are immense, and deserve careful public scrutiny, which no rebranding as “climate remediation” can skirt. I will turn in my next post to the ethical dilemmas it poses.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]