Turn out the lights

February 2024 Forums General discussion Turn out the lights

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    Ocaisionally engineers propose seeding the atmosphere with particles, much like a volcano does, to dim the sun and cool the earth (quite what would happen if a volcano erupted at the same time is worrisome).

    “This may sound unlikely. But every engineering assessment to date has concluded that it would be feasible and relatively cheap to do using a fleet of high-flying jets to release reflective particles into the upper atmosphere.”

    As the author acknowledges, this is not a fix, and CO2 emissions would still need to be cut: but it does raise the prospect of buying a little time.

    The issue is, it is a whole world solution, rainfall and light changes could effect some communities more than others: as an approach it would need to be carefully prepared for and carried out co-operatively at a world level. Sulphuric acid rain may damage plant life and ecosystems.

    Alongside the need to increase nuclear power alongside renewables, we are very much into a situation where extreme solutions may be required.


    The issue is, it is a whole world solution, rainfall and light changes could effect some communities more than others

    That is why of course we would have to wait for socialism for it to be applied. Under capitalism it affects the different competing states differently and those which would be adversely affected would block it, drag their feet or refuse to cooperate to get it done.

    Because cutting back on fossil fuel production and consumption affects the competitively of the different competing states differently is already why they can’t agree on what is required at the COP conferences. They can agree on something but it’s never much above the lowest common denominator.


    Of course, another option is Iron Fertilization of the oceans, but that seems likely to be less effective, and runs into a similar problem that despite the nonsense of national ownership of bits of the sea, the oceans are a global commons, and should be managed as such.


    This seems to set out the terms of this debate

    “James Hansen of Columbia University in the US published a paper with colleagues in November which claims temperatures are set to rise further and faster than the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In his view, the 1.5°C target is dead….

    “To regain some control over Earth’s rising temperature, Hansen supports accelerating the retirement of fossil fuels, greater cooperation between major polluters that accommodates the needs of the developing world and, controversially, intervening in Earth’s “radiation balance” (the difference between incoming and outgoing light and heat) to cool the planet’s surface.”

    Part of the issue, if I understand it correctly, is how much latent warming there is in the system, even if we hit net zero.

    The actual article by Mann proposes: “(1) a global increasing price on GHG emissions accompanied by development of abundant, affordable, dispatchable clean energy, (2) East-West cooperation in a way that accommodates developing world needs, and (3) intervention with Earth’s radiation imbalance to phase down today’s massive human-made ‘geo-transformation’ of Earth’s climate. Current political crises present an opportunity for reset, especially if young people can grasp their situation.” (Indeed, he recognises the political nature of the question, but his solution is a party not funded by “special interests”.


    On a similar theme: Giant solar farms may be an issue
    “Beyond a certain size, solar farms become large enough to affect the weather around them and ultimately the climate as a whole. In our new research we have looked at the effect such climate-altering solar farms might have on solar power production elsewhere in the world.”

    What this means is that solar projects need to be co-ordinated, yes, central Australia and the Sahara will always be a good place for solar farms and Scotland less so: but it continues making the case that we need worldwide co-operation to survive the climate crisis.

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