Thursday, November 16, 2006


Yet another "solution" to global warming has been proposed by Paul J. Crutzen at the U.N. conference on climate change in Kenya. HT Drudge.

Air pollution may be just the thing to fight global warming, some scientists say.

Prominent scientists, among them a Nobel laureate, said a layer of pollution deliberately spewed into the atmosphere could act as a "shade" from the sun's rays and help cool the planet.

Reaction to the proposal here at the annual U.N. conference on climate change is a mix of caution, curiosity and some resignation to such "massive and drastic" operations, as the chief U.N. climatologist describes them.

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist who first made the proposal is himself "not enthusiastic about it."

"It was meant to startle the policymakers," said Paul J. Crutzen, of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. "If they don't take action much more strongly than they have in the past, then in the end we have to do experiments like this."

[..] The Dutch climatologist, awarded a 1995 Nobel in chemistry for his work uncovering the threat to Earth's atmospheric ozone layer, suggested that balloons bearing heavy guns be used to carry sulfates high aloft and fire them into the stratosphere.

While carbon dioxide keeps heat from escaping Earth, substances such as sulfur dioxide, a common air pollutant, reflect solar radiation, helping cool the planet.

[..] By telephone from Germany, Crutzen said that's what he envisioned: global haze as a component for long-range planning. "The reception on the whole is more positive than I thought," he said.
Pollution is blamed for global warming but the latest suggestion is to intentionally shoot more of it into the atmosphere? The correct response is to get rid of the Kyoto accord and let the productive economy carry on sans government interference. More frightening than global warming / cooling is the prospect of politicians elected by the ballot box storming electorate playing the role of God; everything our policy makers touch withers and dies and so shall the earth if world governments are permitted to manage the planet like the Communists ruled Russia.

Cross-posted at Dust my Broom.


Arthur Majoor said...

This plan is somewhat more practical than the Kyoto accord, but planting more trees in your back yard and switching to white roofing material would be even cheaper and more effective.....

"A Swarm of Umbrellas vs. Global Warming: Astronomer thinks small to save Earth
Ron Cowen

Some wives ask their husbands to take out the garbage. Roger Angel's wife asked him to get rid of global warming.

COOLING CONCEPT. Miniature flyers made of transparent film would deflect sunlight from Earth. Three solar-reflecting tabs on each flyer direct its course. This illustration shows background starlight blurred into doughnuts by the film.
Angel, T. Connors/Univ. of Arizona

Prompted by her plea, Angel, an astronomer and acclaimed telescope-mirror designer at the University of Arizona in Tucson, began pursuing a space-based solution.

In the plan he came up with, a trillion miniature spacecraft, each about a gram in mass and carrying a half-meter-diameter sunshade, would shield Earth.

This cloud of sun-orbiting flyers, about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth and stretching over a distance of about 100,000 km, would act as a mostly transparent umbrella for the entire planet.

The cloud would reduce by 1.8 percent the amount of sunlight reaching Earth, and that shading would significantly cut global warming, Angel calculates. He describes his ambitious plan, which he says could be deployed in about 25 years at a cost of several trillion dollars, in an upcoming Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Previous schemes to reduce the sunlight reaching Earth had required far heavier craft with larger shades. Such vehicles would have to be built in space from lunar material or asteroids.

In contrast, Angel's proposed flyers, which include shades made of transparent film and riddled with holes, can be built and assembled on Earth, he asserts.

Rather than requiring rocket fuel, which could further contribute to global warming, the flyers would be accelerated into space by a large magnetic field applied along 2,000-m-long tracks. With each such launch sending out 800,000 flyers, the project would require 20 million launches over a decade.

The flyers would rely on ion propulsion to reach their destination—a position between the sun and Earth in which the craft would take the same amount of time to orbit the sun as Earth does. They would then maintain a fixed position relative to Earth and shade it for about 50 years.

The flyers would need to continuously modify their trajectories. The pressure of sunlight on a trio of tiltable solar reflectors, embedded with electronics, would automatically redirect each craft, keeping the cloud intact or dispersing it as needed.

Several scientists say that there are less-expensive and easier ways to reduce global warming. Aluminized Mylar stretched across the ground or white paint covering large areas to reflect visible light from Earth into space "would be vastly cheaper," says astronomer Webster Cash of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

"It makes much more economic sense to find ways to address the climate problem directly by reducing the pollution that causes it," says climatologist James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City.

No word has come yet on what Angel's wife thinks."

Planting trees and switching to reflective roofing materials is certainly much easier and cheaper than a flock of satellites or deliberatly polluting the earth's atmosphere with reflective aerosols, but since "environmental activists" are opposed to any of these plans, we need to ask what it is these people really want?

rhebner said...

When I was in grade school (early 70's) we were taught that a new ice age was coming because smog was blocking the sun from coming through. Millions would die before the end of the 20th century.

Now they want to do it intentionally?? It's all so confusing. Why can't they just bring back acid rain. That was a doomsday scenario we could all understand!

Anonymous said...

Ironically, nobody has mentioned that this has been done already, and it worked quite well, and it has kept the earth cool until now.

However, the unprecedented experimental question we're currently testing asks the question of how fast global warming will happen without reflective high-altitude particulate pollution.