Thursday, April 26, 2007

We're all going to die

Take a good hard look at how the government manages the economy, and consider what would happen if the government started messing with the weather directly. James R Fleming, professor of science, technology, and society at Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, considers just that question in an article published in the The Wilson Quarterly:

The inherent unknowability of what would happen if we tried to tinker with the immensely complex planetary climate system is one reason why climate engineering has until recently been spoken of only sotto voce in the scientific community. Many researchers recognize that even the most brilliant scientists have a history of blindness to the wider ramifications of their work. Imagine, for example, that Wood’s scheme to thicken the Arctic icecap did somehow become possible. While most of the world may want to maintain or increase polar sea ice, Russia and some other nations have historically desired an ice-free Arctic ocean, which would liberate shipping and open potentially vast oil and mineral deposits for exploitation. And an engineered Arctic ice sheet would likely produce shorter growing seasons and harsher winters in Alaska, Siberia, Greenland, and elsewhere, and could generate super winter storms in the midlatitudes. Yet Wood calls his brainstorm a plan for “global climate stabilization,” and hopes to create a sort of “planetary thermostat” to regulate the global climate.

Who would control such a “thermostat,” making life-altering decisions for the planet’s billions? What is to prevent other nations from undertaking unilateral climate modification? The United States has no monopoly on such dreams. In November 2005, for example, Yuri Izrael, head of the ­Moscow-based Institute of Global Climate and Ecology Studies, wrote to Russian president Vladimir Putin to make the case for immediately burning massive amounts of sulfur in the stratosphere to lower the earth’s temperature “a degree or two”—a correction greater than the total warming since pre-industrial times.

There is, moreover, a troubling motif of militarization in the history of weather and climate control. Military leaders in the United States and other countries have pondered the possibilities of weaponized weather manipulation for decades.

[..] Ultimate control of the weather and climate excites some of our wildest fantasies and our greatest fears. It is the stuff of age-old myths. Throughout history, we mortals have tried to protect ourselves against harsh weather. But weather control was reserved for the ancient sky gods. Now the power has seemingly devolved to modern Titans.

[..] Largely unaware of the long and checkered history of weather and climate control and the political and ethical challenges it poses, or somehow considering themselves exempt, the new Titans see themselves as heroic pioneers, the first generation capable of alleviating or averting natural disasters. They are largely oblivious to the history of the charlatans and sincere but deluded scientists and engineers who preceded them. If we fail to heed the lessons of that history, and fail to bring its perspectives to bear in thinking about public policy, we risk repeating the mistakes of the past, in a game with much higher stakes.
Via Drudge, ht: The Informed Reader

It's a rather lengthly article, but worth the read. Of note is Professor Fleming's discussion of previous attempts to placate the sun gods.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

the economy in canada is going to seriously tank in my lifetime.

for me that is a good thing; I anticipate I will be living on a pension at the time and there's nuthin like a tankin' economy to keep inflation at bay.

nuthin to be greedy with when cash is a very scarce commodity.

one of the reasons for the tanking is the looming and accelerating shortage of skilled tradespeople, combined with the brat-entitlement attitude pounded into the pretty little empty heads of todays high schoolers.