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07/26/2012

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John D

I had been thinking that the idea of climate engineering was ridiculous, that we would never do something that stupid. However, after reading your thoughts I now agree- this is what Homo Sapiens does. I'm sure something like all the fish eating the iron filled algae and mutating will happen and we will then come out with an anti-iron mutation solution! After all, its what we do.

rumor

I'm just old enough to remember the vague, looming sense of disaster that shrouded the early 80s Cold War - that sense that, irrespective of everything else, unimaginable man-made doom hung unsteadily over our heads like a sword of Damocles.

Talk of geoingeering the oceans and skies gives me the same damn cold feeling down in my stomach.

rumor

The thing that gets me about iron-seeding the oceans as a viable prospect for controlling greenhouse gases is that I can't but imagine that we're talking about an absolutely massive - and ongoing! - venture in order to make any kind of significant progress. Which means mining and processing metric shit-tonnes of iron, collating the iron, and shipping all that iron all over the oceanic world. Over and over.

Let's ignore the economic realities here. This naturally will require the use of an awful lot of fossil fuels. Which will naturally expend an awful lot more greenhouse gases. It will also, we fail to doubt, foster an increased collective sense that continuing to use fossil fuels will be alright. Which again should lead to more fossil fuel expenditure or, at the very least, mitigate against conservation hopes.

So we would essentially be enterting into a race with ourselves, to see what we can do faster and more efficiently - expend greenhouse gases or foster the absorption of greenhouse gases (by expending greenhouse gases).

All just in order to construct a massive climatological time bomb for our species some few centuries down the road, when that theoretically sequestered carbon looses from the ocean firmament.

Gretchen

Geoengineering, bioengineering, this egotistical messing with the extremely delicate balance that makes Life possible will be our end. Most of the last ouple decades inventions are based on little less thought than "we're not sure what it will do, but let's just see what happens." Scientists and engineers are incapable of planning for worst case scenario of their inventions to something so simple as to how to turn off and repair a goddamn oil outlet. How in the sam hell do they plan to fix purposely broken planetary life systems? We're in over our heads. May the great Mother and all our brothers and sisters on this planet forgive us.

John D

rumor, you raise a good point. It would be worthwhile to analyze the carbon footprint required to mine the iron, grind it into fine particles, then ship it off to the middle of the ocean to be assimilated. You may wind up creating as much carbon as you sequester.

web reader

You may have seen this story before.

http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/12/iron-rain.html

basically the thesis is that we already had a fleet of coal burning ships (which provide their own sulfur-aerosol trails that enhance cooling you can see the ship tracks here - http://phys.org/news/2011-10-birth-cloud-droplet.html).

Looking at the arguments being used, the logical extension is that the more coal we burn, the cooler the planet becomes. That's part of the argument here - http://www.wjla.com/blogs/weather/2011/07/is-china-s-coal-pollution-helping-slow-down-global-warming--11743.html

Anywhere But Here Is Better

Thanks to predatory banking practices emanating from Wall Street, we're having a lot of austerity cuts in the health service in the UK - yes, our "communist" National Health Service as your Tee-Hee Party would call it on Fux News.

Soon it seems, pregnant women attending pre-natal clinics will be turned away with the advice to waddle off into the nearest ocean and open their mouths to receive the iron supplements they need.

JGM

Dave,

You really should read the Kunstler books. I do believe you are right about human nature, but as Jim points out, the money ain't going to be there to do this ridiculous stuff. As other commenters and the Nature study reveals, the scale of these "solutions" would have to be unimaginably huge to have any real effect, and we can't even afford to fix our electric grid or our even our railroads as it is. Other commenters are also right that these schemes assume unending cheap energy to support the massive processes that would be involved in implementing them. As Einstein said: "We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them". Yes, Dave you are 100% right about human nature, and there probably will be more experiments along these lines, but in the end, this climate change business is all hoo-ha, and will come to nothing.

Keep posting - you're on my everyday read list!

Raintonite

Let's see if I have Dr. Lackner's idea right. We use the wealth created, in part, by cutting down existing forests in order to evenutally manufacture artificial trees to do what trees already do by naturally sequestering carbon.

Sheer genious.

Then, again, we could just stop using fossil fuels to cut down forests, or use remaining fuels to replant forests when and where possible.

Nah, not clever enough.

Mind you, Dr. Lackner would be feathering his own nest. Anybody can be taught to plant and nuture trees. It takes an elite scientist to manufacture trees. A lucractive job for the few. Shite for the rest of us.

It's one thing to abandon ship. It's another thing altogether when you have to abandon hope. I left the ship long ago. Today I abandon all hope.

teri

Dave,
One thing that is truly frightening is that it seems anyone with enough money can go ahead and experiment as they choose. I have read several stories about the Bill Gates "science" foundation's intentions to seed sulphur into the atmosphere above New Mexico. A sun-blocking umbrella, they call it, modeled on the idea of a volcano spewing ash and blocking the sun's rays, thus cooling the planet. How they reconcile their plan with the basic truth that without the sun, plants die, and without plants, humans and other (better) creatures die, is never discussed. The question of the resulting acid rain is answered by the foundation thusly: they "believe" that the sulphur particles will be released high enough in the atmosphere to "probably" not enter into the rain cycles.

Nowhere have I read that the foundation cannot legally go ahead with this idea to fuck around with the commons this way. So if you have enough cash, you can legally play god? The rest of us have no protection from these assholes?

Here is one article about the scheme: http://www.naturalnews.com/036583_geoengineering_Bill_Gates_global_warming.html

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