Calls for Geo-Engineering at the Royal Society

Several British scientists have apparently decided that geo-engineering is better than nothing.

(Posted by John Goetz)

Extreme and risky action the only way to tackle global warming, say scientists

From The Guardian

Monday September 1 2008

David Adam, environment correspondent

Terraforming (image not part of Guardian article)

Political inaction on global warming has become so dire that nations must now consider extreme technical solutions – such as blocking out the sun – to address catastrophic temperature rises, scientists from around the world warn today.

The experts say a reluctance “at virtually all levels” to address soaring greenhouse gas emissions means carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are on track to pass 650 parts-per-million (ppm), which could bring an average global temperature rise of 4C. They call for more research on geo-engineering options to cool the Earth, such as dumping massive quantities of iron into oceans to boost plankton growth, and seeding artificial clouds over oceans to reflect sunlight back into space.

Writing the introduction to a special collection of scientific papers on the subject, published today by the Royal Society, Brian Launder of the University of Manchester and Michael Thompson of the University of Cambridge say: “While such geoscale interventions may be risky, the time may well come when they are accepted as less risky than doing nothing.”

They add: “There is increasingly the sense that governments are failing to come to grips with the urgency of setting in place measures that will assuredly lead to our planet reaching a safe equilibrium.”

Well, we certainly know just how risky geo-engineering was for the terraformers on LV-426.

Professor Launder, a mechanical engineer, told the Guardian: “The carbon numbers just don’t add up and we need to be looking at other options, namely geo-engineering, to give us time to let the world come to its senses.” He said it was important to research and develop the technologies so that they could be deployed if necessary. “At the moment it’s almost like talking about how we could stop world war two with an atomic bomb, but we haven’t done the research to develop nuclear fission.”

Such geo-engineering options have been talked about for years as a possible last-ditch attempt to control global temperatures, if efforts to constrain emissions fail. Critics argue they are a dangerous distraction from attempts to limit carbon pollution, and that they could have disastrous side-effects. They would also do nothing to prevent ecological damage caused by the growing acidification of the oceans, caused when carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change dismissed geo-engineering as “largely speculative and unproven and with the risk of unknown side-effects”.

Dr Alice Bows of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester said: “I’m not a huge fan of messing with the atmosphere in an geo-engineering sense because there could be unpredictable consequences. But there are also a lot of unpredictable consequences of temperature increase. It does appear that we’re failing to act [on emissions]. And if we are failing to act, then we have to consider some of the other options.”

In a strongly worded paper with colleague Kevin Anderson in today’s special edition of the society’s Philosophical Transactions journal, Bows says politicians have significantly underestimated the scale of the climate challenge. They say this year’s G8 pledge to cut global emissions 50% by 2050, in an effort to limit global warming to 2C, has no scientific basis and could lead to “dangerously misguided” policies.

The scientists say global carbon emissions are rising so fast that they would need to peak by 2015 and then decrease by up to 6.5% each year for atmospheric CO2 levels to stabilise at 450ppm, which might limit temperature rise to 2C. Even a goal of 650ppm – way above most government projections – would need world emissions to peak in 2020 and then reduce 3% each year.

Globally, a 4C temperature rise would have a catastrophic impact. According to the government’s Stern review on the economics of climate change in 2006, between 7 million and 300 million more people would be affected by coastal flooding each year, there would be a 30-50% reduction in water availability in southern Africa and the Mediterranean, agricultural yields would decline 15-35% in Africa and 20-50% of animal and plant species would face extinction.

Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, said: “It’s not clear which of these geo-engineering technologies might work, still less what environmental and social impacts they might have, or whether it could ever be prudent or politically acceptable to adopt any of them. But it is worth devoting effort to clarifying both the feasibility and any potential downsides of the various options. None of these technologies will provide a ‘get out of jail free card’ and they must not divert attention away from efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Mike Childs of Friends of the Earth said: “We can’t afford to wait for magical geo-engineering solutions to get us out of the hole we have dug ourselves into. The solutions that exist now, such as a large-scale energy efficiency programme and investment in wind, wave and solar power, can do the job if we deploy them at the scale and urgency that is needed.”

It is refreshing to see someone at an environmentalist organization with a cool-enough head to point out what we actually should be doing.

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104 thoughts on “Calls for Geo-Engineering at the Royal Society

  1. To say nothing of the thousands upon thousands of publically funded jobs such projects would create. It’s almost as if one of the rolls of the Royal Society was to promote engineering . . . Things that make you go hmmmm.

  2. The common house sparrow, kudzu, eucalyptus, and so on were such resounding successes at fixing nature without any bad side affects, let’s try it on a larger scale!!
    Actually, if we killed all humans off that would solve the problem too! Brilliant!!

  3. Collective Insanity (and scientific ignorance) will bring the human race down. There are surely better ways to make science history than destroying the earth!!!

  4. Well, we missed our chance to cover the arctic with soot in the 1970’s to prevent an ice age, is there still time to pump some sulfur into the upper atmosphere before the AGW scare passes? What better way to set mankind on a path to the stars (and planets like LV-426) than to make our own planet equally unlivable with boneheaded climate-engineering schemes?

  5. You sure they haven’t already implemented some of these “solutions?” Maybe that’s why temperatures haven’t risen in the past decade. These people are seriously dangerous.

  6. The fact that the Royal Society awarded Six Degrees by Mark Lynas with their Prize for Science Books this year tells you everything you need to know about their current leanings.
    If Henrik Svensmark’s “chilling stars” hypothesis is valid, we shall soon find that seeding artificial clouds would be exactly the wrong thing to attempt, as higher levels of cosmic radiation start to create more low-level cloud cover…
    Re LV-426, wasn’t the colony called “Hadley’s Hope”? No relation to a certain meteorological office in Exeter, SW England, I presume…

  7. This kind of tinkering that has no reasonable foundation for being is going to bring nothing but pain. The social engineering that will be done in the name of saving the planet, will destroy this country and it’s constitution and endanger everyone. Great!

  8. RE: KeithH (09:30:35) :
    Experiments on a small scale have indeed been done.
    Also, iron seeding is approved as a method of investing carbon credits. It’s happening today, in international waters.

  9. I can’t set up a picnic table without an environmental impact statement, yet these folks want to clobber the environment on a massive scale immediately.
    May be risky?
    So who do we blame if we implement some of these trillion dollar harebrained schemes and screw the planet up royally? Methinks the royal society has consumed far too much Crown Royal.

  10. LOL…. what do these knuckleheads think is happening now? We’re geo-engineering the climate by adding CO2. Warm is nice but if they muck around trying to cool the climate it can get out of hand and we’ll be heading towards an ice age. Cold is definitely not nice.

  11. AGW’s final soloution….
    Global Thermonuclear War and a nice cool down via nuclear winter.
    This will do wonders for overpopulation and consumption of fossile fuels.
    Nuclear power IS the answer!

  12. Pingback: Stop US Wars » Blog Archive » Calls for Geo-Engineering at the Royal Society

  13. The real problem is that there are too many witches in Britain. They need to set up a large scale and find out which ones weigh the same as a duck.
    “Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?”
    Bevedere, spoken to King Arthur

  14. The climatologists have now successfully managed to create more world wide poverty. They have succeeded in creating more malnutrition and starvation in the third world. They have done this by successfully lobbying for limitation of access to cheap energy and for promoting of bio-fuel, thus reducing world wide food supplies.
    Now they have set a new goal with the help of the mentally retarded academic of The British Royal Society. The next goal is to create irreversible havoc of the climate. The world has already starting to cool and we are likely to enter a new solar grand minima.
    So, why not create more cooling so that we enter into the next ice age prematurely already in the coming decades, The Ultimate Tipping Point.

  15. I have to wonder if they’re serious about these proposals, or if they’re just trying to scare us into curbing carbon dioxide emissions by proposing worse alternatives.

  16. Bill Nye is on this bandwagon, too. A new show premiering soon on the “Science” Channel is promoting these kinds of terraforming technologies.
    We are cursed to live in interesting times.

  17. Makes you wonder if any of these people have windows they can open to see what’s happening outside. Have they asked any fishermen whether sea levels are rising, I wonder? Are they aware that increased C02 has ALWAYS followed temperature rises and NEVER preceded one?
    Have they ever heard of the urban heat island effect? Did they hear that last winter was unfriendly in the Northern Hemisphere and that the winter just ending in the Southern Hemisphere has been no kinder?
    I would feel sorry for them, if they weren’t so ridiculously and disproportionately powerful.

  18. I bet that for less than 12 pounds sterling we could set these folks with all of these radical schemes up with a push broom and a bucket, and allow them to go through the streets of London sweeping them clean. That way they will be doing their life’s work, cleaning the environment, and doing it in a far more safe and cost effective fashion than any of their harebrained schemes would ever provide.
    Seriously, these people are dangerous. I strongly believe that these environmental scientists are the greatest danger to the world today. I hate to be hoping for the disaster of Global Cooling to shut them up, but I partially doubt that a little age would reap the same destruction that these people are proposing.

  19. As a Englander, I’m ashamed to say that the Royal Society went ‘tits up’ a little while back. Martin Rees is an otherwise brilliant man, and it’s such a shame to see him taken in by the warming-sickness. When you think of England, try to remember the good things we’ve done, like all the inventions, the great commanders, bravery of our soldiers in WW2, our innovation and spirit – and not colonialism, inventors of concentration camps, and a place for the Royal Society. Sorry.

  20. For those of you ‘abroad’ who wonder why some here (like me) on these shores refer to England OR Britain, it’s because there is a slow but sure break-up of our union going on. Scotland and England will break – and it’s nothing to do with geological climate change! So some of us (like me) are beginning to refer to our country, rather than our island. And for those still reading: ‘Great Britain’ is England, Scotland, and the principality of Wales. ‘Britain’ is England & Wales. ‘United Kingdom’ is England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Wales is included, but was never a ‘Kingdom’. Ireland was included until 1921. Within 15 years Scotland will have gone their own way – the ground work is going on right now amongst patriotic Scots, and why not? The pricipality of Wales will almost certainly stay joined to England (we think). Hope that’s cleared any confusion. Or did I just create it where it didn’t exist before?

  21. Here in the UK we already have cutting edge technology blocking out the sun and it’s been working well all year.
    As I look out of my study window I can see the grey shield in the sky. It’s much more sophisticated than the cheap Montgomery Burns style sun shield in that it blocks out all the nasty heat but lets in just enough light to see by, (at least during the day).
    Rumour has it that it is made of some sort of water but I’m not sure about that. I do know that water often leaks from it, sometimes quite hard.
    Of course, being new technology it doesn’t always work. I was playing golf the other day when the system broke down and some of that nasty global warming came through. It was quite a shock I can tell you. For several holes I was forced to strip off my waterproofs and even my sweater. One of my playing partners was even contemplating removing his thermal vest, but fortunately the technicians were able to fix the system and the terrible sun was hidden from sight.
    As we sat in the clubhouse discussing our ordeal over a hot toddy, we were thankful that our great scientists were able to save us from this dreadful peril.

  22. „…because government, as usual, is asleep at the switch and when it does wake up, it comes out of its slumber and says, “let’s pull this lever, let’s jerk that one, let’s do this.”
    And that only makes everything worse.
    (John Loeffler)

  23. carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are on track to pass 650 parts-per-million (ppm)
    Makes you wonder if these guys ever read the paper.
    Peakoil is here: high oilprices already have effect on drivers and airlines.
    In 5 years time, driving will be too expensve for millions; airlines are already canceling flights.

  24. They should try this forst on another planet if they want to do geo-engineering. Let’s cool down Venus and warm up Mars. At least if they screw up Earth, we might have a place to go.

  25. Whilst I sympathise with some of the comments it is worth pointing out that Sir Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society does say that
    “It’s not clear which of these geo-engineering technologies might work, still less what environmental and social impacts they might have, or whether it could ever be prudent or politically acceptable to adopt any of them. But it is worth devoting effort to clarifying both the feasibility and any potential downsides of the various options”
    Don’t see much wrong with that.

  26. Yeah! Go Scottish Nationalism!
    Seems like the Global Cooling machine is already working over my Texas home as it’s the 2nd of September and we are hovering in the mid 60s! Thankfully we have T. Boone to save us!

  27. As there has been no global warming for nearly 10 years what the F… is going on? You simply cant believe that so many inteligent people can fall for so much bullshit for so long.
    Given we have had the second lousy summer in succession and there are no sunspots on the sun for the first time sinc 1913 one would have thought the over-educated middle classes would at least question the AGW theory but alas it is not to be….just yet
    The general popultaion is not fooled I can tell you!

  28. This is realy so sad. And scary.
    These peoble will do anything to get an explanation why the world cooled.
    Terrible. I hope everyone will do everything in their power to let good sound arguments and common sence get out in the puplic.
    K.R. Frank

  29. Hans (12:12:04) :
    carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are on track to pass 650 parts-per-million (ppm)
    To which one might add, “So?”
    One might also ask how long this likely to take? Would one to two hundred years seem right? The other thing that so many of these brilliant people seem to lose track of is the magnitude of the numbers involved. To sequester ONE part per million of CO2 means dealing with .15 billion tonnes of the stuff. Yes, that’s billion. To do any of these other geo-engineering lunacies would presumably involve dealing with similar orders of magnitude, whatever the chosen process is.
    Incidentally, if you reduce that 1 ppm to dry ice it occupies a volume of 3.7 cubic kilometres, which is very similar to the volume of the human race alive today! Weird!

  30. The first rule of engineering:
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
    The second rule of engineering:
    If you don’t know how it works, don’t touch it.
    The third rule of engineering:
    Doing nothing is often the best course.

  31. CO2 is composed of the third and fourth most common elements in the universe. Good luck on getting rid of it.

  32. This is so preposterous it beguiles the imagination anyone with a scintilla of intelligence would even consider it… especially in light of all the revelations made by the skeptics as of late. It also shows the desperation of the Pogies as their scam continues to unravel.
    In case someone hasn’t been noticing, the rash of outrageous claims floating around over the past several months seem to have as their genesis the dwindling support for AGW claims. And as it becomes ever more apparent the AGW claims are a ruse, we’ll probably see even more outrageous statements and fear mongering.
    Jack Koenig, Editor
    The Mysterious Climate Project
    http://www.climateclinic.com

  33. SteveSadlov (09:53:03) wrote: ” Also, iron seeding is approved as a method of investing carbon credits. It’s happening today, in international waters.”
    If I’m not mistaken, that has been suspended due to the furor it caused.
    Jack Koenig, Editor
    The Mysterious Climate Project
    http://www.climateclinic.com

  34. Off topic but just had to ask with the hurricanes and tropical storms we have had and are having I wonder how much longer it will be before the media starts talking about all these storms are caused by GLOBAL WARMING ????? It’s just a matter of time.

  35. Sequestering CO2 = digging a hole in the ground to bury money in.
    There are far more urgent needs to benefit mankind instead of burying its resources in the ground with no productive return.
    See Copenhagen Consensus. 2008 Results

    Copenhagen Consensus 2008
    The ranked list of solutions (download the results as pdf-file including comments)
    Solution
    Challenge
    1Micronutrient supplements for children (vitamin A and zinc)
    Malnutrition
    2
    The Doha development agenda
    Trade
    3
    Micronutrient fortification (iron and salt iodization)
    Malnutrition
    4
    Expanded immunization coverage for children
    Diseases
    5
    Biofortification
    Malnutrition
    6
    Deworming and other nutrition programs at school
    Malnutrition & Education
    7
    Lowering the price of schooling
    Education
    8
    Increase andimprove girls’ schooling
    Women
    9
    Community-based nutrition promotion
    Malnutrition
    10
    Provide support for women’s reproductive role
    Women
    11
    Heart attack acute management
    Diseases
    12
    Malaria prevention and treatment
    Diseases
    13
    Tuberculosis case finding and treatment
    Diseases
    14
    R&D in low-carbon energy technologies
    Global Warming
    15
    Bio-sand filters for household water treatment
    Water
    16
    Rural water supply
    Water
    17
    Conditional cash transfers
    Education
    18
    Peace-keepingin post‐conflict situations
    Conflicts
    19
    HIV combination prevention
    Diseases
    20
    Total sanitation campaign
    Water
    21
    Improving surgical capacity at district hospital level
    Diseases
    22
    Microfinance
    Women
    23
    Improved stove intervention
    Air Pollution
    24
    Large, multipurpose dam in Africa
    Water
    25
    Inspection and maintenance of diesel vehicles
    Air Pollution
    26
    Low sulfur diesel for urban road vehicles
    Air Pollution
    27
    Diesel vehicle particulate control technology
    Air Pollution
    28
    Tobacco tax
    Diseases
    29
    R&D and mitigation
    Global Warming
    30
    Mitigation only
    Global Warming

  36. “Given we have had the second lousy summer in succession and there are no sunspots on the sun for the first time sinc 1913 one would have thought the over-educated middle classes would at least question the AGW theory but alas it is not to be….just yet”
    The story of the emperor’s new clothes comes to mind.
    “The over-educated middle classes” will not like being seen as under-educated

  37. Dave Andrews (13:10:03) wrote: “Whilst I sympathise with some of the comments it is worth pointing out that Sir Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society does say that “It’s not clear which of these geo-engineering technologies might work, still less what environmental and social impacts they might have, or whether it could ever be prudent or politically acceptable to adopt any of them. But it is worth devoting effort to clarifying both the feasibility and any potential downsides of the various options”
    In the United States we call that pork barrel spending. In AGW circles, it’s called “sucking up the funds.” But in this situation, it’s simply so insane one has to question whether these bloaks escaped from a loony bin somewhere.
    Jack Koenig, Editor
    The Mysterious Climate Project
    http://www.climateclinic.com

  38. Dave Andrews (13:10:03) : wrote:
    “Whilst I sympathise with some of the comments it is worth pointing out that Sir Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society does say that
    “It’s not clear which of these geo-engineering technologies might work, still less what environmental and social impacts they might have, or whether it could ever be prudent or politically acceptable to adopt any of them. But it is worth devoting effort to clarifying both the feasibility and any potential downsides of the various options”
    Don’t see much wrong with that.”
    Depends how accurate the quote is. You might be right, but the chap has form.
    Also, although it sounds innocuously scientific, the (partial quote) statement “It’s not clear which of these geo-engineering technologies might work, …” suggests he thinks one or more might indeed ‘work’.
    With so many past eco-control interventions that have resulted in unexpected and undesired consequences (in fact can anyone list a few things that have not had such results?) one is surprised that he seems to think ANYTHING could be managed to work successfully.

  39. Well, can’t speak for the UK & Europe, but there won’t be any “geo-engineering” projects over here.
    Politically, it’s a non-starter, but that’s not the reason.
    It’s lawsuits.
    Every adverse weather event will add another large group to the class-action against the “geo-engineers.”
    Our congress could go nuts and try to enact lawsuit protection, as they tried to enact carbon taxes, but with potential liabilities in the trillions, tort lawyers would have their eyes on settlements thousands of times the size of the tobacco settlement (which was $206 Billion).

  40. I blame this all on Francis bacon! But seriously, it has become clear that it is more important to fear what man does intentionaly rather than the unitended consequences of his actions.

  41. Steve Berry (12:05:16) :
    Funny you should mention some political impacts of climate change.
    From the book Climate, History, and the Modern World by Lamb, in talking about the Little Ice Age:
    A bizarre occurrence – serious for the individuals concerned – presumably resulting from the great southward spread of the polar water and ice was the arrival about the Orkney Islands a number of times between about 1690 and 1728, and once in the river Don near Aberdeen, of an Eskimo in his kayak.

    The course of the development in Scotland and the periods of most severe climatic stress can be identified in the records of famines brought together in fig. 79. The information used in this diagram was mainly compiled from the economic records, annals and chronicles surveyed by Lythe and Smout. Although most of the data relate to eastern Scotland, there are indications that the situation was worse in the north and in the poorer Highland districts in the west. The experience of recurrent famines in the later decades of the sixteenth century was at work in the movement of emigration from Scotland, then beginning, which was destined to became a well-known theme in the following centuries. Smout writes that ‘the stimulus to leave Scotland was compounded of many factors, of which the general poverty and discomfort of the native land was the most obvious…Ulster and (later) America offered empty territory; Holland and England offered mercantile fleshpots; Russia, Sweden, Denmark, France and all the petty princedoms of Germany offered military opportunity’ (p. 90). The Scottish mercenary soldier who figures in the writings of Sir Walter Scott was a familiar figure in the wars which troubled Europe in the seventeenth century, particularly in service of Swedish king in central Europe in the Thirty Years War: ‘by 1660 the stream of military migration had fallen off…. Nevertheless even in 1700 there was hardly an army north of the Mediterranean without Scottish officers of some sort’ (Smout, p. 92). But the most serious legacy of this time survives to our own day in the ‘plantation’ in 1612 of Scots farmers in the richer lands and more sheltered climate of Ulster in northeast Ireland after first evicting the native Irish. This seems to have been a device of King James VI at one stroke to stabilize the Irish political and religious situation in his favour and to relieve the impact of harvest failures in Scotland, by taking advantage of the power over Ireland that fell to him on accession to the throne of England. In modern terms, it would surely be regarded as a model of how not to conduct international relations and a characteristic abuse of (near-)absolute power. It is estimated that by 1691 there were 100,000 Scots in Ulster, already about a tenth of the population of Scotland, and their numbers were soon to swollen again emigrants abandoning their Scottish homes in the disasters of the 1690s.

    There are many accounts of those years parish by parish in the volumes of the Statistical Account of Scotland compiled by Sir John Sinclair a hundred years later. ‘The poorer sort of people frequented the churchyard to pull a mass of nettles, and frequently fought over it… which they greedily fed upon …’ (parish record of Duthil and Rothiemurchus in north central Scotland). Some were reported to have sold their children into slavery. In parishes all over the country from one-third to two-thirds fo the population died – a greater disaster in many places than the Black Death – and great was the fear of being buried in a mass grave.

    To the Jacobites these were the ‘ill years of King William’s reign’, but to the rest of the population they probably made the union with England in 1707 seem inevitable.

    Thus, in at least this aspect and perhaps in others, the Little Ice Age caused England to gain at the expense of her northern neighbours.

    A parallel (but shorter distance) southward movement took place in Scotland and culminated in the union with England in 1707.

  42. “The experts say a reluctance ‘at virtually all levels’ to address soaring greenhouse gas emissions means…”
    And from the Urban Dictionary :
    EXPERT
    (1.)Someone Who thinks they knew how to do something but actually just screwed everything up.
    My take on “experts” is that they know the way things have traditionally been done. An innovative new process or procedure is outside their purview. So today’s experts are enamored of the concept of AGW; meanwhile, climate science moves on with increasing numbers of studies which no longer vigorously support the old theory.

  43. Professor Launder, a mechanical engineer, told the Guardian: “The carbon numbers just don’t add up…” IMO Sir Martin Rees has bought into the AGW science, and is just questioning the viability of this technology, not AGW itself. A whole Nobel prizewinner panel didn’t grasp what’s happened with climate science except for the Norwegian I forget his name. This is the problem: top scientists don’t go back to basics, to re-examine the basic science. What can we do about this??? I too am ashamed of my fellow countrymen and regard them as dangerous. However, Chris Booker is UK good news.
    On another post, Graeme Rodaughan says …its likely that the AGW crowd will just switch to AGCooling without skipping a beat – which actually also happened yesterday, see ICECAP quoting Sydney Herald: Big Chill: a symptom of Climate Change… Forget global warming – the latest problem is global cooling… The freezing temperatures are proof of the urgent need to cut carbon pollution…eek??
    Next switch will be to urge zero carbon because of Peak Oil – which could actually be the first nearly-reasonable statement IMO. But first, I WANT REAL SCIENCE BACK to show a sigh-and-hissed like Launder that CO2 is beneficial not harmful, that warming would be if only we could have it, that scientific inventiveness is needed – for stemming cooling not warming, and that bad science costs money.

  44. I love the comments while being sick at the article. The Climate-Skeptic called my attention to another English organization which is even more extreme. The have a countdown to 2degree C tipping point, with the same solutions as always.
    This disagreement has nothing to do with science anymore. Arguing about sunspots, anomalies, data corrections and models is what the IPCC wants. The general public doesn’t get it.
    At first I was surprised that the IPCC didn’t support geo-engineering in the above article, it took me a few minutes to get it. If geo-engineering worked we could keep our CO2 production. That would of course be bad in the short term for the IPCC because it would limit public support for more substantial spending now.
    As someone commented above – the emperor has no clothes.
    For 99 months until the end of the earth. – no kidding. Go here if you like headaches! 🙂
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/only-99-months-until-the-end-of-the-world/

  45. The article states “caused when carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater” – I thought that cooling oceans absorb CO2 and warming oceans release CO2…
    Is that right? If so, then the statement “caused when carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater” doesn’t make any sense in a AGW scenario.

  46. I have the results of my exhaustive reconstruction of the events that have lead to this crisis, and have determined to a certainty of greater than 99% that if we take immediate, retroactive steps forward we can completely change the history of this fragile and doomed planet in two easy steps.
    First; smear liberal amounts of margarine over our bodies and encase them in cellophane. (Butter, lard or double extra virgin olive oil is acceptable)
    Second; construct enormous cannons and immediately fire millions of tons of boneless chickens at the sun.
    I have shown through sound means that these actions will cause the universe to contract, thus reversing time and allowing us to pump all of our GHG’s into the MWP thus giving the IPCC proof of the effect of current GCM’s that indicate that things seem to be getting pretty toasty around here…
    I’m dressed like a turnip!

  47. This is very, very bad. I’m not a Climate expert, but this is what my models forecast on geo-engineering:
    scenario1) they pollute the ocean and there’s no runaway warming, they say it’s the lesser of two evils and and continue to geo-engineer to cope with pollution and/or to prevent any future warming and we all die because of pollution
    scenario2) they pollute the ocean and cause runaway warming/cooling, they say they tried and didn’t work and climate change would have happened anyway and we all die
    scenario3) oceans are spared but they cause runaway cooling/warming, they’re supposedly proven right about climate change and continue to geo-engineer until scenarios 1 or 2
    scenario4) geo-engineering has no effect at all and of course warming stops, they claim it’s because they fixed it, they gain credibility and we have to keep cutting emisions until we are blown back into the Stone Age and slowly die because we’ve lost the know-how to survive in the wild or continue geo-engineering to prevent more warming until scenarios 1 or 2 occur.
    I have to say they’re at least consistent, from an alarmist point of view it’s a win-win.

  48. Hi Lucy,
    Thanks for the “credit” – however I was quoting “Jnicklin” re the way that the AGW crowd will morph their arguments against CO2. We (you and I) both found different links to the same material.
    I agree with David L Hagen that there are many more worth causes for our resources to be spent on that will actually help someone who is in need.
    The Royal Society seems to be simply asking for more money to do research. When I ask for more money in my work – I need to justify a ROI. If someone was asking for $Billions or $Trillions of Govt funds to be invested I would like to see some very concrete, testable evidence that the investment was 1. necessary 2. more important than other alternatives and 3. would bring a certain benefit to the maximum number of people.

  49. Wow. The geo-engineers almost make the Alt Tex (alternative techologies) crowd almost seem sane. Almost.
    Here’s a clue: Taking any action just for the sake of doing something when you are not sure of the consequences to come is a surer road to catastrophe than the way we are going already supposedly is. It isn’t even science. It’s desperation and panicing.
    And it illustrates even better how entrained cognitive dissonance is in this group. Instead of watching natural reality and taking cues from that, they base their sense of urgency on whether governments are adopting policies based on doubtful and error-riddled research. Shouldn’t what the climate is actually doing NOW have some affect on what we are going to do NEXT? Isn’t that the logical way of thinking about things? Evaluate and proceed afterwards.
    Like the Good Book says: Fools rush in where even angels fear to tread.

  50. Listen to this arrogance:

    “There is increasingly the sense that governments are failing to come to grips with the urgency of setting in place measures that will assuredly lead to our planet reaching a safe equilibrium.”

    If these folks knew the future “assuredly” as they claim, wouldn’t they be partying hearty after cornering the stock market?
    And the Royal Society has sunk so low that no FRS ever calls them on it.

  51. 4th rule of Engineering: If you mess with it long enough, you will break it.
    LV-426: to paraphrase Custer: “Those look like friendly Aliens.”
    PT Barnum lives!

  52. Any “URGENT!!!! call for CHANGE!!!!” is a sure sign to back off and take a second and third and fourth (…) look – a rushed decision is almost always a sure path to disaster.
    The more complex the system that you are dealing with, the more carefully any proposed change needs to be tested, verified, assessed for value, assessed against stakeholder needs, etc before being deployed.

  53. It gets to the point where one cannot even comment on things such as this article so wide and deep are the flaws. All one can do is sit back and shake ones head. They have faulty premises based on faulty conclusions based on yet further faulty premises…and on and on and on. It’s so ridiculous that you can’t even rebut the point of the story without having to rebut several unspoken/unwritten points supporting the argument. There is little doubt in my mind, however, that the sense of urgency (read: panic!) is not something grounded in hard science. This is akin to setting an anarchist next to a liberal (in the American political sense) to make the latter seem normal by comparison. Nevermind, I guess, that BOTH of them have pretty BAD ideas when it comes to government and its role with the environment.
    It’s simply so flawed that it borders on insanity.

  54. Another dose of blatant AGW alarmism to scare the masses—this time from the UK Daily Mail.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1050990/The-North-Pole-island-time-history-ice-melts.html?ITO=1490
    Under the headline “The North Pole becomes an ‘island’ for the first time in history as ice melts”, they use an image from the Igloo site to show the extent of the ice cap in the summer of 1979 and compare that with — wait for it — a school atlas-type physical map of the Arctic with an overlay of the 2008 summer ice cap extent.
    Why not use an Igloo image for 2008 too? Perhaps because it doesn’t show the claimed “island effect?
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=31&fy=1979&sm=08&sd=31&sy=2008

  55. How many megawatts of energy would be required for these geo-engineering solutions????
    How many windmills, solar panels, tide collectors, nuclear reactor farms, etc?
    If were to actually invest all the required money for no actual financial return – what would be the economic implications on interest rates, inflation, etc?
    On Easter island they built large stone heads until the economy apparently failed and they were unable to build more…

  56. To Retired Engineer:
    OOH RAH! I think there are more construction workers, retired engineers, and other “common folk” who actually look at the world and its awesome order out there with more rules that make complete sense.
    And really, that’s what science should be about. The weather station project – a really good start on the data we get earthside. Pielke and his theory about land use, really a duh! moment. Leif and some of the others looking at the Sun and its changes.
    I know as an engineer that I need someone to look at the science and tell me what it means. Then, and only then, I can move ahead and work with it. Science is a projection, a what if. Engineering is experiential, a therefore. I hope this makes sense.
    Sorry Anthony, but this could be fun…

  57. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that (1) the people who are advocating that this stuff be studied; and (2) the people who would actually be funded to do the studying are groups that have substantial overlap.

  58. The Aztecs used to sacrifice humans to keep the sun shining.
    If they were right then all we have to do is stop sacrificing and the sun will stop shining and voila, no more global warming.
    Well it’s no dumber than what the Royal Society are suggesting.

  59. Regarding the Geo-Engineering; again, Arrogance of Humanism. Greame R. though, on Easter Island, it was the environment that failed. The economy, being dependant on unsustained resource extraction, and therefore inextricably connected with the diminishing environment, failed in suite. Chicken…or egg…? A point of view I guess.
    John D.

  60. Beware the activist scientist, for surely they will do their own blinkered research to prove their own blinkered theories with some one else’s money. – And be right. Or, if you start with the answer to your own theory eventually enough research and statistics will prove your theory correct.

  61. John D.
    No Argument – that’s why I used “apparently” as I don’t really know.
    The point I’m getting at is – if a society devotes resources to an apparently useless activity it may well contribute to the utter failure of that society.
    I suspect that if the geo-engineering solutions were ever (in a mad nightmare) actually attempted on the proposed scale, that it would consume so many resources that our society/economy would fail before completion.

  62. LV-426 is one example of unintended consequences, but what about when Khan detonated the Genesis Device on the Genesis Planet? There are some good lessons to be learned from that.
    Frankly, I’m happy with the Earth just the way it is: flat. But that’s because I never go near the edge.

  63. Well, as a dissent to the chorus I would like to say that from all the solutions the most inoccuous and also not very expensive is the one with the self propelled ships that will seed extra clouds.
    Inoccuous because:
    1) H2O iand salt are natural and not pollutants.
    2) Direct control: too much albedo stop the ship.
    3) If not needed ships can be used for other purposes.
    Not very expensive because they are talking of 20 ships up and down the tropical the waves.
    Actually, here we are considering ourselves the only clear thinkers while the mass of governments is ready to impose carbon taxes, sell hot air and destroy third worlds prospects, tomorrow. It may be we cannot stop the momentum of this behemoth that has been generated and sustained by a lot of politics and economic interests. A solution like the ships that can demonstrate that heating will stop if you believe in heating, buys time, saves economies and will give a handle to reasonable politicians to get out of the mess, at not such a big expense.
    I would suggest to go ahead and build five ships to test them with the next El Nino. Maybe the cooling continuous, but maybe there will be a next El Nino to feed the AGW frenzy. Give them the ships, is my vote.
    When a boat is sinking, it is not the time to apportion blame, but it is the time to find ways to stop it from sinking, even if it is manipulative.

  64. Tony Edwards, 13:52:46
    You are 100% on target, the problem is that we have let the power slip into the hands of the ignorant, unfortunately todays academia has 0% of practical Knowledge, and to much money to develope any, ( do you know anybody thats good at hanging pictures, I will pay them ) History is full of idiots, but we are now overflowing.

  65. Has anybody else noticed how much the word ‘expert’ gets thrown around these days? Hell, even Domino’s Pizza claim to be “the pizza delivery experts”. I think a new general rule is forming whereby anybody who is referred to as an ‘expert’ with no evidence to back up the claim is about as far away from a real expert as it’s possible to get.
    Clearly, as this story suggests, the ‘experts’ at the Royal Society need to climb down from their Ivory Tower and realise that, after their latest proposals, they risk leaving themselves with about as much scientific credibility as Al Gore.
    Quite how this AGW farce continues is beyond me. The alarmist camp continues to completely ignore scientific debate and instead opt for verbal abuse and sensationalism. For example, a recent pointless article on the UK Daily Mail website coughing up the old rhetoric about Arctic ice melting was thankfully greeted by a whirlwind of fact correction by enlightened readers. Unfortunately, there were still one or two alarmists in the comments section who claimed everybody who didn’t buy the AGW con was “uneducated” and “should do some research”. Irony has really been redefined over the past few years.

  66. A few random thoughts
    Leon Brozyna – “Expert”: an “ex” is a has-been, a “spurt” is a drip under pressure. 😉
    Various – artificially modifying western economies that have evolved over centuries is eco-engineering, where the ‘eco’ means economics. And everyone (including voters) can see what that will do to our world.
    My area of expertise is psychology. Once someone takes a public position on something, and gets widely and publicly quoted on it, it is extremely difficult for them go back on it or switch sides later. We live in emotional worlds of our own creation, and accept or reject (or filter) events and evidence based on what it does to our inner state.
    Our inner state is the source of that very first “gut” reaction to new information. The gut reaction happens first, and those powerful intellects don’t kick in until immediately afterward. When they do, they invariably work to justify/defend whatever the gut reaction dictates. It takes a HUGE amount of emotional maturity to change your mind once you’ve been cited as an authority on one side or another of any issue.
    Where there is bias in science, it often comes from what we pay attention to, and what we deem worthy of research funding. That’s why scare tactics work, for a while. The danger with scare tactics, and the beauty of science, is that if the scare is not 100% legit it will attract a growing chorus of dissent that will only increase as time passes without the scary scenarios taking place. Funding attracts the prying of eyes of scientists, who will pick at details that the orginal scare-mongers never even considered. We’re seeing that now w/respect to climate science.
    Finally, two more definitions:
    Science: …”knowledge (of something) acquired by study”
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Science
    Skeptic: …lit. “inquiring, reflective,” the name taken by the disciples of the Gk. philosopher Pyrrho (c.360-c.270 B.C.E.), from skeptesthai “to reflect, look, view”…”Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found.” [Miguel de Unamuno, “Essays and Soliloquies,” 1924]
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=skeptic

  67. from James griffin
    “The general popultaion is not fooled I can tell you!”
    not at the moment, but talk to the younger generation and you will find a different story! So much indoctrination in schools will mean that if the AGW people can hold out for a bit longer they will have a generation who believe in it absolutely!
    It is curious that schoolchildren find the laws of physics a mystery when they have to study the subject, yet are quite prepared to accept the views of anybody about AGW.
    My only hope is that they will realise that this has become such an “establishment” viewpoint that they will reject it all on that princple.

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  69. “On Easter island they built large stone heads until the economy apparently failed and they were unable to build more…”
    Perhaps this is the idea?
    I don’t know if anyone is a fan of graphic novels, but I just re-read “Watchman” by Alan Moore. Maybe the goal (for a few) is to create a crisis so bid that humanity will unite behind the effort to avert it, saving us from ourselves? There are certainly enough big egos engaged on the AGW side to envision themselves as the savior of mankind.
    Nah… What am I thinking? They (the lucky few) just want to impose a New World Order using carbon-taxes to cripple the economies of the industrialized (Western) nations while setting up a caste system with them on top, the true believers in the middle and the average Jane and Joe as surfs. Skeptics as threats to their perfect order will be the neo-witches and other similar outcasts who will be put to death by burning (using carbon-capture technology).

  70. I will repeat once more:
    We have to be pragmatic. To sit on the sidelines claiming wisdom and correct science is personally satisfying, but it is not changing the AGW momentum, at least in Europe. It is practically a mantra all governments and government officials are parroting. Unless the coming winter is very severe in western europe ( the last one was mild) the army will continue marching to he AGW beat.
    Pragmatic means: if you cannot beat them, join them so you can change things from within.
    Let us for the sake of argument accept that there is anthropogenic warming . Governments accept it and skeptics are not making headway there.
    What is the anthropogenic solution? All those idiot methods of sequestration and taxing and carbon credits that will destroy the third world economy and kill millions?
    Seeding clouds is a much better tool and I do not think the ships seeding the clouds is bad geo-engineering, because it is completely under control, on/off, and the material is harmless. Instead of expensive sequestration of CO2, and destructive taxes and CO2 markets it offers a harmless cure for warming, if warming there is.
    AGW adherents are mainly eugenicists and back to the stone age idealists whose real aim is not control of the weather but control of the people. They certainly will fight against any engineering solutions. If skeptics join them in this, they will be doing a disservice to the planet.
    I believe if politicians are offered an economical alternative that will achieve the same goals as the CO2 gimmicks,( even though they are unnecessary) they will prefer it because: a) they will be seen as caring for the planet b) they can put off decisions to a better date.
    Doctors know this better . If you have a patient who is convinced he/she has a specific disease, the easiest solution is to give a placebo and the patient gets well. The next is to give medicine even though it is not needed. The patient gets well because he believes he will get well.
    Choosing a geoengineering solution works as medicine more than as placebo, but unless we get next year icebergs in the aegian I cannot see how the mesmerized hoi polloi will wake up from the AGW trance.

  71. I’d like to see a better study of ‘solar powered’ ships to seed clouds. Somewhat contradictory, as solar power doesn’t work when you have clouds. Collection area is also a problem. Solar isn’t that efficient. I’ve seen a lot of efficiency claims of 20+%, but you can’t actually buy any. How much energy will they need and how big? Autonomous? The AI folks have told us that was just around the corner, for the last 50 years.
    The other problem is one of scale: The earth is rather large. To have any measurable effect, you need to change a large area. That may take more than five ships.
    Sorry, Anna, but I put this in the Solar Power Satellite bag. It looks good until you do more of the calculations. Us grumpy old engineers have a bad habit of raining on parades.

  72. anna v
    There is a lot to be said for what you recommend. Someone who is already a trusted “insider” will have to do it though.
    Wiki has a good description of “Group Think”:
    “Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking”
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink)
    That article is a good read. Many here will recognize what we’re really up against w/respect to climate change ‘consensus’.

  73. Let us for the sake of argument accept that there is anthropogenic warming . No, anna, this battle is too important. The enemy can not be given into, not on anything, not in any way. The stakes are too high. Agreeing with liars and frauds would be to become liars and frauds ourselves. The truth is always more powerful than lies, it’s just that the truth has to be fought for, especially once a lie as huge as AGW becomes entrenched.

  74. Retired Engineer (07:31:23) :
    “I’d like to see a better study of ’solar powered’ ships to seed clouds. Somewhat contradictory, as solar power doesn’t work when you have clouds. Collection area is also a problem. Solar isn’t that efficient. I’ve seen a lot of efficiency claims of 20+%, but you can’t actually buy any. How much energy will they need and how big? Autonomous? The AI folks have told us that was just around the corner, for the last 50 years.”
    There is a study and work done on this, it is not just an idea in the air. Some months ago I had posted a link because I saw a documentary about it.
    “The other problem is one of scale: The earth is rather large. To have any measurable effect, you need to change a large area. That may take more than five ships.”
    They say they can do the job with twenty ships on the tropical oceans. They have some sophisticated engineering. I said give them 5 ships for the next El Nino because a quarter of the effect should be measurable.

  75. Bruce Cobb (08:47:10) :
    AV:Let us for the sake of argument accept that there is anthropogenic warming .
    BC: No, anna, this battle is too important. The enemy can not be given into, not on anything, not in any way. The stakes are too high. Agreeing with liars and frauds would be to become liars and frauds ourselves. The truth is always more powerful than lies, it’s just that the truth has to be fought for, especially once a lie as huge as AGW becomes entrenched.
    We shall fight for truth and die in the effort? Is that the attitude?
    The fate of western civilization, and indeed global civilization, is too important to be played at such puerille games. It is much more important that the CO2 trading and other nonsense is deflated and becomes ineffective so as not to reproduce on a huge scale the disaster of ethanol, than to have Hansen admit “me culpa, mea maxima culpa”.
    You are making the same mistake of confusing politics and science. To change policies one has to be flexible and diplomatic and yielding where necessary in order to reach the true goal. It is not necessary to convert the governments and the politicians to the true science. It is enough to give them non destructive solutions to their perceived and delusional problems.

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  77. Tony Edwards (13:52:46) :
    has an error in it, I meant to write 5.15 billion tonnes of CO2 is ONE part per million, not .15. Not that anyone noticed.
    Sigh.
    Anthony, where’s an edit button when you need one?

  78. anna v: The fate of western civilization, and indeed global civilization, is too important to be played at such puerille games.
    Exactly. And gaming the enemy is exactly what you are proposing. Admitting to a falsehood is the same as lying. The ends never justify the means, and have a way of backfiring.

  79. To Rick,
    Other success stories are the rabbits in Australia and the Indian Mongoose in Hawaii.
    To Ray,
    I find the term “scientific ignorance” to be an oxymoron. The goal of science is to dispel ignorance, not propagate ignorance as the media and scientists, who whore out their disciplines, are doing. On second thought, perhaps a new area of study can evolve from the current situation. A new science, the science of ignorance, may be developed. There is a plethora of cases available to study for the development of theory and avenues of research.
    To All,
    The problem in science now is the excess of solutions and a paucity of problems. The grant money will go to the scientist who will invent the best problem for his solution.
    To David Gladstone,
    Social engineering is a euphemism for government control.
    To retired engineer,
    I see that you recognize that the environmentalists use the Fearless Fosdick method: Destroy, in order to protect.
    To All Agin,
    The solution to global warming/climate change that I favor are a multitude of gold-coated Mylar umbrellas, several miles in diameter and in geo-synchronous orbit, that can be opened and closed on command by ground control, with a number in lower orbit that can be applied to local hot-spots.

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  82. Sorry, but we shouldn’t be doing anything “urgently” since there is no evidence of a catastrophe. What we SHOULD be doing is developing alternate energy options rationally, not through hyperbole and scaremongering. Forcing unreliable energy systems into the grid will cause more problems than they supposedly solve.
    T. Boone Pickens actually makes sense. Not with wind, really, but with Natural Gas.

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