Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The US Senate is considering funding for albedo modification geoengineering experiments – pumping particles or aerosols into the stratosphere, to reflect sunlight back into space, and counter the alleged impact of elevated CO2 levels on global climate.
According to ScienceMag;
To fight global warming, Senate calls for study of making Earth reflect more light
Budgetmakers in the U.S. Senate want the Department of Energy (DOE) to study the possibility of making Earth reflect more sunlight into space to fight global warming. Earth’s reflectivity is known as its albedo, and the request to study “albedo modification” comes in the details of a proposed spending bill passed by the Senate appropriations committee to fund DOE, the Army Corps of Engineers, and related agencies for fiscal year 2017, which begins 1 October. The bill does not specify how much money should be spent on the research.
Critics argue that albedo modification and other “geoengineering” schemes are risky and would discourage nations from trying to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas that comes from the burning of fossil fuels and that is causing global warming by absorbing increasing amounts of energy from sunlight. Still, climate researchers say they should find out what its potential of albedo modification might be.
“The recommendation is great,” says Joyce Penner, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Albedo modification “is not a solution to global warming, it is only a way to avoid, perhaps, a tipping point in the climate.” David Keith, an atmospheric physicist at Harvard University, says, “Ignorance is not a good basis for making decisions, so learning more about this is extremely valuable even if we find out that it will never work.” Keith adds, however, that the few existing studies suggest albedo modification could help ameliorate some effects of global warming.
The call for further research comes in a bill that would provide $5.4 billion for DOE’s Office of Science next year. It also builds on the recommendations of a February 2015 report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) entitled Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth. That report warned explicitly that albedo modification shouldn’t be deployed now because the risks and benefits were far too uncertain. Still, the committee urged further research to find out what those risks and benefits might be.
It is difficult to imagine a more ridiculous waste of taxpayer’s money.
If this measure is passed, the Department of Energy will get to spend even more taxpayer’s money, burning sulphur and other compounds, to generate and emit the same types of particulates which the US government previously forced domestic US coal plants to scrub.