Study: The climate 'uncertainty monster' limits geoengineering schemes

From the VTT TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND, a paper that suggests Dr. Judith Curry’s view of the “uncertainty monster” was right all along.

Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change

Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques. However, a new study by VTT and the Finnish Meteorological Institute suggests that the uncertainties associated with climate engineering are too great for it to provide an alternative to the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate engineering has been proposed as a rapid and cost-effective means of mitigating climate change. It has been suggested that climate engineering could be used to postpone cuts to greenhouse gas emissions while still achieving the objectives of limiting global warming to under 2 degrees, as set in the Paris Climate Agreement. However, according to a recent study, the uncertainties associated with climate engineering are currently so great that it cannot be regarded as a substitute for, or a way of postponing, emission cuts.

According to the study’s results, climate engineering would allow very little additional emissions during the coming decades. “Climate engineering could have side-effects which become visible only after it is started. This means that huge uncertainty surrounds the method and it might have to be abandoned very quickly,” says Professor Hannele Korhonen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. “If emission cuts were postponed due to climate engineering, a halt in climate engineering would place the two-degree objective beyond reach,” says Tommi Ekholm, a Senior Scientist at VTT.

If, in addition to mitigating global warming, we also want to prevent the acidification of oceans by carbon dioxide, climate engineering could substitute for emission reductions only in greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide. Our results show that the limitations imposed by climate objectives and the available means of combating climate change could have a major impact on the optimal climate change mitigation measures.

Major risks related to climate engineering

Climate engineering could cool the climate by reflecting the sun’s radiation back into space, for example by changing the characteristics of clouds or imitating particle cover in the stratosphere caused by volcanic eruptions. The advantage of these methods lies in their rapid cooling effect and reasonably low costs. However, such methods involve major risks, such as the weakening of monsoon rains and the knock-on effects on food production in Asia and Africa.

A sudden halt to the use of such methods, due to issues such as major negative effects, would also lead to rapid climate change, to which ecosystems and societies would have difficulty in adapting. “This means that the possibly large cooling potential of climate engineering should not be used as a reason to postpone unavoidable cuts in greenhouse gas emissions,” summarises Hannele Korhonen.


The study was published in the journal Climatic Change and was funded by the Academy of Finland. Research scientists from VTT and the Finnish Meteorological Institute collaborated on the project.

Publication: Ekholm, T. & Korhonen, H. (2016): Climate change mitigation strategy under an uncertain Solar Radiation Management possibility. Climatic Change,

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December 8, 2016 3:05 pm

The current interglacial is overdue to end. When it does, people are either going to have to figure out how to warm the earth or head for the tropics.

Reply to  tabnumlock
December 8, 2016 6:58 pm

I remember, from when I was a boy, there was a way of warming at least a small portion of the earth. It involved getting some special black stone and burning it. The process could take the chill off a room.
Do you think that could help?

Julian Flood
Reply to  tabnumlock
December 9, 2016 1:19 am

To warm a planet with large areas of open water:
1. Obtain enough light oil/surfactant to cover the water surface one molecule deep.*
2. Spread on the surface.
3. Observe the various effects this has on aerosol production, biology, albedo, evaporation etc.
4. Observe the warming.
5. Write learned paper about the effects of light oil/surfactant pollution on warming of planets with large areas of open water.
6. Go to the beach.
(Joking aside, one wonders about the PETM — what would be the effect if the sea breached a large oil reservoir over a period of decades?)
*you do the sums. I’m off out.

Reply to  Julian Flood
December 9, 2016 12:21 pm

“what would be the effect if the sea breached a large oil reservoir over a period of decades?”
The petroleum eating bacteria would have a banquet.

Reply to  tabnumlock
December 9, 2016 5:38 am

tabnumlock wrote: “The current interglacial is overdue to end.”
Well, it is at least due, if not overdue,,,
I’ll bet everyone one dollar that imminent global cooling is a much bigger problem for this planet than global warming.
This is a serious bet, given my Scottish heritage. Remember, we Scots toss around dollars as if they were manhole covers. 🙂
Regards, Allan MacRae of the Clan MacRae

Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
December 9, 2016 8:23 am
… global warming hysteria is NOT a scientific reality – it is a false religious belief cherished by fanatics who have no scientific competence. I say this because their predictive track record is perfectly negative – every one of their scary predictions has failed to materialize.
There is NO scientific evidence that the sensitivity of climate to increasing atmospheric CO2 will cause dangerous global warming. Some theoretical physics analyses suggest increasing CO2 may cause some warming, but that warming will probably be insignificant, This is unfortunate, because a somewhat warmer would be a better world, for both humanity AND the environment.
The only clear consequence of increased atmospheric CO2 is that plant growth has been enhanced and the planet has greened significantly. This is clearly beneficial to humanity and the environment.
Regrettably, I think Earth is about to get colder due to natural causes, and humanity and the environment both suffer in a colder world. The greater threat is that in a few thousand years (at most) we will re-enter a real Ice Age, and the most prosperous parts of our planet, virtually all Western Europe, Russia, Canada and the northern USA will be covered by continental glaciers a mile thick, just as they were about 10,000 years ago – and this Ice Age will last about 100,000 years. This will be the fourth such Ice Age cycle in the last ~400,000 years
It may be that we can prevent this Ice Age disaster by controlling the albedo of the advancing ice sheet, but maybe we cannot. This is the real threat of (natural) climate change, and the global warming fanatics could not have gotten it more wrong.
It is apparent that, in the main, we are governed by scoundrels and imbeciles.
Regards, Allan

Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
December 9, 2016 8:57 am

And deep pockets with short arms from a not so much of a clan Peebles.

Bryan A
Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
December 9, 2016 12:33 pm

Imminent as opposed to current actual? I might agree.
I believe that the single largest potential threat to this planet, WRT changing climate, is the lack of televised public debate and the stonewalling of liberals on the subject of open debate.
Including discussions on the data sources and how they have been manipulated, and in what manner models have been twerked to produce their (predictive??) outcome

Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
December 10, 2016 3:36 am

Bryan said:
“I believe that the single largest potential threat to this planet, WRT changing climate, is the lack of televised public debate and the stonewalling of liberals on the subject of open debate.”
Yes Brian, but your so-called “liberals” are typically leftist extremists, and they see no problem with lying to achieve their goals – this is their history – “the end justifies the means”.
I have an education in engineering and the earth sciences, and so have a basic understanding of Earth’s geological history. I therefore suspected that alleged “dangerous manmade global warming” hypothesis was false when I first heard about it in the early 1980’s. A few years of research confirmed that suspicion – alleged CAGW is a false crisis.
Then, when I heard the popular mantra “The science is settled!” being repeated ad nauseum by uneducated imbeciles, I knew that we were being propagandized by leftist fraudsters.
This “refusal-to-debate” ploy is part of the larger leftist-warmist scam – to “shout down” their opposition when the warmist case actually has NO scientific credibility. That lack of credibility is proved by the warmists’ perfect negative predictive track record.
When you see this type of misconduct, think “deliberate fraud” and you will almost always be correct.
Best, Allan
Post Script:
Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, wrote this article circa 1994. It still rings true today.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Greenpeace was taken over by Marxists of many different stripes: Trotskyites, Leninists, Harpo’s, Groucho’s… and evolved into the watermelon outfit it is today.
The Rise of Eco-Extremism
Two profound events triggered the split between those advocating a pragmatic or “liberal” approach to ecology and the new “zero-tolerance” attitude of the extremists. The first event, mentioned previously, was the widespread adoption of the environmental agenda by the mainstream of business and government. This left environmentalists with the choice of either being drawn into collaboration with their former “enemies” or of taking ever more extreme positions. Many environmentalists chose the latter route. They rejected the concept of “sustainable development” and took a strong “anti-development” stance.
Surprisingly enough the second event that caused the environmental movement to veer to the left was the fall of the Berlin Wall. Suddenly the international peace movement had a lot less to do. Pro-Soviet groups in the West were discredited. Many of their members moved into the environmental movement bringing with them their eco-Marxism and pro-Sandinista sentiments.
These factors have contributed to a new variant of the environmental movement that is so extreme that many people, including myself, believe its agenda is a greater threat to the global environment than that posed by mainstream society. Some of the features of eco-extremism are:
– It is anti-human. The human species is characterized as a “cancer” on the face of the earth. The extremists perpetuate the belief that all human activity is negative whereas the rest of nature is good. This results in alienation from nature and subverts the most important lesson of ecology; that we are all part of nature and interdependent with it. This aspect of environmental extremism leads to disdain and disrespect for fellow humans and the belief that it would be “good” if a disease such as AIDS were to wipe out most of the population.
· It is anti-technology and anti-science. Eco-extremists dream of returning to some kind of technologically primitive society. Horse-logging is the only kind of forestry they can fully support. All large machines are seen as inherently destructive and “unnatural’. The Sierra Club’s recent book, “Clearcut: the Tragedy of Industrial Forestry”, is an excellent example of this perspective. “Western industrial society” is rejected in its entirety as is nearly every known forestry system including shelterwood, seed tree and small group selection. The word “Nature” is capitalized every time it is used and we are encouraged to “find our place” in the world through “shamanic journeying” and “swaying with the trees”. Science is invoked only as a means of justifying the adoption of beliefs that have no basis in science to begin with.
· It is anti-organization. Environmental extremists tend to expect the whole world to adopt anarchism as the model for individual behavior. This is expressed in their dislike of national governments, multinational corporations, and large institutions of all kinds. It would seem that this critique applies to all organizations except the environmental movement itself. Corporations are criticized for taking profits made in one country and investing them in other countries, this being proof that they have no “allegiance” to local communities. Where is the international environmental movements allegiance to local communities? How much of the money raised in the name of aboriginal peoples has been distributed to them? How much is dedicated to helping loggers thrown out of work by environmental campaigns? How much to research silvicultural systems that are environmentally and economically superior?
· It is anti-trade. Eco-extremists are not only opposed to “free trade” but to international trade in general. This is based on the belief that each “bioregion” should be self-sufficient in all its material needs. If it’s too cold to grow bananas – – too bad. Certainly anyone who studies ecology comes to realize the importance of natural geographic units such as watersheds, islands, and estuaries. As foolish as it is to ignore ecosystems it is absurd to put fences around them as if they were independent of their neighbours. In its extreme version, bioregionalism is just another form of ultra-nationalism and gives rise to the same excesses of intolerance and xenophobia.
· It is anti-free enterprise. Despite the fact that communism and state socialism has failed, eco-extremists are basically anti-business. They dislike “competition” and are definitely opposed to profits. Anyone engaging in private business, particularly if they are successful, is characterized as greedy and lacking in morality. The extremists do not seem to find it necessary to put forward an alternative system of organization that would prove efficient at meeting the material needs of society. They are content to set themselves up as the critics of international free enterprise while offering nothing but idealistic platitudes in its place.
· It is anti-democratic. This is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of radical environmentalism. The very foundation of our society, liberal representative democracy, is rejected as being too “human-centered”. In the name of “speaking for the trees and other species” we are faced with a movement that would usher in an era of eco-fascism. The “planetary police” would “answer to no one but Mother Earth herself”.
· It is basically anti-civilization. In its essence, eco-extremism rejects virtually everything about modern life. We are told that nothing short of returning to primitive tribal society can save the earth from ecological collapse. No more cities, no more airplanes, no more polyester suits. It is a naive vision of a return to the Garden of Eden.

Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
December 12, 2016 3:32 pm

Hello Siamiam.
The ancient and noble Town and County of Peebles is absolutely beautiful – a fly-fishing river runs through it, and castle ruins tower above the river.
Peebles is located near the border with its southern neighbour (She Who Dare Not Be Named), a fractious tribe who too often make trouble.
It was much better when Hadrian’s and Antonine’s walls kept out the riff-raff.
Some time ago, the Ninth Roman Legion travelled through the wall and marched north to pacify the Scots… and were never heard from again.
Family legend has it that they were quickly dispatched, roasted and eaten – we’ve always liked Italian food.
Happy Holidays, Allan

Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
December 12, 2016 10:54 pm

Near Peebles:
About 20 km north of Peebles is the coastal town of Musselburgh, just east of Edinburgh.
The Old Course at Musselburgh is (reportedly, sometimes arguabley) the oldest golf course in the world.
The Old Course was originally seven holes, with an 8th added in 1838 and the 9th in 1870.
Musselburgh remains one of the best bargains in golf:
Annual Season Ticket – 7 Days Use
Valid from 1st April 2016 – 31st March 2017
Adult: £165.00
Senior (over 60 years): £102.00
Under 18s & Young Scot Card Holders: £30.00.
Now there’s a Christmas gift worth having – even if you hardly ever get there!

Reply to  tabnumlock
December 9, 2016 12:43 pm

It isn’t overdue, since we don’t know how long it should last. Interglacials vary in length considerably. The Eemian lasted 16,000 years.
The interglacial of MIS 11 lasted about 10,000 years longer than the Holocene has so far:
It’s often considered the best Milankovitch analogue for the Holocene.

December 8, 2016 3:11 pm

I think Sun Cycles 24-27 portend a new grand minimum, don’t think we need to work on cooling the planet. We need cheap clean 24×7 energy as in nuclear.

Reply to  visionar2013
December 8, 2016 4:31 pm

Sun cycles, cloud formation and circulation, and volcanic activity are already missing inputs in greenhouse gas science. These variables certainly do converge and amplify each other for a cooling effect, but this Finnish study only acknowledges these areas of ignorance if applied to so-called geoengineering.

Climate engineering could cool the climate by reflecting the sun’s radiation back into space, for example by changing the characteristics of clouds or imitating particle cover in the stratosphere caused by volcanic eruptions. The advantage of these methods lies in their rapid cooling effect…

December 8, 2016 3:11 pm

“for example by… imitating particle cover in the stratosphere caused by volcanic eruptions. ”
Followed by a natural volcanic eruption and billions could perish as crops freeze all over the world.
Geo engineering is insane.

Reply to  CLIVE
December 8, 2016 3:16 pm

At least insane on any planet humans live on.

Reply to  Hivemind
December 8, 2016 4:36 pm

Maybe they could try out their experiments on a spare planet Earth. I’m sure there’s one around somewhere. Maybe if all of us checked under the couch cushions? I always find something interesting there when I look.

Stan Vinson
Reply to  CLIVE
December 8, 2016 4:32 pm

Greenies have a natural tendency to be anti human. A decade of crop failures would not be looked upon unfavorably by these people, as long as they were in control and eating regularly.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Stan Vinson
December 8, 2016 5:28 pm

A decade. Some of them, th honest ones, have openly stated their desire to kill off billions of human beings.

December 8, 2016 3:14 pm

The danger of such schemes is obvious to anyone with common sense, but I guess these guys need a study to say so.

December 8, 2016 3:22 pm

Arguably CO2 has ZERO affect on climate temperatures and would instead give great benefit to the planet in PPMs up to more than 1000ppm (note: 1000ppm = just 1 part per 1000!!). Recently the world went as low as 280ppm CO2, and that’s getting dangerously close to the 200ppm where the viability of plant life is seriously impacted. The real danger is that as we switch away from CO2 emitting energy forms the leftists would engineer some artificial carbon sinks with future technology that would reduce the CO2 ppm to below 200 and cause worldwide disaster. So just say no to that geo-engineering nuttery!

Reply to  Eric Simpson
December 8, 2016 3:28 pm

Good God Almighty – Amen to that

Reply to  jimmy_jimmy
December 8, 2016 5:44 pm

unintended consequences–seem always to be the result of extreme Hubris and arrogance by our species.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Eric Simpson
December 8, 2016 8:35 pm

The Earth went below 200 ppm during the last glacial. That’s scary.

December 8, 2016 3:28 pm

The Finns think clearly after sweating the vodka out in a sauna. This paper is definitely post-sauna, to turn another variation on a rapidly becoming overused meme. Post-truth ‘fake news’ has made me crankier than usual. And that baseline is pretty cranky.
OTH, I fondly recall many trips to Finland back when I was posted in Munich. Have to say, the midnight sun August team dinner in Helsinki was a lot more fun than the trips in February darkness. But best was meeting an actual Paavlo Nurmi Finnish prankster whose leadrship ruined Sweden’s Vasa salvage triumph PR. Some Google-fu should take the curious to this delightful story with deep northern Europe historical roots. Makes ClimateBall look lame. And, if you are ever so lucky as to visit Stockholm, the Vasa museum is a must. Somehow missing the Paavlo Nurmi statue that broke the surface first, placed on Vasa’s poop deck the night before by the devious Finn scuba team.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  ristvan
December 8, 2016 3:59 pm

I have visited the Vasa twice… 1974 and 2009. The first visit, they were still spraying the wood to try to keep it from drying out too rapidly. Now, it is a marvel of restored detail. The story of its construction, and the circumstances of its maiden-voyage sinking, are well presented as well. I second the visit recommendation.

Reply to  ristvan
December 8, 2016 4:35 pm

Been to that Vasa museum a couple times myself, it’s well worth the visit! But despite having 4 Finnish grandparents, had not heard the story about the statute, which is great. By the way, it’s Paavo.

Pat Frank
Reply to  ristvan
December 8, 2016 5:16 pm

I actually worked on wood from the Vasa with other scientists including Magnus Sandstrom, the Swedish scientist who then led the wood preservation team.
The problem was that the Vasa wood was suffused with sulfur from its long submergence in Stockholm’s historical sewer (Stockholm harbor), and once emerged into air, that sulfur was oxidizing into sulfuric acid. Not so good.
Two years ago, I finally visited the Vasa museum. It’s magnificent.
But I hadn’t heard the Paavlo Nurmi story, either. 🙂 I’ve seen a number of pictures of the recovery, and don’t recall seeing one with a Finnish stowaway waving from the deck.
For those who don’t know, Gustavus Adolphus the 17th century monarch, forced the shipbuilders to add a 3rd deck of guns. Deck 3 was just above the water line. When the Vasa sailed proudly out and heeled into the wind, water poured into the open gun ports,and down she went, after a voyage of a bit more than 1 km.
Three inquiries all pointed to the King as the guilty party. So, it was hushed up. They found the skeleton of the ship’s cat, up on top of a cabinet. Apart from sailors, many pretty young women went down with the ship.

Reply to  ristvan
December 8, 2016 7:01 pm

I hope the Finns used solar power to heat up the sauna.

December 8, 2016 3:51 pm

This paper says we have to reduce CO2 to prevent global warming and ocean acidification. It says we can’t use geoengineering schemes to avoid that. There’s nothing good here.
What a double standard. Everything is uncertain except CAGW and ocean acidification. Somehow those are certain.

Reply to  commieBob
December 8, 2016 4:04 pm

Yeah, cB, what disturbs me the most is the way they throw around the 2C (of agw) number as though it’s some holy writ. i see a powerful group think growing around that 2C meme. It’s as if they only have to say it over ‘n over again and it somehow morphs into the truth. Quite disturbing, this one in particular, i think…

Reply to  afonzarelli
December 9, 2016 12:28 am

Yes, irksome isn’t it? I recommend Robert Thouless’ book: Straight and Crooked Thinking. ‘Suggestion by repeated affirmation’ is thriving at many levels in the CAGW meme, sad to say.

Reply to  afonzarelli
December 9, 2016 4:59 am

sonofametman December 9, 2016 at 12:28 am
… Straight and Crooked Thinking.

It’s available for free as a pdf.

December 8, 2016 4:01 pm

We, i.e. humans and our “industries” are supposed to be the ones doing the “climate change”. Yet when investigated We, i.e. humans and our “industries”, can’t un-engineer, i.e. undo or even do worse, the very things We are supposed to be doing!

December 8, 2016 4:03 pm

The advantage of these methods lies in their rapid cooling effect….
Really?…..but unprecedented rapid warming is going to kill us all

michael hart
December 8, 2016 4:08 pm

The advantage of these methods lies in their rapid cooling effect and reasonably low costs.

lol. Methods that are still entirely hypothetical.
Has there ever, in the entire history of the cosmos, inside or outside of mainstream science-fiction, been a proponent of a suddenly new, untried, grandiose technical method or scheme, that didn’t claim it would work and be cost effective? I can’t speak for engineers, but practical synthetic chemists probably generally learn this late in their second year of grad school. Boy, does it make them bitter.

December 8, 2016 4:14 pm

I recall the comment in Jurassic Park about diddling with nature. You don’t know how it will turn out, but most likely you will not like the result. Per Jeff Goldblum.

Tom Halla
December 8, 2016 4:23 pm

There are some fields of science where there is enough certainty to design a thing without testing, and not have it fail. It will probably be overbuilt, and rather too expensive in production, but possible. Given the 300% range in basic assumptions in climate modeling, like what the IPCC admits to in the sensitivity of the doubling of CO2. . .

Reply to  morgo
December 9, 2016 6:14 pm

Haven’t seen this published in Australia. Never seen it before, but it contradicts the current PC narrative.

tony mcleod
Reply to  morgo
December 9, 2016 10:23 pm

Parts of Victoria blanketed by snow.
Shouldn’t that read: some tiny areas on mountain tops get a light dusting.
I knew it was hoax.

December 8, 2016 4:43 pm

I’m a lazy B’stard.
My wife, on the other hand, is manically industrious. She get’s things done when she wants, I get stuff done when it needs to be done.
Over 30+ years of coexistence, we have achieved lots others want to achieve, and failed to achieve lots others fail to achieve.
We have largely ignored future predictions of financial doom, we have survived at least 2 major western recession, and despite my more maverick inclinations, have fairly well plodded along.
Not without up’s and down’s, I have made unsuccessful business ventures, but as retirement looms, my emphasis is more on provision for the future, which my wife has ensured, admirably.
And the point of all this
If we had actively fcked with what we had, we wouldn’t have what we have.
Geoengineering is fcuking with what we all have. Leave well alone. The human race is not that clever…..Yet.
Doubtless, it will be the next green blob, evangelical pursuit.
Good luck, humanity is fcuked off with deviating from a path that has served it well for thousands of years. We really do want an easy life.
Even my wife admits that.

Steve Case
Reply to  HotScot
December 8, 2016 5:26 pm

Doubtless, it will be the next green blob, evangelical pursuit.
Green MOB.

December 8, 2016 4:49 pm

There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and pleanty of scientiic reasoning to support the the idea that the climate sensivity is really zero. From all the work with models one can conclude that the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which Mankind has no control. So what is left is the idea of changing the albedo of the Earth. Should we increase or decrease the Earth’s albedo to achieve a stable climate? Of course that depends upon what the sun and the ocean are doing and how they are alraedy effecting the Earth’ s albedo. What the optimum climate is and what it would cost to modify the Earth’s albedo to achieve it has not been determened. For example if we could stableize our current climate we would still have extreme weather events and sea level rise. If we cooled the climate down so as to reverse sea level rise we might be introducing ice age conditions to many who do not want it and may not want ice sheets forming where they live. It is unknown what climate to change to that would reduce extreem weather events. Adding particulate matter to the air might adversley affect the health of many so that is out. We could develop a panel that is black on one side and a mirror on the other side and computer control how solar energy is either absorbed ot reflected by that panel but we have no idea as to how many panels would be requred and where they would be placed. We could spend hundreds of trillions of dollars developing such a system and find out that it is of no benefit to anyone. I believe that this current intergalcial period will end and will be followed by another ice ace andMankind just does not have the power to change it..

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  willhaas
December 8, 2016 8:42 pm

But we can adapt and survive the next Ice Age with nuclear power, engineered crop cultivars, and big SUV’s running syngas.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 9, 2016 12:44 pm

We almost do it now at the South Pole.
We could, if we had to.

Bubba Cow
December 8, 2016 4:49 pm

I would comment if I had any idea what this means – “Our results show that the limitations imposed by climate objectives and the available means of combating climate change could have a major impact on the optimal climate change mitigation measures”.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Bubba Cow
December 8, 2016 8:49 pm

It says, “Our hands are being tied by what is considered the allowed limits of CC and what tools the politicians let us use.”
Yes, what are the allowed limits of CC? Is it 1.5 deg C, or 2.0, or 3.0, or 5???
These are “how many angels can fit on the head of pin” discussions to me.
That is, they require belief in magic and that man can deterministically control climate.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Bubba Cow
December 9, 2016 9:07 am

It means:
We don’t have a clue but it sounds like we did something with all that grant money, and BTW we need more to continue.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 9, 2016 2:15 pm

“BTW we need MUCH more to continue.”
A little more accurate – No?

NW sage
December 8, 2016 5:02 pm

The uncertainties associated with climate engineering have been found by this paper to be truly great. I agree with that statement. However, since it is true WHY do climatologists insist that the reduction of CO2 goals – which in itself is a form of climate engineering – are still valid? The uncertainty exists for ALL forms of climate engineering including those base on a premise that ‘the sky is falling’.
The logic of their study would require that ALL climate engineering be assessed fully for the risk/reward value and NOT begun until the reward – after all uncertainties are accounted for – exceeds the risk. Yet they claim to come to the opposite conclusion. Clearly a peer review failure.

Gary Pearse
December 8, 2016 5:20 pm

Post normal logic, sigh! Thank the stars Donald will restore sense, not just in USA, as the rest of the world will follow.
Try this on for size. If they were to use a geoeng that simulates volcanic expulsion of aerosols, why wouldn’t the climate simply warm back up again to where it left off when the engineering was discontinued just like it does when volc dust settles? And the monsoons, African crops: I thought we were already creating problems with these things and generating millions of Climate refugees.
Hey, it sounds like we could time the monsoons precisely as we liked. Also, couldn’t we just start up the old smelters and fill the atmosphere with Sulphur again free of charge like we used to? We obviously don’t care about peoples health when it comes to saving the planet. We have to get Donald to put an end to this before the next generation comes along in the editing if these magazines and before Feynman, s video is declared fake knows.

Pat Frank
December 8, 2016 5:21 pm

When you see this sort of pious nonsense about saving the planet from a disaster we can’t discern using dangerous methods we don’t understand, and realize how close we’re skating to the edge of self-destruction, it is no longer mysterious why space aliens have never shown up.
Most likely, being as stupid as we are (products of evolution and all), they destroyed themselves.
We may be lucky to escape that fate.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Pat Frank
December 8, 2016 8:52 pm

We will not escape that fate.
Earth-bound creatures we are.
Earth-bound creatures we shall remain.
Our robots with AI may roam the stars one day. But as fragile, biological entities, we are Earth-locked to this biosphere, this microbial world, this place where we will be born and die.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Pat Frank
December 9, 2016 9:32 am

I don’t believe that, Joel. At the least, we’d be able to construct very large habitat-arks that will take us on interstellar journeys in an Earth-like environment.

December 8, 2016 5:24 pm

Douglas Adams was wrong in The Hitch-Hikers guide; it wouldn’t be middle managers, hairdressers, phone sanitizers etc., that would be sent into space in the B Ship, it would be environmentalists, climate scientists, climate engineers etc.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  phaedo
December 8, 2016 8:54 pm

Someone please put AlGore onto the next Oort Cloud Express.

December 8, 2016 5:25 pm

“climate engineering”
Hahahahahahaha (pausing for breath), hahahahahahahahaha……….
Jeeze I think I’m crying from laughter…. “Climate engineering” hahahahahaha
Sorry I just can’t stop laughing at any (supposedly) learned individuals that think anyone can engineer a climate….
Ok, lets start with some draft requirements;
1a) The “average” temperature at the surface of the Earth SHALL NOT exceed 29 degrees C (TBD)
1b) The “average” temperature at the surface of the Earth SHALL exceed 25 degrees C (TBD)
127) All temperature measurements SHALL BE traceable to a single NIST standard with +/- 0.01 degrees C uncertainty.
128) Oh “F— All” those three requirements are enough…..
“Climate Engineering” hahahahahahahahahaha…….
May as well start with designing pin heads to maximize the dancing angel density per square micron…..
Of course we would first need to standardize the measurement of angels… Exactly what is the girth of the “average” angel, and what about mass, we will need to know that to determine the strength requirements of the material used to fabricate the pin. Perhaps Unobtainum will work, or maybe an alloy of Unobtainum and Unachievable….
“climate engineering”…. hahahahahaha
Cheers, KevinK (engineer with 4 decades of mostly successful engineering behind me).

Reply to  KevinK
December 9, 2016 2:34 pm

Use Governmentium – reputed the heaviest atom possible, with 206 protons, 217 neutrons, 334 assistant neutrons, 713 deputy assistant neutrons . . .

Steve Case
December 8, 2016 5:29 pm

“Climate Engineering” – Or “What Could Possibly Go Wrong!?”
Does anyone need to say more?

December 8, 2016 5:41 pm

Other than using nuclear energy to alter the earth’s climate, I’m wondering if mankind is even capable of permanently geoengineering the earth’s climate. The ocean is such vast ballast to overcome.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
December 8, 2016 9:00 pm

Jello is the answer. Let’s just dump lots of jello powder into ocean. Everyone loves jello!

Richard of NZ
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 9, 2016 1:53 am

What an assumption. I have never had jello in my life so could not say whether or not I like it. Jell, on the other hand, whether childs version with tinned fruit and ice cream or adults version, soaked iinto sponge with a good dollop of sherry, layered with fruit, covered in custard, layered again with fruit and topped off with unsweetened whipped cream. Plus the strawberries and the chocolate sprinkles. Yum!
Just the thing to end Christmas dinner with, along with the Port.
p.s. Merry Christmas to all from your local atheist. (Ref Shakespeare, arose by any other name etc.)

Joel Snider
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 9, 2016 12:20 pm

Hell, if we’re going to do that, how about a few million shots of tequila and some giant swizzle sticks?
The thought almost makes me curious – I saw a documentary where a bunch of African animals gobbled up a bunch of fermented mangos and just got looped – if you’ve never seen a drunken giraffe, it’s worth the ticket – there was also an elephant who couldn’t quite get its front legs under him and was just walking forward, pushing his chin on the ground with its rump stuck in the air.
Translate that same image to a few pods of whales, seals, and schools of fish… now THAT’s a New Year’s party.

December 8, 2016 6:07 pm

“achieving the objectives of limiting global warming to under 2 degrees” That phrase still makes me want to beat my head on the wall. Humans have about as much chance of controlling weather/climate as they do of achieving world peace.

Reply to  Reality check
December 8, 2016 6:57 pm

Reality, even more sinister is the bizarre unproven notion that we’re actually driving temps up 2C in the first place. (that’s the thing that gives me concussions) This thing called AGW has been inferred but never proven. And everybody is assuming it’s a given without any proof. This is an outrage! How many false paradigms must be endured before we can say enough is enough? Back in the day they used to tell us that if you eat more than two eggs a week, then YOU WILL DIE(!) Imagine all that fear mongering over the incredible edible egg. AGW is just like deja vu all over again. Blind acceptance until one day they tell us that they were wrong (now move along). And we keep living through one false paradigm after another. It used to be comical to think that all the world thought the earth was flat. Well… AGW is the new flat earth.

Reply to  afonzarelli
December 9, 2016 2:53 am

“AGW is the new flat earth.” and climate scientists are King Canute’s advisors.

Reply to  afonzarelli
December 9, 2016 1:04 pm

Sounds right to me.

Reply to  afonzarelli
December 9, 2016 2:36 pm

But YOU WILL DIE – no mater how few eggs you eat.
And if Algore’s co-religionists have their way – I may be from the cold.

Reply to  afonzarelli
December 9, 2016 2:37 pm

mater – ‘read as ‘matter’, please.

Mike Maguire
December 8, 2016 6:09 pm

Life on this planet has always done better at these temperatures to several degrees warmer and with CO2 levels here to double where they are currently.
Life does worse to much worse when our planet is colder than this.
A bunch of humans have, instead decided that “they” know the perfect temperature and CO2 level of our planet/atmosphere………….the level measured before humans started burning fossils fuels.
Of the millions of years that life existed on this planet, we just happened to have the perfect temperature and CO2 level just over 100 years ago………and humans went and messed it up.
So now, some of these same humans have to figure out a way to stop the temperature and CO2 divergence from that perfect level.

Reply to  Mike Maguire
December 8, 2016 8:02 pm

From Climategate: history’s message:
. . .
The reasoning behind the anti-carbon movement rests on three pillars of science. Or rather: Pillars of Science. By historical standards, each Pillar is inconceivably massive – consuming more scientist-hours, say, than all of physics before 1900. Or something like that. In impact alone, they’ve surely earned their majuscules.
The first Pillar of Science (A) is the evidence that global warming is harmful to children and other living things. Note that I say GW,
not AGW – any global warming, whether natural or human-caused. Harm cannot be a function of cause. If anthropogenic warming is harmful in any material sense, non-anthropogenic warming must be equally harmful.
. . .
The second and third Pillars of Science (B and C) together constitute the evidence that anthropogenic carbon dioxide increases (the Keeling curve, of which I have not seen much good skepticism – but ya really never know with these clowns) are causing GW. Pillar B is paleoclimatology: the hockey stick and its cousins. Pillar C is climate modeling – the GCMs. Together, Pillars B and C are the pillars of causality.
. . .
If Pillar B was sufficient, Pillar C would not be needed. In fact, just by the fact that B is weak, we can see that C must be no stronger. If C were not weak, its proponents would take all possible pains to differentiate it from the weak B. As it so happens, we have the email for B (the Mann circle, paleoclimatology), but not C (the Hansen circle, climate modeling). The public behavior of the Model Masters is quite similar to that of the Hockey Team, and the two are broadly allied. Therefore, we can safely assume that their Outlook folders smell quite similar.
. . .
If the present planetary temperature is above the optimal point, incremental warming is harmful. If the present planetary temperature is below the optimal point, incremental warming is beneficial. Again, no evidence is required for these conclusions – they are purely deductive.
Therefore, the material case for AGW mitigation depends existentially on the assertion that the present temperature is near, at, or above the optimal point. Otherwise, AGW is not harmful but benign – even if Pillars B and C were perfectly sound.
Pillar A is a vast collection of observations and projections of purported harm which global warmth appears to have caused, be causing, or risk causing. Again, don’t miss the list. From the standpoint of reasoning about carbon-emissions mitigation, all this work is entirely useless, even though much of it is no doubt good science.
If there was any intent to incorporate Pillar A in a rational decision process, it would be necessary to fund a comparable investment in Pillar A’ – a complete list of the material benefits of warming. For comparison, we would also like to see a Pillar A”, a complete list of the material harms of cooling, and a Pillar A”’, a complete list of the material benefits of cooling. By examining all these lists, each collected by exactly the same process for maximum comparability, a person or persons with good judgment could compare them and decide whether Earth’s temperature at present is too low, too high, or just right.
Of course, no one is producing Pillars A’, A”, and A”’. The process that produces Pillar A pretends to be a process that produces factual materials as an objective background for judgment. Just as Caesar pretended to be just a private citizen, or FDR just a president. In reality, since it is not equally focused on collecting all sides of the question, it cannot possibly be interpreted as a rational attempt to assess the optimal point.
Unfortunately, the very existence of Pillar A makes the problem of assessing the optimal point much more expensive and difficult. Because of the anti-carbon movement, for the foreseeable future there will be more science, far more science, pointing to harmful impacts of warming, than benign impacts of warming, harmful impacts of cooling, or benign impacts of cooling.
. . .
What is the optimal point? Hard question. Easier question: is the present temperature above, below, or at the optimal point?
Still not an easy question, of course. But there is a good practical way to inquire: discard Pillar A. There is an easy way to discard Pillar A: consider the scientific consensus as of not 2010, but, say, 1965. Or any point definitively prior to the fertilizing influence of the anti-carbon movement on the scientific community. For instance, we could ask the founder of the CRU himself, the pioneering climatologist Hubert Lamb.
What we would instantly find is that in the pre-IPCC era, climatologists (such as Professor Lamb) simply took it for granted that the present temperature is well below the optimal point. This can easily be seen in the names they assigned to past periods warmer than the present – such as the Medieval Climate Optimum and the Holocene Climate Optimum. Had they considered this a serious question for debate, it would have been easy to choose a neutral name.
We can easily see the reasoning behind “Optimum” by looking at a more recent historical precursor to the AGW movement: the embarrassing false step of the global-cooling movement. We have always been at war with Eastasia. However, Time magazine has performed the decidedly anti-Orwellian act of making its entire 20th-century archive free, and apparently unexpurgated, on line. So you can click here, and see what Time said when we were at war with Oceania. Pillar A” makes a small appearance. One of the things you’ll notice is that much, much less effort is required to conjure disasters due to global cooling, than disasters due to global warming. Crop failures and starvation don’t involve a long chain of fanciful inference.
Therefore, it is not just a fallacy to rely on Pillar A to show that GW (anthropogenic or natural) is harmful. Rather, the best way to decide whether GW is harmful or benign is to disregard Pillar A, and consider the consensus judgment of climatologists from the era in which that judgment was of only academic interest. This algorithm tells us that GW is probably on balance benign – at least, to the material interests of humans. Pillar A is not only irrelevant, but probably wrong.
. . .
[See original for links]

December 8, 2016 6:56 pm

Sooooooo. Are the Finns going to give up their wood burning,CO2 producing saunas? Thought not. Hypocritical money thieves! Hope they run out of their gut-rot vodka.

December 8, 2016 7:49 pm

Mental masturbation with saving the planet being the climax.

Leo Smith
December 9, 2016 1:31 am

(Yet another solution that doesn’t work, to a problem that doesn’t exist).
Anyone would think climate science was run by Apple Inc.

December 9, 2016 3:16 am

For once I didn’t even give this report any stars. There is no option to give it a minus.

Jerry Henson
December 9, 2016 4:24 am

The Medieval Warm, aka Climate Optimum, aka The Renaissance, was warmer than
today, Good crops, population expanded, knowledge expanded.
The time of the Little Ice Age, crop failure, famine, disease. colder than today.
Which to choose. Obviously a hard choice.
Bring on the CO2.

December 9, 2016 5:18 am

[ snip . . feelings are important, however you might wish to resubmit your comment using more mature language. That would make your point more succinctly. Thanks. . . mod]

Dale S
December 9, 2016 6:10 am

I’ll agree the uncertainty of effects around geo-engineering schemes make their use undesirable. But referring to “unavoidable cuts in carbon emissions” tells me he’s spent no time examining the uncertainty around the wisdom of that strategy.

December 9, 2016 7:32 am

Why not engineer faster than light travel, geoengineer entire planets and there problem solved.
Has a significant portion of scientists gone completely nuts? Do they think the earth exists within a Star Trek episode or other sci-fi movie where geoengineering is a plot point?
The dangers, the wasted time and costs, attempting to achieve the impossible is staggering in its stupid.
BTW if we do ever figure out how to effectively geoengineer the climate for a planet, it will be about the same time as we do discover faster than light travel.

old construction worker
December 9, 2016 10:01 am

Don’t screw with mother nature, she’s a harsh queen.

December 9, 2016 11:52 am

The biggest uncertainty being whether we are more likely on decadal or century time-scales to dearly wish the planet were not getting so hot or dearly wish it were not getting so cold. I would bet ten to one on it next getting too cold rather than too hot for people and other living things.

Joel Snider
December 9, 2016 12:13 pm

‘Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques’
That statement alone is more frightening to me than every single alarmist piece of tripe put out by the despicable press in the last twenty years. Because, given the chance, they’ll do it.
THEN you’ll get to see PO’d Mother Nature.

Lee Shurly
December 9, 2016 6:43 pm

Termites produce 10 times CO2 than man made CO2 emissions.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Lee Shurly
December 11, 2016 12:26 pm

Imagine if you suggested to a greenie that we exterminate termites to save the planet.

Johann Wundersamer
December 20, 2016 2:33 pm

From the VTT TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND, a paper that suggests Dr. Judith Curry’s view of the “uncertainty monster” was right all along.
“Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques. However, a new study by VTT and the Finnish Meteorological Institute suggests that the uncertainties associated with climate engineering are too great for it to provide an alternative to the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”
– where does finlandia systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
– why do Climate Engineering when ‘a new study by VTT and the Finnish Meteorological Institute suggests that the uncertainties associated with climate engineering are too great’

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