Geoengineering: New Area for the Climate Industrial Complex?

From MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr.

“There are substantial environmental, technical, and cost challenges in using carbon dioxide removal (CDR) at the scale needed to significantly reduce global warming…. [that make it] unlikely that CDR could be implemented rapidly enough or at sufficient scale to entirely avoid dangerous levels of climate warming in the near term.” (Pro, public letter, February 27, 2023)

“The speculative possibility of future solar geoengineering risks becoming a powerful argument for industry lobbyists, climate denialists, and some governments to delay decarbonization policies.” (Con, open letter: January 17, 2022)

It is hard, contradictory, and hypocritical to be “green” as conventionally defined. I am reminded of a comment in the 1970s that noted “a general frustration generated by the energy crisis: every solution to the problem seems to create tremendous problems of its own.”

Unintended consequences of government intervention is a category unto itself. Today’s climate/energy policy has created many eco-sins from just about anyone’s viewpoint.

Wind and solar mar the landscape with heavy infrastructure that produces energy at a fraction of rated capacity. There are well-documented rare-earth mining issues. There is corporate cronyism and programs such as carbon capture and storage that is greenwashing with taxpayer green. There is a climate elite jetting around to global climate conferences. And most recently, wind turbines built in sensitive (homesteaded?) areas attracted the civil disobedience of none other than Greta Thunberg.

There are the biomass and biofuels industries that could well manufacture energy that is carbon positive. Closed nuclear plants promise more fossil fuel usage, not less. And finally, the policies of less abundant, more expensive, and and less reliable energy have turned millions to wood and dung burning for their daily bread.

One has to wonder, as James Hansen once did, whether the whole anti-CO2 movement is net positive, not net negative, with overall emissions.


Geoengineering, a last gasp of the (growing) climate industrial complex, premised on a climate crisis that is not, is a growing area of eco-tension. And it got a big boost yesterday. An open letter “from more than 60 physical and biological scientists studying climate and climate impacts about the role of physical sciences research, including the central role it plays in effective governance,” is introduced as follows:

Given the severity of climate change, scientists and scientific bodies have recommended research on potential approaches to increasing the reflection of sunlight (or release of long wave radiation) from the atmosphere, referred to as “solar radiation modification” (SRM), to slow climate warming and reduce climate impacts. In particular, this research is important for understanding their potential for responding to climate change rapidly, in order to reduce the dangers to people and ecosystems of the climate warming that is projected to occur over the next few decades while society reduces greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations in the atmosphere.

Continuing, the letter

… affirms the importance of proceeding with responsible research to objectively evaluate the potential for SRM to reduce climate risks and impacts, to understand and minimize the risks of SRM approaches, and to identify the information required for governance. While not addressed in this letter, any decisions to actively use SRM would also need to be preceded by work to address the complex legal, ethical, and political aspects of making such a decision.

Of course! Go slow at first. But, as per Milton Friedman, beware of “the tyranny of the status quo” where the introduction of a new program (a qualitative change) results in future debates over how much to increase its budget (quantitative change). The climate industrial complex is after a new perch.

Just Say No!

Expect a big backlash. Last year, Solar Geoengineering Non-Use Agreement (SGNUA) went all-out against geoengineering. So-called solar radiation management or modification (SRM) technologies intended to lower global temperatures are “artificially intervening in the climate systems of our planet,” SGNUA stated. [1]

And, as bad:

The speculative possibility of future solar geoengineering risks becoming a powerful argument for industry lobbyists, climate denialists, and some governments to delay decarbonization policies.

It is hard being green.


[1] This is the ‘deep ecology’ view that led John Holdren and Paul Ehrlich to write in the mid-1970s:

[T]here can be scant consolation in the idea that a man-made warming trend might cancel out a natural cooling trend. Since the different factors producing the two trends do so by influencing different parts of Earth’s complicated climatic machinery, it is most unlikely that the associated effects on circulation patterns would cancel each other.

SourceEcoscience: Population, Resources, Environment (W. H. Freeman: 1977 [third edition]), p. 686.

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Sean Galbally
February 28, 2023 2:11 pm

The miniscule amount of man produced and saturated carbon dioxide is NOT the culprit. It is nothing but a friendly gas, vital to the planet. The climate is changing and always will. It cannot be appreciably changed by man. We need to grow up and realise we are being conned by the groupthink of big business, power elites, Russia, China and india. We must adapt to the climate we have as we have always done. Use fossil fuels with cleaned up emissions while we develop a viable and sustainable mix of alternatives.

William Howard
Reply to  Sean Galbally
February 28, 2023 3:05 pm

and remember that the former head of the UN IPCC is on record that the real goal of the environmentalists is not to save the earth but the destruction of capitalism – all environmentalists are watermelons – green on the outside red on the inside

February 28, 2023 2:16 pm

the role of physical sciences research, including the central role it plays in effective governance

Government-funded research that advises how to fund government-funded research?

Tom Halla
February 28, 2023 2:17 pm

As if we understand the details of global circulation and temperature regulation well enough to engineer it?

Paul S
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 28, 2023 7:28 pm

Of course we can engineer it. The science is settled!

February 28, 2023 2:41 pm

An open letter “from more than 60 physical and biological scientists… is introduced as follows:
“Given the severity of climate change,…” 

No, no, no. It’s not good enough to say this as if it’s a given. This is just an assertion that has been repeated relentlessly. It’s also a well known technique in sales to frame a situation so that the only course of action for the victim is to decide when to hand over the money.

Reply to  sskinner
February 28, 2023 2:52 pm

Would they be 60 physical and biological scientists who would stand to gain significant funding should the policies that they propose be enacted? These scientists very likely have enormous undeclared conflicts of interest here. I would take it as an ethical failure if any of these signatories stand to gain financial advantage, or even professional or personal prestige as a result of the proposal and failed to very clearly identify this conflict.

Joao Martins
Reply to  sskinner
March 1, 2023 4:07 am

Do those more than 60 creatures deserve the title of “scientist”, physical, biological or otherwise?

Dave Andrews
Reply to  sskinner
March 1, 2023 9:06 am

The Solar Geoengineering Non Use Agreement has over 400 signatories including some climate scientists and calls for :-

No public funding
No outdoor experiments
No patents
No deployment
No support in international institutions

I concur.

Let the battle begin.

MIke McHenry
February 28, 2023 2:54 pm

The key to ending climate change crisis is ending research grants for climate change research

Reply to  MIke McHenry
February 28, 2023 6:13 pm

You have got it almost right Mike.
However, there are some questions on climate that still need to be answered. they include:
Key issues that need to be better quantified are the importance of solar and cosmic irradiation variance, the actual level of modern ECS, the real amount of human generated CO2 as a percentage of natural CO2 variance, and actual levels of CO2 in the pre-industrial atmosphere. A better understanding is also required of the risk level of post-1900 warming in future that could be dangerous to humanity, as the IPCC’s present 1.5-2°C threat level is obviously not going to be a huge problem for this century. 

Reply to  bobclose
March 1, 2023 12:12 am

No, Bob, the huge problem for this century would be to get you and your crowd to stop obsessing about nonsense like carbon dioxide, before you get us all killed.

More Soylent Green!
February 28, 2023 2:59 pm

Geoengineering. What could possibly go wrong?

Paul S
Reply to  More Soylent Green!
February 28, 2023 7:30 pm

“What could possibly go wrong?” That indeed is the most frightening concern about geo-engineering.

Reply to  More Soylent Green!
March 1, 2023 7:50 am

So if some “geniuses” try to release reflective particles in space to reflect or deflect part of the sun’s rays, what could go wrong is too many particles being released, resulting in shortening of the growing seasons in mid-latitude agricultural areas, and food shortages.
It would be much harder (and more expensive) to gather up these particles than to disperse them in the first place.

Speaking of the 1970’s, one popular song back then said to “Let the Sun Shine In”. Sounds like a good idea, now that we have blizzards in California.

More Soylent Green!
February 28, 2023 3:02 pm

This will never fly. AGW is not about climate change. The goals are social and political. Mostly political. You can’t impose global Maxism if you engineer the problem away. The greens will block this.

David Solan
Reply to  More Soylent Green!
February 28, 2023 9:33 pm

  Mr. “Soylent Green”, first you implied something could go wrong with solar
geoengineering and then you spoke the truth — solar geoengineering is enormously
UNpopular among the woke crowd and they are the ones in charge now. In fact, it makes
their protestations look hysterical by comparison.

  All solar geoengineering would involve is the simple introduction of a haze into
the middle troposphere (no need to go to the stratosphere), which haze would consist
of some utterly innocuous substance. It would have a price tag so astronomically less
than what the climatistas are contemplating, involving the removal of carbon dioxide
emissions from the human race, that it is ludicrous to talk about solar geoengineering
in the same setting as talking about such CO2 demonology, much less to suggest greedy
profit motives behind its support. And it could not possibly result in really bad
consequences. It is automatically self-regulating to such an extent that if it were
started and subsequently the entire human race were wiped off the face of the Earth,
it would still, with barely a whimper, end itself through the operation of gravity on
any remaining haze left in the atmosphere afterward with absolutely no damage to
anything, human (though that would be a nullity) or otherwise. No models are
necessary here — the whole thing could be done by simple, extremely low-cost
experiments that could easily be monitored and changed as time went by. It is, quite
literally, foolproof and fail-safe, if organized globally in a responsible, orderly
manner and if it is not continued if too much cooling is initially detected. Talk
about it causing an ice age is so abysmally ignorant as to be comical. Normal ice
ages involve 1000s of feet of arctic ice build-up over centuries, not years. The
climatistas are wildly opposed to it precisely because it would eventually be so
effective in reducing global temperatures without adopting any of their scatterbrained
schemes limiting fossil fuel usage, and reductions of global temperatures is what they
say their goal is (of course it isn’t — they’re liars and collectivist sociopaths —
but that’s a separate issue).

David Solan

Reply to  David Solan
March 1, 2023 12:20 am
  1. You have no data to back up your theory of glaciation.
  2. You glibly assert that tropospheric pollution is safe, with no proof.
  3. You arrogantly presume to know what’s best for all the comical world around you.
  4. You stupidly theorise that your dimming plan will curtail the de-industrialisation programme.
  5. From here on, I’ll have to get personal, so forget it…
DD More
Reply to  David Solan
March 1, 2023 11:27 am

DS – “No models are necessary here — the whole thing could be done by simple, extremely low-cost experiments that could easily be monitored and changed as time went by.”

Been done already. Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in 1991, ejecting vast amounts of ash and gas high into the atmosphere; so high that the volcano’s plume penetrated into the stratosphere, the layer of atmosphere extending 6-30 miles in altitude. Pinatubo injected about 15 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, where it reacted with water to form a hazy layer of aerosol particles composed primarily of sulfuric acid droplets. Over the course of the next two years strong stratospheric winds spread these aerosol particles around the globe.

World temps – from 1992 to 1993, large parts of the planet cooled as much as 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

So 15 million tons every 2 years, hauled up 12 miles up over the equator gets you temperature relief of 0.7F.

Not sure how much temperature gain from mining and planes flying that high would Add to the Temperature.

Reply to  DD More
March 1, 2023 12:05 pm

Pinatubo shot all kinds of particles into the atmosphere. Presumably if all the particles being put out by this “experiment” were of the highly reflective type, not as many particles would be needed.

What is exceptionally stupid is his belief that given how complex and chaotic the climate is, that any “small scale” experiment would tell us anything meaningful regarding the consequences of a full scale experiment.

Reply to  David Solan
March 1, 2023 11:55 am

Changing how much sunlight reaches the earth couldn’t possibly have any bad affects?


How much will plant production be reduced because of this?
How much will wind patterns be changed, given the fact that the winds are driven by solar energy?
How much will the ocean currents be changed? they are also driven by solar energy.
If we decide we don’t like the changes being made, how long will it take for wind and current patterns to return to normal?
Given the fact that the climate is a complex system and that hysteresis exists, what are the chances that the changes introduced are permanent and will never return to normal?

Your assurances that nothing can go wrong just indicate that you have never actually thought through the possible consequences of your actions.

Your belief that a small scale experiment would be sufficient to determine what the systemic consequences of a full scale evidence indicates a level of naivete that is almost beyond comprehension.

Last edited 25 days ago by MarkW
William Howard
February 28, 2023 3:03 pm

some reports have said that the chemicals that they are spraying which ultimately fall on the planet and humans are cancerous – hope WUUT will add information about – and btw who is paying for this – it must be enormously expensive to spread chemicals all over the world

Reply to  William Howard
March 1, 2023 12:22 am

In the eighties, the children were often called to mass prayers, beseeching God to end our drought. Much to our delight, it often rained by the time we left church/ school hall.
Turns out the bastards were spraying Barium to seed the clouds.
At least they called the kids inside…

Reply to  cilo
March 1, 2023 12:07 pm

Doctors give pure barium to people so that they can better image the intestinal tract.

Reply to  William Howard
March 1, 2023 4:18 am

Especially dihydrogen monoxide.

Last edited 26 days ago by Disputin
Gunga Din
Reply to  Disputin
March 1, 2023 6:21 am

I’d like to see a list of the things that “According to the State of California” DON”T cause cancer.
It’d likely be a short list!

Reply to  Gunga Din
March 1, 2023 10:15 am

Democrats, liberals, democrat-socialists, progressives, …

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 1, 2023 12:09 pm

They may not cause cancer, but they do cause heart attacks, aneurysms, etc.

Reply to  William Howard
March 1, 2023 12:08 pm

Even if it is cancer causing, the concentrations by the time it reaches the ground will be too small to measure or almost too small to measure.

Steve Case
February 28, 2023 3:15 pm

Geoengineering is without merit.

February 28, 2023 3:44 pm

More people wishing to board to gravy train.

February 28, 2023 4:59 pm

Citizen; Hey, how do you know what your geoengineering efforts will do?
Geoengineer; We modeled it.
Citizen; Using climate models?
Geoengineer; Yes.
Citizen; You’re aware those don’t work?
Geoengineer; Yes, but we used them anyway. Everyone does.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 1, 2023 12:12 pm

I remember one climate activists that I tried to debate.
He readily admitted that the ground based climate network was in bad shape and the data as you went back in time was of even lower quality.
When asked why they used this data, he replied that it was the only data available, so they had to use it.

For activists, the only thing that matters is the results are what they want to see. All problems with the process of creating that data don’t matter.

Philip CM
February 28, 2023 5:07 pm

A/ Just what we need. Eco-activist grifting the CAGW doomsdayism messing with atmospheric gas concentrations. No F’ thank you.

B/ You’re not the scientist you think your emotions make you.

C/ Here’s a thing. Before you eco-warriors mess with removing your evil CO2 from the atmosphere, try first to build a provable model that will successfully reverse global cooling. If you can’t do that. Leave the F’ atmosphere alone.

D/ Return to B/.

Reply to  Philip CM
February 28, 2023 6:40 pm

Yes agreed Philip, the powers that be are already playing with geoenginering in the atmosphere, especially the military. What could be worse would be space-based platforms to occlude or focus incoming sunlight, easily changed to 007-type maniacal military hardware to threaten us all.
The UN and all the climate alarmists and ‘tree huggers’ need to calm down a lot, and consider the consequences of their dangerous and uncosted mitigation policies. Currently we are handing the planets future to the tender mercies of the Chinese and other “developing” nations, is this really what they want? The western democracies are teetering into financial bankruptcy, due to this climate/ clean energy obsession. Do they realize what they are sleepwalking into? It’s past time for a genuine debate on climate science, so the general population can at least hear both sides of the story and gain an appreciation of what the future options are and have their say through the ballot box.
I say geoengineering is a step too far at present, when we are not even sure there is a climate emergency pending in this or the next century.

Reply to  bobclose
March 1, 2023 4:23 am

“...when we are not even sure there is a climate emergency pending...”

I am. It isn’t

Reply to  bobclose
March 1, 2023 12:16 pm

Do you have any evidence that the military is playing with geoengineering?

Tom Abbott
February 28, 2023 5:39 pm

From the article: “Given the severity of climate change,”

Pure exaggeration. No basis in fact.

All we get from Climate Change Alarmists are lies and distortions. They have nothing else.

February 28, 2023 8:27 pm

I’ve been geoengineering the insulation in my attic to prepare for the next several months of insolation. Long term, however, I’m more concerned with being on the back side of a Milankovitch Cycle.

February 28, 2023 11:39 pm

Luddites knew best, so I expect a resurgence in their numbers as geoengineering gets moving in the future.

March 1, 2023 12:33 am

As an acoitheist, I have to deny the existence of Satan, but I just cannot explain these people any other way; satanic little demons, hell-bent upon destroying Mankind. Why do they hate us so?
There can be only one other explanation: These people are trying to alter conditions on earth to accommodate another species. The psychological operation upon our collective consciousness can most easily be explained by postulating a species with Hive habits. And it seems to gag on carbon gases…
Turn our air breathable for a hive organism that likes to fornicate with our females and infants. That’s god’s work, that is!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  cilo
March 1, 2023 3:57 am

“As an acoitheist, I have to deny the existence of Satan, but I just cannot explain these people any other way; satanic little demons, hell-bent upon destroying Mankind. Why do they hate us so?”

I think they hate themselves and are taking it out on the rest of us.

Reply to  cilo
March 1, 2023 12:18 pm


Reply to  MarkW
March 2, 2023 12:06 am

It is not meant negatively…
… or positively.
As a matter of fact, I don’t give a f

March 1, 2023 3:56 am

Those who dare “engineer the Earth” must be punished.

joe x
March 1, 2023 4:50 am

there are a few things that keep me awake at night.
civil war
a revolution
a no knock warrant
nuclear war

geo-engineering is at the top of the list.

there is a chance one could survive the first four, maybe even a few boomers in some part of the globe but….

changing the gas content of the atmosphere and or limiting sunlight that reaches the ground is truly a dooms day activity.

some guy named murphy said “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”

March 1, 2023 6:23 am
March 1, 2023 6:43 am

On the one hand: How long before people start covertly releasing greenhouse gases to keep offset prices up and justify other political measures?

On the other hand: My greatest fear is carbon dioxide removal becomes economical. Subsistence farming is likely dependent on it’s increase.🧵

Reply to  aaron
March 1, 2023 12:21 pm

One of the candidates for the office of mayor of Chicago was advocating a large increase in taxes on the wealthy.
He assured voters that there is no way taxes would ever cause people to leave Chicago or Illinois. I don’t know if he was the candidate who won.

Last edited 25 days ago by MarkW
Andy Pattullo
March 1, 2023 9:07 am

Geoengineering to reduced global surface temperature is the final step into the virtual world where physics and economics don’t exist as we know them. When every other mystical imaginary belief system about CO2 and climate change is exhausted by the observations of reality the adherents will down their Kool-aid and dive into the dream world of pure fantasy. At some point we will go back to building asylums to keep these folk safe from their own urges.

Josh Scandlen
March 1, 2023 2:31 pm

as if they’re not doing this already. Chemtrails, amigos. Just look up in the sky and you’ll see ’em everywhere. Not contrails, mind you.

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