Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Geo-Engineering and Breathing Space

Fred Ikle and Lowell Wood make the pitch for "Thinking Big on Global Warming" in the Wall Street Journal, something they will expand in a forthcoming issue of the magazine.

It is quite interesting to me that a number of Reagan Administration officials have been calling for steps to "ease" us from using hydrocarbons to newer forms of energy. Ikle and Wood wrote:

"Mankind's current energy system evolved during the 20th century as an offspring of the Industrial Revolution. It may take almost as long to replace this system with the novel energy sources and distribution networks that future generations will need. This huge transition would be greatly facilitated if geo-engineering options are developed and tested to provide a safe breathing space without a massive global-warming crisis."

Last year, Reagan's National Security Advisor Robert "Bud" McFarlane talked about the need for "breathing room" to help us transition from our current mix of energy dependence.

All of them are thinking in terms of a transition that would take decades, not years or months--and would require real bi-partisan cooperation as well as getting key players in the U.S. economy to accept burden-sharing. But the longer we wait, the higher the costs and the greater the shock.

What these people are suggesting are worse than pie-in-the-sky. The secular warming of the Earth, however undesirable to some people, will generate winners and loosers. In principle, plant life will be more abundant (higher temperatures and CO_2 levels) and thus world food production could increase. Our need for warming of human settlments will go down as the winters become milder. More land will be freed for human exploitation - see Greenland or WSJ's article about Vineyards in B.C.

The Goe-Engineering idea has the huge risk of cooling the Earth and causing a run-away deep-freeze effect leading to an ice age. And in fact, ice age is the ultimate human catastrophe (see the book of similar title by Sir Fred Hoyle).

And who the hell are Ilke and Lowell (White people again) to risk the World for their fantasy projects? They are not boys any more; looking for new toys.

I am not, hoiwever, opposed to research. That is an acceptable expenditure.
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