Each geoengineering scheme that comes along must fall into one of two possible buckets. There's your military industrial complex bucket, holding the rocket or artillery propelled sulfate canister, or your silver-umbrellas-that-reflect-heat novelties. Rich guys and congressional reps love this bucket because the contents can give them credit for saving humanity without doing any real work. At taxpayer expense, of course.
The first bucket can deploy aerospace technology that only government engineers can understand and control. Laid off space shuttle workers fantasize about the jobs potential. Surprised the Newt didn't choose that one. Understandably, moon colonizing offers more romance and is less threatening to the fossil fuel industry.Poor mans geoengineering.
In the other bucket is your tree planting and your iron seeding. These would involve back breaking, hot, buggy work right here on terra firma or, in the case of iron seeding, sea sickness and having to answer to serious marine ecologists instead of mission contract engineers in McLean VA. Nothing in this wooden bucket offers the big bucks needed to get the attention of the military industrial complex. Don't expect much Congressional support.
Which bucket, this?
The Guardian reports that Bill Gates backs climate scientists lobbying for large-scale geoengineering.
A small group of leading climate scientists, financially supported by billionaires including Bill Gates, are lobbying governments and international bodies to back experiments into manipulating the climate on a global scale to avoid catastrophic climate change.
The scientists, who advocate geoengineering methods such as spraying millions of tonnes of reflective particles of sulphur dioxide 30 miles above earth, argue that a "plan B" for climate change will be needed if the UN and politicians cannot agree to making the necessary cuts in greenhouse gases, and say the US government and others should pay for a major programme of international research.
With the present political debate fixated with culture war issues, I can see why intelligent, powerful people would look for a way around the ideological stalemate. Missiles are not the answer, however.
Thousands of tons of sulfates are emitted daily by the world's coal-fired electrical generators, industrial boilers, and refineries. These are highly significant source of CO2 emissions.
How long before some company finds a way to scrub sulfates from smoke stacks, selling them to a government willing to blast sulfates into space?
Which political party will try to position itself as owner of that idea?
Mark Twain was probably right. We are Puddin' heads.
Tom Driscoll caught a slight glimpse of the records, and nudged his nearest friend and said, with a wink, "Pudd`nhead`s got a rare eye to business--thinks that as long as he can`t win his case it`s at least a noble good chance to advertise his window palace decorations without any expense."
I tend to favor tree planting and iron seeding - for forests or ocean pastures full of reasons.
Anti-science environmentalism gives me as much heartburn as the cold war.
I'm terrified of the military industrial complex getting their claws into the climate fix - led by Congressional reps bent on redeeming themselves for anti-science sins.