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An Emergency Cooling System for the Planet

Can geoengineering save us from global warming?

Last week, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) held a conference that asked if geoengineering was a feasible solution to lower our planet's temperature, at least temporarily. The question is what to do if man-made global warming turns out to be a serious problem? At AEI, climatologist Tom Wigley from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado defined geoengineering as the deliberate modification of the earth's short wave radiation budget in order to reduce the magnitude of climate change. In his presentation, Wigley looked mostly at two possible approaches to geoengineering: injecting sulfate or other aerosols into the stratosphere, and changing the reflectivity of clouds.

Why consider geoengineering in the first place? As Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs wrote in Scientific American in April: "[O]ur current technologies cannot support both a decline in carbon dioxide emissions and an expanding global economy. If we try to restrain emissions without a fundamentally new set of technologies, we will end up stifling economic growth, including the development prospects for billions of people."

So if we don't want to perpetuate poverty in the name of preventing climate change, geoengineering may be our way out. Why? Because geoengineering would provide more time for the world's economy to grow while inventors and entrepreneurs develop and deploy new carbon neutral energy sources to replace fossil fuels. Wigley also noted that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is a tremendous global collective action problem. It seems unlikely that fast-growing poor countries like India and China will agree cut back on their use of fossil fuels any time soon. If that's the case, then emissions reductions in rich countries would have almost no effect on future temperature trends. Geoengineering could give humanity more time to resolve this collective action problem, too.

So let's take Wigley's second proposal first—changing the reflectivity of clouds. Researchers know that this can be done because it already happens with ship tracks. Ship exhaust over the oceans injects particles into the atmosphere that serve as cloud condensation nuclei, creating clouds in the wakes of ships. Ship exhaust produces and brightens clouds so that they cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back into space, but only by a little bit. However, recent modeling research by University of Edinburgh engineer Stephen Salter and his colleagues calculates that doubling the number of cloud condensation nuclei would more than compensate for any warming associated with a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This could be accomplished by having ships deliberately inject seawater into the atmosphere where salt particles would serve as extra cloud condensation nuclei.

In 2006, Chemistry Nobelist Paul Crutzen proposed injecting sulfate particles into the stratosphere to reflect some sunlight back into space (an idea discussed by reason contributor Gregory Benford more than ten years ago). This might be done with giant cannons. Crutzen argues that it would cost between $25 and $50 billion per year to shoot enough sulfate particles into the stratosphere to reduce incoming sunlight by 1.8 percent. This would be enough to counter the predicted warming produced by doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide. An earlier study by Yale University economist William Nordhaus estimated that the sulfate injection proposal would cost about $8 billion per year. This compares nicely with the $125 billion per year Nordhaus calculated it would have cost the U.S. to implement the Kyoto Protocol.

Wigley spent most of his time at AEI discussing the possible risks involved with the sulfate injection proposal. Wigley argued that sulfates injected into the stratosphere would be equal to only about 10 percent of those humanity already injects into the lower atmosphere, so this wouldn't greatly boost acid rain. In April, a study by some of Wigley's National Center for Atmospheric Research colleagues found that injecting sulfates would further deplete the ozone layer that shields the earth's surface from damaging ultraviolet light. Wigley simply noted in passing that even more recent research suggests that the damage to the ozone layer will be less than the April study estimated.

Stratospheric sulfate injection might also change rainfall patterns, perhaps reducing precipitation from the monsoons on which millions of Asian farmers are dependent. In response to these worries, Wigley noted that stratospheric sulfates might reduce the intensity of monsoons by two to three percent which contrasts with a current monsoon variability of 30 percent.

But one big problem that sulfate injection would not solve is the continuing acidification of the ocean that is occurring as extra carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves into the seas. This acidification could eventually pose problems for creatures such as mollusks and corals that use calcium carbonate to grow their shells and skeletons.

What is the safe level at which to stabilize carbon dioxide? The current greenhouse gas concentrations are equivalent to 385 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide, up 100 ppm over pre-industrial levels. In the past some researchers suggested that stabilizing concentrations at 550 ppm would avoid the most serious effects of global warming. Now other researchers are arguing that we have to get back to 350 ppm. Wigley sees no signs that humanity is on a track to stabilize carbon dioxide concentrations at 550 ppm. Consequently, he believes that we will have to resort to geoengineering as a way to buy the time humanity needs to figure out how to cut carbon dioxide emissions. He foresees an effort to ramp up stratospheric sulfate injection over 75 years to counter the climatic effects of rising carbon dioxide concentrations.

Stabilization can only be achieved by cutting current carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent. This means implementing highly unpopular policies of carbon rationing and higher energy prices. So some climate change researchers and environmental activists worry that the public and policymakers will see geoengineering as way to avoid making hard decisions. "If humans perceive an easy technological fix to global warming that allows for 'business as usual,' gathering the national (particularly in the United States and China) and international will to change consumption patterns and energy infrastructure will be even more difficult," writes Rutgers University environmental scientist Alan Robock.

Perhaps. But that is not an argument against pushing ahead with a vigorous research program on geoengineering responses to climate change. Insisting on cuts in carbon dioxide emissions is like trying to require a healthy diet and exercise regimen to prevent heart disease. But when you have a heart attack, you are happy to have a bypass surgeon handy.

Ronald Bailey is reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

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  • TallDave||

    I agree.

    It's time to rip Gaia a new carbon-hole!

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    I agree, this might be the best way of preventing another ice age.

  • ||

    Or at least to be ready to roll something like this out ... just in case the rumors turn out to be true.

  • ||

    So the sulfates we removed to stop acid rain were really needed to keep the CO2 in check?

    I totally want to be the cannon operator. Where I can I sign up? Do they have dental?

  • ||

    his colleagues calculates that doubling the number of cloud condensation nuclei would more than compensate for any warming associated with a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    Worked great for Venus!

  • ||

    geo-engineering style.

    http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/esthag/2007/41/i24/abs/es0701816.html

    I like the part where they spray hydrochloric acid over volcanic islands

  • ||

    Now that the snark is out a way, I do say interesting article.

    But so much of it still seems to be (at best) throwing ping pong balls at an aircraft carrier to get it to change course.

    And at worst, its like cutting random wires and pipes to do the same.

  • ||

    Somewhere there are lawyers rubbing their palms together with glee at the prospect of being able to sue the bioengineers for causing weather changes that injured their clients.
    Imagine the free for all once "acts of God" become an individual or organization subject to legal jurisdiction.

  • ||

    I've no doubt we can make the planet more reflective. I've no doubt that any engineering approach to global temerature management will be opposed by the usual suspects.

    Irrational environmentalists hate this story. The largest nuclear accident in history seems to have little effect on the flora and fauna in the immediated vicinity. Try explaining this to a green when discussing electrical power generation, global climate change and methods to increase the former while averting the latter.

    Many aren't looking for a solution at all.

  • ||

    "Somewhere there are lawyers rubbing their palms together with glee at the prospect of being able to sue the bioengineers"

    How about rounding up all the lawyers and launching them all into space on a one-way trip to the Sun?

    That would get rid of plenty of hot air on earth.

  • ||

    It's interesting that Ron didn't mention ocean fertilization as an option. Of the possible geo-engineering mechanisms I have heard of, it sounds as likely to succeed as any, and could even be "good" for the environment. I emphasize could however, because all of these geo-engineering options are gambles that may or may not work and will likely have highly unpredictable side-effects that we might not find out about until too late.

    Or we can just get to doing what we are going to have to do anyway...decarbonize our economy.

  • ||

    It seems unlikely that fast-growing poor countries like India and China will agree cut back on their use of fossil fuels any time soon. If that's the case, then emissions reductions in rich countries would have almost no effect on future temperature trends.

    But hey, that's not going to stop states like CA and MA from trying. I mean, if the various state level legislation has nothing but a negligible net effect, they should still be commended for trying right? Good job CA and MA et. al. Your citizens are worse off, but at least you tried.

    Idiots.

  • ||

    "Or we can just get to doing what we are going to have to do anyway...decarbonize our economy."

    On the contrary, we don't "have to do" any such thing.

  • ||

    "Or we can just get to doing what we are going to have to do anyway...decarbonize our economy."

    Having personally suffered terrible carbon-related trauma that was only solved through decarbonization, I agree completely.

  • ||

    Chad: Planktos claims that environmentalist disinformation forced them to shelve their ocean fertilization project earlier this year.

  • Matt Moore||

    This is cool stuff, real Kim Stanley Robinson crap.

    Any idea how much the ship/salt proposal would cost?

  • ||

    Wow. As a former polymer science major turned economics major I find the technology fascinating but the costs of such a monumentally(IMHO) stupid project leaves me shaking my head in disgust. Are liberals turning conservative? Trying to keep the earth in the EXACT same condition as when they grew up is just stupid. Climates change over time, someone email the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.

  • ||

    This could be accomplished by having ships deliberately inject seawater into the atmosphere where salt particles would serve as extra cloud condensation nuclei.

    There are no "salt particles" in seawater, as the sodium and chlorine ions are disassociated. That's what makes desalination so difficult, right?

  • ||

    "If humans perceive an easy technological fix to global warming that allows for 'business as usual,' gathering the national (particularly in the United States and China) and international will to change consumption patterns and energy infrastructure will be even more difficult," writes Rutgers University environmental scientist Alan Robock.

    Translation: if there's no good reason for people to do what I want them to do, they won't do it.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Humans have been geo-engineering ever since they dug holes and covered it with branches when a cave was not handy.

  • Ben Kalafut||

    I was expecting this to be lousy, but it was quite the good article, for one written by a non-scientist. Bailey has come a long way since his "Road to Damascus" moment when he realized the experts aren't dunces, after all--and he really showed up Fred Smith earlier this week too.

    Geoengineering? Keep the sulfates out of the stratosphere (see See Tilmes et al, Science 320:1201-1204.), and proceed with caution.

  • ||

    There's a few stated and unstated things I disagree with in this article.

    First, the United States doing nothing to reduce carbon emissions isn't worth it if no one else does it. Even if it was true, that just seems like bratty five year old logic. If Billy is not gonna eat his vegetables, then Im not gonna either. A simply ridiculous argument. I posit that it's not even a valid argument, though. Per capita, we consume more resources, as well a creating more garbage and pollution, than any other nation on the problem. We are the worst offenders, meaning us cutting our eco-sins by half will have a larger effect than any other nation. Throw in the "world leader by example" argument, and I just can't even fathom this meme carrying any water.

    My next gripe is the misconception of "global warming". Global warming isn't going to be the problem, it's going to be a problem of global climate change. Certain climates could get warmer, certain climates could cooler. A current theory is that Europe, which resides a latitude close to that of Siberia, will face severe temperature drops as the Atlantic Ocean and the Jet Stream no longer carries the heat from North America across the pond. So cooling the planet, in toto, will not be a desirable goal to achieve.

    We should be concerned more with doing less damage than we should trying to "fix" the damage that's been done. We didn't directly heat up the globe, we simply released stored up greenhouse gases at a prodigious rate. Trying to actually cool the planet seems like it will have inevitable, unwanted side effects that could be a medicine worse than the disease.

    Thus, the only geoengineering that seems to make any sense to me would be trying to directly fixing the problem, meaning sequestering the massive amounts of carbon dioxide, and perhaps methane, that we have released into the atmosphere. If this is feasible, or even possible, I have no idea. But doing anything else "proactive" in solving the climate challenges we face will end up biting us in the ass.

    Oh the faith to be had in the capacity for human reason.

    Finally, all of my doubts in climate change were put to rest by listening to a high school science teacher. I highly recommend this guy. Watch him at www.wonderingmind42.com.

  • ||

    Even if it was true, that just seems like bratty five year old logic. If Billy is not gonna eat his vegetables, then Im not gonna either.

    That's not the same thing. Billy not eating his veggies doesn't make my eating veggies pointless. It's more like, "If Billy's going to dump the curbside garbage can in the living room every morning, I'm not taking out the trash."

    We are the worst offenders, meaning us cutting our eco-sins by half will have a larger effect than any other nation.

    You're assuming that every other nation's emissions will remain static. When the price of oil drops because we've stopped buying it, that encourages other countries to burn more of it.

    A current theory is that Europe, which resides a latitude close to that of Siberia, will face severe temperature drops as the Atlantic Ocean and the Jet Stream no longer carries the heat from North America across the pond.

    How is this going to be prevented by cutting carbon emissions? Indeed, wouldn't doing that exacerbate this problem?

    We didn't directly heat up the globe, we simply released stored up greenhouse gases at a prodigious rate. Trying to actually cool the planet seems like it will have inevitable, unwanted side effects that could be a medicine worse than the disease.

    We wouldn't be directly cooling the globe off, either. It is right to be concerned about side-effects, but that shouldn't lead us to reject geoengineering schemes out of hand.

  • ||

    We can't even measure or predict the effects, but hey, let's blow a couple billion on the "problem."

    How about seeding iron into the nutrient rich, low life parts of the ocean? At least we'd get some fishin' out of the deal.

  • ||

    Yeah, let's import rabbits into Australia. That worked out great.

  • ||


    That's not the same thing. Billy not eating his veggies doesn't make my eating veggies pointless.


    Chris, if you can't see the classic prisoner's dilemma here, and realize that cooperation is the only way out, you need to look harder. You are right. There is no reason any individual should act, nor any small group - they can always keep polluting, and dump the costs on everyone until we all choke.

    Your imaginary hypothetical where China, India etc are not involved in the solution is ridiculous. But since we bear far more responsibility than any other nation on earth, many nations, rightfully or wrongfully, are waiting for us to take the first step. They WILL follow, and if they don't, they will get cut off from most of the major markets in the world. This IS going to happen. We may as well be leaders and make money off the transistion.

  • ||

    They WILL follow, and if they don't, they will get cut off from most of the major markets in the world.

    Huh? How is this going to be enforced?

    This IS going to happen. We may as well be leaders and make money off the transistion.

    This is even less comprehensible. Please explain how we make money off this.

  • ||

    But since we bear far more responsibility than any other nation on earth, many nations, rightfully or wrongfully, are waiting for us to take the first step.

    This is also not so; Europe has been dumping concentrated carbon into the atmosphere far longer than the US has.

  • ||

    Chad, your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • ||

    Call me a skeptic, but I want some hard proof that global warming will cause significant damage to our civilization before we commit to any of these climate changing schemes. I want to see a climate model that can predict next decade's weather before I give irresponsible politicians power like this. And no, I don't trust the scientists either, not with toys of this magnitude.

  • Apaulogist||

    Gotta go with Brandy Buck on this. We need more data befor we spend the dough and risk all kind of unintended consequenses.

  • ||

    to Brandybuck and Apaulogist,
    "I want to see a climate model that can predict next decade's weather..."

    I'd recommend learning about the difference between Climate and Weather before making such a demand. They are not synonymous.

    To stabilize,we need to reduce emissions by 80% of 1990 levels. About a third of this is so easy it is practically free; the second third has real costs but which are not daunting; it is the last third which will be rough. It is the last third with which price comparisons should be made.

    Separately,
    A warmer climate is not a problem for human civilization; a cooler climate is not a problem for human civilization. A RAPIDLY CHANGING CLIMATE is a very serious problem for human civilization. It is the challenge of a Rapidly Warming Climate which we face. (There is no Ice Age in the natural works due anytime soon.)

    Getting China et al on board is a matter of genuine leadership on the part of the developed nations, and greenhouse gas oriented tariffs onto the hold outs.

  • ||

    I'd recommend learning about the difference between Climate and Weather before making such a demand. They are not synonymous.



    And I would recommend learning to recognize colloquialism. How many times have the *climate* models been changed, adjusted, corrected and tuned over the past thirty years? Can you tell me with a straight face that they won't get changed, adjusted, corrected and tuned over the next thirty years? The hard cold fact is that we simply don't know enough about the climate to start engaging in massive geoengineering projects.

    I want confirmation, not "consensus".

  • ||

    Then it sounds like you don't want science. You want magic. Good luck with that.

  • ||

    Chris Potter | June 10, 2008, 11:18pm | #

    Huh? How is this going to be enforced?


    Trade agreements and tariffs. Nothing novel. No serious anti-emissions scheme would work if the partnering nations can simply send all their dirty-work to nations that haven't signed on. Indeed, we are already doing this to some extent...30% of China's world-leading emissions are ultimately for producing exported goods. In other words, Americans, Europeans, etc should get credit for them, not the Chinese.

    This is even less comprehensible. Please explain how we make money off this.

    My company is making boatloads off it right now. We aren't the only ones. Get smart and quit whining. Now, do you want American companies to be leading the charge, or European, Chinese and Japanese?


    This is also not so; Europe has been dumping concentrated carbon into the atmosphere far longer than the US has.

    Longer yes. More no. And it is amount that matters.

  • ||

    Brandybuck | June 11, 2008, 3:00am | #

    I want confirmation, not "consensus".

    I am willing to bet you have no idea what data would qualify as "confirmation" in the first place. Specifically, what is it that you are lacking? Have you read every journal paper on the topic? Have you EVER read a journal paper for that matter?

  • ||

    Specifically, what is it that you are lacking?

    (1) A good explanation of the underlying mechanisms of long-term climate change. As far as I know, nobody can really explain why we've had ice ages and warm periods in the past.

    (2) A good explanation of the apparent warming of other planets in recent years.

    (3) A good explanation of the 8-year (and counting) hiatus in warming we are currently experiencing.

    (4) A non-insane analysis of just what impacts further warming/additional CO2 will have, taking into account costs and benefits. For example, the extra CO2 actually seems to be promoting visibly more plant life, which strikes me as not a bad thing.

  • ||

    Trade agreements and tariffs. Nothing novel.

    See, also, Smoot-Hawley and Great Depression.

  • ||

    Chad,

    As you work through RC Dean's wants, I'd like to add another:

    (5) Why comparing 18th Century oil paintings of glaciers with contemporary photographs of glaciers is considered legitimate scientific evidence?

  • ||

  • ||

    R C Dean | June 11, 2008, 7:56am | #

    Specifically, what is it that you are lacking?


    Dean, every one of your questions and be answered at www.realclimate.com

    It took me no more than a quick google search to find answers to all of them. You clearly aren't even trying to look, or deliberately avoiding information that contradicts your preconceived notions.


    Johnny Nowhere | June 11, 2008, 4:24pm | #

    Why comparing 18th Century oil paintings of glaciers with contemporary photographs of glaciers is considered legitimate scientific evidence?


    Would you prefer photographic evidence? There is plenty of that as well, all of which confirms the paintings.

  • ||

    Chad,

    I don't dispute that photos of glaciers show a shrinking trend. I question the scientific judgement involved in allowing an oil painting to be empirical evidence in a geomorphology study.

  • Apaulogist||

    The problem with Global Warming is that it is such a complicated issue that unless we get degrees in climatology and economics, we have to defer to authority or fall back on our own prejudices. Also there are many issues, not just one:

    1. Is the Earth warming and how fast?
    2. If GW is real, is it man made?
    3. If it is real and man made, in the net effet positive or negative?
    4. If the net effect is negative, can we reduce or stop or reverse it?
    5. If we can slow GW, will it cost more than the damage GW will cause?
    6. What is the cost of adapting to GW as opposed to reducing it?
    7. If we discover and agree on the answers to all of the above questions, can we create a political mechanism for implementing the solutions?
    8.If we can create a political mechanism, can we ensure that the unintended consequesnces of said mechanism won't be worse than the environmental problem we were confronted with in the first place?

    and on and on.

  • ||

    Apaulogist | June 12, 2008, 12:35am | #

    The problem with Global Warming is that it is such a complicated issue that unless we get degrees in climatology and economics, we have to defer to authority or fall back on our own prejudices. just one


    What is sad is how many people around here have fallen back on their own prejudices rather than accept the overwhelming agreement by essentially every important scientific agency on earth about the magnitude of the problem.

  • ||

    Why not manufacture gasoline out of CO2? Attach giant gasoline plants to nucular reactors (or, if they pan out, Bussard electrofusion machines powered by boron) out in the deserts and just suck suck suck the CO2 out of the air?

  • ||

    What is sad is how many people around here have fallen back on their own prejudices rather than accept the overwhelming agreement by essentially every important scientific agency on earth about the magnitude of the problem.

    To steal from Michael Crichton: Consensus != Scientific Proof. Besides, consensus is for commies.

    And when proposed solutions involved a significant chunk of global GDP as well as significant enhancement of centralized government power at the expense of individual liberty, you know THAT'S gonna be popular with libertarians...

    BTW, reading _Liberal Fascism_, and the constant haranguing from the "progressive" left about teh global warmings ohnoez sounds awfully familiar to that of their belief in "enlightened despotism" prior to WWI and running thru to WWII... It's as if they've found a new golden calf to worship, as the real world smashed their golden idols of Marx and Stalin in 1989..

  • ||

    I'm not "going green" and you can't make me.

  • Roderick Reilly||

    Anyone who has commented on this article by taking these proposals seriously has now been put on a list to receive medication and electro-convulsive therapy. Start packing your bag for the clinic now.

  • ||

    I've never been a Ronald Bailey fan or hater, but up until reading this I assumed that he was a serious, thoughtful and critical.

    Wow, did this article put that to rest. Not only has a died-in-the-wool libertarian fallen for the myth of anthropogenic global warming, he now thinks we should spend $8B-$50B PER YEAR to shoot giant cannons into the sky.

    [Whistle]

    I am fully aware that Ron's scientific credentials are at least 100x my own, however his common sense and sense of perspective is utterly stunning. Why? Well for one thing, how many times do GW alarmists have to be wrong before they are simply laughed off? I'm sure many if not most are honest and dedicated scientists doing the best with their current state of scientific knowledge on the subject...however they are wrong time and time again.

    In other words, maybe, just maybe, the current state of scientific knowledge isn't correct, or not sufficiently advanced to answer this question. So why fall for it?

    I now remember why I didn't renew my trial subscription to Reason a few years back.

  • ||

    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater | June 12, 2008, 8:49am

    To steal from Michael Crichton: Consensus != Scientific Proof.


    It's strange that someone with the title of "Dr" would cite a crackpot author...and worse yet, believe that "scientific proof" even exists. It does not, as everyone who has studied science should know. A widespread consensus among experts is the highest a theory can ever attain.

    Mark B | June 12, 2008, 2:20pm | #

    however they are wrong time and time again.


    What the heck are you talking about? If anything, the data keeps coming back WORSE than what scientists were predicting a few years ago, not better.

  • ||

    Chad:

    Actually, the best a theory can do is to accurately predict results. We don't trust ballistics because a bunch of scientists do too, we trust it because using ballistic theory, the navy can hit targets miles away with guns. We don't trust relativity because of 'a widespread consensus among experts', we trust it because it predicts, for instance, the exact instants Mercury will disappear and reappear when transiting the sun, and when they go look, it matches the theory.

    So, what I need from climate scientists to believe them, is a statement along the lines of 'the average temperature measured in 2013 will be 28.89 +/- 0.01 degrees', and then, come 2013, when we measure the temperature, we see 28.89 (or 28.88 or 28.90) degrees. Of course, this is with all the caveats that the temp measurement method needs to be published and inspected, by different people than those making the prediction, preferably by skeptics.

    Given that I heard 1998 was supposed to be only the start of an increasing trend of continually higher temperatures, and we still haven't broken the record, that seems to me like a theoretical prediction that was not verified by subsequent observation, so at least the 1998 scientists had no idea what was going on. Maybe today's scientists do, in which case, they can convince me in just 5 years by making testable predictions.

  • ||

    Actually, the best a theory can do is to accurately predict results.

    In many branches of science, this is true, but in that case, what predicts results IS what garners the concensus. In other branches of science, however, you can't simply get "results" or run experiments when you want to. This include various branches of biology, geology, astronomy, etc - all of which have phenomena that occur too slowly or over too large an area to run controlled experiments. Many facets of global warming fall into the latter category. We do not have hundreds of earths to run hundreds of different experiments on, so the standard you are setting is impossible.

    The rest of your post is the typical confusion of weather and climate. Anything less than decadal averages are noise. 1998 was driven by a particularly large El Nino event, which draw heat out of the Pacific, for example.

  • ||

    Feh -

    Nothing like a huge solution in search of a problem. Until just ONE of the idiotic models correlates with weather behavior, they're just noise and aren't worth evaluating.

    Personally, I hope the yellow ball in the sky perks up - relocating beach-front property is a MUCH smaller problem than mass starvation.

  • ||

    Personally, I hope the yellow ball in the sky perks up - relocating beach-front property is a MUCH smaller problem than mass starvation.

    What are you talking about? Global warming will almost certainly decrease crop yields (read the Copenhagen consensus so-heavily covered here at Reason for details).

  • peter jackson||

    There are maybe 2-3 good years left in this bonfire of the vanities, tops. AGW theory simply can't survive another few years of this cooling trend we've been in since 1998.

    yours/
    peter.

  • ||

    There has been no 'cooling trend' since 1998. Learn what a linear regression is.

    Hint:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998.htm

  • ||

    The only geoengineering that makes sense to me is that which fixes the ocean's Ph along the way. Even if we can keep things cool, marine life is set to undergo drastic changes as the oceans absorb more CO2.

    Iron fertilization is the only game in town for that, AFAIK. I have no idea if that solution is worse than the problem it may solve, but we'd better find out, because even if we reduce emissions drastically, it won't prevent big changes under water...

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