Monday, January 29, 2007



A smokescreen

That's the US's latest "answer" to climate change - literally. Rather than focusing on emissions cuts and developing low emissions technology, they instead are urging scientists to investigate ways of blocking out incoming sunlight through orbiting mirrors, shiny balloons, and reflective aerosols. Anything so they can keep driving those gas-guzzling SUVs and keep the coal industry in business.

Theoretically, this solution is flawless: stop the heat reaching the Earth so it cannot be trapped. But there are two significant reasons why we should regard it as a completely mad scheme. Firstly, it is horribly risky - the difference between a temperate climate and an ice age is less than 1% of insolation, so if they overestimate, we might end up with a completely different sort of climate chaos. And secondly, such solutions are not without side effects. For example, reflective aerosols in the form of air pollution from the US and Europe have been linked to the devastating decade-long drought which affected Africa in the 70's and 80's and killed at least a million people. And America's "solution" is to do this again? It's a powerful illustration of their myopia and self-centredness.

Meanwhile, the US is also working hard to try and sabotage any binding post-Kyoto regime, demanding that the IPCC report remove language promoting Kyoto-style binding international emissions targets and instead pump up the "benefits" of voluntary schemes such as their AP6 coal club. I think this shows clearly that they are not seriously interested in doing anything about the problem, and instead simply want a license to continue polluting. But we successfully managed to bring Kyoto into force in the face of American opposition, and we will do it again if necessary. America will then have to decide whether it wants to be a part of the solution - or face having a carbon tax applied to its exports by those that are.

6 comments:

Wasn't this the premise of Highlander 2

Posted by Anonymous : 1/29/2007 02:30:00 PM

I was thinking more "The Matrix". Does the US know something we don't?

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/29/2007 02:42:00 PM

those clouds will also stop the chinese from being able to see the land of the free when all the US military satellites get knocked out.

don't think they aren't thinking they should be thinking like the chinese are thinking that far out. that is, i think they're thinking like the chinese are thinking they're thinking of using to satellites to stop US intelligence.

so it's good thinking, IMHO.

Posted by che tibby : 1/29/2007 03:02:00 PM

It's... ludicrous! As anon said - frickin Highlander 2 senario. Oh. My. God. Please, someone make the bad scifi senario go away.

Posted by muerk : 1/29/2007 05:00:00 PM

Che, are you too long in the public service?

That second sentence is a killer!

Posted by Pablo : 1/30/2007 11:57:00 AM

that great oxymoron: "american intelligence"

Posted by che tibby : 1/30/2007 01:00:00 PM