Climate Engineering is an emerging science that hasn’t generated as much personal excitement and optimism since I was a kid during NASA’s post-Apollo days. Imagine: technology that can not only mitigate but the reverse the effects of global warming. Long term? My naive but reasonable optimism is that climate engineering can lead us to eventually terraform other worlds, such as Mars. Sustainable life in an inhospitable environment — the ultimate green technology.
But it’s also a nascent science that, not unlike stem cell research, may fall prey to politics and ideology. “The Horrors of Climate Engineering,” an article in August 23, 2009 NY Times, portends what the technology may face.
The comedian’s name escapes me, but his droll quip could be summarized thusly: “There’s something bigger than my SUV out there responsible for global warming — it’s called the SUN.”
Guess you had to be there. But his snark sums up the conservative/libertarian view of climate change (née global warming) — anthropogenic (man-based) climate change is bullshit. GHG (greenhouse gas) contribution is bullshit. Global temperatures have been on the decline since 1998. Episodic climate change such as the Maunder Minimum are ‘inconvenient truths’ for anthropogenic global warming advocates. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt when Newsweek declared we had a global COOLING crisis back in the 1970s.
On the other side is a veritable avalanche of evidence that mankind is the progenitor of measurable, palpable and deadly climate change. The daily news is replete with corporate malfeasance in terms of environmental damage. And even if GHG impact on the climate is minimal, reducing dependence on oil makes sense on a domestic policy and national security level.
Climate engineering is agnostic. It’s not Democrat or Republican. It’s not red or blue. But it’s a science that could be derailed by ideology. Deniers would see no reason to fund a technology to remove C02 from the atmosphere; Believers would see it as a means for society to continue their C02 emitting binge, unimpeded.
The cause of global warming is debatable; the effects are not. Pushing climate engineering to the side for ideological reasons is misguided.