About the SA Blog Network



Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American
Observations HomeAboutContact

Has the Time Come to Try Geoengineering?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Email   PrintPrint

Earth’s average temperature has warmed by 0.8 degree Celsius over the last 100 years or so. The reason is increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere. The concentration of CO2 has now reached 394 parts-per-million in the air we breathe—and would be even higher, roughly 450 ppm, if the oceans weren’t absorbing a good deal of the CO2 we create by burning fossil fuels, clearing forests and the like.

The basic physics have been understood for 150 years. Global warming has been observed for at least 30 years. International negotiations to restrain greenhouse gas emissions have been ongoing since 1992. And yet, other than during economic recessions, emissions have steadily marched up. If global warming is a problem—one likely already producing weird weather, rising seas and extinctions, among other effects that could be considered dangerous—we are not addressing it.

So is it time to consider something a little more radical? Specifically, the family of ideas for restraining climate change captured under the rubric of geoengineering? Or, as the U.K.’s Royal Society puts it: the deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment. As the guest editors of a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A note: “Geoengineering is no longer the realm of science fiction.”

The science fiction-y schemes vary from proposals to block out the sun via mimicking volcanic eruptions to massive machines the size of power-plant cooling towers to strip CO2 from the air at an accelerated rate. Or maybe you prefer creating CO2-storing peatlands by raising water tables, or engineering Sphagnum moss to better fend off microbial decomposition when dead. While we’re at it, the crops that cover 11 percent of Earth’s continental surface could be engineered to reflect more sunlight, or the ocean near Antarctica could be fertilized with iron to promote diatom blooms that ultimately bury carbon at sea.

In the end, there is a set amount of greenhouse gases that can be dumped into the atmosphere if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change. Scientists’ best guess is that we can emit 1,000 petagrams, or 1 trillion metric tons, of carbon if we want to stay below 2 degrees Celsius of warming (less than the amount of warming that characterized the shift from the ice-ridden Pleistocene to the milder epoch that birthed human civilization known as the Holocene). We have already emitted more than half of that and will emit the rest of that limit within a few decades if we continue to burn fossil fuels, clear forests and such at anything like present rates.

As climate modeler Ken Caldeira of Stanford University discusses in the September issue of Scientific American in his article “The Great Climate Experiment,” we are now effectively setting the temperature of the planet for the next several millennia.

If the world collectively fails to restrain pollution, then we might need to deploy geoengineering techniques in a hurry to prevent catastrophic climate change. So doesn’t it make sense to investigate the promise of various techniques promise and perils? This is not a new idea—geoengineering hit President Lyndon Johnson’s desk in the 1960s along with a report on climate change that suggested he might deal with the problem by spreading reflective particles on the oceans—just a relatively unexplored one.

All this points to a more fundamental philosophical question about geoengineering, which, as the name implies, is global in scope: Who controls the thermostat? If greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to turn Earth into Venus, technical remedies are quite sufficient to induce another Ice Age. In fact, weather control was first explored as a weapon during the Cold War. The barriers to entry are relatively low: an island nation, say, with a battery of big guns could start shooting sulphates into the air to block sunlight and cool the climate until somebody stopped them. Or sulphates could be used regionally to stave off, say, a heat wave. Scientists have already begun the task of assessing which method (existing aircraft or, maybe, tethered balloons) and particles might serve best (it’s not sulphate, it’s diamonds or, even better, the minerals you find in your sunblock!) Bonus: these other particles might let the sky stay blue rather than the hazy white expected from stratospheric sulphates, though the impacts of such particles falling out of the sky and covering the planet are unknown.

Such schemes have an apocalyptic feel and bring up images of Dr. Strangelove or other mad scientists. As one respondent to a survey of public attitudes toward geoengineering in England, Scotland and Wales in 2010 put it: “I don’t think you should mess about with the climate… I think that’s very dodgy to be honest.” Of course, we already are messing about with the climate. And that means the question that can’t be dodged is: What are we going to do about it?

David Biello About the Author: David Biello is the associate editor for environment and energy at Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @dbiello.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Rights & Permissions

Comments 41 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. blk 6:08 pm 08/15/2012

    Geoengineering is a monumentally stupid idea, because we have no idea of what the side effects will be for any solution we try. Such an attempt could well cause deleterious side effects to the climate of certain countries, destroying their economies or food supplies, and that would be be a great way to start a war.

    The truth is, we’re already geoengineering by pumping too much CO2 into the air. The most obvious solution is to stop doing that. Our supply of fossil fuel is finite anyway, and will be mostly depleted within my lifetime. Why not just bite the bullet and adapt now while we have plenty of energy to tide us over till the new sources are ready?

    Link to this
  2. 2. jtdwyer 6:29 pm 08/15/2012

    Unintentional geoengineering is what brought us here to the precipice. Why on Earth should we now think that we can manage humanity’s collective effects on the exceedingly complex environmental processes without imparting still more unintended effects? Are we really so stupid?

    Link to this
  3. 3. Russell 6:56 pm 08/15/2012

    Stop calling it geoengineering. We are obviously already performing geoengineering with CO2 now in a completely uncontrolled. Altering moss or dumping iron in a one off way is far safer than what we are currently doing. Giving it a separate name and making it scary sounding doesn’t help anything.

    Link to this
  4. 4. JoshJansen 7:11 pm 08/15/2012

    The quality of the comments here is not what I’d expect from Scientific American.

    That being said, geoengineering is a bad term. Call it what it is, Terraforming.

    It also isn’t a stupid idea, given that removing and sequestering atmospheric CO2 at potentially dangerous rates may be the only option left to avoid human extinction.

    Link to this
  5. 5. priddseren 7:28 pm 08/15/2012

    More of this insanity. The physics has been understood for 150 years? Physics itself was not not well understood 150 years ago let alone something as complex as the total biosphere. It wasnt until this year that enough about the effects of clouds in the atmosphere was understood well enough to put in models and the deep ocean absorbing heat theory is a theory just published only a few months ago and is totally untested.

    And this guy thinks we know everything about the atmosphere and planet to such detail we can start engineering the planet ourselves?

    How about explaining how the atmosphere had at least 3 times more CO2 in it 50 million years ago without any help from humans? Explain how each ice age and warming period in between? Explain how the HEAT produced by 7 billion humans and their activities affects the atmosphere.

    It takes an incredible amount of arrogance to decide you know so much about something so complex as the biosphere when ALL of your so called knowledge is based entirely on statistical information. Sorry, the fact is digging some ice cores and using temperature data 100 years ago as measured in London, Paris and New York only, arbitrarily decided measure like average global temperature even has meaning and the plugging the numbers into an incomplete computer model is NOT fact and it is certainly not such thorough knowledge of the physics of the biosphere to start messing around with it. Maybe the statistics information is useful to show there are changes occurring to be concerned about but to think you can re-engineer the entire planet into what you think is best is totally insane. The end result of any attempt to engineer the biosphere will likely be death of all life on the planet. How, well the first attempt to geoengineer will fail and instead of just letting it go, pseudo scientists and their political financiers will pay for a second attempt, to counteract the failures of the first, then a third and forth and fifth attempt until the planet is so screwed up, we will likely have to smoke cigarettes to get clean air into our lungs, assuming we are still alive from the likely ice age or the evaporation of all water on the planet occurs.

    The warmists and their arrogance apparently has no limits.

    It is hard to say if this author is truly posing the question or already believes we should be doing this. Hopefully he is not this insane.

    Link to this
  6. 6. Max Mogren 7:42 pm 08/15/2012

    Please forgive me for interjecting the obvious but intentional, widespread Geoengineering has been taking place for quite some time. Govt/bigbiz aerial chemical spray programs have been phased in over the last several decades and have now spread around the globe. What the MSM calls “lingering contrails” are often actually chemical trails of Aluminium, Barium, and Strontium used in patented HAARP technology atmospheric heating programs that can manipulate the weather. Millions of people around the world are aware of this “covert” yet obvious phenomenon.

    When will the MSM and establishment scientists step away from their computers and examine the skies over their heads long enough to realize something is happening worthy of immediate research and corrective action.

    Link to this
  7. 7. dwbd 8:23 pm 08/15/2012

    KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. It would be a whole lot easier, and proven and economically viable to do the obvious and just get at replacing Fossil Fuels with Nuclear Energy. I would also call it a whole lot cheaper, but in fact it is not only cheaper, the climate change benefits actually are just a freebie that comes with the MONEY SAVING of cheap Nuclear Power vs EXPENSIVE Oil.

    So here’s the deal folks. Replace Fossil Fuels with Nuclear. Save a few million lives per year from pollution. End the Economic Crisis virtually overnight. End Oil Wars. End the massive job loss of Oil Imports. Enable each and every country on this Earth to enjoy Energy Independence. Solve the Climate Change crisis – FOREVER. End the Peak Oil coming catastrophe. Enable plentiful potable water supplies. Provide the OXYGEN INDEPENDENT Energy our civilization needs to explore and utilize the oceans, near Earth space, mining Asteroids and colonizing other planets.

    I would call that Win-Win-Win-Win-Win-Win-Win.

    Only problem, Big Oil don’t want that to happen, and since they have enough cash to BUY EVERYBODY, the status quo will continue indefinitely, with lots of lets-pretend-we-are-doing-something scams like Wind & Solar energy, Carbon Capture, Agrofuels, Hydrogen, Energy Efficiency and Geo-Engineering.


    Link to this
  8. 8. G. Karst 10:56 pm 08/15/2012

    Sure, but before you call it “engineering”, you will require:

    A) A rigorously tested, verified and validated global climate model

    B) A rigorously tested, verified and validated global biosphere model

    Got any of those laying about?? GK

    Link to this
  9. 9. sjn 12:29 am 08/16/2012

    The problem with physical scientists is because they understand relatively simple things, (quarks, heat balance etc.) they think they understand complex issues like social policy.

    Why are we even discussing geoengineering, terraforming or whatever as if it were really viable – in a country where one party so far abandons science as to legislate that states cannot take into account predicted rises in sea level when planning for coastal flood control. As long as the GOP treats global warming as a “theory” as questionable in their minds as evolution, Sci Am has to be campaigning for getting the basic facts out to the public. Before speculating on controlling the global energy balance, it would be nice if we the US could actually have agreement on long term support at the national level for actually existing technologies for energy efficiency, conservation and alternatives to fossil fuels.

    Link to this
  10. 10. podboq 1:31 am 08/16/2012

    The easiest, best fix? Stop causing the problem in the first place, and the symptoms will disappear, or at least normalize on their own. Working outside of how nature has balanced the Earth will fail.


    Link to this
  11. 11. podboq 1:39 am 08/16/2012

    Another thing, everyone…. please stop using the word ‘theory’ as if it’s defined simply as a guess.

    k thanks, bye!

    Link to this
  12. 12. singing flea 3:43 am 08/16/2012

    I believe it was Albert Einstein that said something to the effect that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    That said, the real insanity concerning the global warming mess is the people who refuse to acknowledge the problem and continue on with their unsustainable lifestyle as if life will just continue on and everything will fix itself.

    Unfortunately, until this insane attitude is turned around, nothing will change and we will all keep getting the same result which is more of the same.

    Do I think Geo-engineering will help? Maybe or maybe not, but one thing is for sure, doing nothing is an end game.

    Link to this
  13. 13. jtdwyer 5:05 am 08/16/2012

    singing flea – The point of many of the preceding comments is that we are definitely not doing nothing – what we are doing is causing the problem. Trying something new without being able to control the results is not an effective approach to correcting the problem – it’s not even engineering. Better we stop doing those things that are causing the problem…

    Link to this
  14. 14. Smurfcrusher 7:13 am 08/16/2012

    Asking people to stop emitting greenhouse gases is a bit like asking climate change deniers to be reasonable.

    Time to study geo-engineering

    Link to this
  15. 15. roj2003 7:41 am 08/16/2012

    Even more unreasonable – if the current situation arises from 7,000,000,000 people, what do think continued population growth has done, is doing, and will do in the coming 50 years? We each consider we need water – already not enough/ food – 1/2 million or more starve to death each year/ the harvests are failing. Enough, now.

    Link to this
  16. 16. tharriss 7:55 am 08/16/2012

    The problem with saying the solution is to just stop adding to the problem with more CO2 emissions is, as the article states, that we’ve had years of trying to get world governments/business to stop, and they fight it too hard.

    So if the reality is they/we won’t stop producing CO2, then what do we do?

    Everyone dismissing the idea of Geoengineering because it is safer/smarter to just stop burning fossil fuels at such an alarming rate aren’t dealing with the reality that governments/corporations WON’T stop.

    Given that reality, what now do you propose… either we do nothing, or we make attempts to fix the issue. For those of you complaining we don’t understand the complete climate model well enough… you should at least support starting numerous different pilot programs in order to judge effectiveness and possible side effects, then picking the best ones and scaling them up, while monitoring the effects… perfect? no… better than nothing, probably.

    Link to this
  17. 17. sharkyjones 10:25 am 08/16/2012

    I skimmed through the posts while realizing that nobody acknowledges the human element in this equation. There are over 7 billion people on this planet. We are living BREATHING fossils ourselves. What do we exhale? Si, correctomundo! CO2! How many breathes does the average person exhale in a single day? I’m pretty sure that some think tank has already solved this problem. We either need to colonize another planet ie Mars or thin out the population. …and no you sick minded folks that believe that I’m infering any genocidal tendencies.

    Link to this
  18. 18. Mr. Peabody 10:31 am 08/16/2012

    Just two comments as an old engineer:

    It would be improper to NOT consider “geoengineering” as an alternative and develop approaches as a risk mitigation. However, we are far from being able to do a real engineering analysis that would let us accurately predict the results of any actions. That will be a prerequisite – unless rapid catastrophic change is occurring and people panic.

    Unfortunately, action is unlikely to occur until and unless people see things changing and continuing to change on a sub-generational time scale. E.g. rapid catastrophic change is occurring and people panic.

    Link to this
  19. 19. outsidethebox 10:51 am 08/16/2012

    If there was another solution that people would actually accept we would have done it already. Geo-engineering is what’s left when all the “pretty” solutions have been found to be unable to be imposed.

    Link to this
  20. 20. Acoyauh2 12:33 pm 08/16/2012

    No need to go black-or-white the American way. There are options in the middle…
    “Engineering” the atmosphere is playing Russian roulette. Every time we try to “fix” a complex environment we end up with more and worse problems than we started with, so it is naive – if not downright stupid – to think we can get away with it this time. And on a global scale? No way Jose.

    On the other hand, keeping as we are is obviously taking us downhill, so we should start considering CO2 capture in well-thought “non-terraforming” ways.

    Who pays for it? Ah, that’s where all these boats sink…

    Link to this
  21. 21. gladness 1:42 pm 08/16/2012

    There is no way to control the behaviors of the billions on this planet without a fascist system of control. SOOOOOOO… Geo-engineering is the only way to make room for all the humans here. Would you rather kill people or make space on the planet for a decent living for every human soul? That is the moral choice we are facing. So Geo-engineering is coming, get used to it. What planet do you want to make?

    Link to this
  22. 22. engineer.sci 3:43 pm 08/16/2012

    Geoengineering, as any applied science, is limited in its taxonomy, relationships, and scope. This is a deadly reductionism. We are in a time when our closed, interdependent global world is heading toward the rise of second and higher-order phenomena — couplings are certainly not constant. This, not to mention the rise of cross-coupling of factors across human and natural borders. It is Einstein’s famous warning that: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” And how did we create them? Exactly by this kind of reductionist thinking, the fount of Murphy’s law.

    The situation must be understood holistically, but in truth, this can only happen when the observer is a holistic Humanity. To that end, the most important effort is in establishing mutual respect, concern, and responsibility. To take all-for-one and one-for-all beyond the three musketeers to and basic structure of Humanity will take a lot of grass-roots effort in education and the remolding of societal values from starlets, rock stars, and sports figures to people who devote their time, talents, and resources for the good of others.

    Its a lot of work, but I believe will muddle through. According to all the science fiction movies, its amazing what Humanity is capable of when the survival and prosperity of the human race is at stake. — Well, its real this time…

    Link to this
  23. 23. Profitsup 3:59 pm 08/16/2012

    There are some very silly statements out there about fossil fuels and peak oil. The truth is we have not idea but the USA has identified enough to go for more than 300 years. Yes the world has been warming over the last several million years as there are no more North American ice sheets.

    Humans are panic driven – we observe something and immediately draw a conclusion that we understand what we think we see. We immediately construct a computer model based upon what we think we see and then apply some unknown data set to many super computer tests. Some even then say we have “CONSENSUS AGREEMENT” this leads to “SETTLED SCIENCE.” REALLY?

    Link to this
  24. 24. ssm1959 7:17 pm 08/16/2012

    As the evidence becomes more coalesced around the exact nature and degree of climate change and its human contributions we will have to look at engineering at least in the short term as part of transition process to new energy economies. Putting our heads in the sand as some comments suggest is folly. The fact is we are currently geo-engineering the planet in an unplanned manner. Better we look at planned intervention where we have an element of control. Increasing albedo through a titration of SO2 into the stratosphere above 60 degrees latitude over a period of several years will negate much of the last 10 years of warming. If we start to see results that were unanticipated, we stop and all the effects are gone in 18 months. Such a program would need to be coupled with approaches to stabilize warming emissions. Cheap, short duration and high effectiveness, I can think of no better place to start.

    Link to this
  25. 25. DrJehr1 8:18 pm 08/16/2012

    Geo-engineer away… after you solve two laws: the Law of Unintended Consequences and Murphy’s Law. The only thing more stupid than this idea is the one to continue spewing CO2 into the air unabated.

    Link to this
  26. 26. waveworld 12:33 am 08/17/2012

    People will kill themselves one day.Cause we are so insane to develop.Just stop and think.What have we done these years?

    Link to this
  27. 27. 13inches 1:52 am 08/17/2012

    99% of all plant and animal species that have ever walked or crawled or swam on planet earth are now extinct. Extinction is the natural end-game for
    the cycle of each species on planet earth. The earth was a better place before humans evolved their large brains and exited their caves and then somehow
    polluted the ENTIRE earth and directly caused the extinction of many other species. It would be poetic justice if a bunch of large brained ‘Geoengineers’ cooked up some scheme to throw massive amounts of iron
    into the sea or shoot sulphates into the air and then ALL humans died. Planet earth could then become the better place it was before humans ruined it.

    Link to this
  28. 28. jgrosay 8:52 am 08/17/2012

    From several years ago, I’ve been sending probes to get an opinion on the possible good or detrimental consequences of a deviation of the Obi river fresh water, now draining to the Arctic ocean, deviated like a tap that can be opened and closed, Obi’s water send to replenish the Caspian (and Aral?) sea that became nearly extinguished when rivers draining there where used to irrigate cotton fields, with tragic consequences for the Caspian bank economy and environment. It would be also beautiful considering an Algiers or somewhere in North Africa based nuke to produce fresh water for watering the Chotts and other big salty dry lakes of Algiers, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt northern deserts. This kind of a proposal may have regional and broader influences on climate, perhaps all of them good, and is something that can have people in computerized environment simulations busy for a while if they have nothing better to care of, but this kind of ideas as many in the field of “Geo-engineering” are too close to megalomaniac’s delusions.

    Link to this
  29. 29. ochar 11:04 am 08/17/2012

    Friends, in the 21st century we are experiencing the same error that has caused that 100 thousand years of modern human brain (or so), appear to be only 300 years.

    The oceanogenic power: hydraulic, cold, cheap, enough, and renewable, is the answer, fully developed, to stop the economic crisis, energy crisis and confirm whether global warming is the fault of our civilization.

    But neither to present it to the world there are money. However, to fund third world governments to cut her existence to its citizens, enemies of the bad ideas of the elites, for that: if there are investors. Remember the discoverer of the South Sea.

    And this energy, along with the current technologies of superconductors, offshore platforms, and electronics; imply the first human attempt to maintain the polarity of the magnetic field of our planet.

    Link to this
  30. 30. ochar 11:27 am 08/17/2012

    The oceanogenic power also gives more time for develop other ideas such as totally artificial geothermal energy.

    Link to this
  31. 31. llmystic 7:13 pm 08/17/2012

    Most of these “geo-engineering” ideas are too risky, and as likely to make things worse as better. This is especially true of polluting the atmosphere with sulfur. Don’t we already spend a lot of money to remove sulfur from power plant emissions to avoid acid rain? The other geo-engineering ideas are generally not as dangerous and stupid. But most of them are too expensive. And I am dubious about any permanent genetic modification which would be released into the environment. There is no way to reverse any harmful side effects.

    Creating low level clouds over the oceans would be easily stopped and reversible if it has bad consequences. Adding iron to fertilize the oceans might not actually sequester much carbon (early tests increased plankton, but most of it was simply eaten). However, enriching life in the oceans would not be a terrible side effect — and might help feed some hungry humans and sea creatures. I think this idea is unlikely to work to sequester carbon, but not very risky either. Most of the space based geo-engineering ideas (none were mentioned in the story, but they are being discussed) are also fairly safe, in that the solar wind would blow away the reflective particles if we decided not to maintain the reflective barriers because of adverse side effects (reduced plant growth being the most likely). However, doing anything in space is extremely expensive, and such a large project would be far more expensive than just replacing all fossil fuel use with wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, wave, microhydro, and hopefully fusion energy production.

    Several points have been ignored entirely or mentioned in a few comments only. First, global climate change is only one part of the damage being done to the ecology by human activity. It might seem to have more serious implications for humans (sea level rise in particular could displace billions of people or require very expensive dikes and pumps — a rich country like Holland can afford this, but could Bangladesh afford it?). But the reality is that if we cause ecological collapse due to toxic pollution, species extinction, habitat destruction, overuse of natural resources, or other means — including but not limited to climate change — the results are catastrophic. Civilization will collapse if the ecology collapses. We need to focus on protecting the environment, not just on stopping climate change.

    That said, there are two obvious solutions. First is to reduce our footprint. Less pollution, more efficiency, less development, and population control are obvious candidates. Second is a program of environmental restoration. Reforestation, restoration of wetlands and prairies, restoration of marine and river environments, and a ban on over fishing and over hunting would be helpful. Environmental restoration is cheap and safe compared to any other solution proposed, and it directly addresses the problem of environmental damage, not just climate change. For climate change, reforestation, and perhaps also adding forests in desert areas (which would require building lots of desalination plants — and is a type of geo-engineering), would be by far the cheapest and safest solution. Studies of past climate show a direct and strong correlation between forest cover and temperature. Trees sequester carbon quite efficiently and for as long as most of the far more expensive and risky geo-engineering ideas proposed.

    I agree with those comments that say that the real issues are political, social, and economic — not Scientific or engineering issues at all. We know how to solve these problems and protect the environment. But how do we convince people to start doing it before civilization is already collapsing? When it will be too late. One thing seems obvious to me. The elites are not going to take the lead. They are too selfish and short sighted and happy with the status quo to even see the problems, much less want to make sacrifices which will mostly only benefit future generations. It is ordinary people who will be hurt the worst by ecological collapse, and who need to demand changes (as well as be willing to make lifestyle changes to support environmental protection and restoration). There is no substitute for good education and a free flow of information.

    Link to this
  32. 32. R.Blakely 3:41 am 08/18/2012

    We can measure a 0.8-degree temperature rise, but that is due to less cloud cover, not due to CO2. Average ocean temperature at the equator has decreased, which has caused a decrease in moisture (and cloud) transport to the Artic.
    We should not try geoengineering because we have not “understood the basic physics for 150 years” since we have not been measuring average cloud cover. Simply measuring temperature is inadequate since cloud cover reflects sunlight. I think the Earth’s surface is really cooling because cloud cover is decreasing.
    In fact, CO2 cannot affect Earth’s temperature now. CO2 already blocks as much infrared as it can, and so more CO2 cannot block more infrared. Dr. Hertzberg has a file about the lynching of carbon dioxide, which can be viewed at

    Link to this
  33. 33. G. Karst 10:21 am 08/18/2012

    What problem is causing so much grief, NOW, to justify such drastic actions? Where is the emergency, so great, that such actions are justified and must be carried out, NOW? Where are the bodies piling up, NOW?

    When has Man EVER predicted the future accurately enough to even begin to intervene in weather and climate?

    With our dismal performing models, how would we even know if such a program was working or sending us into disaster.

    Those that think we should intervene anyway, please point out the emergency, with actual facts, in the present, causing such massive disruption. Warmist ideologues have let their imaginations run away to fear and panic.

    Nothing unusual is happening with weather nor climate. It has all happened before! It is all, cycles and changing patterns, like it has always been for your ancestors. Relax and enjoy the warming because the other side of the cycle is cold and misery. Hard to enjoy THAT. GK

    Link to this
  34. 34. G. Karst 10:36 am 08/18/2012

    Oh! And BTW, we haven’t warmed for 15 years, so we can only discuss warming in the past tense… Not the present or future. No one (or model) predicted our present level temperatures. Can we turn off the alarming Klaxons, until, at least we start warming significantly again. Holy cheese and crackers, get a grip on yourselves! GK

    Link to this
  35. 35. northernguy 10:55 pm 08/19/2012

    9. sjn said

    in a country where one party so far abandons science as to legislate that states cannot take into account predicted rises in sea level when planning for coastal flood control.

    They didn’t abandon science. They just didn’t accept your prediction. They insist only observed trends be taken into account by local governments. Private individuals such as yourself can use whatever notions they want.

    Thirty years ago prominent _climatologists_ were quoted in the popular press predicting that the area where I live would be would be three feet underwater within a hundred years due to rising seas. We are a third of the way there and so far it hasn’t risen an inch.

    I commend the state referenced for compelling junior governments and agencies to stick with science by looking at observed trends not superstition printed in the media.

    Fyi it was not one party compelling all the states in the U.S. from applying effective flood control. It was one state telling local zoning boards that they could not prevent private citizens from developing their land because of wild eyed scare mongering by people such as your self. The regulation required said local zoning boards to use measured sea level patterns not superstition.

    Link to this
  36. 36. northernguy 12:23 am 08/20/2012

    Before anyone starts geoengineering the planet lets get a couple of things straight.

    First devise a commonly accepted, easily understood, relevant definition of what the global average temperature actually is.

    Second get agreement on what it should be.

    Third decide which parts of the world believe they will benefit from the second choice and which believe they will not.

    Fourth decide what obligations, if any, the winners have w.r.t. the losers produced by number three to the point where everyone is satisfied.

    Five sit around and marvel how easy it was to get agreement on all these before actually starting actual work on any projects.

    When you have global consensus on the first four I’ll even join you on number five.

    Link to this
  37. 37. G. Karst 11:13 am 08/20/2012

    Northern guy makes an excellent point. Most of so called GW has occurred in the northern part of the northern hemisphere. These countries Canada, Northern USA, Scandinavian, Russia, Northern China, have seen a moderation of climate, and reaped many benefits from global warming.

    If we were able to modify climate (almost impossible), the cooling would occur in these countries and they would be negatively affected by lower yields and increased fuel heating costs. Why would Canada agree to a lowering of Canadian mean temperatures by up to 4 degrees. While this results in a slight reduction for more southern latitudes, but would erase mean increase. WHY would Canada agree to such insane actions?

    Wouldn’t they shoot down any scheme which condemns them to cold and marginal weather forever? Are we about to see a great war between northern people and the more southerly climes.

    Who gets to decide – who will freeze and who will sweat?

    Consensus… I don’t think so! GK

    Link to this
  38. 38. Malkom 8:09 am 08/27/2012

    Who oppose geoengineering are not aware of the real situation. We are in the window of a burning house. Jump is a stupid idea, perhaps…

    Link to this
  39. 39. DrJehr1 4:27 am 09/11/2012

    To R.Blakely: You are spewing nonsense! When the scientific agencies of ALL the world’s governments agree that CO2 is causing the warming of our planet, quoting some anti-Gore website is not equivalent to presenting “evidence” that CO2 is not causing the warming of our planet. Average ocean temperature at the equator has NOT decreased. Measuring temperature is not only adequate, it is how we determine warming! There is no other way. Your hero, Hertzberg, presents fallacious information; his depression data is useless as it is over too short a time to mean anything. A few hot or cold years mean nothing. We are talking about climate change, not weather change. More accurate studies look at the warming over 30, 40 years, or even over the whole last century. You may not think the earth is getting warmer, but thermometers and scientists all over the world prove you wrong. Just ask farmers in the midwest, or go see the film “Chasing Ice,” which documents the unbelievably rapid melting in Greenland over the past few years. You could also just read a newspaper and discover that all-time record highs have been set all over the world this year.

    But even a broken clock is right twice a day, and, congratulations, you did write one correct statement; geoengineering should not be attempted.

    Link to this
  40. 40. ochar 12:00 pm 01/22/2013

    Panama position, his oceanogenic power, HTS lines, offshore platforms, and cryogenic technology, allows the first feasible geoengineering project.

    Not only is feasible, but profitable, because lets bring energy, fuel and drinking water anywhere in the world.

    Humans can modulate and maintain the magnetic field of the earth with only one new, to seven actual: equatorial power lines.

    Link to this
  41. 41. ochar 10:05 am 07/27/2013

    Maximum intensity of Earth’s magnetic field: 65 microtesla.

    Minimum relative permeability of pure iron (molten): 10.000.

    Radius of the Earth: 6000 kms.

    Frequencies involved: less than 3hz.

    Magnetic field of a current loop: the half of the multiplication of magnetic permeability with the electric current, divided by the radius of the loop.

    A little over 50,000 amps: capacity a cable 1 meter in diameter constructed with HTS material.

    I find nothing that contradicts this too much.

    Meanwhile, we has the Time Come to Try Geoengineering with Panamá Oceanogenic Power, and USA HTS cables.

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Email this Article