Al Gore says use of geo-engineering to head off climate disaster is insane  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

The Guardian has an article on recent comments by Al Gore where he called geoengineering "utterly mad" - Al Gore says use of geo-engineering to head off climate disaster is insane.

The draft climate report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due for release in Germany in April, said governments might have to turn increasingly to technologies for "carbon dioxide removal" to keep warming below the dangerous threshold of 2 degrees. The draft said those technologies might involve capturing and burying emissions from coal-fired power plants, or planting more forests. But there has been debate in the environmental community over other more radical solutions.

On geo-engineering Gore drew a distinction between small-scale interventions, such as white roofs, and large-scale projects meant to extract or neutralise emissions from the air or block the sunlight. Those ideas, he said, carried enormous risks. "The most discussed so-called geo-engineering proposals – like putting sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere to reflect incoming sunlight – that's just insane. Let's just describe that clearly – it is utterly mad," Gore told the conference call.

He warned that such large and untested experiments carried enormous risks while "doing nothing to address other consequences of climate change such as ocean acidification". He said: "We are already engaged in a planet-wide experiment with consequences we can already tell are unpleasant for the future of humanity. So the hubris involved in thinking we can come up with a second planet-wide experiment that would exactly counteract the first experiment is delusional in the extreme."

Gore was also cool on the other quick-fix of nuclear power, advocated by some. ... Gore's re-thinking has apparently gone in the other direction. He told the call he had been an enthusiastic supporter of nuclear energy when he was in Congress. He was not opposed to nuclear energy now, he said. But he said the current state of technology in the nuclear energy industry did not yet warrant a big expansion.

Cryptogon points to a Chinese geoengineering proposal, aimed at neutralizing acid in the air ("Ph conditioning") with giant jellyfish shaped blimp membranes - Atmosphere Processors for Beijing [???].

In the past 30 years, China has suffered from air pollution and heavy haze created by fast industrial growth and economic expansion. An Environmental Chemistry Letter research journal article reviews the techniques for remediation of air pollution. A geoengineering method is proposed for mitigating air pollution and haze in China’s cities by using water to scavenge air pollution. Here, water should be sprayed into the atmosphere like watering garden. The scientific rationale and mechanism for the geoengineering scheme are explained.


One of the sad facts of "modern" life is that the software used to render these ideas is now both easy to use and readily available... so available and easy to use that people often render an "idea" before they have passed it through even cursory critical thinking steps.

WHY create intricate floating jelly fishes when the buildings could easily be retrofitted with wet water channels on their sides achieving the same effect at fractions of the cost?

Much more fun to design ambitious solutions I suspect ! They also get more publicity.

But yes - I agree coming up with green buildings that power themselves and clean up the environment is the best option.

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