Climate change band aids

I have been looking at the TED talks that have recently been put online. This one stood out today about the possibilities for geoengineering. Suffice it to say, they look strong in terms of cooling the planet quickly if we find suddenly ice caps are melting too quickly.

But it also became clear to me that we may face a new twist on the global public bad problem that is climate change. Put simply, it is cheap to geoengineer. Let’s assume it works put with some side-effects. Then there is a massive incentive for countries most impacted on by climate change or how might do poorly in any collective world system we agree to in order to mitigate climate change to unilaterally put particles into the atmosphere and control the weather. The economic forces are strong in this regard and, if we don’t know enough about geoengineering, there would be real risks of having it done poorly. Those economic forces are clear. I have no idea what, if anything, should be done about it. Put is worth thinking more about.

4 thoughts on “Climate change band aids”

  1. Excellent presention, as usual from TED.

    Suppose polar ice caps continue to melt faster than scientists’ models have predicted. If Manhattan Island looks like being inundated, would the US hesitate to inject SO2 (the main ingredient of acid rain) into the atmosphere over Europe, Russia and China in an effort to stop it?

    There is no doubt that climate engineering can work. That is what naturally occurred in the period from around 1940 to the mid-1970s, resulting in a reduction in global climate that denialists continue to quote as evidence that warming is not happening.

    The year 1816 (“The Year Without a Summer”)provided a really dramatic example of the effect, following the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

    Fortunately then but unfortunately for current climate engineering proponents, the effect lasted only a year or so. Also it seems that it was largely confined to the northern hemisphere.

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  2. I recall someone in the US at one point talking about reversing global warming by ejecting something into the atmosphere and setting up giant mirrors to reflect more sunlight. One of the UK papers ran a headline along the lines of “US to fight global warming with smoke and mirrors”.

    Well, I liked it!

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  3. Ted Talks have been a wonderful resource for a couple of years. I thought the stand out for last year was Hans Rosling’s presentation (http://www.ted.com/index.php/speakers/view/id/90).

    For lovers of data and their graphic representation (even sparse international country statistical data), and what matters in economic policy (and economics – or rather the goals), and a wit thrown in too…Such insights from a professor of public health.

    cheers,
    Christopher

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