Monday, December 17, 2012

To geoengineering google groups ,from Jim Lee

There is no computer model that can calculate what will happen when a layer of SRM coats our skies.  There is no man smart enough to come up with all the variables to put into the aforementioned computer model, let alone be able to accurately predict who the winners and losers will be in the "targeted spraying" campaigns.  

However, let's say for the sake of argument that you do manage to predict everything, and the SRM campaigns are underway.  You can now congratulate yourselves on helping the US military with its goal to create cirrus cover for defense from space based directed energy weapons and spy optics. Link & Link You'll probably all get jobs working for the Air Force to make tornadoes and hurricanes: Link & Link

The baby steps you gentlemen take today, ensure controlled weather in the future.  I oppose this.  If would much rather see iron fertilization, tree bombs, or carbon sequestration than SRM.  The global backlash from your successful SRM campaign will brand you a villian in the public eye, mark my words.  Don't believe me, google "chemtrails" if you haven't already.  People are bordering on hysteria over alleged geoengineering covering their skies, just wait till they see the real thing.

And if for no other reason consider this, the entire planet needs sunlight to grow.  Why would you even consider blocking the sun?  As stated by David Keith, the Amazon showed extremely low river levels during Pinatubo's eruption; so is the plan to dry that bad boy up?
SRM is a dangerous plan, you men are not gods, and your choices will affect us all, which is why you are to be feared and watched carefully.

I intend to shed light on your decisions, and those of the corporate owned public representatives you seek approval from.  I also would like to extend an offer to discuss the pros/cons of SRM with any of you, in any format you like.

Geoengineering Exposed:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Can We Stop Modern-Day Mad Scientists?

Can We Stop Modern-Day Mad Scientists?

An American businessman made waves last month when, without asking permission, he dumped a bunch of iron sulfate into the Pacific Ocean to launch a carbon-sequestering geoengineering experiment. With these sorts of Earth-hacking ideas being floated, what's to stop a man with the means from doing it himself?

By Kathryn Doyle
Phytoplankton bloom captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.
Phytoplankton bloom captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.
November 28, 2012 1:00 PMTEXT SIZE: A . A . A
It's hard to stop a bad idea with enough money behind it—even rogue science on the high seas.

Russ George, a wealthy American businessman with a history of big, controversial ideas, launched his latest one this October: dumping 200,000 pounds of iron sulfate into the North Pacific. His aim was to spur a huge plankton bloom, which would absorb carbon dioxide in photosynthesis and then sink to the ocean floor. George was attempting to engage in ocean fertilization, the idea that seeding the sea in this way creates those organic blooms that sequester carbon when they sink.

Plenty of scientists have bandied about the idea of ocean fertilization—it's one of the most common proposals for geoengineering, or engineering the earth to protect civilization from climate change. But George didn't write a scientific paper about the implications of fertilizing the Pacific Ocean with iron. He just went out and did it, with the backing of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, a First Nations group in Canada that was hoping an improvement in the ocean would also improve the salmon numbers they depend on.

This wasn't George's first attempt at unilateral geoengineering. But his solo action has outraged scientists, who have spent years studying not only the potential benefits but also the potential negative consequences of hacking the earth. All of which leads us to ask: What's to stop modern-day mad scientists?

Rules on the Books?

A hundred years ago chemical and biological weapons had no regulation because they were new ideas, according to Jason Blackstock, a physicist and international relations scholar at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Oxford. Fifty years ago the first rules for human-subject research were put in place.

But newer sciences have yet to spawn a hard set of rules. Consider the current state of fields like genetically modified foods, says Blackstock, which have widely varying national regulations but no international protocols. Or take nanotech: "[In] Michael Crichton's novel with little robots talking over and eating the world [Prey], they are things that could be pretty damaging if released into the environment, but we just don't know," he says. "So there are still a lot of big questions for what should be allowed and what shouldn't be."

Geoengineering is so new, and its consequences so big, that there is no set of laws to deal with it yet. "Right now there is no system for that," says Lisa Speer, Director of the International Oceans Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. More rogue scientists and businessmen could be motoring through those loopholes in the near future. "I think we're likely to see more and more of these ideas," Speer says.

George has already drawn attention for plankton-centric attempts to engineer the climate. "The Weatherbird, his previous escapade, was widely criticized," says Speer. Country representatives ratified a treaty of the London Protocol on May 1, 2008, that was prompted by the Weatherbird experiment. Dumping a bunch of experimental stuff in international waters violates these rules, but it's not clear what happens next. At best, it's questionably legal, but no expert would call it definitely illegal. One could potentially avoid any punishment by calling it legitimate scientific research and exploiting the vagueness of that phrase. Plus, the rules are murky in international waters, as any keen observer of Bond villains knows. International protocols and moratoriums like the ones on ocean dumping exist, but enforcement has to be carried out by the country where a vessel in violation originated.

The amount of iron sulfate George dumped into the ocean was only a drop in the bucket on a global scale, says Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist of the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology. "The sewage waste coming into the oceans from coastal towns around the world, I'm sure that's going to be orders of magnitude bigger than what Russ George did. Humans are adding nutrients to the oceans in large quantities every day, knowingly. Of all the damage that humans did to the oceans on that day, Russ George was probably a millionth of that."

For Caldeira, it's the fact that George conducted his experiment in secret rather than the actual amount of iron he dumped that's really troubling. And that's what has bigger implications for the future. "Experiments like this make people realize that there are holes big enough you can literally drive an ocean liner through them," Blackstock says.

Spotting Rogue Scientists

Identifying the people who are likely to do this, or have done it in the past, could be a good way to prevent mad science.

The trouble is, you only know about these experiments beforehand if public funding requires transparency or if the directors choose to tell other scientists and the community at large. "This is not the sort of thing the public should find out about after the fact," says Blackstock.

When people are informed of experimental intent before the fact there's a resulting back-and-forth of environmental impact assessments and the airing of grievances. The Spice project in the U.K., another geoengineering experiment designed to pump water and, ultimately, sulfates into the upper atmosphere to try to block part of the sun's light and thereby cool the planet, was suspended before it began a year ago because public reaction worried funders. In another experiment, called LOHAFEX, the scientists modified their iron dumping location in the Southern Ocean after getting feedback from the German science ministry. (The project was put on hold for two weeks because the ministry had reservations, and during that time the lead scientists chose a stable eddy that would trap most of the new carbon and, hopefully, mollify the German government.)

Mad or Just Frustrated?

The New Yorker recently called George the first geo-vigilante,"implying he fought for justice when the system failed us. But was he frustrated in his pursuit of knowledge or just exploiting a loophole?

"Scientists still aren't sure what they can and can't do," Blackstock says. "You do end up in cases where somebody says, you know what, I'm just gonna go do it, even within the U.S. What Russ George has done is taken that to an extreme. A big extreme."

"Ten years ago everything in geoengineering looked like a mad-scientist idea," he continues. "Frankly, I still wake up some days and see this stuff and I go, seriously—we must be nuts. I mean, spraying aerosols into the upper atmosphere to cool the planet—this is terraforming. This is science fiction. And yet it is really a question... of how they go about it, not the idea itself."

Blackstock suggests two criteria for judging geoengineers. First, is their experimental design solid? And second, are they working toward the public good? (Caldeira advocates the classic "follow the money" rule for the second point.)

In George's case, the risks were small: Even though he dumped 200 times more iron than any previous experiment, Caldeira says, George's experiment would have to be done at a much, much larger scale to have any noticeable effect on the atmosphere. It wasn't particularly useful as a proof-of-concept test, either. Blackstock says: "There ain't no way that they're collecting enough data to make an experiment of this scale worthwhile, with that small number of people and resources."

As for following the money, George is a self-professed scientist, but most publications call him a businessman, and he stood to make a profit from ocean fertilization with carbon credits. Ostensibly, geoengineering could work toward global public good as well, if it manages to offset climate change without doing more harm in the process.

And that's why some researchers worry about Bond villains and billionaires going rogue. Whether geoengineering can really combat climate change—and do so without horrific unintended consequences—is an ongoing, contentious debate. But it's one that a mad scientist with enough money could circumvent.

"With geoengineering, the experiments are in themselves benign but could lead somewhere we don't want to go. There's no consensus," Caldeira says. "If we're willing to transform huge swaths of the ocean from quasi-natural ecosystems to managed-ocean ecosystems you could maybe offset a few percentage points of the climate-change problem, but I think that most informed observers would say that the tradeoffs aren't there. The potential for harm exceeds the potential benefits." 

Read more: Can We Stop Modern-Day Mad Scientists? - Popular Mechanics 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The pros and cons of trying to adjust the global thermostat

David Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics, Harvard University
David Keith, a professor of applied physics at Harvard, speaks about geoengineering at the Techonomy 2012 conference in Tucscon on Monday. ( / November 12, 2012

According to David Keith, a physicist at Harvard, it's a fairly straightforward proposition to reduce the rate of warming on earth, and not all that expensive in the grand scheme of things. One possibility: fly a couple of customized corporate jets into the stratosphere every day and dump a lot of sulfur, creating thin clouds that reflect away some of the sunlight.
"The hard questions here really aren't technical," Keith said Monday. "They're fundamentally political."
And the political questions about this sort of environmental manipulation, known in science circles as "geoengineering," are doozies. Keith and Andrew Parker, who helped write the London-based Royal Society's report on geoengineering, ran through a series of them during a panel discussion at the Techonomy 2012 conference in Tucson: Who gets to say yes or no to geoengineering? If engineers can manipulate the global thermostat, who decides what's the right temperature? Who will judge whether a geoengineering project is responsible for any subsequent weather-related catastrophe, and who'll be held liable?
There are no answers to those questions yet. A number of non-governmental organizations and environmental groups have been developing guidelines for the governance issues surrounding geoengineering, but it's not clear that this effort will lead to a binding legal framework.
The sun-reflecting technique has been talked about by scientists since the 1960s, Keith said, although there's still some disagreement about how effective it would be. One reason advocates believe it would work, he said, is that nature has effectively conducted a series of pilot projects over the years, in the form of major volcanic eruptions that have thrown tons of sulfur into the upper atmosphere and temporarily changed the climate.
In the theoretical scenario Keith outlined, two or three jets would disperse about 20,000 tons of sulfur into the stratosphere every year, starting in 2020, with a goal of slashing the rate of warming in half. That's a minuscule amount of sulfur compared to the amount that's emitted into the lower atmosphere as pollution, Keith said. Because carbon emissions would also continue, however, the amount of sulfur injected into the stratosphere would have to grow over time, possibly reaching 100,000 tons in 2030. Even then, though, the cost -- maybe $100 million -- would be a fraction of the amount spent on clean energy technology, which Keith said was about $270 billion last year.
"It's frighteningly doable. All of the hardware is there ... and a lot of the science is there too," Keith said. And if the goal is reducing the risks of global warming in the near term, he argued, "this is essentially the only thing you can do."
Just because it's doable, however, doesn't mean it's a solution or even a good idea.
The biggest fear about geoengineering, Keith said, is the idea alone "takes away the incentive to get serious about carbon emissions." Ultimately, he argued, the world's is going to have to wean itself completely from carbon-emitting power plants. The longer it takes countries to do so, the further the world moves from the climate we have today.
Yet aside from a United Nations convention on biological diversity, no international law or treaty forbids anyone from doing geoengineering for the sake of averting climate change, Parker said. As a result, countries that suffer acutely from the effects of global warming may thus be tempted to try to adjust the global thermostat unilaterally. They may also find cheerleaders in the coal industry, which may see geoengineering as a way to forestall efforts to phase out coal-burning power plants, said the panel's moderator, Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stone magazine.
At this point, at least, there's no way to confine the effects of geoengineering to a single country, Keith said. So if China started peppering the stratosphere with sulfur and India was hit by a cataclysmic cyclone, Parker asked, what could India do in response? Bomb China's runways?
The liability issues may stop private companies from taking the initiative on geoengineering projects. Keith said you wouldn't want companies deciding when and where to do geoengineering, but they have a role to play in figuring out how to do it. He added, "If we want to de-carbonize the world, we have to energize private innovation."
There are important ethical questions too, and any effort to physically alter the climate is sure to draw complaints from those who believe such things are God's province alone. But Andrew argued that there's another ethical and moral issue at work, which is the potential suffering that global warming may bring to vulnerable populations around the world in the decades it may take to mitigate it.
Click on the image below to watch a video of Keith and Parker's session at Techonomy.,0,1660936.story

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Geoengineering: Testing the Waters

Jacob Escobedo
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FOR almost 20 years, I’ve been spending time on a craggy stretch of British Columbia’s shoreline called the Sunshine Coast. This summer, I had an experience that reminded me why I love this place, and why I chose to have a child in this sparsely populated part of the world.
It was 5 a.m. and my husband and I were up with our 3-week-old son. Looking out at the ocean, we spotted two towering, black dorsal fins: orcas, or killer whales. Then two more. We had never seen an orca on the coast, and never heard of their coming so close to shore. In our sleep-deprived state, it felt like a miracle, as if the baby had wakened us to make sure we didn’t miss this rare visit.
The possibility that the sighting may have resulted from something less serendipitous did not occur to me until two weeks ago, when I read reports of a bizarre ocean experiment off the islands of Haida Gwaii, several hundred miles from where we spotted the orcas swimming.
There, an American entrepreneur named Russ George dumped 120 tons of iron dust off the hull of a rented fishing boat; the plan was to create an algae bloom that would sequester carbon and thereby combat climate change.
Mr. George is one of a growing number of would-be geoengineers who advocate high-risk, large-scale technical interventions that would fundamentally change the oceans and skies in order to reduce the effects of global warming. In addition to Mr. George’s scheme to fertilize the ocean with iron, other geoengineering strategies under consideration include pumping sulfate aerosols into the upper atmosphere to imitate the cooling effects of a major volcanic eruption and “brightening” clouds so they reflect more of the sun’s rays back to space.
The risks are huge. Ocean fertilization could trigger dead zones and toxic tides. And multiple simulations have predicted that mimicking the effects of a volcano would interfere with monsoons in Asia and Africa, potentially threatening water and food security for billions of people.
So far, these proposals have mostly served as fodder for computer models and scientific papers. But with Mr. George’s ocean adventure, geoengineering has decisively escaped the laboratory. If Mr. George’s account of the mission is to be believed, his actions created an algae bloom in an area half of the size of Massachusetts that attracted a huge array of aquatic life, including whales that could be “counted by the score.”
When I read about the whales, I began to wonder: could it be that the orcas I saw were on their way to the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet that had descended on Mr. George’s bloom? The possibility, unlikely though it is, provides a glimpse into one of the disturbing repercussions of geoengineering: once we start deliberately interfering with the earth’s climate systems — whether by dimming the sun or fertilizing the seas — all natural events can begin to take on an unnatural tinge. An absence that might have seemed a cyclical change in migration patterns or a presence that felt like a miraculous gift suddenly feels sinister, as if all of nature were being manipulated behind the scenes.
Most news reports characterize Mr. George as a “rogue” geoengineer. But what concerns me, after researching the subject for two years for a forthcoming book on climate change, is that far more serious scientists, backed by far deeper pockets, appear poised to actively tamper with the complex and unpredictable natural systems that sustain life on earth — with huge potential for unintended consequences.
In 2010, the chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology recommended more research into geoengineering; the British government has begun to spend public money in the field.
Bill Gates has funneled millions of dollars into geoengineering research. And he has invested in a company, Intellectual Ventures, that is developing at least two geoengineering tools: the “StratoShield,” a 19-mile-long hose suspended by helium balloons that would spew sun-blocking sulfur dioxide particles into the sky and a tool that can supposedly blunt the force of hurricanes.
THE appeal is easy to understand. Geoengineering offers the tantalizing promise of a climate change fix that would allow us to continue our resource-exhausting way of life, indefinitely. And then there is the fear. Every week seems to bring more terrifying climate news, from reports of ice sheets melting ahead of schedule to oceans acidifying far faster than expected. At the same time, climate change has fallen so far off the political agenda that it wasn’t mentioned once during any of the three debates between the presidential candidates. Is it any wonder that many are pinning their hopes on a break-the-glass-in-case-of-emergency option that scientists have been cooking up in their labs?
But with rogue geoengineers on the loose, it is a good time to pause and ask, collectively, whether we want to go down the geoengineering road. Because the truth is that geoengineering is itself a rogue proposition. By definition, technologies that tamper with ocean and atmospheric chemistry affect everyone. Yet it is impossible to get anything like unanimous consent for these interventions. Nor could any such consent possibly be informed since we don’t — and can’t — know the full risks involved until these planet-altering technologies are actually deployed.
While the United Nations’ climate negotiations proceed from the premise that countries must agree to a joint response to an inherently communal problem, geoengineering raises a very different prospect. For well under a billion dollars, a “coalition of the willing,” a single country or even a wealthy individual could decide to take the climate into its own hands. Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, an environmental watchdog group, puts the problem like this: “Geoengineering says, ‘we’ll just do it, and you’ll live with the effects.’ ”
 The scariest thing about this proposition is that models suggest that many of the people who could well be most harmed by these technologies are already disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Imagine this: North America decides to send sulfur into the stratosphere to reduce the intensity of the sun, in the hopes of saving its corn crops — despite the real possibility of triggering droughts in Asia and Africa. In short, geoengineering would give us (or some of us) the power to exile huge swaths of humanity to sacrifice zones with a virtual flip of the switch.
The geopolitical ramifications are chilling. Climate change is already making it hard to know whether events previously understood as “acts of God” (a freak heat wave in March or a Frankenstorm on Halloween) still belong in that category. But if we start tinkering with the earth’s thermostat — deliberately turning our oceans murky green to soak up carbon and bleaching the skies hazy white to deflect the sun — we take our influence to a new level. A drought in India will come to be seen — accurately or not — as a result of a conscious decision by engineers on the other side of the planet. What was once bad luck could come to be seen as a malevolent plot or an imperialist attack.
There will be other visceral, life-changing consequences. A study published this spring in Geophysical Research Letters found that if we inject sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere in order to dial down the sun, the sky would not only become whiter and significantly brighter, but we would also be treated to more intense, “volcanic” sunsets. But what kind of relationships can we expect to have with those hyper-real skies? Would they fill us with awe — or with vague unease? Would we feel the same when beautiful wild creatures cross our paths unexpectedly, as happened to my family this summer? In a popular book on climate change, Bill McKibben warned that we face “The End of Nature.” In the age of geoengineering, we might find ourselves confronting the end of miracles, too.
Mr. George and his ocean-altering experiment provides an opportunity for public debate about an issue essentially absent during the election cycle: What are the real solutions to climate change? Wouldn’t it be better to change our behavior — to reduce our use of fossil fuels — before we begin fiddling with the planet’s basic life-support systems?
Unless we change course, we can expect to hear many more reports about sun-shielders and ocean fiddlers like Mr. George, whose iron dumping exploit did more than test a thesis about ocean fertilization: it also tested the waters for future geoengineering experiments. And judging by the muted response so far, the results of Mr. George’s test are clear: geoengineers proceed, caution be damned.
The author, most recently, of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Geoengineering Could Be Essential to Reducing the Risk of Climate Change

David Keith spoke at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference this week.
Geoengineering—using technology to purposefully change the climate—is the only option for reducing the risk of climate change from greenhouse-gas emissions in the next few decades, says David Keith, a professor of public policy and applied physics at Harvard University. And he says that if it’s done in moderation, it could be much safer than some experts have argued. In fact, says Keith, effective methods of geoengineering are so cheap and easy that just about any country could do it—for better or worse.
Keith, speaking this week at MIT Technology Review’s annual EmTech conference, says it is already too late to avoid climate changes by reducing carbon emissions alone. The carbon dioxide that’s been released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is already likely to cause significant harm, such as raising temperatures enough to hurt crop yields in many places. “If you want to, say, really stop the loss of Arctic sea ice or stop heat-stress crop losses over the next few decades, geoengineering is pretty much the only thing you can do,” he says (see “Why Climate Scientists Support Geoengineering Research”).

Keith’s preferred method of geoengineering is to shade the earth by injecting sulfate particles into the upper atmosphere, imitating a similar process that happens with large volcanic eruptions, which are known to temporarily cool the planet. The technique could be effective even if far less sulfate were injected than is currently emitted by fossil-fuel power plants. A million tons per year injected into the stratosphere would be enough—whereas 50 million tons are injected into the lower part of the atmosphere by coal plants, he says. (In the lower atmosphere, the sulfates are less effective at cooling because they stay airborne for shorter periods.)
One of the main objections to geoengineering is that the measures that might be taken to cool the planet won’t exactly offset the effects of carbon dioxide, so they could actually make things much worse—for example, by altering patterns of precipitation. Keith says recent climate models suggest that injecting sulfate particles into the upper reaches of the atmosphere might not affect precipitation nearly as much as others have warned.
“I propose that you start in about 2020, and you start very, very gradually increasing your amount of sulfate engineering so that you cut about in half the rate of warming,” he says. “Not eliminate it, but cut it about in half. Cutting it in half is a big benefit.”
One of the benefits could be increased crop production. Though some critics have worried that geoengineering would alter monsoon patterns that are key to agriculture in India, Keith says moderate geoengineering could actually boost crop productivity there by 20 percent, in part by reducing temperatures.
Keith and some of his colleagues recently hired engineers to estimate how much one approach to sulfate injection might work, and how much it might cost. It could be done at first with existing airplanes—certain business jets can fly high enough to inject the particles into the upper atmosphere. Eventually we would need new planes that can fly higher. All in all, once the procedure is scaled up it would cost about a billion dollars a year and require about 100 aircraft. That’s cheap enough for most countries to pull off on their own.
The fact that it’s easy isn’t necessarily a good thing, Keith says. There’s the potential that if one country does it, another might blame that country—rightly or wrongly—for ensuing bad weather (see “The Geoengineering Gambit”).
And there are also real concerns about the impact sulfates might have on the atmosphere (see Geoengineering May Be Necessary, Despite Its Perils). It’s known that sulfates can be involved in reactions that deplete the ozone layer. As the earth warms, water vapor levels are increasing, which could exacerbate the problem. Keith is proposing a test to discover quantitatively just what the effect of the injections could be. He would introduce small clouds of sulfate and water vapor into the stratosphere using balloons, and then carefully measure the reactions that take place.
And Keith acknowledges a concern many have had about geoengineering: that using it to offset problems from climate change will reduce the incentive to tackle the greenhouse-gas emissions at the root of the problem. Even if geoengineering is employed, reducing emissions will still be important. Sulfate injection does nothing to address the ocean acidification associated with increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And if emissions continue to grow, ever-increasing amounts of sulfate will be needed.
But Keith thinks the potential benefits might be worth the dangers. “We don’t know enough yet to start,” he says. “But the current balance of evidence is that doing this really would reduce risks. And for that reason, we’ve got to take it seriously. It really would be reckless not to look at something that could reduce risk like this could.” 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Employing commercial aircraft to inject sulphur into the stratosphere is not a viable strategy, according to Finnish researchers.
Solar geoengineering can be tailored to reduce inequality or to manage specific risks, study suggests October 21, 2012 This shows a sunset in the Arctic. A new study at Harvard explores the feasibility of using cautious and targeted solar geoengineering to counter the loss of Arctic sea ice. Credit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen By tailoring geoengineering efforts by region and by need, a new model promises to maximize the effectiveness of solar radiation management while mitigating its potential side effects and risks. Developed by a team of leading researchers, the study was published in the November issue of Nature Climate Change. Solar geoengineering, the goal of which is to offset the global warming caused by greenhouse gases, involves reflecting sunlight back into space. By increasing the concentrations of aerosols in the stratosphere or by creating low-altitude marine clouds, the as-yet hypothetical solar geoengineering projects would scatter incoming solar heat away from the Earth's surface. Critics of geoengineering have long warned that such a global intervention would have unequal effects around the world and could result in unforeseen consequences. They argue that the potential gains may not be worth the risk. "Our research goes a step beyond the one-size-fits-all approach to explore how careful tailoring of solar geoengineering can reduce possible inequalities and risks," says co-author David Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. "Instead, we can be thoughtful about various tradeoffs to achieve more selective results, such as the trade-off between minimizing global climate changes and minimizing residual changes at the worst-off location." The study—developed in collaboration with Douglas G. MacMartin of the California Institute of Technology, Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Ben Kravitz, formerly of Carnegie and now at the Department of Energy—explores the feasibility of using solar geoengineering to counter the loss of Arctic sea ice. "There has been a lot of loose talk about region-specific climate modification. By contrast, our research uses a more systematic approach to understand how geoengineering might be used to limit a specific impact. We found that tailored solar geoengineering might limit Arctic sea ice loss with several times less total solar shading than would be needed in a uniform case." Generally speaking, greenhouse gases tend to suppress precipitation, and an offsetting reduction in the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth would not restore this precipitation. Both greenhouse gases and aerosols affect the distribution of heat and rain on this planet, but they change the temperature and precipitation in different ways in different places. The researchers suggest that varying the amount of sunlight deflected away from the Earth both regionally and seasonally could combat some of this problem. "These results indicate that varying geoengineering efforts by region and over different periods of time could potentially improve the effectiveness of solar geoengineering and reduce climate impacts in at-risk areas," says co-author Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist in the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science. The researchers note that while their study used a state-of-the-art model, any real-world estimates of the possible impact of solar radiation management would need to take into account various uncertainties. Further, any interference in Earth's climate system, whether intentional or unintentional, is likely to produce unanticipated outcomes. "While more work needs to be done, we have a strong model that indicates that solar geoengineering might be used in a far more nuanced manner than the uniform one-size-fits-all implementation that is often assumed. One might say that one need not think of it as a single global thermostat. This gives us hope that if we ever do need to implement engineered solutions to combat global warming, that we would do so with a bit more confidence and a great ability to test it and control it." More information: The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Read more at:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Canadian government 'knew of plans to dump iron into the Pacific'

Chief executive of company responsible for controversial geoengineering test implicates several departments
Geoengineering iron fertilisation in Canada : Aerial of the Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada
An aerial of the Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. Photograph: Russ Heinl/Alamy
As controversy mounts over the Guardian's revelations that an American businessman conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, dumping around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada's coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineeringscheme and not stopped it.
The news combined, with Canadian obstructionism in negotiations over geoengineering at a United Nations biodiversity meeting in Hyderabad, India, has angered international civil society groups, who have announced they are singling out Canada for a recognition of shame at the summit – the Dodo award for actions that harm biodiversity.
They are criticising Canada for being one of "four horsemen of geoengineering", joining Britain, Australia and New Zealand in opposing southern countries' efforts to beef up the existing moratorium ontechnological fixes for global warming.
The chief executive of the company responsible for spawning the artificial 10,000 square kilometre plankton bloom in the Pacific Ocean has implicated several Canadian departments, but government officials are remaining silent about the nature of their involvement.
In an interview with Canadian radio, John Disney said: "I've been in touch with many departments within the federal ministry. All I'm saying is that everyone from the Canadian Revenue Agency down to the National Research Council and Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada – these people, they've all known about this."
The Guardian has seen government correspondence which indicates that Environment Canada officers met with Disney's company in June and expressed their misgiving about any ocean fertilisation going forward, but appear to not have taken further action.
After the huge experiment happened in July, Canadian government officials were anxious to find out if the company's boat flew under a Canadian flag and whether the iron was loaded in Canada.
A large number of Canadian personnel have been involved on the boat, the largest fishing vessel under Canadian registration in the province of British Columbia. Disney, who is also a non-native economic manager for the indigenous council in the Old Masset village in Haida Gwaii, told media that the iron was brought from Alberta.
Russ George, a colleague of Disney's, told the Guardian: "Canadian government people have been helping us. We've had workshops run where we've been taught how to use satellites resources by the Canadian space agency. [The government] is trying to 'cost-share' with us on certain aspects of the project. And we are expecting lots more support as we go forward."
Environment Canada officials refused to comment, saying "the matter is currently under investigation."
"To clear these serious allegations of complicity the Canadian government needs to speak out and account for these events," said Jim Thomas of the international technology watchdog ETC Group. "Officials need to condemn this dump as a breach of Canadian laws and take swift action against geoengineering: in Haida Gwaii that means initiating measures against Russ George and any Canadians involved, while in Hyderabad that means backing a global test ban."
Sources indicate that the Council of the Haida Nations, the political body that speaks for all Haida people, is passing a resolution that any future decision on such projects will have to be ruled on by the entire nation, rather than by one village.
The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation was established by Old Masset village after they borrowed $2.5m dollars from a Canadian credit union, which provided the loan despite flagging numerous concernsabout George's credibility and his plans to try to win carbon credits for the project.
University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver told media that there are "profound implications" to dumping iron, and no guarantee that the ocean can be used as a carbon sink.
"They are not going to get a penny in carbon credits, because there's no evidence the carbon is going to stay where it is," he said.