Monday, May 6, 2024

#127 / Geoengineering, Anyone?

I have written, frequently, about global warming, and about the extreme dangers to which continued global warming is exposing human civilization. These dangers include, in the opinion of some, the possiblity that continued global warming is threatening the very survival of the human species. One academic suggests that it's likely that humans will be extinct by 2028. If you didn't read my blog posting from yesterday, and this extremely pessimistic prediction is news to you, please feel free to click that "Yesterday" link, and see what you missed.

Right after posting that blog commentary yesterday, I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that indicates that some people are taking the threat of global warming seriously. The article, by Jeremy Freeman, was titled, "Let's Find Out if This Can Cool the Planet." That is the hardcopy title. Online, which is where the following link will take you (The Journal's paywall permitting, of course), Freeman's article is titled, "Scientists Resort to Once-Unthinkable Solutions to Cool the Planet."

What are those "once-unthinkable" solutions? In general, they are varieties of what is called, "geoengineering," or "solar geoengineering." As the MIT Technology Review tells us, "the basic concept behind solar geoengineering is that the world might be able to counteract global warming by spraying tiny particles in the atmosphere that could scatter sunlight." Jeremy Freeman and The Journal note that "momentum around solar geoengineering is building fast."

Given that I have called (yesterday) for rapid and dramatic changes to address the impacts of global warming, one might suppose that I would endorse the idea of deploying "geoengineering" solutions to help avoid the adverse impacts of global warming. In fact, though, I don't think geoengineering is a good idea. My analysis is that we have arrived at the place in which we find ourselves because of our belief that we do not have to pay attention to the limits imposed by the Natural World. Trying to "engineer" the way solar energy gets to the Earth is to continue the fundamental error that has gotten us into our present predicament. 

We need to conform our "Human World" to the constraints and limits imposed by the "Natural World," and thinking that we can "engineer" around those limits is to perpetuate a mistaken idea. But what should we do, then?

Here is what I would suggest: Let's start figuring out how to do a lot less!

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