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How to reduce global warming? Block out the sun.
January 29, 2007 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Instead of reducing emissions, maybe we can block out the sun. This is a proposal offered by the United States in response to a draft of a UN report on climate change, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to the linked article, the U.S. has resisted a treaty that would involve binding targets for emissions reductions, and is instead pushing for the exploration of techniques for blocking out the sun, including (according to the Sydney Morning Herald article) "putting a giant screen into orbit, thousands of tiny, shiny balloons, or microscopic sulfate droplets pumped into the high atmosphere to mimic the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption." This is via Yale Law professor Jack Balkin, who speculates that there is Biblical precedent for this proposal.
posted by jayder (93 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sounds like a good idea. Sure beats addressing the causes of the problem.
posted by brundlefly at 5:39 PM on January 29, 2007


Simpsons did it!
posted by psmealey at 5:40 PM on January 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Simpsons did it!
Yeah and look how that turned out.
posted by spicynuts at 5:41 PM on January 29, 2007


Wait, wasn't there an ask.me question about this very strategy?
posted by nathancaswell at 5:43 PM on January 29, 2007


AHA!!!
posted by nathancaswell at 5:45 PM on January 29, 2007


Perhaps blocking out Yale, whose alumni seem to have an undue influence, would be a better use of a giant screen.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:45 PM on January 29, 2007 [7 favorites]


Who exactly is "The US" that they keep referring to in the article? It seems intentionally vague. I know they didn't ask me.
Nothing would surprise me, but this story is setting off my bullshit detector.
posted by 2sheets at 5:51 PM on January 29, 2007


Of course! What could possibly go wrong?
posted by SPrintF at 5:52 PM on January 29, 2007


What a goddamn stupid idea.
posted by ScotchLynx at 5:53 PM on January 29, 2007


Sounds like something that Dick "Mr. Burns" Cheney would think up.
posted by clevershark at 5:53 PM on January 29, 2007


"Excellent"
posted by rollbiz at 5:55 PM on January 29, 2007


Heh. Well, its good to have a backup plan if we don't get this emissions things under control.
posted by bhouston at 5:55 PM on January 29, 2007


Or...

We're in ur Earth blockin' ur sunz!1!!!1!
posted by rollbiz at 5:56 PM on January 29, 2007


Wait, so now the U.S. government is parodying the Yes Men? What a sick, twisted world we live in.
posted by notswedish at 5:56 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


We should also drop a giant net over the entire Middle East, should take care of that terrorist problem nicely.
posted by fidgets at 5:56 PM on January 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yeah, promoting this as an idea of "The US" is rather disingenuous. That said, I think we may need to curb carbon dioxide emissions and do this in order to really stop global warming. I mean, how exactly would cutting back to 1990 emission levels stop global warming?

I don't see why the idea shouldn't be explored.
posted by delmoi at 5:57 PM on January 29, 2007


It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space ... would be "important insurance" against rising emissions ...

Wernstrom!!
posted by barnacles at 5:58 PM on January 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


I liked the Ice-Cube-from-a-Comet solution.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:03 PM on January 29, 2007


AEI, the unelected policy makers for the US, supports this idea (from May 15, 2006):

Finally, we should consider climate modification. If humanity is powerful enough to disrupt the climate negatively, we might also be able to change it for the better. On a theoretical level, doing so is relatively simple: We need to reduce the earth’s absorption of solar radiation. A few scientists have suggested we could accomplish this by using orbiting mirrors to rebalance the amounts of solar radiation different parts of the earth receive. Right now this idea sounds as fanciful as Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative seemed in 1983, but look what that led to. New York University physicist Martin Hoffert points out that the interval between the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk and Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon was a mere 66 years. It is entirely reasonable to expect vast changes in our technical capacity before the century is out.
posted by peeedro at 6:04 PM on January 29, 2007


Mm. Yep. And a reduction in total solar radiation reaching the earth won't cause an huge impact on both natural and agricultural plant productivity.

Not to mention, you know, that whole "Little Ice Age" saga.
posted by Jimbob at 6:05 PM on January 29, 2007


Got to be better than reducing the standard of living of the world's population for ever...
posted by A189Nut at 6:07 PM on January 29, 2007


It's the wrong way to go, like taking cholesterol lowering medicine so that you can keep eating hamburgers, fries and shakes. (but i hope they continue the research just in case we can't find the will power to give up on the burgers, fries and shakes)
posted by caddis at 6:07 PM on January 29, 2007


A well-timed nuclear winter could also accomplish something similar.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:11 PM on January 29, 2007


With the sun-blocking apparatus in place, we'll be free to wallow in our own crapulence.
posted by toma at 6:11 PM on January 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


Isn't this just an attempt at global dimming, which has been suspected of leading to the failure of monsoon seasons?

I do really like this, though: It also complains that overall "the report tends to overstate or focus on the negative effects of climate change". Yeah, because we just don't spend enough time talking about the upside of climate change. Dipshits.
posted by stefanie at 6:12 PM on January 29, 2007


So you lot refuse to wear a hat or put a parasol over your head on a sunny day? Fair enough.
posted by A189Nut at 6:12 PM on January 29, 2007


We are all So. Fucking. Doomed.
posted by pompomtom at 6:20 PM on January 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think we need to consider the difference between global warming and global climate change. Whilst blocking out solar radiation could offset the global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, it would surely be another cause of global climate change. The climate patterns that we were previously used to arise from the way in which some bits of the planet get warmed more than others; changing this pattern will surely perturb the climate resulting in all sorts of consequences.

Reductions in emissions are essential (and with peak oil and all that, perhaps inevitable) but even if the right post-Kyoto decisions are made, many predictive models suggest that warming caused by greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will fuck us up pretty badly. If they turn out to be correct, maybe some corrective measure to reflect solar input may be necessary; perhaps it would stave off long-term catastrophe at the expense of short-term disasters. But the consequences of getting it wrong would be pretty exciting. I wouldn't want to be the dude that used inches instead of cm and plunged the Earth into the ice age.
posted by nowonmai at 6:23 PM on January 29, 2007


I have a better idea, why don't we just build a couple of grand canyon sized rocket engines and fly theplanet Earth to an orbit further away from the sun.

And we don't even have to stop there, we can just keep going and if we build warp drives on this baby we can visit other galaxies!! Think of the fun we will have! Personally I'm a little bored with the solar system. It's always the same dumb planets making the same dumb orbits around the same dumb Sun. Bo-ring!
posted by Skygazer at 6:27 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's the wrong way to go, like taking cholesterol lowering medicine so that you can keep eating hamburgers, fries and shakes

Sure, but it would make the most sense to eat a healthy diet and take cholesterol medicine.

We shouldn't rule anything out, and with these positive feedback loops it may not even matter if we cut back greenhouse gases alone.
posted by delmoi at 6:30 PM on January 29, 2007


On Friday, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release the first volume of what will be the most definitive report to date on climate change.

Between know and then it's just a bunch of politically calculated leaks and stories so let's just chill with global warming posts 'till Friday--it might be our last chance.
posted by donovan at 6:34 PM on January 29, 2007


Right now this idea sounds as fanciful as Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative seemed in 1983, but look what that led to.

Um, pretty much "absolutely nothing", right? Except lots and lots of money in the pockets of defense contractors?

That sentence says a lot more than you'd think.
posted by Malor at 6:35 PM on January 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


So you lot refuse to wear a hat or put a parasol over your head on a sunny day? Fair enough.

That's just bad logic. Putting on a hat localized, and, more importantly, known consequences. Putting a bunch of crap way up high to block out a bunch of sunlight on a global scale doesn't really compare.

A better comparison would be like the brilliant idea to import non-native species to kill other accidently imported non-native species (e.g. kudzu, etc). Of course that worked out real well.

(That last line is supposed to be read as sarcastic.)
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:37 PM on January 29, 2007


Doh! That should have been: "...on a hat HAS localized..."
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:38 PM on January 29, 2007


It's the wrong way to go because we can not really predict or control it all that well. The system is more complex than our ability to model it. Over time, we might hone in on the right combo, but what damage will we do in the interim? Like drugs which are targeted at sites in the body, we are frequently frustrated that some control loop in the body frustrates our attempt to block some protein or whatever. The best course is to avoid causing the problem - cut back on green house gasses. If we fail, even after trying, then attempt this remediation. For us now to throw in the towel and just attempt to overcome the damage we are doing is too large of a risk. What if it fails? What if it causes some other horrible environmental nightmare? Sell your fucking Hummer. Better yet, melt it down for scrap.
posted by caddis at 6:39 PM on January 29, 2007


A189Nut- is your first post meant to imply that lowering emissions worldwide will necessarily lead to some sort of economic collapse? Because if so, it's really poorly thought out. I'm no economist, but even I can see that necessitating a reduction in emissions will, while hurting the petroleum industry, simultaneously create opportunities- we'll need new technology, both new, cleaner ways to generate power, as well as more efficient technologies so that we can do more with less.

As others have pointed out upthread, we may have already put ourselves in a position that necessitates this sort of thing. But the most logical way to solve the climate change problem, BY FAR, is to scale back the release of greenhouse gases that are causing the problem. To suggest that anything other than emissions reduction should be the central point of climate change policy is foolish.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 6:40 PM on January 29, 2007


No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.
posted by Flunkie at 6:42 PM on January 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


I say we genetically engineer the white daisies of Planet Gaia. No, even better - shiny self-replicating nano-bots. If, instead of a "grey goo" scenario, we can come up with a "reflective silver goo" scenario, that would totally solve the problem.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:44 PM on January 29, 2007


Um, pretty much "absolutely nothing", right? Except lots and lots of money in the pockets of defense contractors?

Hey, when it comes to tracking where you drive, eliminating welfare programs, and the odd piece of space weaponry that just might shut out the sun or wipe out hundreds of millions of people, we'd prefer to think of ourselves as "happy fun service consultants".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:46 PM on January 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


At least it's won't be as difficult as blowing up the Moon. You have to make sure to blow it up when there's a full moon to make sure you get the WHOLE MOON!

Jesus...the world is more and more like an episode of Mr. Show everyday.


posted by cloudstastemetallic at 6:48 PM on January 29, 2007


peedro wrote: "AEI, the unelected policy makers for the US"

I often feel that way too. The US seems very undemocratic and overly influenced by think tanks funded by private interests.
posted by bhouston at 6:55 PM on January 29, 2007


OFFICER POPPINS REPORTING FOR DUTY SIR.
posted by The Straightener at 6:56 PM on January 29, 2007


What the fuck? Seriously.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:01 PM on January 29, 2007


Most of the research dollars will go to figuring out how to cover it with bazillions of LED's so that it can be supported by advertising dollars. Big ass billboard in the sky, promoting the latest limp dick pill, butt cream and diet pill.
posted by mss at 7:09 PM on January 29, 2007


By coincidence, I just attended a talk by one of the policy wonks at UBC on this very subject; his point (good or not) was that people are going to try this because that's the way people are, and so he was encouraging us climate scientists to study the various proposals to figure out the least insane option and thus steer governments away from the most dangerous techniques. Few of us were very open to this idea; this is largely a policy-driven concept, not a science driven concept, if you get what I mean.

On the whole, this isn't actually as crazy as it might sound at first. To counter the effect of CO2 warming, you'd only need to reduce solar insulation by something like 1% (according to climate model calculations); if you did this with orbiting mirrors, you could also counter the effects by removing the mirrors if something unforseen happens. I think he said we'd need to boost 10^5 tonnes of mass into orbit to accomplish this. The total cost worked out to something like $30-300 Billion a year, or ~1% of global GDP.

One of the problems that people don't seem to realize is that we are emitting 7 Gigatonnes Carbon into the atmosphere per year. The Ocean absorbs about 2 GT, and the remaining 5 goes into the atmosphere. Kyoto stabilizes our emissions at something like 5 or 6 GT Carbon, so even if we hit those targets, we still have to lower our emissions by another 66% before we start _reducing_ the CO2 content of the atmosphere. So like it or not, we're probably going to have to do something like this. The only other option is to reduce our CO2 emissions to something like a 1900 level, which means dropping our standard of living like crazy. Which I'm in favour of, but I find it hard to believe most people are going to buy that. They find it hard enough to even think about reducing our population to something sane; if we dropped our population to something like 1 Billion, we'd only be making 1 GT Carbon per year at current per capita rates. But they start ranting about Health Care costs and demographics and economic growth and say you want to kill babies if you bring that one up.

So the point is, get used to it, people. I don't like any of these ideas one bit, but we're deep in the hole, and we're going to get deeper before we get out. If we ever do.
posted by freedryk at 7:09 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Shitfire and save matches!
Next thing you know we'll be told to use glad bags as space helmets.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:11 PM on January 29, 2007


I suggest we draft a sharply worded letter to our neighbor, the sun.

"Sometimes I get a great night's sleep, but it would be nice if that were a regular situation. You're up there 12 hours a day sometimes, and it bothers me when there's all that light going on up there. Remember Sunday morning? You were out at 6:20 A.M. and I was trying to get as much rest as possible, and even though my eyes were closed, I could feel your rays hitting my eyelids, first one, then the other. I realize our schedules are different but a little consideration would be much appreciated. Please remember I don't have a go-back-to-sleep switch."

After enough creepily passive-aggressive notes, it may just move out of the neighborhood.
posted by krippledkonscious at 7:21 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just when I thought things couldn't get any stupider.
posted by edgeways at 7:22 PM on January 29, 2007


During the last days of humankind, after shit has hit the fan, I'm looking forward to eating some of these motherfuckers.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:24 PM on January 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


All your agencies are belong to US. (I guess screwing up a war and a hurricane disaster just isn't enough??).

I like the idea of writing a strongly worded letter to the sun. Either it gets its act together or we're hot-roding this planet the hell out of dodge.
posted by Skygazer at 7:30 PM on January 29, 2007


Metafilter: Looking forward to eating some of these motherfuckers.
posted by rdone at 7:39 PM on January 29, 2007


All your agencies are belong to US.

Wow. Scary.
posted by peeedro at 7:48 PM on January 29, 2007


I'm not saying we should just go out and do it, we should test the idea with computer models. But look, curbing CO2 may not be enough. We may need to consider more drastic measures.

Obviously, doing it in lieu of cutting CO2 is a bad idea.
posted by delmoi at 7:50 PM on January 29, 2007


I wouldn't worry too much, there aren't enough votes on the council. The Gaian's aren't going to go for it for sure, the Hive is mostly concerned with their internal economy and the University is still being pissy about the attack on the Believers. That's five down right there. No majority even if you were council leader. Ain't gonna happen.
posted by bonehead at 7:53 PM on January 29, 2007


I am in the delmoi camp on this one: we have got to curb emissions. Period. And try to see what else we can do. But the first one is not negotiable.

The only other option is to reduce our CO2 emissions to something like a 1900 level, which means dropping our standard of living like crazy.

freedryk, this is totally unsubstantiated. Kyoto says 12% reduction with respect to 1990. I will wait till next week and then revisit this issue. But please, if you are a climate scientist, please do not exaggerate, you give them more fuel for arguments.

Back on topic, this particular idea is floating around since the 90's. I do not know about the rest of you but I will be very pissed if they try to convince me about taking this measure with only back of the envelope calculations. Who and how is doing the "research" with regards to this issue?
posted by carmina at 8:03 PM on January 29, 2007


Somewhere, Al Gore is crying.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:07 PM on January 29, 2007


Something similar was proposed in the 1980's: protect ourselves from thermonuclear weapons by throwing up big clouds of soot. To the best of my knowledge, it was not seriously pursued.
posted by Wet Spot at 8:20 PM on January 29, 2007


Yes, finally crossing the border into cartoonish super-villainy.
posted by paladin at 8:23 PM on January 29, 2007


I stand corrected, the target for US is curbing emissions during 2008-2012 by 8% of the 1990 level. Europe intends to cut down by 20%. Yeah, cause you know there is no concern for dropping their standard of living.

freedryk, your entire comment is a troll.
posted by carmina at 8:25 PM on January 29, 2007


I dunno. I would just as well have a plan B in case the goodwill and foresight of millions of this planet's businessmen doesn't exactly pan out. It would be nice if it were a pretty good plan B.

Ooogh.
posted by furiousthought at 8:26 PM on January 29, 2007


Smoke and mirrors writ large.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:36 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


umm...i believe a quick review of "The Matrix" will clue us in as to why this could be a bad idea.

rather, .... lets not black the sky, yeah?
posted by virga at 8:38 PM on January 29, 2007




Well someone is an Alpha Centauri fan.
posted by dreamsign at 8:41 PM on January 29, 2007


I stand corrected, the target for US is curbing emissions during 2008-2012 by 8% of the 1990 level. Europe intends to cut down by 20%. Yeah, cause you know there is no concern for dropping their standard of living.

Yeah, the Kyoto target is about a 5% global reduction from 1990 CO2 emission levels relative to 1990. But 1990 Emissions levels are ~5 GT C/year. That means we'll still be emitting 3 GT in excess of what we need to stabilize CO2. However, even this modest reduction is not going to be achieved; many nations have not achieved their Kyoto targets, although some have certainly exceeded them. Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, for instance, are ~30% higher than the 1990 level right now. Japan is 6.5% higher. And this first round of reductions are the easy ones! You could hit these goals with low hanging fruit like better car mileage and insulating your homes. The higher levels of emission reductions are going to be hard, and will probably require things like reducing the numbers of cars, not just improving their efficiencies.

And I'm not at all in favour of these geoengineering plans. I think we should drop our emissions like crazy. I think we should reach our Kyoto targets, then exceed them, until our CO2 emissions to an environmentally sustainable level. I just don't think governments are going to do it. It's going to require a huge drop in our GDP, which means a long recession, and that's political suicide. So politicians are naturally going to turn to half-assed ideas like this, as will the more technologically optimistic/naive among us.

And my apologies; 2 GT C/year is the 1950 CO2 emission level.
posted by freedryk at 8:58 PM on January 29, 2007


Wasn't this plan part of the plot to Highlander 2?
posted by silas216 at 9:04 PM on January 29, 2007


them bats are smrt, they have radar
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:32 PM on January 29, 2007


Somewhere, Al Gore is crying.

Somewhere close by, Dick Cheney is rubbing his hands.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:51 PM on January 29, 2007


Yes, this is certain to be more cost-effective than the alternative. I'm sure NASA or some private space contractors could do this for only a trillion or three in taxpayer dollars.

In the mean time, we can just conduct business as usual.
posted by moonbiter at 10:16 PM on January 29, 2007


Blocking out the sun as an alternative to reducing emissions, sounds a little, oh, I don't know, crazy? Maybe it's just me. But the way to, not only cut down emissions, but do away with them entirely is to crate new alternatives to oil. Let's face it. The reason there are no viable alternatives is that the government, so dependent on oil money, doesn't want them to be there. The technology for alternatives is there, but lacks the resources to become commonplace. During the times of Manifest Destiny, the government expanded, regardless of all the lives in its path. When the government decided on a national highway network, the job got done. When the government decided that a man should make it to the moon, a man made it to them moon (those who still believe the Earth is flat, or that the moon landing was a fake are excluded from this conversation). Solar and other alternatives will never "get there" until the government makes them a priority, stops giving them lip service and puts its money where its mouth is. It needs to be a national project. Then and only then will we be energy independent, and we will stop needing to interfere in the Middle East just so we can insure our oil supply.
posted by RayOrama at 10:21 PM on January 29, 2007


I've suggest that there is a use for those AOL CDs after all...just launch them into orbit.

I'll bet that if everyone took all the discs they've received over the years, it would make a fine solar shield.
posted by Xoc at 10:26 PM on January 29, 2007


What happened to the giant arrays of solar collectors we were promised by all the golden age science fiction authors? Wouldn't they block out some of the sun they collect?
posted by cookie-k at 10:51 PM on January 29, 2007


"What happened to the giant arrays of solar collectors we were promised by all the golden age science fiction authors? Wouldn't they block out some of the sun they collect?"

Well, you need a flying car to get to where they are being manufactured.
posted by RayOrama at 12:33 AM on January 30, 2007


By Hightechunderpants

"A189Nut- is your first post meant to imply that lowering emissions worldwide will necessarily lead to some sort of economic collapse? Because if so, it's really poorly thought out..."

From Freedyk's post: "The only other option is to reduce our CO2 emissions to something like a 1900 level, which means dropping our standard of living like crazy."

Now I know quoting one post against another isn't much, but F knows of what he speaks
posted by A189Nut at 12:52 AM on January 30, 2007


Well, hell, I'm sure it'll work as planned if they go through with it. After all, it can't be any more difficult than invading and occupying a small desert nation demoralized by twenty years of authoritarian rule, and that was, as I understand, "a cakewalk."

I mean, what's re-engineering the earth's climate in real time versus maintaining a secure perimeter in a single Arab capital? Am I right? Who's with me?

*trips on pebble, falls on own sword*

*wishes the wound was fatal, for chrissake*
posted by gompa at 1:37 AM on January 30, 2007


"Sir! I forgot to yell 'Charge!' Sir!"

"No, you didn't, son. I forgot to give the order."

*both weep*

Exeunt all.
posted by gompa at 1:48 AM on January 30, 2007


So, we'll have to cover the whole planet with a golden shell, but we'll have to get the gold from another planet. ofcourse we'll have to create a new intelligent species for the manual labour, give live to them & kick m off our planet when they get annoying..
it's all in the prophecies man ;)
posted by borq at 1:51 AM on January 30, 2007


This is a great idea!!!!!! After they block out the sun....they can
a) Stop waves from hitting the beach (because of the erosion issue)
b) Remove all of the Ice Bergs (in case they break apart and cause global flooding)
c) Destroy the rest of the universe (in case a meteor hits our little planet)
d) Stop the babies from been born (you know…to stop our over crowding in the cities)
Yep….its all good! If you need me I will down at my local beach with my trusty broom holding back the waves…..
posted by Prunedish at 2:32 AM on January 30, 2007


I don't think standards of living would have to drop much, just change. Adapt to survive.
posted by asok at 2:46 AM on January 30, 2007


Not just your standard dropping - other people's not rising. Why shouldn't 1 bn Chinese have what you have too?
posted by A189Nut at 4:00 AM on January 30, 2007


Laugh?

Cry?

Yes.

Fark and Onion are officially neutered.
posted by nofundy at 5:55 AM on January 30, 2007


I suggest we fly all this new ocean water up and dump it on the sun.
posted by sfts2 at 6:04 AM on January 30, 2007


For same discussion with better jokes start here.

self link
posted by Mister_A at 6:37 AM on January 30, 2007


Well someone is an Alpha Centauri fan.

I couldn't decide whether it was Alpha Centauri or The Matrix. But I liked Alpha Centauri much better, so I'll go with that.

I guess the US is some vile combination of the Morgans, the Spartans and the Believers.
posted by Foosnark at 7:22 AM on January 30, 2007


asok: I think you are right. People should phrase it in terms of standard of living changes instead of declines. But there are a lot of people who will only think of it as a decline. I walk everywhere, but some people will fight to the death for their cars.
posted by freedryk at 7:46 AM on January 30, 2007


Thus solving the problem once and for all.
posted by moss at 9:47 AM on January 30, 2007


If fiction is any guide, an idea like this will not end well.

Just saying. I'd rather not see a global apocalyptic meltdown.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:49 AM on January 30, 2007


CHA
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:23 PM on January 30, 2007


Just buy a Prius. And then the world's problems will be solved.
posted by ninjew at 2:18 PM on January 30, 2007


And then, after we put the giants screen up, we can sell space on it for advertising!! Yeah!!
posted by Vindaloo at 2:57 PM on January 30, 2007


freedryk
I'm sorry, but you seem the perfect example of the clueless scientist. I know you don't mean to, but your comments come across as ridiculously condescending and elitist. "Well I would do it, but those fat lazy bastards won't." "One plan is to reduce standards of living and populations, but those idiots just don't get it."

It's not just that the fat bastards of the world won't give up their cars and walk a block. Any industry has processes which produce emissions. It's not just a matter of people just taking a walk once in a while, what you're suggesting would be a titannic decline (yes, decline) in the lives of people everywhere. There would be mass starvation and death because the economies of the world could not be maintained. Even producing and distributing food is a problem. A189Nut hit the nail on the head: there billions of people who just want to get out of poverty, let alone be where we are. It takes growth to get them even there. It's not just some fat American forgoing a cheese burger, it's family in poor countries starving to death under plans like yours.

And I'm sick of people smugly proposing "shrinking the population" as a solution. You're going to set up death camps for billions of people? Or maybe just phase it in, start having birth limits? Who's going to be affected by either of those plans? The poor and those in the 3rd World, because those nations are the ones producing the most people. Industrial countries aren't even reproducing at replacement rates, so it would be pointless to impose caps on them. The US only grows because of immigration. Yet we in the industrialized world have far larger environmental footprints than the poor in the rest of the world. Perhaps you would volunteer to commit suicide in this program, along with your family and friends? Certainly that would have more of an impact on the environment than dozens or even hundreds of, say, Sub-Saharan Africans dying. Please tell me how you'd accomplish this brilliant plan that the stupid just "rant" against without causing the greatest genocide in human history amongst people who already have nothing?
posted by Sangermaine at 4:11 PM on January 30, 2007


I don't know about you, but I think the ruling class could use a little genocide.
posted by tehloki at 7:48 PM on January 30, 2007


I fail to see why we couldn't achieve a system of controllable shading. Also, we could potentially screen out more UV B radiation.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:54 AM on January 31, 2007


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