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Earth Science

Public Supports Geo-Engineering 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the turn-antarctica-into-a-penguin-hotel dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC is reporting that there is strong support among the public in the U.S., U.K., and Canada for research into geo-engineering with approximately 72% respondents supporting the research (PDF). The survey was focused on solar radiation management. The article also mentions the U.K. Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) project, which would inject water particles into the upper atmosphere as a prelude to spraying cooling sulphate. Researchers for the SPICE project calculate that 10-20 balloons could cool the global climate by 2C. Also mentioned in the article is the voluntary moratorium on the procedure by the international Convention on Biological Diversity."
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Public Supports Geo-Engineering

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  • by Tyrannosaur (2485772) on Monday October 24, 2011 @04:26PM (#37823336)
    "The survey focused on "solar radiation management", which involves reflecting energy from the Sun away from the Earth's surface, and received support from 72% of respondents." Exactly like a nuclear winter. Except with 72% support. You really can artificially get any result from a survey.
    • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday October 24, 2011 @04:59PM (#37823890) Journal

      I wonder if they would be as supportive of this kind of initiative if they knew it was Di-Hydrogen Monoxide that they were injecting into the atmosphere!!!

    • by Coren22 (1625475)

      Morpheus: "We don't know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power. It was believed they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun."

      Kind of a disturbing thought.

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Disturbing that anybody would take the plot from the Matrix seriously. People need food grown from the sun. Machines could do a lot better getting their energy from alternative sources.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      "The survey focused on "solar radiation management", which involves reflecting energy from the Sun away from the Earth's surface, and received support from 72% of respondents." Exactly like a nuclear winter. Except with 72% support. You really can artificially get any result from a survey.

      The problem is, if the UK allowed the world to warm, the Brits could no longer complain about cold, dreary England. Without this, the fabric of their entire society would fall down (has already done so if you're a xenophobic, clueless daily fail reader) and without something to complain about the English would slip into a coma and die..

      Warming must be stopped so that English can continue to complain.

  • I'm sure the public rted all the changes that came with the Industrial Revolution as well and now look what we have.

    We really need to stop masking symptoms it's disgustingly ridiculous.

    • supported* stupid mobile
    • by tmosley (996283)
      I would be the first to congratulate you on giving up all that the Industrial Revolution has offered, and going to live in the forest with happy little squirrels and such and leave the rest of us alone.

      When it gets cold outside, you don't launch a project to adjust the axis of the Earth. You put on a fucking sweater. "Masking". Christ.
  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Monday October 24, 2011 @04:29PM (#37823398)

    I support Geo Engineering.

    Otherwise thousands of owners of Geo Metros, Prizms and Storms would have no way to fix their cars when they repeatedly break.

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Monday October 24, 2011 @04:29PM (#37823406)

    There was strong support for allowing the study of SRM. Support decreased and uncertainty rose as subjects were asked about their support for using SRM immediately, or to stop a climate emergency.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>There was strong support for allowing the study of SRM. Support decreased and uncertainty rose as subjects were asked about their support for using SRM immediately, or to stop a climate emergency.

      Which is pretty reasonable on the part of the general public, really.

      It seems like it is climatologists that are opposed to geoengineering these days, which strikes me as being quite odd for people who presumably care a great deal about rising global temps. But then again, climatologists have never been esp

      • by Mateorabi (108522)

        The reason climatologists are opposed to it is that they understand the differing timescales of the problem and the solution. CO2 has a atmospheric residency on the order of hundreds of years. The sulfur particulates must constantly be replenished (and in ever increasing quantities, if CO2 is not checked.)

        SRM is grabbing the wolf by the ears. Once you commit to it you can't stop, or all the solar forcing you'd been masking comes back with a vengeance....it's like you hadn't even tried to begin with.

  • 10-20 balloons could cool the global climate by 2C.

    If this is true, nobody is going to be able to stop a rogue state (probably located near the equator) from doing this - hell, some of the Pacific Islanders could probably pull it off with the money they make selling stamps to collectors.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      I don't think we have to worry about that, a giant balloon is an easy target.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I don't think we have to worry about that, a giant balloon is an easy target.

        That's why you make a really freaking big balloon and hang an orphanage full of nuns underneath it, with numerous webcams. And kittens and ponies for the cute orphan kids to play with. Heck turn it into a telethon for those young victims of global warming and you can get angsty americans to pay for the whole thing one paypal / bitcoin donation at a time.

        If even I can come up with that P.R. solution, I'm sure a real marketing guy could do much better.

    • yes, no one could possibly stop them, unless they invented some super high tech future machine that could fly and yet still have the incredible power required to destroy a balloon. What nation on earth could ever achieve such a degree of technology? We are most certainly doomed.
    • I read an article about this scheme...due to prevailing wind patterns you actually want the balloons in the north and south hemispheres. Interestingly, right about over the Alberta/Saskatchewan tar sands would be pretty much perfect, which is handy because they have *huge* piles of waste sulfur just sitting there ready to be sprayed up into the atmosphere.

  • What could possibly go wrong?
    • Oh, let's see. The sulphur could acidify huge swaths of ocean, killing off entire ecologies. Oops! My mistake. This could happen on the ocean AND land, and probably the clouds too, which support their own microbial populations whose effects on other ecological systems is as yet unknown.

      The acidification could also seep into limestone caves worldwide, increasing decay and creating new sinkholes in certain areas (and destroy cave life), not to mention the deterioration of plain old commercial cement across th

      • by tmosley (996283)
        You say nonreversable (making it a bad idea), but everyone else says that it doesn't last long and has to keep being redone (making it a bad idea). Literally no plan that doesn't involve genocide of brown people is acceptable to you people (or did you think that the poor of the world eat cool air rather than mass harvested grain enabled by cheap fossil fuel use?).

        There is no argument that you people will accept. Literally none.
  • However, the survey showed that three-quarters of the people questioned thought that the Earth's climate system was too complicated to be "fixed" with just one technology.

    The acceptance of the research is partly because people don't believe it can have any significant effect. The 2C cooling with 20 balloons is a bold claim.

  • It's not like we have a spare Earth for testing purposes.

  • Only feasible plan (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Monday October 24, 2011 @04:53PM (#37823802)
    It's not like voluntarily limiting CO2 emissions has any chance of success, at least not in a democracy. We will keep burning fossil fuels until the extraction costs become too great. We might as well invest in a plan that is at least plausible.
    • by vlm (69642)

      We will keep burning fossil fuels until the extraction costs become too great.

      Which is extremely rapidly approaching... Not just costs, but you also need an economy stable enough to support long term energy harvesting schemes...

  • And I drive a soft top...
    I like global warming.
  • Of course people are going to support large-scale 'fixes' rather than having to car pool.

    And we are very bad at risk estimation, especially for things we have no experience with. So given vague probability of 'oops we might toast the earth or kick start a new ice age' versus the price of gas doubling, the first choice is going to look pretty attractive.

    I don't agree with that, but I think that's what you're dealing with.

  • by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Monday October 24, 2011 @05:03PM (#37823946)

    RESEARCH into geo-engineering is a good idea. What we are doing right now is basicly geo-engineering, but with a blindfold. To think, that we have no clue what we are doing is pretty scary if you think about it. So yes, research it please.

    Applying this knowledge to actively geo-engineer is a whole different story though... (as opposed to identify where we are already doing it without knowing and putting a stop to it).

    • by greenbird (859670)

      To think, that we have no clue what we are doing is pretty scary if you think about it.

      I think it's even scarier that we have arrogant supposedly very smart people who claim they have a real understanding of something as complex as a planetary system and, really terrifying, think they can make accurate models of it on a computer.

  • This is necessary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cartman (18204) on Monday October 24, 2011 @05:18PM (#37824184)

    Half the population doesn't believe in global warming, and the other half is subdivided into the following groups: 1) people who don't care enough to do anything about it; 2) environmentalists who will protest outside of nuclear power plants, make the problem worse, and who basically caused this predicament in the first place more than anyone else by aborting the nuclear revolution.

    I would say the chances of concerted, rational, worldwide effort to massively reduce carbon emissions are about 0.00001%.

  • "Since the beginning of time man has yearned to destroy the sun."
  • For crissakes, half of the public has an IQ at or below 100 (the other half obviously at and above, by definition).

    The "public" is dumb. I guess I should count myself among the public too, because I'm sure not qualified to be a climatologist, except from my armchair.

    While I posted on here that geoengineering is "a swallowed fly" as the song goes, I can only express my opinion as to the possible effects. It doesn't make my opinion have any weight, though.

    What we do to the climate should not be a popularity

  • "Strong support among the public?" means absolutely nothing when 92% and 55% of the population incorrectly defined the terms geo-engineering and climate engineering respectively. Abstract: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044006/pdf/1748-9326_6_4_044006.pdf [iop.org]

    Lying with statistics is always bullshit.

    Academic, Political, Religious, Biz-C*O lying for money or privilege is a gross injustice to the public, which very regrettably is not punished by public floggings.

    • "Strong support among the public?" means absolutely nothing when 92% and 55% of the population incorrectly defined the terms geo-engineering and climate engineering respectively.

      Just because the public doesn't know what they're asking for doesn't mean the politicians won't give it to them if they yell loud enough.

      • by OldHawk777 (19923) *

        In these times and for the last 40 years, politicians are always the root problem and seldom to never do what the public wants or needs.

        Politicians, C*Os, clergy using science/statistics-spin will help shape selfish agendas, and harm US the public far more than Al-Qaeda.

  • The public also give strong support for "Jersey Shore"

  • I am reminded of a quote by James Lovelock in The Vanishing Face of Gaia - "..before we start geoengineering, we have to ask: Are we sufficiently talented to take on what might become the onerous permanent task of keeping the Earth in homeostasis? Consider what might happen if we start by using a stratospheric aerosol to ameliorate global heating—even if it succeeded it would not be long before we faced the additional problem of ocean acidification. This would need another medicine, and so on. We coul
  • experiment with totally unproven technology.

    This time it's an experiment with the whole planet - good luck!

    Besides that, it's one argument to sullen people to avoid significant steps to reduce emissions to tolerable levels.

    The numbers and measures to get there are known. They are inconvenient and current systems political/economic are unable to react adequately.

    Future generations of humans will have to deal with it - shuff it to them!

  • Great, so rather than studying whether its feasible, they are asking joe bloggs if he is in favour of it. Great. Well studies show that a large percentage of the public support everyone being filthy rich and not having to work anymore, and also never being sick anymore. So while we are engineering away our environmental problems I propose we also cure all known diseases and print out a huge bundle of cash for every man woman and child.
    • It's almost like the individual productivity of mankind and it's diversity of specializations lends itself to parallel problem solving, rather then working sequentially in order of importance.

  • The public has heard oft geo engineering.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

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