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Earth Science

Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming 343

Lasrick (2629253) writes "Tom Wigley is one of the world's top climate scientists, and in this interview he explains his outspoken support for both nuclear energy and research into climate engineering. Wigley was one of the first scientists to break the taboo on public discussion of climate engineering as a possible response to global warming; in a 2006 paper in the journal Science, he proposed a combined geoengineering-mitigation strategy that would address the problem of increasing ocean acidity, as well as the problem of climate change. In this interview, he argues that renewable energy alone will not be sufficient to address the climate challenge, because it cannot be scaled up quickly and cheaply enough, and that opposition to nuclear power 'threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change.'"
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Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

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  • the 70's called (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dlt074 ( 548126 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @05:45PM (#46751215)

    good thing we didn't cover the poles with dark soot, like they were calling for in the 70's to stop the impending ice age.

  • Maybe if Clinton... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bodhammer ( 559311 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @05:46PM (#46751223)
    had not be so busy getting a knobber, we might not have this problem:

    Then again AlGore would not have a job being a global alarmist alarmist either...

    "BAS: Are you surprised that so many environmental groups remain vehemently opposed to nuclear power?

    Wigley: “Saddened” would be a better word. Often the main concern of those groups is proliferation—the use or theft of nuclear material to make weapons. I think that that is a misrepresented issue as well. One of the saddest things was when the Clinton administration shut down the program on fast reactors.1 Clinton, [Al] Gore, and John Kerry are to blame there. If that program had not been shut down, and fast reactors had continued to develop, within maybe three years we could have started building Integral Fast Reactor systems with the whole nuclear cycle on one site—reprocessing waste materials onsite and having very little residual waste to deal with. If that had happened, I don’t think we would have a global warming problem now at all. We could have started on a pathway of rapid introduction of fourth-generation nuclear technology, and we would have gained 20 years in solving the climate problem
  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @06:44PM (#46751655) Journal

    The only thing you can't have is the smallpox.

    ...and slavery, and lack of medical care, the lack of a civilized global society...

    Sure, you can go out into the woods and live 'off the grid', as it were, but you do so while being completely protected from invasion, wars, raids, and etc - about the only thing you have to worry about is the occasional criminal or two. You can also do so knowing that if you get an infection or suchlike, modern medical help help is not really that far away. Finally, you do it with a huge advantage in knowledge that the 200-years-gone man never had, or could have even if he wanted it.

    It's a far cry from the life of a typical family trying to settle, say, Western Kentucky in 1814, where dying young (if you were lucky enough to make it to adulthood in the first place) was pretty damned common. ...they did get to see more stars at night, though.

  • by MrBigInThePants ( 624986 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @07:58PM (#46752147)
    If you don't mind I will leave it to the experts who spend years studying it and then devote their lives to it.

    As people who live near the ocean....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @02:46AM (#46754117)

    That humans are causing climate change isn't a debate anymore. Hasn't been for a long time, the science is fundamental and would require major revisions to fundamental science that we'd have to throw away 50+ years of scientific progress across the board. A whole new system of chemistry, a whole new physics going back to the 1800s (When scientists first started warning about the 'greenhouse effect' after discovering CO2's infra-red properties in the lab) , a whole new system of optics to account for why CO2 appears to be creating banding in the infra-red spectrum, it just goes on and on.

    You are very good at chaining together statements and making them sound plausible.

    Consider the following statements:

    * Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.

    * Global warming has been observed over the last decades of the 20th Century.

    * Increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will have a warming effect on the world.

    So far, any climatologist worthy of the title agrees.

    * Carbon dioxide is the only important variable; it is more significant than variations in solar output.

    * Feedbacks will make even small increases in temperature "run away" with dire consequences.

    * The computer models are sufficiently trustworthy that we need to spend trillions of dollars based on their outputs.

    * Geoengineering must never be considered as a solution; only controlling carbon may be considered.

    Now I'll give you 20:1 odds that there is far from a "consensus" on these points.

    And I'll give you a few "denier" (damn I hate that word) points.

    * Warming due to carbon dioxide is not linear. Doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere does not double the warming, and in fact there is enough CO2 in the atmosphere already that almost all the possible warming is already occurring. In other words, adding more CO2 to the atmosphere will not significantly add to the warming.

    * The computer models have completely failed to predict the past 15 years of non-warming. We are now outside the "95% confidence" interval [] of the predictions. There is more CO2 in the atmosphere than ever, yet warming did not increase over the past 15 years. (See above point)

    Well it exactly how strange science needs to get for AGW to be false.

    The CAGW position, as I understand it:

    * Global warming will be catastrophic
    * The computer models predict it correctly
    * CO2 is the main driver
    * "feedbacks" will cause the warming to "run away"

    It doesn't take your sarcastic suggestions about the laws of physics no longer working to invalidate any or all of the above. If the "feedbacks" are not correctly modeled, instead of huge temperature increases we would get moderate ones. If the computer models contain errors, they aren't correct. If solar output turns out to be an important factor in warming, and CO2 is already doing almost as much of the warming as it can, then maybe CO2 isn't the most important factor.

    In short, there are non-insane reasons why intelligent and informed people can doubt CAGW, and your straw men cannot change that.

    Thus the precautionary principle states that even taking into account the small likelyhood we are wrong about it, we've got to do something, as long as the something isn't worse. Climate engineering might be worse, much worse even. Economic intervention however definately won't be (In fact most academic economists think climate intervention would have beneficial effects on the economy)

    Oh like hell. The planned "interventions" would cost trillions of dollars. No serious economist thinks this will have beneficial effects on the economy... and if you really think it will, please explain the economic example of Germany, which has spent big large huge money on Green Energy and whose people are frustrated by how expensive it has become. []

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