Fools Rush In

You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time. Abraham Lincoln

When it comes to Climate Change legislation, be careful what you ask for. Take a look below at what is coming out of the neo conservative think tank AEI. If we are not careful, folks/fools like this could muddy the water of appropriate solutions around reducing carbon emissions, the underlying cause of climate change

While this “solution” contains so little common sense for it to be worrisome, the fact is that the neo conservative “engine” (gerbils on a wheel) is trying to muster solutions which could ultimately lead to a bifurcation of public opinion on the economic benefits between treating the causes or the effects of carbon emissions. Given the absurdity of this idea, the only underlying motivation here must be an attempt to delay the game as they realize they cannot win on behalf of big oil. After all, legislation that attacks the source of carbon will adversely impact carbon heavy industries quickly and legislation that attacks the effect of climate change, offers hope of skipping over those carbon heavy industries, at least prolonging their existence.

The concept of Geoengineering, as outlined below seeks to “offset the warming effect of greenhouse gases.” On the bright side, it looks like the 1% club of non-believers has finally fallen over the fence to the understanding that carbon emissions are a source cause of global warming! Conversely, on their way over the wall, they must have fallen and hit their heads, as common sense has run fearfully from their minds. I dare a wandering reader of this obscure blog to try to convince me that Geoengineering would be a sustainable solution to climate change. I further invite a well witted scientist to elaborate that the development and deployment of this technology would be cheaper than, and safer than simply funding research, or subsidizing existing carbon lite and carbon free energy sources.

In an attempt to assault our collective intellect, however, I wonder if they think that we won’t notice that Geoengineering does not address efforts to limit the amount of carbon being launched into the atmospere. While it is framed as a solution of last resort, it teams with the fear-mongering, policy-driving, thought process of the current administration. How ironic that the way the conservatives suggest we “solve” global warming is by making us even more afraid that new technologies wont work in time to have a significant effect. It is also ironic that they are posing a solution that does not threaten the existing carbon producing infrastructure.

This “solution” does nothing to treat the cause of climate change, only the effects. It would probably cost more to develop than simply to fund the acceleration of current technologies to become cost competitive, which is happening much more quickly, if not already with oil over $100 a barrel.

Geoengineering: A Revolutionary Approach to Climate Change

For more than twenty years, policymakers have struggled to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to stop global climate change. Congress is likely to enact federal climate legislation in 2009, but many scientists fear that emissions reductions may not occur quickly enough to prevent significant warming. Some scientists also fear that potentially catastrophic effects, such as the melting of the polar ice caps, could happen unexpectedly quickly. If warming proves to be uncontrollable and dangerous, what could we do?A growing number of climate scientists believe that there may be only one possible answer to that question: change features of the earth’s environment in ways that would offset the warming effect of greenhouse gases, a concept known as “geoengineering” (or “climate engineering”).

The most plausible way of doing this would be to use very fine particles in (or above) the stratosphere to block a small fraction (roughly 2 percent) of sunlight. While geoengineering science is in its infancy, most scientists who have studied the idea believe it is likely to be feasible and cost-effective.Is geoengineering feasible? What do scientists know about it–and what do they need to learn if we want to have the option of deploying these technologies in an emergency?

If geoengineering proves to be feasible, would it be desirable? What are the policy implications of this revolutionary idea? What should it mean for the current debate over climate policy in Congress and for international climate negotiations? Who would benefit from geoengineering? Which countries might object–and how should their concerns be addressed?

To explore these and other questions, Lee Lane and Samuel Thernstrom will host a series of AEI conferences that will present the findings of original commissioned research papers on the policy implications of geoengineering. Speakers at this event will provide a broad overview of the state of the science of geoengineering and the range of public policy questions raised by this revolutionary concept. Tom Wigley, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, will examine the state of the science; Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Vaughan Turekian of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will comment. Subsequently, Johns Hopkins University professor Scott Barrett will explore the policy implications of geoengineering, followed by commentary from Fred Iklé of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

While I may be quick to jump at the jugular here, with admittedly only surface knowledge of the real cost and impact of Geoengineering, my contempt is not precisely for the technology, but rather for the policy makers looking to polish their egos and careers by complicating simple solutions.   When it comes to public policy, you only need to fool some of the people some of the time. And the damage from doing so can be immense. As these debates progress, please don’t be fooled.

Sources:

Quote
Abraham Lincoln (1809-65, Bartleby.com, Accessed: June 2, 2008
http://www.bartleby.com/73/609.html

Geoengineering: A Revolutionary Approach to Climate Change
American Enterprise Institute, Tuesday, June 3, 2008
http://www.aei.org/events/eventID.1728,filter.all,type.upcoming/event_detail.asp

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3 Responses to Fools Rush In

  1. FYI that quote did not originate with Abraham Lincoln, but rather P.T. Barnum:

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/P._T._Barnum

  2. Also, Geoengineering reminds me of The Matrix…humans were forced underground after they “scorched the sky” and blocked out the sun. Scary!

  3. greenewable says:

    Regarding the quote, I prefer to rely on Bartlett’s than a wiki:

    http://www.bartleby.com/73/609.html

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