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Australian Climate Madness

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bjørn Lomborg and climate engineering

Bjørn Lomborg is a voice of sanity in the climate debate. Despite believing that anthropogenic CO2 causes "global warming", he always argued cogently against emissions trading schemes, as they simply don't work. However, in this article, Bjørn appears to be advocating "climate engineering," which has to be one of the crazier ideas going around right now. There have been a few of these, like painting roofs white to reflect sunlight, injecting tonnes of sulphur into the atmosphere to reduce incoming solar radiation, many of which would have completely unpredictable results on the climate, and would be far more dangerous than the problem they are trying to solve, which Bjørn himself admits. But he does make a very valid point - that money should be spent on research and development rather than inefficient and unreliable "green energy":
Some suggested climate engineering technologies - in particular, marine cloud-whitening technology - could be cheap, fast, and effective. (Boats would spray seawater droplets into clouds above the oceans to make them reflect more sunlight back into space, reducing warming). Remarkably, the research says that a total of about $US9 billion spent implementing marine cloud-whitening technology might be able to offset this entire century's global warming. Even if one approaches this technology with concerns - as many of us do - we should aim to identify its limitations and risks sooner rather than later.

It appears that climate engineering could buy us some time, and it is time that we need to make a sustainable and smooth shift away from reliance on fossil fuels. Research shows that non-fossil-fuel energy sources will - based on today's availability - get us less than halfway towards a path of stable carbon emissions by 2050, and only a tiny fraction of the way towards stabilisation by 2100.

If politicians change course and agree this December to invest significantly more in research and development, we would have a much greater chance of getting this technology to the level where it needs to be. And, because it would be cheaper and easier than carbon cuts, there would be a much greater chance of reaching a genuine, broad-based - and thus successful - international agreement.

Read it here.


  • Why haven't we heard anything from our government about how they would mitigate any effects of any foreseeable climate changes eg changing cropping/grazing practices?

    By Anonymous Colin J Ely, At October 15, 2009 at 9:31 AM  

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