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UK Royal Society Claims Geo-Engineering Feasible

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the jury-rigging-the-planet dept.

Earth 316

krou writes "The BBC is reporting that a UK Royal Society report claims that geo-engineering proposals to combat the effects of climate change are 'technically possible.' Three of the plans considered showed the most promise: 'CO2 capture from ambient air'; enhancing 'natural reactions of CO2 from the air with rocks and minerals'; and 'Land use and afforestation'. They also noted that solar radiation management, while some climate models showed them to be ineffective, should not be ignored. Possible suggestions included: 'a giant mirror on the Moon; a space parasol made of superfine aluminum mesh; and a swarm of 10 trillion small mirrors launched into space one million at a time every minute for the next 30 years.'"

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Frist stop! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296499)

Geo-engineered first goatse [goatse.fr] .

stupid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296501)

I still claim that it's stupid to fuck around with the planet without having some other place to move to, just in case we fuck up our fucking around with things that we think we do understand but actually we don't.

Re:stupid (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296545)

News bulletin: We've already fucked with it. (Without understanding).

Re:stupid (0, Offtopic)

cherishyou (1628975) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296573)

you are right! so may be you should enjoy your life now ! http://www.igolfyoo.com/ [igolfyoo.com]

Re:stupid (2, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297261)

We've already fucked with it. (Without understanding).

That's how he knows.

Re:stupid (1, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296559)

and while you're complaining about the dumb scientists screwing up the world, someone else is complaining about the dumb scientists not doing anything to fix global warming. If the problem is real, something has to be done about it. As everyone has decided the problem is real (and anyone who suggests it isn't is treated like a heretic) then this is the next logical step.

Re:stupid (1)

cherishyou (1628975) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296623)

There are many harmful effects. It cause the sea level to rise and many natural disasters to strike.What is more, it disturbs weather patterns, causing droughts, severe storms, hurricanes (é£"é£Z). People suffer a lot from disasters relevant to global warming. It is urgent that immediate and effective actions should be taken right away. First, more trees need to be planted to help improve and beautify the environment. Besides, stricter laws concerning global warming and irresponsible use of fuel resources have to be put into effect and achieved good results. In a word, there is a long way to go before we can take a comfortable world for granted again .Do it. Do it right. Do it right now. http://www.igolfyoo.com/ [igolfyoo.com]

Reducing emissions does nothing (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296513)

I really like the way the article seems to indicate that geo-engineering is the short term solution and conservation is the long term solution.. I've always seen it as exactly the opposite. If we were to stop all greenhouse gas producing industry *right now* there would still be a global warming problem. If the problem is real then the only solution is global engineering. Hiding in the dark will only buy us time, the world needs a plan to use that time to find a solution.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (5, Insightful)

faquino (1417463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296567)

The most simple geoengineering technique would be the most effective one: JUST PLANT TREES INSTEAD OF BURNING THEM

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (0, Troll)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296665)

But then the trees would suck up precious water resources, worsening Earth's water crisis.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296717)

Biology and geophysics fail.

One (Frankensteinian) word: evapotranspiration.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (3, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296735)

Worsening water crisis? Water is a closed loop system. You don't "loose" water.

And in contradiction to yourself, trees are actually responsible for helping create water. Ever seen a desert with trees? Nope...

Trees, and vegetation create part of a water cycle where they will store and release water thus creating a moist climate. When you have no trees or vegetation then water has no cycle. You then get the desert torrential rains that come and go, but don't really help.

http://members.optusnet.com.au/benjamink/Water/TheWaterCycleWebQuest.htm [optusnet.com.au]

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (5, Informative)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296825)

Worsening water crisis?

The water crisis is not about total amount of water, it is the displacement of water from one point to another.

Water in the form of glacier ice in the Himalayas (providing drinking water for millions and millions down stream), that instead becomes rain in Australia , is a water crisis.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (5, Funny)

davetv (897037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297037)

not to Australians like me ... there's so little water here that we have to survive on beer.

Depends where you stand... (4, Insightful)

fake_name (245088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297069)

From the point of view of Australia having water locked into glacier instead of raining down on our farmland is a crisis.

So if we all start geo-engineering rainfall on a global level what happens when one country wants water that other countries also want? What stops us geo-engineering our deserts to steal your rain? Who sets a quota describing how much rain we're allowed to have, and how will that be enforced?

There are some big technical problems with this plan, but there are also massive social and political problems to be overcome also.

Re:Depends where you stand... (2, Insightful)

d0cu (1226728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297381)

> Who sets a quota describing how much rain we're allowed to have, and how will that be enforced?
The winner sets quota and will enforce it. "Many of the wars of the 20th century were about oil, but wars of the 21st century will be over water" Ismail Serageldin, World Bank Vice President

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297491)

And in contradiction to yourself, trees are actually responsible for helping create water. Ever seen a desert with trees? Nope...

Also, trees create wind. Notice how whenever it's windy, the trees are always flapping about?

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296757)

JUST PLANT TREES INSTEAD OF BURNING THEM

Ok already I heard ya, now just let me finish writing my rc.d script ('planttreeonboot') and I'll get my shovel outta the garage!

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (5, Insightful)

faquino (1417463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296885)

The point in my previous post is that there are already machines available which are capable of capturing CO2 from the atmosphere using nothing else than solar power, these machines are also auto-replicating and their fabrication process doesn't produce additional CO2 emissions. Furthermore some of their subproducts can be used to feed animals or build... buildings (excuse my poor english pleas). We have these machines already. We know them as PLANTS. I'd rather not get into the real motivations of the current push in favour of geoengineering, but I'm sure it comes from the same people always trying to make money from human disgrace.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (5, Informative)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296611)

Geo-engineering is a short term last resort solution when everything else fails. It has so many unknown factors that in worst case it can lead to an even worse disaster than the one its trying to prevent.

Reducing emissions is the best way in the long run. Part from reducing the Co2 emissions it drives technology development towards more efficient use of energy, new products, new companies, new jobs etc etc.

We have to face the facts, quick fixes does not exists to this problem, we have to clean up our mess and take the consequences.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296737)

You're really not listening.. to me or to the article.. geo-engineering is not a short term solution, nor a quick fix.. it's a required on-going effort that will last forever. Imagine you're in a spaceship, what do you need to maintain life? You need active management of your environmental systems or, in the long term, they will fail and you'll die. Well guess what, we are on a spaceship, and it's called Earth.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (3, Insightful)

vargul (689529) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297087)

now that is interesting. James Lovelock [wikipedia.org] states in one of his book that this is exactly the real risk in geoengineering. namely if we take the responsibility to maintain the very complex balance what is living earth (see James Lovelock's Gaia theory for details) from the earth (gaia) itself (eg your point of view: earth as spaceship) we end up with a very complex task which we never be able to stop doing. doing some clever hack with earth to win some time to reduce co2 and *methane* emissions, that sounds definitely interesting btw.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297397)

You are aware that James Lovelock is a fucking kook who has been discredited more times than creationists in Kansas right?

No scientifically educated person thinks the commonly used term "Mother Earth" is anything more than a pleasant analogy. There's nothing written in the stars that says the Earth will be good to us if we're good to it. If we stopped all industry right now the majority of people on Earth would die, and the remaining would be overtaken and killed by "nature".

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297111)

geo-engineering is not a short term solution, nor a quick fix.. it's a required on-going effort that will last forever

correct, if you by geo-engineering mean stop emitting greenhouse gases and be nice to the planet in general.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297365)

Yeah... fire millions of mirrors in the sky while keeping the rate of earth raping as it is... What about throwing giant ice cubes in the sea, thus solving the global warming problem ONCE AND FOR ALL!

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297399)

You didnt listen to the GP.

There are countless instances where someone's bright geo-engineering idea has created disaster.

One quick example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_Reef

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297449)

Instead of a quick example, how about you make a real argument.

There's only two possibilities:

1. we're fucked and only geo-engineering will save us
2. the problem is being vastly overblown and mere conservation will serfice.

For some reason everyone is saying that it is the first and yet also saying that geo-engineer is bad, m'kay.

Choose.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297477)

...or you as a species could biologically adapt.
Instead of killing off a million other lines species to bind a very strongly dynamic system in a static state in order to spare humans in their current form, you could just wait and evolve.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens would become extinct just as countless other species over aeons have, but new species would be born from you to take your place.

Extinct:

H. habilis
H. erectus
H. rudolfensis
H. georgicus
H. ergaster
H. antecessor
H. cepranensis
H. heidelbergensis
H. neanderthalensis
H. rhodesiensis

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296709)

Hiding in the dark will only buy us time, the world needs a plan to use that time to find a solution.

Which, ironically, will be hiding in the dark.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296901)

I really like the way the article seems to indicate that geo-engineering is the short term solution and conservation is the long term solution.

In the meantime is called 'not-realistic' to fix the economic system that put us in this mess in the first place.

Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297473)

Warming, schwarming. If we can't head off the next ice age, then we're royally boned. Not completely as a species, but our post-ice-age descendants will have to bootstrap themselves from wood to nuclear, since we've used up all the easily accessible fossil fuels. Sucks to be them.

Launch Solar Shade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296517)

I think we can convince the UN Council

Global warming is a scam. (-1, Troll)

tail.man (203483) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296519)

Global warming is a scam.

http://tinyurl.com/globalwarmingisascam

They are geo-engineering the planet already..

Anybody ever look at the sky?

http://tinyurl.com/aerosolcrimes

Re:Global warming is a scam. (1)

MistrX (1566617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296593)

HAARP anyone? Well I don't think it's a scam since there is quite enough solid proof to back it up. And the sky is associated with lot's of superstition. I only see visible mass of droplets or frozen crystals suspended in the atmosphere, that we call clouds and the blue from Rayleigh scattering as an added bonus commuter airtraffic and when it's dark a passing satelite/spacestation or a nearby comet. I love the sky scientifically.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (3, Funny)

tail.man (203483) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296815)

Did you watch the video?
The laws of physics have not changed.
Contrails are ice crystals that dissipate within minutes.
Chemtrails are a proven fact.
http://tinyurl.com/aerosolcrimes

I suppose you don't mind breathing aluminum, barium and all the other goodies in the "clouds".

Re:Global warming is a scam. (5, Informative)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296645)

Global warming is a scam.

http://tinyurl.com/globalwarmingisascam

That site is loaded with pseudo-scientific data & outright lies. A few examples:

  • It claims NASA studies have shown that the sun is responsible for GW. This is a lie. NASA said the opposite. Go the NASA Web site & verify by yourself (http://climate.nasa.gov/)
  • The "founder of the Weather Channel" (John Coleman) is not a climate scientist. If you watch his YouTube series, you'll notice how he's confusing weather (short-term) with climate (long-term)
  • The "GW swindle" documentary has been sued in court for misrepresenting the opinions of the scientists interviewed. ex: Sir David King, the Government's former chief scientist.
  • The typical strawman of "CO2 is not a pollutant" has been addressed many times over. No scientist claimed CO2 was a pollutant. It is the excess of CO2 coming form industrial waste that is having heat trapping effects and causes ocean acidification: http://royalsociety.org/document.asp?id=3249 [royalsociety.org]
  • The US senate is no authority on GW. The US Academy of Sciences is. The latter subscribes to man-made GW.
  • etc..

There is a difference between the FACTS of GW, and the solutions proposed. The only thing that I agree with that site you mentioned, is that some of the policies & the utilization for political ends of GW are questionable.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (0, Troll)

tail.man (203483) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296799)

You believe what you want.
The entire climate change issue is loaded "pseudo-science" on both sides.
You don't need to be a scientist to realize which side is correct.
The nasa article in the link speaks for itself.
I don't care who John Coleman is what he says makes sense.
The court case involving the gw swindle ended in a decision that the content was essentially true.
Excess CO2 has nothing to do with global warming in fact rising CO2 is an effect of increased global temps not a cause.
The US senate means nothing. The hundreds of scientists that disagree with the climate change fraud do.
Think for yourself for a minute. CO2 is what we exhale and what plants inhale. A good case can be made for the good caused by a warming planet. The facts indicate that there has not been any warming. Studies have shown that incorrect measurements taken in hot heat island city environments can account for the change.
Natural variation makes a lot more sense than the idiocy of the global warming "proof".
Go on and believe the few "experts" ignore the others and follow what Al Gore says.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296833)

The nasa article in the link speaks for itself.

It says you're a liar.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296893)

You don't need to be a scientist to realize which side is correct.

And you don't need to be a scientist to recognise that the biggest support for the GWisascam doctrine comes from the industries responsible for the heaviest CO2 emissions and buildup: the petroleum and coal industries, in combination with the forestry industry. You can hardly say they're impartial, and that they have no vested interest in keeping things exactly as they are.

If you insist on sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la-la-la-la" as you appear to, then sure you can be selective about your "experts", but you cannot possibly deny that the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is in agreement that climate change is the result of mankind's activities.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296993)

your just as selective about which expert advice you choose to listen to, so don't even try playing that card. i'd argue the "overwhelming consensus" comes from lobby groups and government agencies who see global warming as their own cash bonanza.you only need to listen to the way anyone questioning global warming gets tarred and feathered to see it's not science driving it.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297089)

Such a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful troll. All the more breathtaking because you actually seem to believe the crap you're spewing. It's interesting to me how your "argument" style parallels the way the Intelligent Designers present their frothing whackjobisms. Even the words and phrases are similar. I know for certain I won't be able to sway you with such trifles as facts or logic, or even carry on a reasoned discussion, but perhaps you could enlighten us:

1. Swindle?/Scam?/Fraud? Perpetrated by who? For what purpose? Who (which golem "them") gains exactly what from preventing this "global warming/climate change" that "they" say is happening and you insist is not? What is their payoff? And why are you so dead-set against it?

2. Are you seriously denying that humanity has, since the start of the Industrial Age, pumped trillions of tons of carbon (we'll ignore the sulfides, the chlorine, etc.) back into the atmosphere that have been locked away as coal and oil for hundreds of millions of years? Really? That just didn't happen? Really? It couldn't possibly have an effect? Really? And you're certain of this, how?

3. What's it to you? Why does it bother you so that people are worried about this and want to do something about it? Why are you so determined to stop them doing so?


Excess CO2 has nothing to do with global warming in fact rising CO2 is an effect of increased global temps not a cause.
A good case can be made for the good caused by a warming planet.

Facepalm.
Increased ocean temperatures == releases of methane hydrate == more atmospheric methane == increased ocean temperatures.
Have you heard of the notion of "tipping points"? Runaway positive feedback?

The US senate means nothing. The hundreds of scientists that disagree with the climate change fraud do.

Can you name THREE? Reputable environmental scientists, climatologists, even (real) meteorologists? You know, scientists with expertise in the field we're talking about? Do they have any, what's that word, evidence? Because the glaciologists and geologists and oceanologists are pretty convinced that something pretty wildly out-of-scale for the time frames involved, (in the absence of any other environmental factors: supervolcanos, large meteor strikes) is going on. Do these reputable environmental scientists really think that climate change isn't a real and worrisome threat, that mankind's stewardship of the planet hasn't been incredibly shocking irresponsible?

Re:Global warming is a scam. (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297183)

Increased ocean temperatures == releases of methane hydrate == more atmospheric methane == increased ocean temperatures.

Who knows, maybe this is the reason for the Fermi paradox. Civilized race starts burning sequestered hydrocarbons and ends up broiling themselves when they accidentally turn their planet into something like Venus.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297353)

Or maybe it's the other way around.

Civilized race becomes so afraid of anything that might harm the planet that it becomes impossible to make any technological progress that isn't "green". Eventually, the civilisation discovers that it is not industry which pollutes, but the population itself, and begins a programme of genocide as the only way of "saving the planet".

Other religions have done worse to appease their God. And this religion has the backing of scientists, so it must be true.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297239)

Go on and believe the Gov is good and we are killing the planet.
The truth is you are being scammed .
The earth is over heating and the bad guys are coming for you.
Kill yourself save the planet.
There are no powerful people that meet and plan and do things that give them more power.
The loving elites/gov/big business want you to be happy, live long and prosper.

http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/club-of-rome-the-first-global-revolution/

In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.

Go back to your gaming console and be the hero that you know you are!

Three?
How about 700?
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=83947f5d-d84a-4a84-ad5d-6e2d71db52d9

Re:Global warming is a scam. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297451)

Can you name THREE? Reputable environmental scientists, climatologists, even (real) meteorologists? You know, scientists with expertise in the field we're talking about? Do they have any, what's that word, evidence?

Your dont have any evidence either. Just theories and models which assuming the thing that they are trying to prove.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (5, Informative)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297151)

You believe what you want.

No, I believe the facts. My personal desires are irrelevant.

You don't need to be a scientist to realize which side is correct.

Yes, you do. AFAIK, climatology is a science.

The nasa article in the link speaks for itself.

Which essentially means you didn't even bother to verify it by going to the NASA site I mentioned. Looks like it is YOU who believe what YOU want.

I don't care who John Coleman is what he says makes sense.

He doesn't make sense. Weather is distinct from climate. He is not qualified .

The court case involving the gw swindle ended in a decision that the content was essentially true.

Ofcom, the UK media regulator has ruled that The Great Global Warming Swindle was unfair to the IPCC, David King, and Carl Wunsch and breached a requirement of impartiality about global warming policy.
http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/07/ofcom_rules_that_the_great_glo.php [scienceblogs.com]

Excess CO2 has nothing to do with global warming in fact rising CO2 is an effect of increased global temps not a cause. The US senate means nothing. The hundreds of scientists that disagree with the climate change fraud do. Think for yourself for a minute. CO2 is what we exhale and what plants inhale. A good case can be made for the good caused by a warming planet. The facts indicate that there has not been any warming. Studies have shown that incorrect measurements taken in hot heat island city environments can account for the change.

You're repeating the same old already disproved fallacies over. Go to the NASA site I mentioned earlier & try your best at looking at the facts.

Natural variation makes a lot more sense than the idiocy of the global warming "proof".

Natural variation has been disproved by NASA.

Go on and believe the few "experts" ignore the others and follow what Al Gore says.

I believe the facts, and that independently of what Al Gore might think. BTW, the "few experts " are the majority. That includes NASA who has the largest concentration of climate scientists, the academies of sciences of 27 countries, and all the major scientific institutions like National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics, National Center for Atmospheric Research, American Meteorological Society, US Geological Survey etc...

Re:Global warming is a scam. (2, Informative)

MistrX (1566617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297387)

When someone tells you the opposite, you stick your fingers in your ears and pretend not to listen. When facts are thrown in front of you, you close your eyes. Any religious fanatic would be proud.

However if you claim to be right and that is what you are doing now, the following term comes to mind: 'Citation needed'. With other words, back your story with science. Read papers, documents, articles. Don't go to some pseudo-scientific website full of video's with "Don't trust them!" or other scare tactic type of name. I don't like video's since anyone can manipulate that. Science papers that are reviewed by real institutions and universeties are less likely to be falsified and thus more trustworthy.

Don't go trolling by claiming you are right and the rest is wrong while backing it up with more foggy fabrications. Prove it!

Re:Global warming is a scam. (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296837)

sorry, the sun IS responsible for global warming, which supports life on earth.

your other problem is that other planets are indeed warming as well.

the biggest beef i have with popular global warming is that CO2 does not, and never has, been a significant greenhouse gas. but suddenly it's responsible for our planets temp???! the sun and water vapour is the key driver, the classic diagram of CO2 reflecting heat like a green house is an outright lie - that function is provided by water vapour.

Re:Global warming is a scam. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297057)

The conventional theory is that climate changes on Mars can be explained primarily by small alterations in the planet's orbit and tilt, not by changes in the sun.

"Wobbles in the orbit of Mars are the main cause of its climate change in the current era," Oxford's Wilson explained. (Related: "Don't Blame Sun for Global Warming, Study Says" [September 13, 2006].)

Re:Global warming is a scam. (3, Informative)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297343)

Look, I don't want to get into an argument about whether anthropogenic global warming is 'really happening' or not, but your comments show little understanding of... maths.

CO2 does not, and never has, been a significant greenhouse gas. but suddenly it's responsible for our planets temp???!

It's not 'responsible for our planets temp???!'(sic). It's a contributing factor. Unless you thing CO2 isn't in any way a greenhouse gas you must admit that the increase [wikipedia.org] from ~315 to ~385 ppm since 1960 will result in some increased heat retention which will be compounded every year until a new, higher, equilibrium is reached. CO2 concentration is only one factor in a complex equation which, yes, features insolation and water vapour prominently. Claiming that changing the CO2 concentration should have no effect on the climate only shows that you don't understand the mathematics of a basic climate model.

</rant>

Re:Global warming is a scam. (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297447)

the biggest beef i have with popular global warming is that CO2 does not, and never has, been a significant greenhouse gas.

Tell me, how's the weather on Venus at this time of year?

Acme mirrors to the rescue (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296525)

Possible suggestions included: 'a giant mirror on the Moon; a space parasol made of superfine aluminum mesh; and a swarm of 10 trillion small mirrors launched into space one million at a time every minute for the next 30 years.'"

Nice to see they consulted Wyle E. Cyote [wikipedia.org] .

Seriously, how about a chalk farm? [wikipedia.org]

10 trillion mirrors? (2, Insightful)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296533)

I make that 10,000 launches which over 30 years is nearly a launch a day. I was under the impression that rocket launches have a negative environmental impact not including the impact of actually building so many.

Re:10 trillion mirrors? (3, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296823)

I assume this would be managed by a rail gun setup. While we can't fire anythign as big as a spaceship into space shooting a shiny ball into space is no problem at all.

However this does show just how desperate we are getting. Shooting 10,000 metal balls into space pretty much guarantees we wont be leaving this planet... Unless they are all going for lagrange points I suppose but then I question the value or our ability to aim so accurately.

Re:10 trillion mirrors? (5, Insightful)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296907)

I make that 10,000 launches which over 30 years is nearly a launch a day. I was under the impression that rocket launches have a negative environmental impact not including the impact of actually building so many.

The obvious solution here is to build an orbital cannon. The biggest built and successfully used was in the 60s by the U.S. Navy to launch atmospheric probes up to 100 miles into the atmosphere. Building a 50-100m long gun up the side of a mountain(or even underground in a mine shaft or silo) isn't that technically hard. Estimates for the gun itself run about 200 million to build. The idea is to have each payload have its own small positioning rocket and external case. Drop the mirrors in the case and lob into space - the small engine moves it out to the proper position. Since we're talking just scattering the mirrors, there's nothing else required here - just position and open it up. Once a day is trivial. 10,000 launches would cost a mere 1-2 billion dollars. Even if it required 10x that many launches, with it firing off every couple of hours, it would be simple enough to accomplish. With ten of them, this could be done in just 3-5 years.

2-3 billion for an array of ten of these. Problem solved in a new years.

http://www.tbfg.org/ [tbfg.org]
This is the latest company that is working on this. They will have a test-launch next year.

BFG ? How appropriate (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297029)

"In the short term, the BFG hopes to offer an on-demand (i.e. dedicated launch) suborbital service..."

They couldn't have named their company better ! :p

Re:10 trillion mirrors? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297457)

So what about orbital decay?

10 trillion pieces of broken glass raining on us from the sky sounds pretty bad.

Re:10 trillion mirrors? (2, Insightful)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296937)

The maths in the article is just plainly wrong, but you've also misunderstood. It states a million mirrors every minute for the next thirty years. So we have 30 years, or 10,950 days, that's 262,800 hours, which happens to be 15,768,000 minutes. Multiply that by a million (mirrors every minute from TFA) and you get 15,768,000,000,000 which in my book is 15 trillion, not 10. Good to see BBC reporters have access to calculators and know how to use them.

Re:10 trillion mirrors? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297091)

Perhaps they're expecting a failure rate of ~33%?

reversable solutions (5, Insightful)

Anghwyr (1245932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296537)

I would prefer a method that we can reverse if it turns out that we misunderstood a bit of the carboncycle.. so please not the millions of tiny mirrors?

Re:reversable solutions (1)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296557)

If we can launch them, what makes you think we can't control and/or dispose of them?

Re:reversable solutions (3, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296601)

1. Human nature
2. Entropy
3. Budget cuts/regime change.

Pick one.

Re:reversable solutions (1)

Anghwyr (1245932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296675)

10 trillion tiny mirrors? Not sure if they had planned to control these, or just launch a giant reflecting cloud between us and the sun.

Re:reversable solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297023)

what makes you think we can't control and/or dispose of them?

It's a lot easier to throw a handful of confetti than to gather it back up again.

Re:reversable solutions (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297257)

Example inn question: Greenhouse gases. We did emit them, but I do not see any control or disposal that is feasible.

Re:reversable solutions (2, Funny)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296797)

If they each have a tiny self destruct device onboard? What could possibly go wrong there?

Space parasols (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296579)

a space parasol made of superfine aluminum mesh

Reminds me of Kim Stanley Robinson's terraforming conjectures in his trilogy beginning with Red Mars [amazon.com] , where an orbital lens first used to provide more sunlight for Mars is ultimately sent to Venus, turned around, and used to shield that hot planet from sunlight.

Terraforming begins at home (3, Interesting)

shanen (462549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296819)

You caught me on the reference to "terraforming". Looks like we need to start by terraforming our own planet to sustain its suitability for human life. Not so funny.

My suggestion along these lines would be a network of large controllable mirrors in orbit. The individual sections could be aimed, essentially by rotating them with gyroscopes. Some region is too hot? Adjust more mirrors to give it more shade and reduce its temperature. Another area is too cold? Add the appropriate amount of reflected sunlight and warm it right up. Might as well send some extra sunlight to the polar regions and cultivate crops there, too. Surplus light for electricity generation on the side.

Expensive? Yes, but basically within the capabilities of existing technologies. I actually think the largest technical hurdle would be sufficiently accurate weather modeling. We'd essentially need to micromanage the weather all over the world. I don't think the launch capacity would be unsolvable. The early launches would focus on the power generation, and the power would be used to crack sea water for the hydrogen that would be used to boost more mirror satellites into orbit.

Okay, so it would also be potentially dangerous, but I'm hoping that the security problems could be solved, and all technology is morally neutral. Any power to do good is also a power to do harm. (Unfortunately, this is not a balanced relationship. There are some powers that can do nothing but harm... But that's getting off the focus--which can be risky with such large mirrors.)

Re:Terraforming begins at home (2, Interesting)

shanen (462549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296927)

Oh yeah. I forgot one more obvious thing that may not be obvious enough. The obvious mirror technology would just be large wire loops with thin coated plastic films stretched across them. You want them very light so that they will be responsive to the rotating gyroscopes (located at the center of mass of each mirror), and of course you want them to be cheap since you'll need a lot of them. Actually, I think you would only have one gyroscope per mirror, but it has to be on gimbals so you can rotate in arbitrary directions.

Re:Space parasols (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296969)

Thanks for spoiling the trilogy for me, I just started reading it...

Re:Space parasols (2, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297055)

Yeah, because a minor detail mentioned in passing in one paragraph of the trilogy ruins its bold dramatic arc.

Increase Earth's orbit (0)

xororand (860319) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296627)

Just create a really large nuclear drive to push the Earth away from the sun, increasing its orbit. We'll get a few extra days per year as a neat side-effect. Has anyone bothered to calculate the necessary energy for that? Is it theoretically possible with Earth's uranium or hydrogen resources?

Re:Increase Earth's orbit (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296655)

Another wacky idea first proposed in science fiction. Larry Niven's Puppeteer race in Ringworld [amazon.com] moved their planets far from their sun to avoid baking in their own waste heat. But when it comes to Earth, this idea is still completely fantastical.

Re:Increase Earth's orbit (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296679)

The problem isn't really just energy, but also mass. To move the Earth a significant bit you would need a considerable amount of mass to throw away with your "nuclear drive". If we could throw away the US, Russia, China, or any such considerable mass at a good speed, we might be getting somewhere.

If we would throw away China or the US, we would get the reduced emissions as an added benefit. :P

Re:Increase Earth's orbit (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297135)

"Just create a really large nuclear drive to push the Earth away from the sun"

You know how much energy is required to lift a rocket out of Earth's gravity well? Lots.
Now think about how much energy would be required to lift the Earth out of the Sun's gravity well (no, I haven't done the sums). You are talking, literally, about an astronomical amount of energy.
(and that's ignoring the question of how you could possibly deliver that energy to the Earth without baking one side).

It would probably be orders of magnitude easier/cheaper to terraform Mars and relocate humanity.

I'm hoping that my comment is a "woosh" and that you're joking.

Re:Increase Earth's orbit (1)

xororand (860319) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297171)

Yes, of course I'm not serious :) It's not less ridiculous than the trillions of tiny mirrors though, even if the latter might be technically possible.

Re:Increase Earth's orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297319)

If any nation tries to do this, I hope either its people will revolt or the rest of the world will stop them.

If this would be done, there WILL be a "oops we didn't know this would happen" or "what you were calculating in inch? we were using centimetres!" moment. A significant portion of spaceship takeoffs fail due to unforseen problems. What could possibly go wrong with launching a whole planet, when scientists are still trying to figure out what gravity actually is :D

Neat (2, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296639)

Here's how the mirror plan would work. Nuclear fission plants (or solar arrays) would power an array of about 10 billion dollars worth of solid state lasers. (at current prices, available today). The lasers would probably use LEDs to pump doped fiber optics, producing very cheap laser energy.

The capsules containing the mirrors would be kicked into the air using a catapault and then the bottom of the capsule would be vaporized using the lasers to create thrust. The laser array alone would insert the mirror capsules into orbit...tehre would be minimal to no onboard thrusters needed.

That's how you'd launch one every minute (need several arrays) over a 30 year period.

Re:Neat (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297411)

If you're going to make big lasers, why not just use them to pump heat out of the atmosphere and into space?

Thank you Stephen Baxter.

not again (3, Insightful)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296653)

The belief, that we humans can 'engineer' the earth and bend it to our expectations is exactly, what got us into this mess in the first place. How about re-engineering ourselves instead for the better?

Re:not again (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297011)

How about re-engineering ourselves instead for the better?

But doesn't that mean I have to put effort in to changing myself? Sod that, other people broke it so I'll let the scientists fix it and carry on as I was before ;)

Re:not again (4, Interesting)

Odinlake (1057938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297291)

The belief, that we humans can 'engineer' the earth and bend it to our expectations is exactly, what got us into this mess in the first place. How about re-engineering ourselves instead for the better?

What, are you saying we tried to "engineer the earth" with the industrial revolution? Are you trying to "engineer the earth" when you drive your car? No, before now I don't think anyone (of consequence) has been trying to "engineer the earth" in the sence of the entire globe we live on.

Now, quite obviously, we have the capability to "engineer the earth" (in relatively minor ways) even though any such project would be huge (maybe Terra$'s). The problem is that we only have one system to test on and no Live CD with which to fix a misstake. But at some point we may very well find our selves in a situation where an option seems "safe enough" relative the consequences of inaction. Not researching these "options" because you're afraid of the consequences is just stupid.

"Engineering ourselves" on the other hand is something we have been doing since, well, I don't know - who first said "think what kind of children these two would have?"? And recently we are doing it more concretely to win basketball games. But in a larger sence than that no one has a clue what the heck "for the better" would be. Though I have my theories.

The Original Report (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296661)

Royal Society Press Release:
http://royalsociety.org/news.asp?id=8734

Which links to a 98-page pdf:
http://royalsociety.org/geoengineeringclimate/

Re:The Original Report - inaccurate headline! (1)

wwwrench (464274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297469)

Yeah, I think it better to read the original sources rather than the shit journalism on this. There's a non-technical section of the report and to my mind, it is saying the opposite of the headline: "Stop emitting CO2 or geoengineering could be our only hope The future of the Earth could rest on potentially dangerous and unproven geoengineering technologies unless emissions of carbon dioxide can be greatly reduced, the latest Royal Society report has found.

I also love the variation of headlines for this story. Slashdot and the BBC report it as "UK Royal Society Claims Geo-engineering Feasible," while the Financial Times reports it as "Hopes dashed for geo-engineering solutions". The Nature blog has an interesting entry about the variation in headlines [nature.com] .

As George Carlin Put It.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296663)

The planet's fine.The people are fucked.

so (2, Funny)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296669)

the solution is ... one big tin foil hat for earth?

Wouldn't mirrors make it worse... (2, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296693)

I mean, so much depends on sunlight that limiting it seems like there's no way it ca possibly end well. This isn't countering global warming, this is throwing another massive climate change into the mix that may on average even out temperature changes. It's like treating an infected wound by setting a person's arm on fire.

I mean climate and plant life depend on sunlight. So how can you not expect to get famines, mass ecological changes, large scale climate changes and so on.

Re:Wouldn't mirrors make it worse... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297423)

So basically your entire understanding of this elaborate geo-engineering plan is that which was in the summary.

Care to guess why you have come to the conclusion that it won't work while very smart people have come to the conclusion that it will?

Or do nothing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296761)

Or we could just do nothing as there doesn't appear to be any evidence that the world is warming anyway.

Next Global Desater (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296875)

Mirror rain destroying earth. Al Gore should consider reading The Cat In The Hat Comes Back.

Or else ... (5, Informative)

alexibu (1071218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29296903)

Or we could just have a brief and rather blunt conversation with our friends in the coal, oil and beef industries.
Which is what world leaders are tiptoeing around trying to avoid, pretending terrestrial biofuels were an option, pretending carbon sequestration is an option. All of this stuffing around to avoid some uncomfortable conversation about facts that both the politicians, the people and the companies know are true.

Must we be stupider as a species than our individual parts ?

Change this line from: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296943)

"First, we kill all the lawyers" to

"First we kill all the engineers/scientists"

Trees (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296945)

I suppose stopping deforestation and planting more trees is beyond the top 1 issue.

Complete arrogance anyone (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297085)

This whole discussion has got to be the most arrogant thing I've read in a while. Last time I checked the earth got along just fine without major modifications. It's a self-adjusting system. How bad can it be that we humans can't overcome these climatic changes that seem inevitable and completely within the cyclical norms? This is just sheer insanity.

We could do with a "Global Warming Hero" (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297123)

We could do with a "Global Warming Hero" like Saddam Hussain. He cut oil production, run his countries industry into the ground and drained marshlands creating deserts - which prevented methane emission. If all governments followed this model we could cut emissions drastically.

Re:We could do with a "Global Warming Hero" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29297503)

True! And he killed a lot of people, thus reducing their carbon footprint. He's exactly the sort of environmentalist that we need.

Slowly convert an Asteroid to dust shade (2, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297209)

How about taking a SMALL NEO asteroid, carefully put it into L1 (earth-sun) and then slowly grind it into dust (spraying the dust to form a slowly dispersing cloud). If the particles are small enough, an asteroid perhaps 100m cubed could block out perhaps 1% of the sun for a few decades. Not only would it lessen our global warming predicament (temporarily until the cloud disperses through radiation pressure completely, but that's a good thing we don't want a permanent fix!) but it would teach us very valuable lessons on how to move celestial objects around; first for our protection and later for resources.

Needed: a (probably nuclear powered) mass mover/ion drive (a gravity tractor is probably too slow for anything but gentle nudges). Then some sort of grinding machine (celestial snow blower?) which will be powered by said nuclear reactor (the dust cloud will make solar panels ineffectual).

* I really liked the idea of iron fertilization of the ocean "deserts" but I guess it was not proven effective and the possibility of creating huge amounts of jellyfish rather than tuna was not a good thing.

Re:Slowly convert an Asteroid to dust shade (2, Informative)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297453)

What about just crashing it to earth? That should put enough dust up to last centuries!

Basically, we are doomed. (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297247)

The thing that strikes me as funny is that we are still not mending our ways. Well, just as any bacterial colony, the human race fills the available space and then dies from its own trash. Fitting.

Albedo modifications? (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29297313)

I thought albedo modification was the way forward? It doesn't have to be expensive either:

1. Make sure new/repaired roads get a more reflective/whiter surface.
2. Make sure all new buildings get a reflective/whiter roofing.
3. Retrofit roofs with either paint or new roofing.

That would transform urban areas from heat-traps to energy-bouncers. And cut airconditioning usage too!

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