WSJ Publishes Nutty Global Warming Geoengineering Plan

Can you imagine anyone being loony enough to declare an unproven solution to an unproven problem to be “enormously risky” and certain to “lead to troubling unforeseen consequences” and “international tension,” and then proceeding to advocate for it nonetheless?   Or a highly respected international news source making the decision to publish such lunacy as a cover story?

Try this -- in today’s Wall Street Journal article
It’s Time to Cool the Planet, Jamais Cascio, a San Francisco “Environmental Futurist,” claims that it’s too late to avoid an “unprecedented global catastrophe” by merely cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.   No, in addition to shutting down progress in a futile effort to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels, we must also take steps to counteract the warming we’ve already supposedly unleashed in order to “delay potentially catastrophic ‘tipping point’ events.”  Such “geoengineering” would represent a “stay of execution” while we work toward “a pardon.”  Oh brother.

Cascio divides geoengineering into two categories: carbon management and temperature management.  The former, which involves methods aimed at scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere, he dismisses as too slow to meet the task.  That leaves us with attempting to block or reflect some of the sunlight that hits the planet. According to Cascio, “increasing the planet’s reflectivity by 2% could counter the warming effects of a doubling of CO2 emissions.”  And from where did he derive such figures, perchance the same ouija board used by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to predict that simple reflective engineering would have the same effect on global warming as taking all the cars in the world off the world's roads for 11 years?

And how would Cascio’s reflection be accomplished, by painting the world’s rooftops and roads white, as hysterically suggested by Chu?  Not quite -- after explaining the shortcomings of proposals to “place thousands of square miles of reflective sheets in the desert to reflect sunlight” or of “launching millions of tiny mirrors into orbit,” he settles on two atmospheric alteration schemes.  One would inject up to 10 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the lower stratosphere, which would “act like a haze, reflecting a significant amount of sunlight.”  The other suggests we “use ships to propel seawater thousands of feet in the air, where it would form or increase cloud cover.”

Cascio admits that either method will diminish the efficiency of certain types of solar power and will likely have an unpredictable effect on rainfall patterns, “increasing downpours in one area or contributing to unexpected droughts in others.”  And that studies suggest an abrupt cessation of either process would cause global temperatures to actually spike beyond levels we’d see without such intervention. Furthermore, the more “promising” of the two, the stratospheric sulfates approach, would “likely damage the ozone layer … potentially resulting in more skin cancer and damage to plants and animals.”  [my emphasis]

And even were such schemes either necessary or viable – odds are they are neither -- let’s not overlook the political ramifications. Cascio himself sees the potential nightmare of reaching international accord on such localized issues as temperature targets and side-effect tolerance, not to mention the potential repercussions of unforeseen harm to one nation brought on by the actions of another or others. 

Increased skin cancer?  Displaced monsoons and droughts?  Climate-tampering-induced warfare?  Sound like deal-breakers, right?  Wrong.  As we reported in April, even presidential science advisor John Holdren, who once derided the “combination of high costs, low leverage and a high likelihood of serious side effects” of stratospheric sulfate injection, recently suggested that such drastic actions may nonetheless become necessary.

So it’s hardly surprising that Cascio also advocates moving ahead with geoengineering research.  Addressing the myriad monumental pitfalls, he claims that models and simulations would “allow us to weed out the approaches with dangerous, surprising consequences.”  Really?  And just who will program such vital models?  The same geniuses whose simulations have never been verified by observational data, failing to reproduce either temperatures or sea level rise of the 20th century?  Who failed to predict that with the exception of a bump associated with a major El Nino event in 1998, warming ended in the mid 90's?  Who continue to predict catastrophic CO2-driven coral reef destruction which has failed to materialize?  Are these the same programmers who’ll be tasked with foreseeing the unforeseen dangers of tampering with the planet’s atmosphere?

And more to the point, why would we assume such unpredictable risks when warming ended over a decade ago?  Warns Cascio, “the alternative would be worse,” and he makes the startlingly spurious statement that “climate scientists are shouting louder than ever about the speed and intensity of environmental changes coming from global warming.”   Of course they’re shouting louder – how else would these “rented” or otherwise compromised experts be heard over the growing voices of the climate realists who insist no such crisis did does or will exist?

Such alarmist drivel adorning the pages of the New York Times would hardly be worth reading, let alone writing about.  But as a home page story for the Wall Street Journal, it begs for both, and with serious concern.


Can you imagine anyone being loony enough to declare an unproven solution to an unproven problem to be “enormously risky” and certain to “lead to troubling unforeseen consequences” and “international tension,” and then proceeding to advocate for it nonetheless?   Or a highly respected international news source making the decision to publish such lunacy as a cover story?

Try this -- in today’s Wall Street Journal article
It’s Time to Cool the Planet, Jamais Cascio, a San Francisco “Environmental Futurist,” claims that it’s too late to avoid an “unprecedented global catastrophe” by merely cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.   No, in addition to shutting down progress in a futile effort to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels, we must also take steps to counteract the warming we’ve already supposedly unleashed in order to “delay potentially catastrophic ‘tipping point’ events.”  Such “geoengineering” would represent a “stay of execution” while we work toward “a pardon.”  Oh brother.

Cascio divides geoengineering into two categories: carbon management and temperature management.  The former, which involves methods aimed at scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere, he dismisses as too slow to meet the task.  That leaves us with attempting to block or reflect some of the sunlight that hits the planet. According to Cascio, “increasing the planet’s reflectivity by 2% could counter the warming effects of a doubling of CO2 emissions.”  And from where did he derive such figures, perchance the same ouija board used by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to predict that simple reflective engineering would have the same effect on global warming as taking all the cars in the world off the world's roads for 11 years?

And how would Cascio’s reflection be accomplished, by painting the world’s rooftops and roads white, as hysterically suggested by Chu?  Not quite -- after explaining the shortcomings of proposals to “place thousands of square miles of reflective sheets in the desert to reflect sunlight” or of “launching millions of tiny mirrors into orbit,” he settles on two atmospheric alteration schemes.  One would inject up to 10 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the lower stratosphere, which would “act like a haze, reflecting a significant amount of sunlight.”  The other suggests we “use ships to propel seawater thousands of feet in the air, where it would form or increase cloud cover.”

Cascio admits that either method will diminish the efficiency of certain types of solar power and will likely have an unpredictable effect on rainfall patterns, “increasing downpours in one area or contributing to unexpected droughts in others.”  And that studies suggest an abrupt cessation of either process would cause global temperatures to actually spike beyond levels we’d see without such intervention. Furthermore, the more “promising” of the two, the stratospheric sulfates approach, would “likely damage the ozone layer … potentially resulting in more skin cancer and damage to plants and animals.”  [my emphasis]

And even were such schemes either necessary or viable – odds are they are neither -- let’s not overlook the political ramifications. Cascio himself sees the potential nightmare of reaching international accord on such localized issues as temperature targets and side-effect tolerance, not to mention the potential repercussions of unforeseen harm to one nation brought on by the actions of another or others. 

Increased skin cancer?  Displaced monsoons and droughts?  Climate-tampering-induced warfare?  Sound like deal-breakers, right?  Wrong.  As we reported in April, even presidential science advisor John Holdren, who once derided the “combination of high costs, low leverage and a high likelihood of serious side effects” of stratospheric sulfate injection, recently suggested that such drastic actions may nonetheless become necessary.

So it’s hardly surprising that Cascio also advocates moving ahead with geoengineering research.  Addressing the myriad monumental pitfalls, he claims that models and simulations would “allow us to weed out the approaches with dangerous, surprising consequences.”  Really?  And just who will program such vital models?  The same geniuses whose simulations have never been verified by observational data, failing to reproduce either temperatures or sea level rise of the 20th century?  Who failed to predict that with the exception of a bump associated with a major El Nino event in 1998, warming ended in the mid 90's?  Who continue to predict catastrophic CO2-driven coral reef destruction which has failed to materialize?  Are these the same programmers who’ll be tasked with foreseeing the unforeseen dangers of tampering with the planet’s atmosphere?

And more to the point, why would we assume such unpredictable risks when warming ended over a decade ago?  Warns Cascio, “the alternative would be worse,” and he makes the startlingly spurious statement that “climate scientists are shouting louder than ever about the speed and intensity of environmental changes coming from global warming.”   Of course they’re shouting louder – how else would these “rented” or otherwise compromised experts be heard over the growing voices of the climate realists who insist no such crisis did does or will exist?

Such alarmist drivel adorning the pages of the New York Times would hardly be worth reading, let alone writing about.  But as a home page story for the Wall Street Journal, it begs for both, and with serious concern.