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Climate Scientist Warns Against Geoengineering At TED Conference Vancouver

by Derrick Broze, Activist Post:

The topic of geoengineering the climate continues to break into the mainstream as climate engineers debated the controversial topic at the latest TED talks in Vancouver.

The annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference is designed to facilitate conversation around “ideas worth spreading.” Founded in 1984, the TED organization distributes free talks related to technology, design, science, culture, and academia. The annual TED conference in Vancouver, Canada, TED Global, and regional TEDx events are increasingly celebrated and consumed by a growing portion of the world thanks to the viral spread of popular talks. The topics are occasionally controversial – sometimes leading to them being banned by TED – and this years conference in Vancouver was no exception.

At the 2017 TED talks, several speakers discussed the almost-mainstream idea of geoengineering the planet to combat climate change. Business Insider reported:

On Wednesday morning, computer theorist Danny Hillis got onstage and proposed a series of ideas for what he called a “thermostat to turn down the temperature of the earth.”

Hillis, the founding partner of tech innovation company Applied Invention, rattled off a number of geoengineering concepts that have popped up in recent years, including building giant parasols in space, putting fizzy water into the ocean, and sending chalk into the atmosphere so that it can reflect sunlight and theoretically cool down the earth.

The science of geoengineering has increasingly become a part of the public conversation around climate change and an ever-controversial topic within the scientific community. Geoengineering is a type of weather modification (or climate engineering) which has been researched, but, until recently, has been considered too unpredictable to attempt on a large scale. According to a 2013 congressional report:

The term ‘geoengineering’ describes this array of technologies that aim, through large-scale and deliberate modifications of the Earth’s energy balance, to reduce temperatures and counteract anthropogenic climate change. Most of these technologies are at the conceptual and research stages, and their effectiveness at reducing global temperatures has yet to be proven. Moreover, very few studies have been published that document the cost, environmental effects, socio-political impacts, and legal implications of geoengineering. If geoengineering technologies were to be deployed, they are expected to have the potential to cause significant transboundary effects.

In general, geoengineering technologies are categorized as either a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) method or a solar radiation management (SRM) (or albedo-modification) method. CDR methods address the warming effects of greenhouse gases by removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. CDR methods include ocean fertilization, and carbon capture and sequestration. SRM methods address climate change by increasing the reflectivity of the Earth’s atmosphere or surface. Aerosol injection and space-based reflectors are examples of SRM methods. SRM methods do not remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, but can be deployed faster with relatively immediate global cooling results compared to CDR methods.

Hillis told the audience at TED 2017 that in order to “undo the effects of the CO2 we’ve already released” we would have to put chalk in the sky at a rate of 10 teragrams a year. Once Hillis finished singing the praises of geoengineering, climate scientist Kate Marvel was give a chance to respond. Marvel is an associate research scientist at Columbia University, as well as a Science Fellow at Stanford.

“Danny, you seem so nice, and I hope we can be friends, and you terrify me,” she said.

“Geoengineering, she said, is like going to a doctor who says ‘You have a fever, I know exactly why you have a fever, and we’re not going to treat that,” Business Insider reported. “We’re going to give you ibuprofen, and also your nose is going to fall off.’ It is, Marvel believes, a band-aid for the problem accompanied by consequences we can’t currently imagine.”

Marvel also stated that reducing the amount of sunlight is “problematic” and would not do anything about other environmental dangers, such as ocean acidification. Marvel was followed by another call for geoengineering from University of Oxford researcher Tim Kruger. The King of Global Warming Doomsday Prophecies himself, Al Gore, said that geoengineering could be a possible time in the future, but not as the only solution.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

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