Remember “Snowpiercer”? It was a nearly unwatchably grim movie about a climate change solution that goes horribly wrong, reducing the Earth to a frozen, deadly wasteland populated only by the passengers of a single train doomed to circle the globe forever. It became a cable series on TNT for three years because anything can become a cable series for three years now.
Well, now in an example of real life threatening to imitate bad fiction, Wake Smith, who teaches “a world-leading undergraduate course on climate intervention” and is a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard Kennedy School specializing in “solar geoengineering” has written a paper, published this week, that lays out his plan to have jets flying at high altitude inject microscopic sulfur dioxide particles into the atmosphere above the North and South Poles. This, see, will reflect sunlight back into space and slightly shade the surface below, retarding the warming of the poles that threaten to extinguish all life, or so the current government of the United States seems to believe. The scheme would be extremely expensive, require international cooperation, and even at best would only “buy some time” until a better and more lasting solution could be developed.
Or it might doom the world to a frozen apocalypse. As the old saying goes, “Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer choice.”
I have no problem with brainstorming and ideas, but the problem here is that this is the kind of half-baked, fear-stoked measure that gullible and less-than-bright politicians like, just as wild examples, Joe Biden and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are likely to get excited about. They don’t have any idea how serious the climate change problem is, how it will progress (if at all), how fast, or what to do about it. They just think we have to do “something,” and wild-hair “solutions” like this one, devised for publicity or tenure or to get speaking gigs, are like crack for their fevered minds. Throwing out an idea like this in a political climate where the United States Congress is willing to spend trillions the nation doesn’t have on theoretical, wishful or otherwise speculative answers to sloppily formulated questions is like dangling crack in front of Hunter Biden.
This is the Great Stupid, after all. Scientists have an obligation to be careful, because so many people who don’t know anything about science treat every word from their mouths like the wisdom of the prophets.
Just as an example…New Jersey decided in May that it made sense to ban all plastic shopping bags, disposable food containers, and even brown paper bags (for stores larger than a bodega) in an effort to lower the state’s carbon footprint, or something. There was no evidence that the state’s doing this would have any effect on global warming, but they had plenty of scientists ready to give their theories. Grocery-delivery services interpreted the statutory language in the disposable bag ban to mean that any disposable bags are out, so just four months into the experiment, customers are drowning in “reusable” bags. Homeless shelters and food pantries,also must comply with the ban, so food banks are begging New Jersey residents to donate their bags. But the reusable bans aren’t clean in most cases. The social engineers of the Garden State, and the wise science whizzes who advised them, somehow failed to consider this.
Banning disposable bags, you see, guarantees a glut of non-disposable bags, which require more material to make and involve more energy in their production. New Jersey’s ordinance, requires reusable bags to “have handles…made of some kind of washable fabric, and withstand 125 uses and multiple washes,” and those conditions ensure that the bags ca’t be recycled.
The “sorters at the MRF’s, material recycling facilities, are not equipped to manually or optically separate out reusable bags, and most likely the handles will cause the sorters to jam,” said JoAnn Gemenden, executive director of New Jersey Clean Communities Council. Huh! Oddly, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection “encourages recycling” of reusable bags even if they don’t have to “meet a minimum recyclable material” requirement.
Meanwhile, even though reusable bags are so resource intensive that their environmental benefits are negligible if any, New Jersey residents are stealing plastic and baskets in record numbers.
By all means, let’s trust the government to freeze the poles.
ADDED: Of course, it would have been much simpler to just reference the most recent example of a “follow the science” disaster, as the fake certitude of health experts regarding a new virus they didn’t understand gulled our state, city and national authorities into a catastrophic set of measures that will haunt the nation for years to come. But we know all about that.
10 thoughts on “Trusting Science: Oh Yeah, THIS Plan Sounds Promising…”
So we’d be putting actual chemtrails into the atmosphere?
At least the conspiracy theorists would be happy to be vindicated.
Wait. Aren’t these micro-dots made from petroleum-based products?
This makes as much sense as draping a big curtain in front of the Sun’s rays?
I just wanted to chime in that Snowpercier is somewhere near the top five apocalyptic films in my book.
It suffers from the expected CGI, but thankfully it’s not used heavily. It’s also a shame that Ed Harris makes his appearance at the end, far outshining the talent of the main protagonist and nearly the other villian, but the unexpected hero always gets me, even when I expect him.
“wisdom of the profits”
This has to be one of your best typos ever.
I concur. I almost hate to fix it…
Sulfur dioxide particulates creates acid rain. How exactly are these scientists going to ensure these micro particles stay in a geostationary atmospheric location?
“Acid rain results when sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) are emitted into the atmosphere and transported by wind and air currents. The SO2 and NOX react with water, oxygen and other chemicals to form sulfuric and nitric acids. These then mix with water and other materials before falling to the ground”. https://www.epa.gov/acidrain/what-acid-rain
The only constant here is “climate change”, a natural geospheric process that’s been occurring for billions of years, and will continue. Over that time there have been uncountable extremes, and to think man is capable of stopping this process in its tracks is a fools errand. They know this, but employing their “the sky is falling” mantra to promote panic affords them the opportunity impose control over the population. That is their true goal.
I am tired of the “Follow the Science” mantra. Scientists once thought that bodily humor caused disease until a true scientist, Louis Pasteur, who questioned their presumption, formulated a hypothesis, proved his hypothesis, and then repeated it, (That is the scientific process) proved them wrong. I have yet to see the scientific process applied to the whole climate change phenomena. I have, however, seen data that we’re in the midst of a naturally recurring cycle of change.
I recall that scientist physicians touted the beneficial effects of smoking up to the 60s when the data already showing its carcinogenic effect were already known.
I recall that went to plastic to save the world’s forests.
I recall that carbohydrates were good for the diet of every American, and that was shown to be true when the original food pyramid was promulgated.
I remember when gas appliances were advertised as superior to electric.
The truth is that science is often disregarded or never truly attempted when ideology is more important.
“…the problem here is that this is the kind of half-baked, fear-stoked measure that gullible and less-than-bright politicians like, just as wild examples, Joe Biden and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are likely to get excited about.”
They would, if they actually gave a damn about “climate change”. But they don’t. They are simply using it as another cudgel to use to force their political will on everyone else. For two years, not one peep was heard about the environment or the climate as literal mountains of disposable plastic masks, gloves, and containers were created and discarded in the name of fighting the pandemic. None of them cared then, because they had a new tool to use to beat into submission those who were resistant to their agenda.
A solution like this will gain no traction, even if it was certain to work, because it doesn’t require reshaping the global economy into a form that benefits the “climate activist” politicians and their cronies. Strange, isn’t it, that such people only ever seem to suggest solutions that require giving even more power to the government?
Now, if this guy’s harebrained scheme to fix the climate involved repealing the second amendment or giving the government compete control over the diet of every American, then you’d see some support from the leftist politicians.
I’d recently seen somewhere that the carbon break-even on a “reusable” bag was 10,000 uses. So even by the metrics they’ve created of being able to withstand 125 uses, it’s not even close to being on the same level as the plastic bag.
The whole discussion around this perplexes me from a nomenclature standpoint.
“We need re-usable bags!”
“I reuse my bags. They get my groceries home, carry my lunch to work, and line the garbage pails around my home.”
“No, we need bags that are so easily disposed of so people keep them longer! We need to get rid of disposable bags!”
“We’re drowning in bags that can be disposed, but you want us to drown in bags that can not be disposed? How is that better for anyone?”
Seriously – have any of these people had to clean up a mess of vomit or fecal matter left by a pet in the middle of the night? No one wants that sitting around in the kitchen garbage can. The best course of action is to get one of your saved disposable bags to use for this disposable purpose.
Can we do better? Yes. As with everything environmental, we do our best when we recognize the hybrid approaches. Yes, everyone should have a reusable bag and utilize it whenever possible, but it’s not for 100% of the scenarios. Because of their larger size, you want to pack your lighter and non-messy dry goods. Don’t put a flour sack in the reusable. Perhaps you have a reusable cooler bag for your cold items. Great. But if you want to keep your raw chicken and beef away from your fresh veggies, a plastic disposable bag is quite handy.
Do I wish plastic disposable bags were more environmentally friendly? Yes. Would I sacrifice some reliability for a more speedy breakdown / dissolve? Absolutely.
Our science will advance, we’ll figure it all out. We just need gov’t to not get ahead of themselves.