Monday, November 23, 2009

Really Bad Ideas for Saving the Planet

Blue Marble from Apollo 17 (Image courtesy NASA Johnson Space Center)

Arun Gupta, at The Indypendent (which seems very eager for life support donations at the moment), in his article, "Hacking the Planet," rounds up the most widely circulated ideas for "geoengineering" our way out of greenhouse gas induced climate change. Of course, all of these solutions would be unmitigated disasters (see article), but they will get traction because they avoid upsetting the corporate-energy balance of power, and the concepts are easy to relate (if you leave out the ugly, complicating details).

If you want real, simple, least-cost solutions, read some stuff from the Rocky Mountain Institute's library, such as: "Four Nuclear Myths: A Commentary on Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Discipline and on Similar Writings"

RMI's credentials are unimpeachable, and they actually use evidence-based science, complete with footnoted references, to arrive at their conclusions. Very refreshing. Especially, after hearing the blather that issues from the halls of Congress, Fox News, and the Heritage Foundation. (You don't get links to those places, you know where to find that noise if you must.)

The point is, we could prevent (have prevented? past-tense now required?) catastrophic global warming, without detrimentally changing our industrialized life styles (do you care where the electricity comes from if it's cheaper, and the lights stay on?), but we need to take the advice of disinterested parties who offer real solutions derived from proven technology, and ignore big energy industry representatives and snake-oil traders. The best solutions are simple, elegant, cheap, proven, and already profitably used elsewhere. So what's the problem? Maybe it's just too easy, and we're just too cynical. Fatally cynical.

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