News this morning of a big volcanic eruption in Iceland, grounding transatlantic flights (story here).
Volcanos spew large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, but they also throw a lot of dust into the upper atmosphere (which is why flights are grounded). Guess what? The dust is a much stronger “global cooling” element than the CO2. A big volcano erupting in the northern hemisphere is going to cause a hellaciously cold winter (we got -60 ground temps in northern MN after the eruption of Pinotubo, and two more winters that were harsher than normal – by Minnesota standards!).
If we can push cap and trade legislation back till next year, people are going to see 2 things:
1) There’s no increase in warming, despite the large carbon footprint of this eruption
2) Putting a few tons of ash into the upper atmosphere would effectively cancel (and then some!) any effect of human-produced CO2.
This is a perfect “teachable moment”. Using a few old ICBMs to deliver a payload of talk to the upper atmosphere would cost a few tens of millions of dollars (if that – the missiles would otherwise be decomissioned), as opposed to the trillions of dollars that a cap-and-trade program would cost. It would actually deliver a solution to the (probably non-existant) problem of global warming (which cap-and-trade WON’T), it would cost a fraction of what cap-and-trade would cost, and it would eliminate the need for a massive government-run intrusion into every aspect of our business and personal lives (oh, wait – that last one might not be viewed as a plus by certain people.