America should attack global warming by … painting rooftops and road surfaces white.
Seriously. No kidding.
Among those promoting the idea is Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a big-thinking physicist who has a bully pulpit and influence over billions in research and stimulus funds.
At the time, it seemed to be a trivial proposition. Even the 31,000 scientists who are not members of Al Gore’s global warming mafia might say that it would be mostly harmless.
However, painting surfaces white is merely a milder form of the practice known as geo-engineering, or intervening with the planet to change its physical properties. It is a fast growing field for which several universities now have programs including UC Berkeley and the Illinois Institute of Technology. Among the proposals coming out of their research is to whitewash not just a few rooftops, but the entire sky. The idea is that if the weather were always cloudy, then less of the sun’s radiation would reach the surface, keeping it cool.
Created last year, the Royal Society’s geoengineering group studied a wide range of proposals to determine whether they could be feasible or effective. Geoengineering involves using man-made technology to stem global warming. Some proposed fixes include injecting sulfur into the stratosphere or capturing CO2 from the air.
The global warming situation has become so dire that Barack Obama’s chief scientific adviser has raised with the president the possibility of massive-scale technological fixes to alter the climate known as ‘geo-engineering’.
John Holdren, who is a member of the president’s cabinet, said today the drastic measures should not be “off the table” in discussions on how best to tackle climate change.
The idea of blotting out the sun to cool the earth is billed as a cheap alternative to reducing emissions. The materials can be found in waste products such as coal ash.
[UC Irvine physicist] Benford has cooked up a plan that amounts to a manmade Mount Pinatubo eruption. He has proposed shooting trillions of tiny particles of earth into the stratosphere, where they will remain suspended to help blot out incoming solar rays. Dirt is cheap, chemically unreactive and easily crushable, he argues, making it a simple matter to test this strategy on a small scale over the Arctic before total global deployment.
The phenomena was depicted in a segment on the History Channel.
“Geoengineering and its consequences are the price we may have to pay for failure to act on climate change,” said report chair and climate modeler John Shepherd of the University of Southampton in a prepared statement.
Therein lays the rub. The consequences could be not only environmental disaster, but destructive inflammatory biological effects upon any organism which is subjected to the deluge of toxic metal oxides and sulfates present in the artificial cloud dust.
Inflammation as a major cause of disease is not new. It is at least a reasonable consideration that inflammation is involved with, if not the cause of, every other ill from which we suffer as a race. If that has not been true in the past, it is true today. No other cause of disease has a chance to take a foothold. Inflammation troubles have become so dominant that no other process may need to be considered. The cause of this inflammation is chemical toxicity.
…Inflammatory responses, we should mention, create various disease processes in the body. Under the stress of inflammation, minerals and vitamins are depleted, circulatory damage is caused, free radicals spike endlessly, immune response becomes excessive but ineffective, pH lowers, endocrine glands become exhausted, digestion diminishes, nerves become frayed and irritable, periodic illness rules life and brain function decreases. During inflammatory responses, circulation stays near the organs of greatest saturation and other organs starve. It is a state of imbalance, weakness, irritability and chronic disease processes.
Because of the nature of today`s inflammatory chemicals, cancer and auto-immune disease are also sure to be on the rise. These diseases only exist when certain immune physiology fails. Specifically, cells, messengers and chemical solvents that are supposed to stop one phase of immune response and trigger the next are either destroyed, deceived or bound up so that they do not do their jobs. This can, and often does involve the last stage of immune response where clean-up is supposed to follow and break apart all the complex molecules put in place to fight germs, poisons or particles. These complex molecules, actually, are called complexes, complements or opsonins. Normally, they do their job, destroy the invader or neutralize the poison and then they are broken down so that those tissues can return to business as usual. When this does not happen, ongoing cell damage and tissue weakness will occur. You may get cancer and auto-immune disease or chronic fatigue and neurological failure.
One of the main elements in artificial cloud dust, aluminum, is a neurotoxin which can cause circulatory issues, digestive disorders, allergies, asthma, and inflammation.
Think that this proposal is too implausible to be implemented? Here is what government physicists were up to just three weeks ago off the East Coast of the United States:
Clouds come in countless shapes, from fluffy cotton candy to wispy lines that streak across the sky, but they are all formed from one simple ingredient—water vapor. In an experiment conducted September 19, scientists created the first artificial, high-atmosphere noctilucent cloud. But rather than water, the cloud formed from dust particles spewed out of a rocket.
The project, led by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., focused on fabricating a noctilucent cloud, or one that floats at an altitude of 80 to 100 kilometers in the mesosphere (a layer of the atmosphere starting at about 50 kilometers above the surface). Because these clouds block sunlight, they play a part in, and may one day offer a solution to, global warming. Scientists have been able to use radar to track the behavior of natural noctilucent clouds, gleaning their speeds and densities. But studying artificial clouds offers “more of a controlled situation,” says Paul Bernhardt, a senior research associate in the NRL’s Plasma Physics Division and leader of the project.* “People [who] study the natural clouds, they have to sit there and wait” to come across one in Earth’s upper atmosphere.
…Although most rocket engines leave a trail of debris close to where they are ignited, Bernhardt explains that the group timed the rocket’s fourth stage motor to dump 100 kilograms of aluminum oxide dust after it had reached its peak altitude of around 280 kilometers. By knowing the rocket’s exact point of release, researchers at stations ranging from Virginia to New Jersey as well as in Bermuda could point their lasers and wide-angle lens cameras at the cloud’s birthplace, off the east coast, to study its behavior.
Beyond the experimental stage, the elite neoliberal Council on Foreign Relations has even discussed taking the radical step of unilaterally implementing geoengineering (pdf), outside the purview of the vast majority of its subjects.
There are a variety of strategies, such as injecting light-reflecting particles into the stratosphere, that might be used to modify the Earth’s atmosphere-ocean system in an attempt to slow or reverse global warming. All of these “geoengineering” strategies involve great uncertainty and carry significant risks. They may not work as expected, imposing large unintended consequences on the climate system. While offsetting warming, most strategies are likely to leave other impacts unchecked, such as acidification of the ocean, the destruction of coral reefs, and changes in composition of terrestrial ecosystems. Yet, despite uncertain and very negative potential consequences, geoengineering might be needed to avert or reverse some dramatic change in the climate system, such as several meters of sea level rise that could impose disaster on hundreds of millions of people.
Unlike the control of greenhouse gas emissions, which must be undertaken by all major emitting nations to be effective and is likely to be costly, geoengineering could be undertaken quickly and unilaterally by a single party, at relatively low cost.
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