Anti Global Warming Tech?

Let's say global warming reaches a point where it is irreversible (this may already be the case). Is anyone working on technologies to reverse its effects? I don't mean preventive "Green" tech like hybrid cars or solar cells, I mean something more along the lines of terraforming, changing the atmosphere, etc. Or would we go the opposite route, and alter our genetic code to adapt to the new environment (assuming it gets really bad)?
 

vimothy

yurp
I think that there are plenty more pressing problems today than those that are projected into the future by your models, but whatevs...

Dunno about reversing global warming, but I did see some interesting stuff from Octillion, a company that has developed a "nano-silicon photovoltaic film", that can be sprayed onto any surface, basically making your windows into solar panels. Pretty neat.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
I think that there are plenty more pressing problems today than those that are projected into the future by your models
well, that alarmist left wing liberal tree-hugger hippie organization, whats it called... oh yes, THE PENTAGON, disagrees with you:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2004/feb/22/usnews.theobserver

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2004/feb/22/usnews.theobserver1

http://www.grist.org/news/muck/2004/02/25/pentagoners/

some of the details are not accurate, such as europe might not freeze over exactly by 2020... but it's about the bigger picture innit. here is the PDF of the report.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Let's say global warming reaches a point where it is irreversible (this may already be the case).
As I've said before, the planet's gone through stages of being one big swamp, forest, desert, snowball...I don't think it's helpful to talk about 'irreversible' change since the climate and composition of the biosphere has always been mutable and dynamic. It's more useful to talk about whether anthropogenic climate change is having effects that may be reversed within the time scale of (say) one or several human lifespans.
 

elgato

I just dont know
IMO it is self-evident.
self-evident in the sense of temporal proximity, but i would not equate that necessarily with prioritisation

i was also referring more to your jump from stating that it is not the most pressing problem faced to the implication that we should not be seriously facing or discussing it at all
 

elgato

I just dont know
sorry looking at this again i think im over-simplifying this, because you were only specifically dismissing discussion of investment right?
 

vimothy

yurp
self-evident in the sense of temporal proximity, but i would not equate that necessarily with prioritisation
Simply because it's closer, it does not therefore follow that it is more pressing. I haven't got any money today, but I'm more worried about having nowhere to live next week. However, I'd say that the world as is contains enough problems (poverty, famine, disease, war, oppression, etc, etc, etc) that require solutions more urgently than problems that may arise in the future if your models are correct.

i was also referring more to your jump from stating that it is not the most pressing problem faced to the implication that we should not be seriously facing or discussing it at all
Fair enough. I wouldn't want to shut any discussion down, only have my 2p. I think that it was the grand and unrealistic (though pleasantly sci-fi) scope of the initial post that made me respond. A magic reverse-global-warming-ray? What about all the stuff that's happening now?
 
D

droid

Guest
As I've said before, the planet's gone through stages of being one big swamp, forest, desert, snowball...I don't think it's helpful to talk about 'irreversible' change since the climate and composition of the biosphere has always been mutable and dynamic.
As I responded when you made this point originally, it all depends on timescale. And it seems that on a 'human' timescale the effects my be irreversible, as almost any natural (or unnatural) disaster (nuclear winter etc..) is reversible given a lengthy enough timescale (several thousand or million years depending on the scale of the disaster), so whilst technically correct, I don't really see the relevance of your point. It also fails to take into account the diminished capabilities of societies to develop new technologies due to the demand for resources for crisis management purposes any such disaster would entail.

It's more useful to talk about whether anthropogenic climate change is having effects that may be reversed within the time scale of (say) one or several human lifespans.
A likely rise of temperatures of between one and six degrees within the next 100 years would lead to extinction of between a fifth and a third of all species of flora and fauna, and precipitate inundation of coasts and islands inhabited by hundreds of millions of people.

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=37250
When did mass extinction become 'reversible'?
 
D

droid

Guest
Simply because it's closer, it does not therefore follow that it is more pressing. I haven't got any money today, but I'm more worried about having nowhere to live next week. However, I'd say that the world as is contains enough problems (poverty, famine, disease, war, oppression, etc, etc, etc) that require solutions more urgently than problems that may arise in the future if your models are correct.
I'm not a climate change ideologue, but there is an almost unanimous scientific consensus on this issue, of course that doesn't mean that there is absolute certainty (when is there?), but there seems to be more than enough evidence to support the model suggested by the IPCC and others.

Which brings me to point two - if the models are correct, then this is the major problem we face, because only action we take now can mitigate its future effects. And since those effects may include mass extinction of a third of species of the planet, as well as destruction through flooding of some of the most populous regions on Earth resulting in the displacement of 100's of millions of people, the destruction of industrial capacity etc... and of course heatwaves, fresh water shortages, and so on, climate change is going to act as a multiplier of all of the problems you mention above.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
ANY extinction is irreversible, of course. And extinction happens all the time, it's a perfectly natural part of evolution. All I'm trying to say is that I think it's misleading to talk about change being 'irreversible' since it implies the false idea that the world has always existed in a perfect stasis or equilibrium that humans have suddenly thrown into dynamic disarray. I'm certainly *not* trying to make out that climate change is anything less than potentially catastrophic for us a species.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Which brings me to point two - if the models are correct, then this is the major problem we face, because only action we take now can mitigate its future effects. And since those effects may include mass extinction of a third of species of the planet, as well as destruction through flooding of some of the most populous regions on Earth resulting in the displacement of 100's of millions of people, the destruction of industrial capacity etc... and of course heatwaves, fresh water shortages, and so on, climate change is going to act as a multiplier of all of the problems you mention above.
Quite right - and Vim, surely you'd agree that increasingly scarce resources, more frequent extreme weather events and general habitat/ecosystem degradation is bound to make poverty, famine, disease, war, oppression, (etc, etc, etc) more and more widespread?
 

elgato

I just dont know
Simply because it's closer, it does not therefore follow that it is more pressing. I haven't got any money today, but I'm more worried about having nowhere to live next week. However, I'd say that the world as is contains enough problems (poverty, famine, disease, war, oppression, etc, etc, etc) that require solutions more urgently than problems that may arise in the future if your models are correct.

Fair enough. I wouldn't want to shut any discussion down, only have my 2p. I think that it was the grand and unrealistic (though pleasantly sci-fi) scope of the initial post that made me respond. A magic reverse-global-warming-ray? What about all the stuff that's happening now?
I would argue that the strength of evidence behind these projections, and the scale of the projected impacts (all of the global problems you identify to the power x, plus a fair few more), justifies a very serious and considered approach to the question of how we should be thinking, acting and prioritising

I was also very surprised that you responded as you did to this post, as (without wishing to presume, or intending any offence) such technological revelation is usually the first argument proffered by those aiming to justify a non-precautionary approach, and the continuing deregulation of markets in the face of climate change
 
D

droid

Guest
ANY extinction is irreversible, of course. And extinction happens all the time, it's a perfectly natural part of evolution. All I'm trying to say is that I think it's misleading to talk about change being 'irreversible' since it implies the false idea that the world has always existed in a perfect stasis or equilibrium that humans have suddenly thrown into dynamic disarray. I'm certainly *not* trying to make out that climate change is anything less than potentially catastrophic for us a species.
True. Sorry to imply otherwise.

I should also have made the distinction between 'natural extinction' and 'man made mass extinction'.
 

Mr BoShambles

jambiguous
Anyone see The 11th Hour shown on Channel 4 recently? One of the experts on it said that 99.9999% of all species which have inhabited planet earth in the past are today extinct. Extinction is a natural process. Planet Earth will live on and support life of some kind regardless of global warming..... Of course the future of humans or other specific species living today is far less certain.
 
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