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The world needs less from us (and more) (by Tim Crownshaw)

The world needs less from us (and more) (by Tim Crownshaw)

Ghosts Of The Concrete World by Cameron Gray (parablevisions.com)

Around two decades ago, scientists began seriously discussing the prospects and suitability of geoengineering as a response to climate change. The options which have the potential to make a difference over a short timeframe revolve around ‘Solar Radiation Management’ (SRM)―technological interventions in the earth’s climate system designed to enhance the reflection of incoming solar radiation and counteract anthropogenic warming. The debate is still ongoing as proponents suggest that these schemes may buy time and offer a means to avert the worst possible climate outcomes, while detractors emphasize the high costs, lack of demonstrated feasibility at scale, ethical concerns, and risks of unintended consequences. Proposed methods are becoming more outlandish as the climate threat mounts. Aside from stratospheric aerosol injection (the earliest and most widely discussed SRM technique), conceptual designs now include spreading reflective silica across vast tracts of the Arctic, thickening sea ice by pumping water onto the ice surface in winter, building space-based light deflectors, and even constructing giant walls and artificial islands to shore up disintegrating glaciers and ice sheets.

While at first glance you might want to applaud their audacity, let’s be blunt: these proposals are absurd. First, there are the obvious problems. SRM doesn’t slow the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, therefore, fails to address ocean and aquatic habitat acidification. SRM interventions would unavoidably produce a range of geochemical side effects, such as ozone depletion and changes to hydrological cycles. This translates to greater extremes of wet and dry, and hot and cold, with higher probability of severe droughts in equatorial regions. Consequently, implementing SRM would be tantamount to placing our economic and lifestyle priorities ahead of the basic needs of communities in developing regions already severely stressed by climate change.

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