Friday, October 20, 2006

Having the Weather Over For Breakfast

After pumping oodles of carboniferous compounds into the upper atmosphere, stratosphere, troposphere, globosphere, carbonosphere and othersphere, the denizens of the planet earth are apparently due for an extended swelter. It's science! Or at least, it's what the newspapers tell us is science. Climate change, it's called - the idea is that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, rather than locking heat out. I'm a tad doubtful about becoming the victim of a hypothesis that makes predictions about events that happen over thousands of years and millions of kilometres, and have a margin for error that would extend into the next ice age, but scientist I'm not.

Still, if we've put the planet in the condition that it is now, it seems to me that we can put it back. It's like cleaning up your room, only on a slightly more globalistic scale, with a smidgen of terraforming and a smattering of explosions. In short, I think that with a little can-do attitude and ingenuity, people can change the environment to have it any way they want!

So with that in mind, I would like to submit for your perusal and criticism SEVEN MODEST PROPOSALS FOR WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN TACKLE GLOBAL WARMING. This is by no means a definitive list, but it will do for a start. Hopefully, a science-person will pick up on these suggestions, and we can start working on one of them!

1. BOMBS! If carbon-dioxide traps heat INTO the atmosphere, we just need to find something that traps heat OUT of the atmosphere. Simple, really. Apparently, there are elements and compounds which will do this quite nicely. I remember reading in Ian Plimer's history of the planet earth that volcanic eruptions tend to cause global cooling because of the vast amounts of sulphur they spew into the atmosphere.

So. All we need to do is plant a couple of MILLION TONNES of sulphur bombs in the atmosphere, set them all off at once, and - voila - instant cooling!

Of course, with atmospheric engineering on this scale, things might get a little cool a little too quickly. But that's simple; all we need to do then is fly another couple of million tonnes of carbon dioxide bombs into the atmosphere and blow THEM up, too! We repeat the whole process, altering sulphur bombs with carbon dioxide bombs until we reach a happy, temperate medium. Simple!

2. MIRRORS! The ice caps at the north and south pole currently reflect a good deal of heat away from the earth. This effect could, with a little imagination, surely be extended. All we need to do is to construct a couple of millions of miles of mirrors! We have tonnes of space out there in the Australian desert that aren't being used, and there's plenty of Saharas and Nevadas and so forth that we would be able to use as well! We wouldn't have to worry about them being too heavy. After all, we could just make the mirrors, like, very thin.

3. We could deliberately target a comet at the earth. In the past, large comets have collided with the planet, raising vast plumes of dust which apparently have caused a net cooling effect. Well, what nature can do to the planet by accident, we can surely do - on PURPOSE! We just need to make a comet the right size, and make sure everyone gets out of the way for all those earthquakes and tidal waves and stuff.

4. Put the entire world in a gigantic refrigerator. Of course, in powering the refrigerator, we run the risk of burning off a heck of a lot of coal power and producing more carbon dioxide emissions, but we could simply power the refrigerator by geothermal means, hooking it up to the earth's core. It wouldn't be that difficult, we could just run a refrigerator element through all those mirrors that we put up in 2).

5. Alternatively, if we don't want to make a refrigerator THAT big, we could simply make a refrigerator that's thousands of miles long rather than millions. We'd then use it to turn chunks of the ocean into gigantic ice cubes, and then plant those ice cubes in places where we really need them. Like, say, the Australian desert. I'm sure they could do with some ice cubes about now! Or we could cart those ice cubes out to the north and south pole and set them up there, supplementing the mirror effect those places have on the sun.

6. Set up a GIGANTIC umbrella in space - we could string it up to the moon or something. Then we could use it to block out the sun when things get too hot. You know, just like a Sunday picnic!

7. Alter the orbit of the planet Earth so it's juuuust that much further away from the sun, and juuuuust that much cooler. This could be achieved by, say, everybody going to stand on one side of the Earth and jumping at the same time. Maybe we could all go and jump on America, because nobody seems to like those guys. (Except for me! Hey, guys, we still seeing one another in February? That's alright then ...)

So there you go, science-people! Seven simple solutions to global warming. If you're going to go with the 'umbrella in space' idea, well, I'm up for a trip to the moon! So who's going to take me up on it?


Don Quixote said...

All jokes aside, in a random sample of 1% (600) of the scientific papers written on global warming all agreed with the premise that we're unnaturally warming the globe; however in an equal sample of news articles, only something like 65% agreed with the science. So when you say that global warming is a media beat-up you're right, only not in the way that you think.

And in a period of climatic change coming as a precursor to an ice age the global temperature raises about .5 of a degree every thousand years. We've raised the global temperature by a degree in fifty years, and most estimates have us raising it by another degree in the next twenty - forty years.

But hey, screw the scientists (because the notion of a media beat-up is as bunk as democracy for Iraq or greater media diversification through the promotion of the Packerstellasphere). In the words of ExxonMobil: "Carbon Dioxide, they call it pollution, we call it life." Bon Appetite!!

TimT said...

Who said I was joking????

Mish said...

One vote for putting the entire world in a large refrigerator. Seriously, I would not complain if I never experienced anything >23 degrees C.

Don Quixote said...

No jokes aside then. Letting both deadly humorous arguments stand, the jury shall decide.

TimT said...

I was serious - well, no, half serious, then. I actually think that some of these methods would work. I mean, really, how hard would it be to make a gigantic mirror? All you need is a tonne of white paint and a tonne of empty space. How many freezers making ice cubes are there in the world? We could stop the poles from melting, just like that. Or if we really wanted to screen out the heat from the sun by throwing dust up in the atmosphere - well, we don't have to worry about a comet. There's tonnes of dust just IN MY HOUSE that they could use for that. Anyone up for flying a dust-bomber into the stratosphere?

I remember when the media really started getting into a frenzy about the greenhouse effect, I started thinking, 'well, why can't we go up there and take the carbon dioxide back?' Stupid thought, maybe - I mean, where are we going to plug the vacuum cleaner in? But still - maybe it could be done ...

Of course, if environmentalists were REALLY worried about the greenhouse effect, and REALLY accepted the science, wholesale, then I think they would start putting ideas like this forward.

Why haven't they?

I think they haven't because:
a) they know it will make them look ridiculous and the public will laugh at them. (The Australian Greens are just as unprincipled or 'poll driven' as the Liberals or the Labor Party)
b) they secretly doubt that the greenhouse effect is happening, and want to just whip up public hysteria to get votes.

I can get away with things like this because people think I'm not being serious ... bit of a paradox, really!

So come on, people - it's time for half-serious, full-on crazy suggestions! Think outside the square!

Don Quixote said...

Wah? The Greens are poll driven because they won't put forth a proposal to vacuum the atmosphere clean?

Ahhhh, I see what you're doing; you're bringing gallows humor to the topic in order that we go down enjoying ourselves: you're a cellist furiously striking a tune even as the waters lap at your feet on the sinking titanic.

I like the method you're employing. I think that further to your suggestion, the same vacuum cleaner, once having been used to eliminate the global warming problem, should also be put to work solving the Iraqi problem. In fact if the wavering coalition of the willing didn't also use that vacuum cleaner to simply suck up all the insurgents then they wouldn't REALLY be serious about the threat of global terror!

TimT and Don Quixote: solving the world's problems one keystroke at a time.

Caz said...

Don Quixote has you over a barrel (er, vacuum) on this one Timmy.

Caz said...

Actually, it's what the scientists tell us is science, and is demonstrable, and consistently measurable and true.

The MSM couldn't beat up a story like this to save themselves. They may report on it badly and inacurately, but that's because they're stooopid and hysterical and are pandering to a public that is the entire cause of the problem and don't have the time or energy to bother understanding what's going on, and have minimal inclination to change their entire way of life - which is what would be required, merely to minimise the exponential growth of greenhouse gas emissions - no hope of reversing the levels, none. Besides, let the next generation worry about it, 'eh? Or the next. Wait until the "proof" is 150% evident, instead of settling for 100%.

Caz said...

Of course, we could just wait to see if the permafrosts all melt, releasing squillions of tonnes of CO2, then it would simply be all over red rover.

Yeah, let's wait to see if that happens.

TimT said...

If we have it in our power to cause a greenhouse effect, as is claimed, then isn't it just possible that we also have it in our power to cause the reverse?

Caz said...

It actually can't be reversed: read the stats on emission forecasts.

The targets aren't, and can't be, to stop emissions, or to even cut the total, merely to slow down the exponential output.

It's quite a lame goal, all things considered, but I suppose it's the best they argue, short of telling everyone, including a few billion Chinese and Indians that they are not allowed to develop - at all - and telling a few billion Westerners that they have to cease and desist from their entire lifestyle - right now.

We're not nearly as clever as we think we are.

I actually don't believe the planet will be wiped out: humans are extraordinarily adaptable. Look at how well we took to creating carbon emissions, and how we continue to do so with such vigour and committment! See, we can adapt, and we will. It will be different, not dead.

Caz said...

Some pertinent thoughts from Einstein:

"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

TimT said...

There was a quote by Mark Twain I was going to preface this post with.

"So much talk about the weather, and yet so little is actually done about it!"

TimT said...

The main point of this post was satire, but I still think that some of the ideas articulated above were sound.

Both 'left' and 'right' in the climate change debate are full of contradictions, and are more interested in ideology than ideas.

Caz said...

Ah, yes, but Don Quixote scuttled your plans, kicking off with "All jokes aside ... ", and bang, Bob's your uncle, they were!

Thing is, the left and right are all blinkered twits.

I don't care what any of them say, or what corporations have to say: it's the science that matters.

Unfortunately, in order to do anything constructive on a national and international level politicians need to be involved. And we know how good they are at policy 101, no matter whether on the left or right or green or purple or impaled on the fence.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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