Posted by: shoji | October 25, 2007

How to Cool the Globe

TreeHugger pans this short NYT Op/Ed piece and with good reason.  Remember:

Unintended consequences are unintended.

And it’s corollary:

Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

If we did push forward with Ken Caldiera’s plan to cool the Earth by introducing sulfate particles into the stratosphere, then what are the consequences?

How to Cool the Globe – New York Times
What can be done? One idea is to counteract warming by tossing small particles into the stratosphere (above where jets fly). This strategy may sound far-fetched, but it has the potential to cool the earth within months.

Mount Pinatubo, a volcano in the Philippines that erupted in 1991, showed how it works. The eruption resulted in sulfate particles in the stratosphere that reflected the sun’s rays back to space, and as a consequence the earth briefly cooled.

If we could pour a five-gallon bucket’s worth of sulfate particles per second into the stratosphere, it might be enough to keep the earth from warming for 50 years. Tossing twice as much up there could protect us into the next century.


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