After years of deadlock over climate policy, Congress appears poised to enact the first federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions this fall. Yet a growing number of climate scientists and scholars believe that such efforts are likely to be too little, too late to stop warming -- and that, consequently, a broader view of our climate policy options is needed.
On Monday, the National Academy of Sciences will convene a workshop to explore the question of "geoengineering" the climate -- that is, influencing the global environment in ways that would restore balance to the global energy system and cool the planet until emissions reductions take effect.
Many climate scientists believe that a significant degree of warming is already "locked in" by past emissions and that greenhouse gas concentrations have already reached potentially dangerous levels. To avoid warming, therefore, global emissions would have to be halted immediately -- and existing emissions would have to be removed from the atmosphere as well. Not a likely prospect.
Even if the international climate treaty due to be negotiated in Copenhagen in December is vastly more stringent and effective than the Kyoto Protocol, it will take decades to eliminate net global emissions. Warming seems inevitable; the only questions are its timing, distribution and severity. The effects may prove to be modest -- but they could be severe or perhaps catastrophic.
Even strong advocates of limiting emissions have concluded that global emissions controls are likely to take effect too slowly and too unevenly to avoid substantial risk of severe damage -- and that it would be prudent to pursue research on geoengineering. White House science adviser John Holdren recently explained that "we have to look at the possibilities and understand them -- including their shortcomings -- because if other approaches to mitigation fall short, the geoengineering approach will end up being considered."
This idiot accepts as gospel truth the ravings of Gore, Hansen, et al, that unless we immediately halt all CO2 emissions and do something to reduce the current levels in the atmosphere, that the consequences may be 'catastrophic'. Look at his profile page on the AEI website. His only college degree is a BA in "Social Studies". His only work experience is in the world of politics:
Director of Communications, White House Council on Environmental Quality, 2001-2003
Chief Speechwriter, U.S. Department of Labor, 2001
Speechwriter to George E. Pataki, Governor of New York, 1999-2001
Spokesman, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 1996-99
Environmental Studies Fellow, Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1993-95
Research Assistant to Professor Aaron Wildavsky, University of California, Berkeley, 1993
Research Fellow, Political Economy Research Center, 1993