Geoengineering has come under attack recently by conspiracy theorists, scientists, to “greens.” There have been many kinds of proposals for geoengineering, and even a legal/illegal experiment pouring 200,000 pounds of iron sulfate into the North Pacific which was supposed to increase plankton that would absorb carbon dioxide. The experiment did not work and pissed off a lot of scientists. China also recently stopped their “flattening of mountains.” Therefore this article is not purely about techniques of combating global warming, but about the need for people to understand that geoengineering is a must, not only a must, but also a “human right.”
Some proposed methods of tackling climate change / global warming are:
Growing Algae "Everywhere"
Funnel salt water into the air
Sun-Refracting Space Shields
Artificial Mechanical Trees
Atmospheric Sulfate Infusion
Genetically Modified Supertrees
Dust Storms to promote algae blooms
Modular Nuclear Power
Tidal Power Driven Turbines
Rooftop Wind Power
While my favorites are genetically modified supertrees, artificial mechanical trees that take CO2 out of the air, and perhaps space mirrors, I would like to argue that we must try all and every kind of geoengineering, but with policy and foresight if we can.
“Today, the world can’t agree on how to curb carbon emissions. So imagine the not-too-distant future, when climate change has unmistakably arrived but countries can’t settle on which technological fixes should be employed.
So the International Institute for Strategic Studies wonders,
what’s to stop a country facing monsoon after monsoon from unilaterally trying to cool the Earth?
Such “rogue geo-engineering” could easily worsen matters for everyone. That prospect would then force countries to treat climate change as a serious geopolitical issue.
Better late than never, I suppose.”
And again, Nature Journal Editorial writes:
“Geoengineers should keep trying. They should come together and draft detailed, practical actions that need to be taken to advance governance in the field. Regulation in these cutting-edge and controversial areas needs to be working before the experiments begin, rather than racing to catch up.”
We have a problem though, the UN can't make up it's mind as science progresses towards possible fixes to save our current living system. As Russian scientists put pressure on the UN, as of now the UN reports that:
“Six nations submit requests to support new UN Climate Technology Centre” which inludes, “The requests for support relate to a broad range of climate action, from renewable energy policies to public transportation, and from biodiversity monitoring to saving mangrove forests for coastal protection.”
That is simply not enough, CO2now.org shows us that our current level is 401.30ppm, that is over 50ppm from the 350 we all heard so much about from Bill Mckibben. The levels continue to rise, and everything Al Gore anticipated in his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” may be reality very soon.
There are scientific committees working on reducing global warming and CO2 levels, but none of them have influenced the UN to take on geoengineering as a human right.
Despite many American and some foreign multinational corporations funding anti-global warming propaganda, the U.S. government on the other hand should treat climate change as a national security emergency. They are not. Instead, what they are troubled about is “anti government” protesters concerned about climate change.
You may ask, is the Pentagon, or the House going to do anything in relation to positive geoengineering? Nope, not so much. They have funded scientific research into climate change, that is true, but with our DOD more concerned about climate change influencing “anti-government” protests, how can the US, besides academia and the private sector influence the UN and world to take geoengineering seriously? How can we come up with a framework for cooperation, and fast?
The UN is also very cautious, and one cannot blame them – the genetically modified supertrees I mentioned before, well they might actually cross pollinate with not only other trees, but have a reverse affect on the environment. I doubt it very much, (with enriched soil and non-pollinating trees, we can control them) and concerns like these is what is keeping the world from reducing CO2 levels to the point that cities will be under water, and people around the equator will die if nothing is done.
The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Article 3 states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” and in Article 25 “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
What a mess.
Geoengineering is in our control if we do it right. We can push governments to declare that it is a right, for everything in Article 3 and 25 would become obsolete if the world goes into total chaos and millions, (if not billions) die from global warming. The DOD must stop treating environmentalists like criminals, even if there is protest.
The UN has to listen to the scientific community ASAP. People need to understand there is no negotiation with the sun, or the past destruction of the earth's ecosystem. We must cooperate on this matter and make it very political, as political as the right to "liberty and security."
The second installment of this article will look at the need for us to realize that the “ecosystem” is not an innate part of the earth, but instead an emergent complex system.
Kris Notaro, a former IEET intern, served as the IEET's Managing Director from 2012 through 2015. He is currently an IEET Program Director. He earned his BS in Philosophy from Charter Oak State College in Connecticut. He is currently the Bertrand Russell Society’s Vice-President for Website Technology. He has worked with the Bertrand Russell A/V Project at Central Connecticut State University, producing multimedia materials related to philosophy and ethics for classroom use. His major passions are in the technological advances in the areas of neuroscience, consciousness, brain, and mind.
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