Cool the planet

Cool the planet

Grandiose plans to cool the earth and save the planet from overheating by using low-tech balloon flights that spray particles into the atmosphere to reflect solar radiation back to outer space has been delayed, no one knows for sure when or if it will continue.

The planetary cooling scheme called the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment aka: SCoPEx under the leadership of Harvard professor Fran Keutsch hopes to save humanity from greenhouse soils with plans to sprinkle aerosols of calcium carbonate and other substances 20 km above the earth’s surface to reflect solar radiation to outer space. The first flight scheduled for June 2021 was set to test the balloon and gondola equipment’s emissions of aerosols until recent years.

But heavy lobbying by prominent groups against the “alleged madness” of playing with the planet’s climate system put an end to this test drive. Still, it is an open question whether it really is madness. But no one knows for sure what consequences may follow. No! On the other hand, civilization has insanely changed the climate system by spraying carbon dioxide carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide SO2 into the atmosphere for years. The question now revolves around whether SCoPEx makes it worse by trying to fix it? Is that the question as such? Answer: maybe and yes.

It should be noted that research to help / repair / fix the Earth’s climate system, which is seriously broken, is ongoing at major universities around the world and with good reason. It is an open secret that the anthropocene (direct human influence) disturbs the earth’s climate system in very large pronounced ways, geologically with rotational speed. The proof is in numbers. For example, during the entire Holocene period over the last 10,000+ years, the natural carbon dioxide emissions were ~ 0.003 ppm / year, which corresponds to +36 ppm over a period of 12,000 years compared to today’s speed of 2.0 ppm / year or +40 ppm in just 20 years or geological light speed. It is very likely that the planet has never experienced such a rapid rate of change as it has, especially since World War II. There is absolutely nothing positive about it.

The risk of geotechnics, especially unthinkable unknown unknowns, has led to a clear reassessment of the effect of SCoPEx. Raymond Pierrehumbert, University of Oxford physicist and renowned expert on climate dynamics, argues that widespread adoption of SCoPEx would be Damocles’ sword hanging over humanity, meaning, unless carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to zero “… every year that goes by, you get more “CO2, which gives you more of a warming force that must be counteracted by an even greater amount of geotechnics. You are entering this death spiral, where you are trying to keep the earth habitable in the face of ever-increasing CO2 and put us at greater and greater risk of disaster.” (Source: Balloon Test Flight Plan Under Fire Over Solar Geoengineering Fears, “The Guardian, February 8, 2021)

Pierrehumbert’s critique is analogous to running endlessly on a treadmill that continues to grow larger and faster and multiply until it turns into a monolithic monster that overwhelms everything.

In addition, critics claim that the consequences of SCoPEx are not well understood. They claim that “large scale” stratospheric aerosol (SAI) injections can (1) damage the ozone layer, (2) cause excessive warming in the stratosphere, and (3) disrupt ecosystems. Each of these causes pause.

Imagine depleting some, or too much, of the ozone layer. Ozone molecules protect the planet from burning up, no questions asked. According to NASA: “Ozone absorbs harmful sunlight components, known as ultraviolet B or UV-B … above weather systems, absorbs a thin layer of ozone gas UV-B, which protects living things below.”

“Study of ozone levels before and after the 1991 Pinatubo eruption shows that there were significant reductions in lower stratospheric ozone (Grant et al., 1994). The amount of ozone in the 16-28 km region was reduced by 33% compared to pre-eruption amounts. “(Source: Volcanic Gases, Oregon State University)

“Sulfate aerosols pose well-known hazards such as ozone depletion and stratospheric heating.” (Source: Zhen Dai, et al, Experimental reaction rates limit ozone response estimates for calcium carbonate geotechnics, Nature, December 15, 2020)

But according to the same source: “An earlier modeling study from our group suggested that calcium carbonate (CaCO3) would enable stratospheric geotechnics with reduced ozone loss or even ozone increase, but that study lacked measurements of important CaCO3-specific reaction rates. This uncertainty must be resolved with empirical methods, “Ibid.

As such, SCoPEx plans to sprinkle calcium carbonate aerosols as preliminary research suggests that this mineral dust may be an acceptable solution, but the jury is still out. It’s way too early to know. Empirical studies for this are not easily done. With geotechnics, uncertainty is common.

Proponents of SCoPEx still advocate experiments with solar radiation redirection regardless of uncertainty, which hopefully increases or decreases the effect of several ecosystem risks associated with global warming, thus humanity continues to eat, drink and pretend to be happy, drinking helps.

Nevertheless, according to the state-owned Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), which operates the Esrange Space Station in Kinuna, Sweden, from which the test began: “The scientific community is divided in terms of geo-engineering,” (Source: Controversial test flight aimed at Cooling the Planet Canceled, PHYS.ORG, April 1, 2021)

Johanna Sandahl, chair of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation: “It is time for all countries in the world to live up to the de facto moratorium on geotechnics introduced by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity 2010 … The test will not be conducted in Sweden and should not be anywhere. “(Source: Geoengineering Monitor, April 1, 2021)

Both sides of the solar technology argument have agreed to meet to see if there is an intermediate road, but from the outside it does not look so promising. The list of questions, concerns and observations is endless, for example: What, where and for how long? Forever? Really? How about slip-ups, the unknown unknown? How about a loss of ozone or something comparable, quite simply? What happens if hydrological cycles fail and disrupt agricultural seasons? If SCoPEx does a reflection work A-plus while fossil fuels melt together, will oceans absorb so much carbon dioxide that whales go up in the stomach?

And, above all, other considerations: What happens if the worldview remains sharply divided? Then?


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