In a recent edition of City Journal, Fred Siegel explored how the radical environmentalism of the early 1970s created a new breed of “Progressives Against Progress,” as he put it:
In 1972, Sir John Maddox, editor of the British journal Nature, noted that though it had once been usual to see maniacs wearing sandwich boards that proclaimed the imminent end of the Earth, they had been replaced by a growing number of frenzied activists and politicized scientists making precisely the same claim. In the years since then, liberalism has seen recurring waves of such end-of-days hysteria. These waves have shared not only a common pattern but often the same cast of characters. Strangely, the promised despoliations are most likely to be presented as imminent when Republicans are in the White House. In each case, liberals have argued that the threat of catastrophe can be averted only through drastic actions in which the ordinary political mechanisms of democracy are suspended and power is turned over to a body of experts and supermen.
Flash-forward from the early 1970s to 2010, and Dana Milbank arguing in the Washington Post that “it is time to come up with an alternative to regulating carbon, a Plan B for climate change.”
Or as Tim Blair wrote at the start of 2009 when earlier hairshirt environmentalists made similar proposal, it sounds like an Ed Wood or Roger Corman movie — Plan B From Outer Space!
Scientists are already pondering the use of smoke (sulfur dioxide injected into the stratosphere) and mirrors (installing reflectors made of metal or lunar glass a million miles from Earth) to cool the planet. It’s time for policymakers to get serious about these and other “geoengineering” proposals to cool the Earth and remove excess carbon.
None of this means giving up on carbon reduction, which remains the only sure way to prevent man-made climate change. But as the failure in Congress to reach consensus slows progress toward an international agreement, the wasted time could be used to create a fallback plan…
To keep the Earth from absorbing warmth, we could paint roofs, roads and pavement white. We could plant lighter, more reflective grasses, or cover the deserts with reflective aluminum. Boats or planes could spray ocean clouds with sea salt to make them whiter; pumping tiny particles into the atmosphere could mimic the cooling effect of volcanic eruptions.
The geo-engineering proposals that Milbank references above are favorites of John Holdren, the president’s “science czar” and in-house equivalent of Dr. Strangelove; I explored several of these in a Silicon Graffiti video last year titled…
A year after the University of East Anglia’s notorious ClimateGate incident, only a few weeks after the 10/10 group’s fascistic, “Kill ’em all, let Gaia sort it out” video, do journalists such as Milbank realize how nutty they sound — at least to those us who dissent from the religion of Gaia?