Geoengineering: Will It Ever Stop Being So Funny?

Next to the Gore Effect, the only joy I take from the Anthropogenic Global Warming movement is that it birthed the fad of Geoengineering. It’s kind of like sixth-grade social studies — “we should drag icebergs from the South Pole to Africa to end thirst!” — but it involves adults: soft scientists masquerading as the real kind competing to devise the largest Rube Goldberg device, extra points awarded when the project looks likely to run into the quadrillions, winner gets a mention in the NY Times Freakonomics blog.


My previous favorite was the Fertilize the Ocean! project, in which plankton food would be spread across the waters, stimulating the mildly erotic sea creature, the salp, to come to the surface and feed, during which time it would consume some carbon, following which it would take a s***. The carbon would fall to the bottom of the ocean, thus saving Earth from something or other at a cost of Germany’s GDP in plankton food.

But last week, Freakonomics gave us the wonderful headline: “Finally: A Garden Hose to the Sky”, a title that doesn’t make sense for, like, four reasons:

Well, it’s actually happening. An idea reported extensively in SuperFreakonomics has come to fruition, and some mad scientists are getting their way (and a little government funding) to build a garden hose to the sky — and potentially save the world by cooling it down.

A team of British researchers called SPICE (Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering) is trying to pump particles of water into the atmosphere as a test run before moving onto sulfates and aerosols that would reflect sunlight away from earth, mimicking the aftereffect of a massive volcanic eruption. SPICE is building the garden hose at an undisclosed location, with £1.6 million in U.K. government funding and the backing of the Royal Society.

Check out Steven Levitt’s interview with Jon Stewart from 2009, where he discusses the idea (beginning at about the 2:20 mark).


(Raise your hand if you sensed that somehow, by the grace of … leftism, the words “Jon Stewart” would show up in that piece.)

Take a look: the article includes some helpful illustrations, including an artist’s rendering of what is described as the “very long hose.”


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