Saturday, October 16, 2010

Global Warming Homeopathy, and Maybe Worse

Dana Milbank at the WaPo gives us some establishment thinking now that cap and trade looks to be legislatively dead:

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.

Then come the gee-whiz ideas.

As if covering "the deserts" with aluminum isn't "gee-whiz" enough!

How much energy will be spent doing all these things? How much benefit will there really be?

What percent of the Earth's surface consists of roofs?

How did all the financial engineering work out?

Mr. Milbank is, I'm sure, sane. However, the ideas he's espousing are fantasy on multiple levels, IMHO.

Wouldn't be better simply to tax new construction and possibly even renovations of all coastal regions at a specified level above sea level so that people would have an incentive to move to more protected areas? And, remove flood and hurricane insurance subsidies for homeowners in those regions?

The planet has been much warmer before. An Ice Age is almost certainly coming, probably sooner rather than later. Doing further experimentation with the planet could simply be adding insult to injury, even if carbon dioxide is indeed contributing to the last century's mild warming phase.

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