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Earl Killian sends me this WSJ op-ed, “Thinking Big on Global Warming” (subs. req’d.), which I will reprint below in its entirety. He sees some good news in it — the WSJ “published a non-denier [opinion] piece.”
Yes, but geo-engineering is one of the Delayers’ sexiest strategies — holding out the promise of a pure techno-fix that doesn’t require all those annoying regulations needed to completely changing our energy system. The conservative (duh!) authors of the WSJ piece embrace trying to “develop capabilities for increasing the fraction of sunlight that is reflected outward by the upper atmosphere back into space.” They claim:
We know it would work because it happens naturally all the time.
Yes, volcanoes spew out aerosols that cool the Earth. I have previously debunked aerosol geo-engineering. The authors seem unaware of a major study that finds “doing so would cause problems of its own, including potentially catastrophic drought.”
And, of course, this strategy allows unfettered ocean acidification, and as noted recently, “When CO2 levels in the atmosphere reach about 500 parts per million, you put calcification out of business in the oceans.”
So we might temporarily stave off superheating the planet, but still bring ruinous climate change and destroyed the ocean ecosystem! The authors claim:
Do not try to sell climate geo-engineering to committed enemies of fossil fuels. Although several geo-engineering options appear to be highly cost-effective, ideological opposition to them is often fierce. Fashionable blogs are replete with conspiracy theories and misinformed attacks.
Who are these enemies of fossil fuels? I don’t know such people. I know enemies of greenhouse gases. I am one of those. But we tend to like natural gas, and many of us would be okay with coal if you added permanent carbon capture and storage. Greenhouse gas mitigation avoids catastrophic global warming with high confidence and few negative side effects (and, indeed, many positive side effects). No one has proposed a geo-engineering plan that meets either of those two tests.
Here is the full op-ed:
My colleagues at CAP, including Board member Carol Browner, have begun weighing in on “America’s Climate Security Act.”
Kit Batten and Daniel J. Weiss have a statement here. They call the bill a “good start” and embrace most of the proposals, including its lack of a safety valve. They are critical of one “dead end” provision that would “give utilities bonus allowances to encourage the adoption of ‘carbon capture and sequestration technology’ for power plants”:
These incentives do not guarantee the deployment of this technology. The bill should instead include an emissions performance standard for new power plants.
Batten and Weiss also want significantly more allowances auctioned and “a much greater commitment of revenue for international aid.” I agree!
Here are the thoughts of Browner, EPA Administrator (1993-2001):
For years, I have been looking for a good, readable book on the oil problem and its solution — just as I’d been looking for a good book on clean technology. Well, I found the Clean Tech book in August, and now I’ve found the oil book.
It is Freedom from Oil by Brookings scholar and White House veteran, David Sandalow. It is an unqualified success — cleverly told as a series of policy memos from the Cabinet of a near-future President, who begins the book by telling his staff:
“I plan to deliver an address from the Oval Office one month from today. The topic will be oil dependence.”
In the breathless narrative that follows, you learn the stripped-down facts about oil dependency plus the growing strategic and environmental danger posed by oil dependency– AND key solutions like plug-in hybrids and revised CAFE standards (as well as stories of fascinating figures in the oil game). You get a “unique window into the White House at work” from a former assistant secretary of state and senior director on the National Security Council staff.
Sandalow’s President ultimately offers an aggressive plan to free the country from oil dependence, which includes:
Yesterday was an experiment with double the usual number of posts to see what would happen to visits and page views.
The answer: Climate Progress had a good jump in both, with the most page views in two weeks and the most visits in over a month.
So, I’ll try to do this at least once a week as long as the response is good — lord knows there is plenty of climate news to report on!