Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fighting Global Warming with Artificial Trees

I heard this on the news this morning and thought I had fallen asleep at the wheel or something (ie: I thought I was dreaming, this couldn't be real).

White House's new science adviser says the administration is thinking of investing in technology that will physically cool the earth's atmospheric temperature. Like artificial trees that suck CO2 from the atmosphere. Look at the downside:

Holdren, a 1981 winner of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, outlined these possible geoengineering options:

_ Shooting sulfur particles (like those produced by power plants and volcanoes, for example) into the upper atmosphere, an idea that gained steam when it was proposed by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen in 2006. It would be "basically mimicking the effect of volcanoes in screening out the incoming sunlight," Holdren said.

_ Creating artificial "trees" — giant towers that suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it.

The first approach would "try to produce a cooling effect to offset the heating effect of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases," Holdren said.

But he said there could be grave side effects. Studies suggest that might include eating away a large chunk of the ozone layer above the poles and causing the Mediterranean and the Mideast to be much drier.

And those are just the predicted problems. Scientists say they worry about side effects that they don't anticipate.

I suddenly worry about wingnut ideas like this showing up in stimulus bills.

1 comment:

Keith Walters said...

We humans have come a long way, when I was young we could only plant real trees. Ahh the bliss of progress.