Saturday, February 13, 2021

Blowback/Rev XX ... AKA No. 3400

  1. 1
    a process in which gases expand or travel in a direction opposite to the usual one, especially through escape of pressure or delayed combustion.
  1. the unintended adverse results of a political action or situation.
    "this is the blowback from all those aggressive public health campaigns"

This term blowback usually refers to the CIA but in this case, it has to do with geoengineering and the inherent risks this poses to earth as we mover further into the anthropocene.

Definition ...

Geoengineering, the large-scale manipulation of a specific process central to controlling Earth’s climate for the purpose of obtaining a specific benefit. Global climate is controlled by the amount of solar radiation received by Earth and also by the fate of this energy within the Earth system—that is, how much is absorbed by Earth’s surface and how much is reflected or reradiated back into space. The reflectance of solar radiation is controlled by several mechanisms, including Earth’s surface albedo and cloud coverage and the presence in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). If geoengineering proposals are to influence global climate in any meaningful way, they must intentionally alter the relative influence of one of these controlling mechanisms. - Encyclopedia Britannica 

In essence, this is man's guesstimate as to how to ameliorate the impact of GW or, as Elizabeth Kolbert, who knows far more about this issue than this rube will ever know, asks the existential question. What could possibly go wrong?

Q. You’ve reported on climate change for a long time. How does it feel to see geoengineering being explored as a more valuable — and potentially necessary — option?

A. Well, one thing I learned in the course of reporting the book was that what we now refer to as “geoengineering” was actually the very first thing that people started to think about when they realized we were warming the climate. The very first report about climate change that was handed to Lyndon Johnson in 1965 wasn’t about how we should stop emitting — it was: “Maybe we should find some reflective stuff to throw into the ocean to bounce more sunlight back into space!”

It’s odd, it’s kind of almost freakish, and I can’t explain it, except to say that it sort of fits the pattern of the book.

Q. There’s been a longstanding fight in environmentalism between a “technology-will-save-us” philosophy and a “return-to-nature” philosophy. Based on the reporting in this book, do you think that the technology camp has won?

A.  I think the book is an attempt to take on both of those schools of thought. On some level, technology has won — even people who would say “don’t do geoengineering” still want to put up solar panels and build huge arrays of batteries, and those are technologies! But where does that leave us? It goes back to Ruth Gates and the “super coral project”. There was a big fight among coral biologists about whether a project like that should even be pursued. The Great Barrier Reef is the size of Italy — even if you have some replacement coral, how are you going to get them out on the reef? But Gates’s point was, we’re not returning. Even if we stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, you’re not getting the Great Barrier Reef back as it was in a foreseeable timeframe.

My impulse as an old-school environmentalist is to say “Well, let’s just leave things alone.” But the sad fact is that we’ve intervened so much at this point that even not intervening is itself … an intervention.

Have just started reading Under a White Sky, a take on the ultimate Wicked Problem AKAIK.

May you live in interesting times - Chinese Proverb

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