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Sierra Daily

Oct 18, 2010

The Nutty Idea Gap

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank is worried that, with the demise of climate-protection legislation in Congress. we need to come up with "a plan B for climate change." Increased funding for renewables? Support for the EPA's authority to regulate CO2 as an air pollutant? Nope.

 I suggest they try smoke and mirrors -- literally.

Scientists are already pondering the use of smoke (sulfur dioxide injected into the stratosphere) and mirrors (installing reflectors made of metal or lunar glass a million miles from Earth) to cool the planet. It's time for policymakers to get serious about these and other "geoengineering" proposals to cool the Earth and remove excess carbon.

Pouring money into such schemes, argues Millbank, "would prevent other nations from gaining a lead in geoengineering technologies," as well as finally providing a purpose for NASA. He does admit there's a downside: "Some of these ideas could bring unwanted side effects, including catastrophic droughts, famine and the destruction of ocean life."  With downsides like that, it almost makes it seem like it would be more desirable to just get off coal and oil and invest in some clean energy solutions.

--Paul Rauber

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