On Sun, Sep 16, 2012  meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  > If you adjust the scale of a graph you can always make a gentle rise
>> look like a near vertical wall.
> Yes, that's why historical graphs covering hundreds of thousands of years
> make it appear that CO2 and  temperature changes in the past were as rapid
> as those over the past 100yrs.

To life on Earth a hundred thousand years is the blink of an eye, life is
nearly 4 billion years old, this graph goes back about 600 million years:

[image: http://www.oarval.org/ScoteseClimateHist.png]
As I said the Earth has almost always been warmer than it is now, and take
a look at the lower right hand corner, does that look like a terrifying
vertical wall to you indicating that all life is about to be boiled to

> Whether clouds increase or decrease warming depends on how high they are
> and whether they are on the day side (cooling) or the night side (warming).


> But since they are a feedback effect they can't turn the warming effect
> of CO2 into net cooling, they can only damp or amplify it.

Well yeah, if you change something you've either dampened it or amplified

> Uncertainty about clouds is one of the reasons climate models predict a
> wide range of temperatures,

And that is one reason we shouldn't trust those climate models enough to
put our lives in their hands. And I suppose I should admit that on a list
of world problems I just wouldn't rank climate change very high, for one
thing even if it's  happening and caused by humans global warming would
probably be a good thing on the whole, the climate has always been changing
and it's hard to believe that the exact temperature the Earth is at now is
the perfect temperature for Human beings when far more freeze to death than
die of heat stroke. And even if it is a bad thing most of the cures
proposed would be far far worse than the disease; crazy green people like
to jabber about eliminating coal but without coal the economic miracle in
China that lifted 400 million people out of poverty in just 20 years would
have never happened. And even if it does cause problems a century from now
the best policy would be for us to do nothing because our descendents
would have far more powerful tools to solve the problem than we do; it
would be as if you demanded that the Wright brothers solve the problem of
airport congestion before they finished their airplane.

But suppose I'm wrong and we need to do something now, is there anything we
can do other than what the green nuts want and instantly abandon fossil
fuels, which would cause a world wild economic depression unlike any seen
before and cause the death of billions? Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief
technical officer at Microsoft has an idea, he wants to build an artificial

Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 became the best studied large volcanic eruption in
history, it put more sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere than any volcano
since Krakatoa in 1883. There is no longer any dispute that stratospheric
sulfur dioxide leads to more diffuse sunlight, a decrease in the ozone
layer, and a general cooling of the planet. What was astonishing was how
little stratospheric sulfur dioxide was needed. If you injected it in the
arctic where it would be about 4 times more effective, about 100,000 tons a
year would reverse global warming in the northern hemisphere. That works
out to 34 gallons per minute, a bit more than what a standard garden hose
could deliver but much less than a fire hose. We already spew out over
200,000,000 tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere each year, but all
of that is in the lower troposphere where it has little or no cooling
effect, the additional 100,000 tons is a drop in the bucket if you're
looking at the tonnage, but it's in the stratosphere where its vastly more

Myhrvold wasn't suggesting anything as ambitious as a space elevator, just
a light hose about 2 inches in diameter going up about 18 miles. In one
design he burns sulfur to make sulfur dioxide, he then liquefies it and
injects it into the stratosphere with a hose supported every 500 to 1000
feet with helium balloons. Myhrvold thinks this design would cost about 150
million dollars to build and about 100 million a year to operate. In
another design that would probably be even cheaper he just slips a sleeve
over the smokestack of any existing small to midsize coal power plant in
the higher latitudes and uses the hot exhaust to fill hot air balloons to
support the hose.

If Myhrvold's cost estimate is correct (and I admit that most cost
estimates are not) that means it would take 50 million dollars less to cure
global warming than it cost Al Gore to just advertise the evils of climate
change. But even if Myhrvold's estimate is ten times or a hundred times or
a thousand times too low it hardly matters, it's still chump change. In a
report to the British government economist Nicholas Stern said that to
reduce carbon emissions enough to stabilize global warming by the end of
this century we would need to spend 1.5% of global GDP each year, that
works out to 1.2 trillion (trillion with a t) dollars EACH YEAR!

One great thing about Myhrvold's idea is that you're not doing anything
irreparable, if for whatever reason you want to stop you just turn a valve
on a hose and in about a year all the sulfur dioxide you injected will
settle out of the atmosphere. And Myhrvold isn't the only fan of this idea,
Paul Crutzen won a Nobel prize for his work on ozone depletion, in 2006 he
said efforts to solve the problem by reducing greenhouse gases were doomed
to be “grossly unsuccessful” and that an injection of sulfur in the
stratosphere “is the only option available to rapidly reduce temperature
rises and counteract other climatic effects”. Crutzen acknowledged that it
would reduce the ozone layer but the change would be small and the benefit
would be much greater than the harm.

And by the way, diffuse sunlight, another of the allegedly dreadful things
associated with sulfur dioxide high up in the atmosphere, well..., plant
photosynthesis is more efficient under diffuse light. Plants grow better in
air with lots of CO2 in it too, but that's another story.

 John K Clark

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