Saturday, 27 January 2007

Smoke and Mirrors

According to this morning's Guardian the US government is considering whether building giant space mirrors and pumping dust(!) into the atmosphere could be a viable means to combat global warming. The idea is these could reflect away around 1% of the sun’s rays, counteracting the heating effects of greenhouse gases.

This reminds me of the urban myth about the US and Soviet space programmes. Because conventional pens couldn't work in weightless environments, the US spent millions developing one that did. The Russians on the other hand just used a pencil.

And so it is with this latest technological fix. The administration stands prepared to spend billions undertaking complex engineering projects in near-Earth space but refuses to countenance the technically simpler measure of reducing emissions. We can't have business paying to clean up their mess can we? And yet tax dollars by the billions can be found to fund hare-brained schemes, such as these.

Am I being overly cynical to suggest the patent bonanza and potential spin-offs offer greater profitable opportunities than a concerted effort at waste reduction? There are more smoke and mirrors to this story than just the technology.


Jim Jay said...

i think we should pump large amounts of pollutants into te atmosphere to combat the effects of pollutants in the atmosphere... what could possibly go wrong with that?

Disillusioned kid said...

This is Edward Teller's idea.

He's the man behind the thermonuclear bomb.

Enough said.