RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Klein writes: "Geoengineering offers the tantalizing promise of a climate change fix that would allow us to continue our resource-exhausting way of life, indefinitely."

Author and activist Naomi Klein. (photo: CharlieRose.com)
Author and activist Naomi Klein. (photo: CharlieRose.com)



Geoengineers: Testing the Waters

By Naomi Klein, The New York Times

28 October 12

 

or almost 20 years, I've been spending time on a craggy stretch of British Columbia's shoreline called the Sunshine Coast. This summer, I had an experience that reminded me why I love this place, and why I chose to have a child in this sparsely populated part of the world.

It was 5 a.m. and my husband and I were up with our 3-week-old son. Looking out at the ocean, we spotted two towering, black dorsal fins: orcas, or killer whales. Then two more. We had never seen an orca on the coast, and never heard of their coming so close to shore. In our sleep-deprived state, it felt like a miracle, as if the baby had wakened us to make sure we didn't miss this rare visit.

The possibility that the sighting may have resulted from something less serendipitous did not occur to me until two weeks ago, when I read reports of a bizarre ocean experiment off the islands of Haida Gwaii, several hundred miles from where we spotted the orcas swimming.

There, an American entrepreneur named Russ George dumped 120 tons of iron dust off the hull of a rented fishing boat; the plan was to create an algae bloom that would sequester carbon and thereby combat climate change.

Mr. George is one of a growing number of would-be geoengineers who advocate high-risk, large-scale technical interventions that would fundamentally change the oceans and skies in order to reduce the effects of global warming. In addition to Mr. George's scheme to fertilize the ocean with iron, other geoengineering strategies under consideration include pumping sulfate aerosols into the upper atmosphere to imitate the cooling effects of a major volcanic eruption and "brightening" clouds so they reflect more of the sun's rays back to space.

The risks are huge. Ocean fertilization could trigger dead zones and toxic tides. And multiple simulations have predicted that mimicking the effects of a volcano would interfere with monsoons in Asia and Africa, potentially threatening water and food security for billions of people.

So far, these proposals have mostly served as fodder for computer models and scientific papers. But with Mr. George's ocean adventure, geoengineering has decisively escaped the laboratory. If Mr. George's account of the mission is to be believed, his actions created an algae bloom in an area half of the size of Massachusetts that attracted a huge array of aquatic life, including whales that could be "counted by the score."

When I read about the whales, I began to wonder: could it be that the orcas I saw were on their way to the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet that had descended on Mr. George's bloom? The possibility, unlikely though it is, provides a glimpse into one of the disturbing repercussions of geoengineering: once we start deliberately interfering with the earth's climate systems - whether by dimming the sun or fertilizing the seas - all natural events can begin to take on an unnatural tinge. An absence that might have seemed a cyclical change in migration patterns or a presence that felt like a miraculous gift suddenly feels sinister, as if all of nature were being manipulated behind the scenes.

Most news reports characterize Mr. George as a "rogue" geoengineer. But what concerns me, after researching the subject for two years for a forthcoming book on climate change, is that far more serious scientists, backed by far deeper pockets, appear poised to actively tamper with the complex and unpredictable natural systems that sustain life on earth - with huge potential for unintended consequences.

In 2010, the chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology recommended more research into geoengineering; the British government has begun to spend public money in the field.

Bill Gates has funneled millions of dollars into geoengineering research. And he has invested in a company, Intellectual Ventures, that is developing at least two geoengineering tools: the "StratoShield," a 19-mile-long hose suspended by helium balloons that would spew sun-blocking sulfur dioxide particles into the sky and a tool that can supposedly blunt the force of hurricanes.

The appeal is easy to understand. Geoengineering offers the tantalizing promise of a climate change fix that would allow us to continue our resource-exhausting way of life, indefinitely. And then there is the fear. Every week seems to bring more terrifying climate news, from reports of ice sheets melting ahead of schedule to oceans acidifying far faster than expected. At the same time, climate change has fallen so far off the political agenda that it wasn't mentioned once during any of the three debates between the presidential candidates. Is it any wonder that many are pinning their hopes on a break-the-glass-in-case-of-emergency option that scientists have been cooking up in their labs?

But with rogue geoengineers on the loose, it is a good time to pause and ask, collectively, whether we want to go down the geoengineering road. Because the truth is that geoengineering is itself a rogue proposition. By definition, technologies that tamper with ocean and atmospheric chemistry affect everyone. Yet it is impossible to get anything like unanimous consent for these interventions. Nor could any such consent possibly be informed since we don't - and can't - know the full risks involved until these planet-altering technologies are actually deployed.

While the United Nations' climate negotiations proceed from the premise that countries must agree to a joint response to an inherently communal problem, geoengineering raises a very different prospect. For well under a billion dollars, a "coalition of the willing," a single country or even a wealthy individual could decide to take the climate into its own hands. Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, an environmental watchdog group, puts the problem like this: "Geoengineering says, ‘we'll just do it, and you'll live with the effects.' "

The scariest thing about this proposition is that models suggest that many of the people who could well be most harmed by these technologies are already disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Imagine this: North America decides to send sulfur into the stratosphere to reduce the intensity of the sun, in the hopes of saving its corn crops - despite the real possibility of triggering droughts in Asia and Africa. In short, geoengineering would give us (or some of us) the power to exile huge swaths of humanity to sacrifice zones with a virtual flip of the switch.

The geopolitical ramifications are chilling. Climate change is already making it hard to know whether events previously understood as "acts of God" (a freak heat wave in March or a Frankenstorm on Halloween) still belong in that category. But if we start tinkering with the earth's thermostat - deliberately turning our oceans murky green to soak up carbon and bleaching the skies hazy white to deflect the sun - we take our influence to a new level. A drought in India will come to be seen - accurately or not - as a result of a conscious decision by engineers on the other side of the planet. What was once bad luck could come to be seen as a malevolent plot or an imperialist attack.

There will be other visceral, life-changing consequences. A study published this spring in Geophysical Research Letters found that if we inject sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere in order to dial down the sun, the sky would not only become whiter and significantly brighter, but we would also be treated to more intense, "volcanic" sunsets. But what kind of relationships can we expect to have with those hyper-real skies? Would they fill us with awe - or with vague unease? Would we feel the same when beautiful wild creatures cross our paths unexpectedly, as happened to my family this summer? In a popular book on climate change, Bill McKibben warned that we face "The End of Nature." In the age of geoengineering, we might find ourselves confronting the end of miracles, too.

Mr. George and his ocean-altering experiment provides an opportunity for public debate about an issue essentially absent during the election cycle: What are the real solutions to climate change? Wouldn't it be better to change our behavior - to reduce our use of fossil fuels - before we begin fiddling with the planet's basic life-support systems?

Unless we change course, we can expect to hear many more reports about sun-shielders and ocean fiddlers like Mr. George, whose iron dumping exploit did more than test a thesis about ocean fertilization: it also tested the waters for future geoengineering experiments. And judging by the muted response so far, the results of Mr. George's test are clear: geoengineers proceed, caution be damned.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+60 # fredboy 2012-10-28 09:18
I am a resident of Southwest Florida. Here massive harmful algal blooms sparked by fertilizer runoff from golf courses and neighborhoods threaten our bio health: humans and every species that contacts our waters. To artificially and intentionally create such a nightmare is off-the-scales tragic.
 
 
+35 # MainStreetMentor 2012-10-28 09:35
... wait a while. BP will come back and kill off all that algae ... and the shrimp ... and the water foul ... and many species of fish ... oh, and a few humans, too, as well as destroying the entire fisihing industry of the entire region.
 
 
+16 # brianf 2012-10-28 14:15
Fertilizer runoff is completely different from the iron fertilization the article is talking about.

If the effect of iron fertilization was to create dead zones, you wouldn't have Orcas and other life rushing to the area. An increase in iron stimulates the growth of phytoplankton, which is at the base of the ocean food chain, and they remove CO2 from the atmosphere too. The phytoplankton population has decreased about 40% since 1950, so stimulating it could help the entire ocean ecosystem and remove huge amounts of CO2.

The ocean is naturally fertilized with iron by dust storms, so it might be a relatively safe way to remove some of the excess CO2 from the atmosphere. But too much iron fertilization might lead to a dead zone or other bad side effects, so we have to be careful.

I'm totally against private companies doing things like this. But I'm for scientists doing experiments to determine how safe it is and what the side effects are. If they determine it is safe enough, we could do carefully controlled larger scale tests, always carefully monitoring the effects. We may or may not discover that it is safe enough to deploy longer term, but we will never know if we don't do the right tests.
 
 
+3 # Kitnbear 2012-10-30 09:29
The problem of iron in the water is the amount. It does cause huge blooms, some that create toxins that can cause kills, they then die and take up oxygen to decay. Not all alge/phytos are alike in the good/harm they can cause.
 
 
0 # Derek1G 2012-11-14 19:16
There are thousands of species of algae in the oceans. I'm quite confident that whatever blooms from fertilizing the very cold water off BC with iron is different than whatever blooms from nitrogen and phosphorous run-off from lawns.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention to it.
 
 
+38 # carp 2012-10-28 09:34
Fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides run off the corn for fuel fields in the Midwest into the Mississippi which dumps into the Gulf of Mexico where a growing algae field has killed the shrimp. Utah seeded the clouds for over 10 years during their quest to sponsor the Olympics in order to claim the greatest snow on earth ensuring drought and deep fog over the valley I live in east of the cloud seeding. And that is just in the old days, imagine what they will do in the future and the motive is profit and gain.
 
 
+59 # WestWinds 2012-10-28 09:36
Between this rust dump and the sonic weapons experiments being performed underwater at sea by the US Navy which implodes the internal organs of all sea life and anything else within its range, all I can say is, "We are in the hands of madmen but, for some inexplicable reason, we are addicted to them and their toxic mentalities."
 
 
+6 # Lowflyin Lolana 2012-10-31 19:55
We lose the oceans and we are done, and we're already well on the way.

Klein needs to do a lot more reading, say "the cooling" by Lowell Ponte which documents weather modification projects from decades ago.

This is nothing new and doesn't even speak to the unspeakable situation in the nuclear Pacific.
 
 
+13 # robmxa 2012-10-28 10:14
Unfortunately we are already in a grand experiment that is changing all aspects of our ecosystem. We have been at it for thousands of years. We have injected all kinds of things willy nilly into that system. Now is the time to start doing something about it. Other than have the human race stop breathing and eating or commit suicide some other way we will have to get involved with countering our bad affects in an intelligent way. After all eight billion people and growing just breathing is having an affect.
 
 
+12 # brianf 2012-10-28 13:54
Exactly right. We have been conducting massive geoengineering operations for many decades. We now know that some of them are incredibly harmful, yet we continue to expand them.

By far the worst are the operations that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. They have grown to the point that we will probably need to begin new geoengineering operations to counter them. Yes, this is insanity. But don't be in denial. This is our reality.

Don't be against potentially good geoengineering on principle. Yes, there are risks. So let's do experiments to reduce the risks as much as we can.

Continuing the bad geoengineering operations is way worse than risky. It is guaranteed destruction. If we can't manage to stop them (our current reality), then let's be realistic about our options.
 
 
+9 # rpauli 2012-10-30 00:06
"Lessons not learned, will be repeated"
 
 
+6 # Nominae 2012-11-02 01:49
@robmxa

Not to worry. This will not go on indefinitely.

Scientists tell us, based upon the number of species already lost to date, that we are well into the Sixth Major Extinction. "Major Extinction" being defined as those times when Mother Nature wipes out 90% or more of all living species on the planet, which she has done five times that we know of.

There have also been many lesser extinctions in which, say 45% or 60% of all species are removed.

The Extinction that wiped out the Dinosaurs was a lesser Extinction.

So, to all those bone-heads who were unable to process the bumper stickers in the '70s that reminded us of the fact that "Mother Nature Bats Last", bon voyage.

We keep screwing with cycles and systems we don't even vaguely understand, and we will get exactly what we deserve.

Let us not be so childish and naive as to think we need to "save the planet". The Planet, as she has proven many times over, is *more* than capable of taking care of herself. She will shuck us off like an old scab if need be.

We either find a way to enter into harmony with her cycles and systems or we eventually "get spanked". It's just not that complicated.

Thinking that one man on a boat with big pocketbook is going to successfully "manipulate" nature's major cycles is pretty close to proof that this species is ready for our "Natural Selection" moment !
 
 
+12 # Interested Observer 2012-10-28 10:34
Don't worry. The Free Market will correct it.
 
 
+21 # JH Gordon 2012-10-28 11:59
But of course... And the only people who benefit from these experiments are the current owners of the current energy systems like fossil fuels. So now we can dump oxidizing cars into the ocean and call it an environmental boon. The world upside down. But hey, if the geo-clowns get it wrong, it won't matter. There are so many ways to skin the energy cat, these guys should be tied to those sacks of rust and follow them down.
 
 
+39 # MainStreetMentor 2012-10-28 11:03
Man continues to saw off the tree limb on which he stands.
 
 
+25 # stonecutter 2012-10-28 11:20
Geo-engineering will happen, just as bio-engineering , genetic engineering and all other kinds of human engineering have already happened, with both intended and unintended consequences, despite the high-minded concerns of certain scientists, journalists and other self-appointed guardians of the so-called natural world. We can't even remotely agree on the relatively mundane issues of social justice, reproductive rights, medicare, social security or "defense" policy; we're still a nation riddled with racism, pernicious xenophobia, withering inequality, rising anti-scientific stupidity and political idiocy; so reaching some optimal "consensus" on the matter of global geo-engineering seems as far-fetched as reversing climate change itself,notwiths tanding some global catastrophe that literally forces the human race to change course. Even Fukishima remains an exercise in denial and blatant rationalization on a global scale, as if the problem has already been resolved and we're about to see a barrage of slick commercials inviting the world to visit the delightful Fukishima region on summer vacation (much the same as we see BP in a small blizzard of brazen TV ads trying to brainwash the public about the "safety" of the gulf coast).

We're drowning in a daily torrent of optically engineered public relations bullshit, offered up as reasonable fact, complete with background guitar music, that not even Naomi Klein can put a dent in, although I wish her luck.
 
 
+21 # Eliza D 2012-10-28 11:36
Yes, Ms. Klein, it would be better to change our behavior than to tinker with Mother Nature. There are so many things we could do, such as funding solar innovation, instead of giving tax breaks to oil companies and gas companies. We could institute polices that compel people to buy food locally, rather than fly and truck food across the country and the globe. Maybe we could learn to grow varieties of warm weather fruit in colder climes. In fact, there are varieties of lemons and avocados that are able to produce in more northern climes. But I have a more radical solution which could impact our planet positively for the foreseeable future. That is to institute government rules to mandate that government agencies and companies hire people who live within, say a two to ten mile radius of their employer. Imagine ending the nightmare of commuting on America's highways, which I do everyday-45 minutes or more each way- and dramatically reducing car emissions. In the profession I am in, employers spend weeks interviewing candidates, who, truth be told, are extremely similar in qualifications. Once hired, we get the message we are expendable drones anyway. The higher our pay, the more intimidation there is. If a person really wants a certain job, he or she must move to within the required radius. Yes, it sounds like a nanny state, and we are under the illusion that choices are our own. But much of what we do is already orchestrated by the ruling class.
 
 
+6 # brux 2012-10-28 11:38
Let's see, which is more intelligent ... chimpanzees, gorillas, baboons or human beings?
 
 
+27 # reiverpacific 2012-10-28 12:00
So presumably "Mr George" did not seek, nor need a permit to do his thing?
Hope that all you Libertarians and "who needs regulations" types are watching.
 
 
+7 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-10-28 17:51
George did not seek a permit; he did communicate with one of the three or four responsible ministries, & was not granted permission.
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2012-10-29 11:55
Quoting Kootenay Coyote:
George did not seek a permit; he did communicate with one of the three or four responsible ministries, & was not granted permission.

Thanks for that info'.
 
 
+31 # sameasiteverwas 2012-10-28 12:38
Credited to the Great Law of the Iroquois:
"In every deliberation, we must consider the impact of the seventh generation...ev en if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine."

And then we showed up. In our seven generations in North America we have decimated human and animal populations, poisoned the water, contaminated the land and air, and now fight over everything that is left. Our skin is as thin as the layer of breathable air on this one fragile planet which is all we have. We point at other governments that rape their own lands as if that justifies our carelessness with our own. A leader like Jimmy Carter who encourages conservation and common sense is reviled.

We're a short-term race, we humans. Greedy for short-term profits and immediate gratification, short-sighted in our goals. Greed and hubris our defining characteristics . Sorry, my lovely granddaughter.. .we're screwed.
 
 
+5 # Observer 47 2012-10-28 19:48
OUTSTANDING post!
 
 
+2 # brux 2012-10-31 19:08
It's no small wonder the Indians have the despair and hopelessness they did and do .... we should let the Indians have the land back or at the very least go forward thinking primarily of how they lived with the land.

There is an absolutely wonderful book called 1491, about the American continent, before the settlers came. There is a lot of very good information in it. Like how Indians captured and living with Whites never quit trying to escape, but Whites captured and living with the Indians never wanted to go back to White culture. Native American homes were warmer and more watertight and environmentally sound, their diets also have more varied, with more nutrition and calories than Europeans.

It just seems like everything we've been told is wrong - but White culture has the guns and bombs. I sure hope we are learning, but I wonder.
 
 
+17 # Joanedra 2012-10-28 13:14
Do three things, then decide...

At first glance I wanted to shout "Hallelujah", someone in mainstream news has FINALLY addressed geoengineering! Then (did you hear me?) I screamed " 'TESTING THE WATERS', MY ASS! GEOENGINEERING HAS BEEN GOING ON WORLD WIDE FOR AT LEAST TWO DECADES!"

Where is Ms. Klein's head? Maybe it is in some dark place where she cannot see the planes spraying, hear their engines, or breathe their aerosols of nanoparticles of aluminum, barium, strontium, self-replicatin g biological elements and other unknown substances. Maybe Ms. Klein should have her blood tested, as I and others have done, revealing extremely high levels of heavy metals like the ones, you know, THEY ARE SPRAYING ON US!

Listen to Rosalind Peterson, a former certified U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency crop-loss-adjus tor who tells how our crops and plant life are being devastated by geoengineering.

Educate yourself with the film "What In The World Are They Spraying" with G. Edward Griffin.

Learn of the in-depth and comprehensive research of Cliff Carnicom at the Carnicom Institute by clicking on "Geo-Engineerin g - Aerosol Research".

Do those three things, then revisit Ms. Klein's article. Do I hear "gatekeeper"?
 
 
+2 # Carol Sterritt 2012-10-31 19:21
I spent a great deal of the summer of 2009 on the shore of Clear Lake, the lake not the city, in California.

I would watch one plane skimming over the ridges of the city of Clearlake to my east. At that point, the plane would be between 4400 and 4800 feet in elevation. Then the plane would rise to a height of 15,000 feet or more, then again it would drop down to go to the shoulder of Mt Konocti, some nine miles from where I first saw it. I would note how the plane barely was making it over the edge of that cliff. The elevation there? Around 4400 to 4800 feet. So would FAA allow a commercial plane to do this, to go from slightly above 4000 feet to above 15,000 feet and then back down again within nine miles? No, they would not. Nor would the military allow this. So what in the world was this about? And it was routine - happening every day, all afternoon long! And of course, the chem trails flared out behind each plane, to bloom in that strange way that the chem trails do, and not leave the skies but expand and expand!
 
 
+7 # brianf 2012-10-28 13:36
I've been reading the latest reports and papers about all aspects of global warming and climate change for years, and when I put them all together, they indicate there is a very high chance that things are much worse than most people realize (or at least are willing to say), and that includes Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein.

Of course I am against private companies doing large scale geoengineering experiments. But it's past time for scientists to do carefully controlled and monitored small scale geoengineering experiments. We need to know what the effects and side effects actually ARE as opposed to what people think they might be.

I'm pretty sure we have delayed too long for prevention alone, or prevention plus adaptation, to be enough, and that is even IF we make serious changes to our energy system soon. If we add mitigation (geoengineering ), a 3-prong approach might still save us, and save the world from a mass extinction. If we don't do the tests now, we won't know which techniques are safest if and when we need to deploy them.
 
 
+18 # TomThumb 2012-10-28 13:43
Oh, great! When I went into the chemical engineering field in the early '70's, the big thing was units to remove sulfur from oil. This was to prevent the release of SO2 into the atmosphere to prevent acid rain, a problem you don't hear of much anymore. This resulted in the manufacture of huge blocks of pure sulfur that nobody knew what to do with. Now, we want to release that sulfur back into the atmosphere to prevent global warming.
The Saudi Oil Minister, no less, made the remark that the Stone Age did not end because the world ran out of stones. He was referring to the peak oil concept. However, the stone industry, in that era, was not backed by huge legally santcioned formations of capital, with rights that actually far exceed those of any citizen, like Exxon and Chevron.
The way to combat global warming is to stop putting the gases into the atmosphere that cause global warming, even if that is harmful to the business model of these formations of capital.
Tommy Rimes
 
 
+15 # pdjmoo 2012-10-28 13:54
Thank you Naomi for entering into this Geoengineering debate which could have an irreverible impacts on all of our planet.
For the edification of your readers, I offer the following which is a history and timeline of another geoengineering experiment that has been going on for years, quietly and in secret: Weather Modification --
"Raining Chemicals From the Skies – Unregulated Climate Geoengineering" http://ow.ly/ePx80
At some point, we humans must come to realize that, in truth, science knows so little about how the greater biosphere of our planet works and the trillions and trillions of symbiotic relationships that sustain it. To think we can continue to plunder Mother Earth and band aid our isolated destruction of Her without suffering horrendous consequences is risking an environmental collapse. Without Nature We Do Not Exist. Healthy ecosystems, means healthy humans. In the final analysis we cannot drink oil or eat money. Planet, People, Profits
Again, thank you Naomi for your concern and for bringing this to light.
 
 
+8 # cordleycoit 2012-10-28 13:55
See what happens when you give every thin to the rich they get to screw the planet with their harebrained ideas. One fool after another is trying to "save" us from us.
See what happens when you put megalomaniacs in charge.
 
 
0 # Derek1G 2012-11-14 19:34
Megalomaniacs put THEMSELVES in charge. One could also argue that only megalomaniacs run for high political office. That's something we need to learn to manage--because it ain't gonna change.
 
 
+10 # skywatcher 2012-10-28 14:12
Joanedra is absolutely right!

Geoengineering has already been deployed for at least 16 years, and we are being bombarded with aluminum, barium, strontium, and other chemicals on an almost daily basis. Look up, everyone--and wake up!

This is the biggest threat facing us all that we can actually DO something about. It's right in front of us, and the evidence is powerful and overwhelming, everyday--even on days when we are Not sprayed, because that proves that regular 'contrails' must not exist every day either...

Only thing to update from Joanedra's post is that a new, better documentary just came out 2 months ago: "Why in the World Are They Spraying?" -- an in-depth follow-up to "What...?" -- and it's available in full at youtube. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and watch this Now--and then spread the word about it.

"Why" indeed. How's your weather been lately, especially the last year or so? Ours is unheard of.
 
 
+3 # futhark 2012-10-28 23:51
Funny thing, driving south on US 101 this afternoon (Sunday, 2012 October 28), from Ukiah to Santa Rosa, California, I noticed two places in the clear sky which the jet contrails stopped and started up again multiple times. My previous recollections had always been of continuous contrails. Is someone or something in the plane turning a release valve of nano-particles on and off?
 
 
0 # Derek1G 2012-11-14 19:33
Whether contrails appear depends on variations in humidity in the high atmosphere. The nano-particles are regular "soot" from the exhaust. Not that that's a good thing to have in the air...
 
 
+7 # Peakspecies 2012-10-28 14:51
Note that Russ George's intentions are good. He has great confidence that his various schemes are likely to work but still they may lead to great harm to this planet's life support systems. My guess is that he is unaware of past mega-failure geoengineering projects of the past which have been conveniently forgotten. The same level of confidence characterized the U.S. Project Plowshare program which, under federal support, sought to utilize nuclear explosions for use in massive civil engineering projects. The program lasted for over a decade before the feds finally quietly terminated it's support in response to delayed environmental analysis reports suggesting the cure was worse than the disease.

A historical analysis of how we got ourselves into this mess will show it is the result of a very lengthy string of technical fixes. Perhaps it's time we just accept the fact that adding additional beautiful humans to this planet isn't likely to increase its beauty for for us, or for the millions of other creatures that depend on a stable environment.
 
 
+4 # 6thextinction 2012-10-28 15:12
we as individuals need to speak out at every opportunity on the devastation which is resulting from our personal actions such as flying, meat-eating, procreating, etc.

geoengineering, government and industry are out of our control now. but we are in control of ourselves, and must change much of our common behavior in order to save ourselves, as well as our descendants.
 
 
+7 # lynnscott 2012-10-28 15:38
Naomi Klein. i hope your article is just you being careful not to blow the future book. Certainly you must know by now that Aerosol geoengineering goes on daily, over our heads in Calf., and seemlingly over most NATO countries. It has been going on for more than 5 years. The very secret scheme is a production of military/manufa cturing under the oversight of the oligarchy that rules the moneyed world. Look up HAARP and chemtrails and do speak out. Thank you. L. Scott
 
 
+2 # skywatcher 2012-10-30 12:51
Yes, L. Scott, thanks for being one who is awake. By my studies of this issue, I believe it's been 16 years in the U.S. Watch "Why in the World Are They Spraying?" on youtube and spread the word.

I've taken to asking people on the street whether they've heard of geoengineering or, more directly, whether they've noticed the aerosols streams in the sky. Mostly incredulous, but many are becoming awakened. Only way I can see to combat this is to make the obvious obvious, to a percentage of people that reaches the tipping point.
 
 
+5 # kindergreener 2012-10-28 16:16
Please, Ms. Klein & RSN readers—if you don't already know about http://www.chompingclimatechange.org, take 3 minutes to watch the animated video.

It's a pitch for how to fight climate change, starting today—by reducing our consumption of livestock products, which will reduce emissions and permit widespread reforestation.

Lots of benefit, without the scary unknown side-effects of strategies like algae-carbon-sequestration.

Please. Help publicize this approach. It may be the only pragmatic way to address climate change before it's too late.
 
 
+9 # seeuingoa 2012-10-28 16:30
The average American is as complacent
as a seriously senile elderly person.

Why is it necessary with a flooding
of Manhattan before people wake up
and start an urgently needed revolt
against the present system.

In the 1950´s you had the "better dead
than red" slogan.
Now, it is "better dead than
Obama/Romney"

Vote JILL STEIN / GREEN PARTY and look
your grandchildren in the eyes without
being ashamed.
 
 
+9 # sameasiteverwas 2012-10-28 17:58
Tried that. Worked for Jerry Brown, for Ralph Nader, busted butt for the Green Party for sixteen years, only to watch in horror in 2000 as our swing state went red by less than the amount of votes for Nader. Maybe if I hadn't made those last 150 calls, Florida would have been irrelevant. Now, I know that's ridiculous, that I am not personally responsible for George Bush winning in 2000 -- but I and many like me, stubbornly idealistic and determined to get real change, were responsible for carving votes from Gore, 1% here, 2% there. Until there are publicly funded elections and an equal voice among all parties, the Greens have to see the necessity for responsible voting. Yes, I want Obama to be more progressive -- to be progressive at all -- I wish he were a vocal advocate for environmental stewardship -- but considering the alternative, he still gets my vote.
 
 
+1 # brianf 2012-10-28 19:05
Intelligent, responsible voting = voting Jill Stein if you are NOT in a swing state, voting Obama if you ARE in a swing state. I live in a state that is sure to go for Obama, and I am voting for Jill Stein. That way I don't waste my vote - I send a message to Obama. I also contributed money to the Obama campaign, which will be used in swing states.
 
 
+1 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-10-28 20:48
Yes, hold my nose I will as I cast an anything but enthuriastic vote for Oh Bomb Ah. St. Michael Moore, the Irish devil (takes one to know one) is so advising - vote for the disappointment of our lifetime, then push harder than hard on him to get him headin' in a far different direction, and out of being just another puppet clown for the 1%ers.
 
 
+4 # The Saint 2012-10-28 19:27
Engineering gets us into the problem and engineering will get us out? Isn't there something about our basic worldview and values that need to change that will make us a more benign presence on this planet? Is our problem simply a matter of good and bad engineering? For what purpose are we doing all of this? Where do we get the right to screw up the whole planetary system including destroying so many of the wonderful life forms and ecosystems? And our answer is a few more engineering tricks? And we consider ourselves the superior species?
 
 
0 # brux 2012-10-31 19:01
compared to nature human engineering is a pale cheap imitation.
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-10-28 19:48
If these Engineers are So Smart why do we still have a growing Island of Plastic.

Engineers are for themselves to make a name in order to make money. Engineers think of today not future. The yesteryear had morals and ethics but since the USA and world does not...neither does this generation .... Like Drug Manufacturers it is about money. We need more Iron in the soil, silt, ocean as we do in our bodies as that is where it will end up causing childhood diseases, body malformations but hey we are the Guinea Pigs...
We allow it... I have fought so long, where has the masses been? Disease we invent and reinvent... this is another pollution and diseases to all life.
 
 
0 # Lowflyin Lolana 2012-10-31 20:01
You said it KittatinyHawk.

If nukes are so safe, why ---

oh hell, never mind. No one here can hear ---I'm convinced of it.
 
 
+1 # itchyvet 2012-10-29 01:52
Joanedra 2012-10-28 11:14
is 100% correct in her post. Chemtrails have been going for over 20 years now, where has Ms klien been during that time ? Moreover, as it has been going on for so long, how come the World is still alledgedly warming up despite the best efforts ?
 
 
+4 # RLF 2012-10-29 06:17
Face it folks...you want to keep having babies...you're screwed. There are just too many people on this little planet...time to starve!
 
 
+1 # Glen 2012-10-29 11:41
Ha. I enjoy the reactions to your posts, RLF, even when folks know you are correct! Let's see how folks respond. We should all keep pounding away in support of controlling populations.
 
 
+1 # panhead49 2012-10-29 12:00
Wonder what type of algae he is releasing? We live on the shores of the largest natural lake in CA (Tahoe is bigger but we share it with NV).

Unfortunately what used to be a lovely Clear Lake with an occassional algae bloom has now become a chronic problem. One of our algi is a blue/green mycrosistic TOXIC algae. We know the problem - nutrient loading. But that conflicts with our burgeoning vineyards and wineries. Therefore the powers that be put the monitoring stations above the vineyards, not between them and the Lake. Now the County wants a half cent sales tax to 'deal with the Lake's conditions'. Sorry, voted against it - if you were more interested in the Lake (where the vast majority of us get our potable water) those monitoring stations would be in the proper place (not the politically expedient areas).

Considering the huge detritis gyres in the worlds oceans I'll need to see more before I can get too flipped out about algae being dumped.
 
 
+1 # moonrigger 2012-10-29 16:12
Pat Mooney of www.etcgroup.org has been on this from the get-go. Go to the website to read excellent in-depth articles about geo-engineering , GMO, biopiracy, frankenfoods, patenting of heirloom seeds, and much much more. It's enlightening, but will also fill you with moral outrage, as you discover the many sinister things going on in the world of Monsanto and their megacorp ilk. Really, I can't think of anyone else who's devoted so much time and energy to being our watchdog... We owe Pat a debt of gratitude.
 
 
0 # Carol Sterritt 2012-10-31 19:25
I had never heard of this group before, so will definitely check it out. Thanks for posting this.
 
 
0 # Skeeziks 2012-10-30 07:24
One would think that getting off this planet would be more important than messing with unknown consequences. Especially on the grand scales that these guys are messing with.
 
 
+1 # Glen 2012-10-30 08:42
Skeeziks, the wealthy are attempting an escape as I write. Space programs being built, both national and private are developing rapidly globally, and tests being performed. Also, the military is promoting orbiting weapons and the U.S. declared, while Bush was in office, that U.S. military has that right, in spite of protests from other nations. Mining the moon or other planets is not that far fetched, either.

If world population survives for a few more decades, the wealthy will certainly escape. If not, they will be holed up underground or in bunkers the size of the U.S. Baghdad embassy.
 
 
+1 # brux 2012-10-31 18:59
If you think it's the weathy that are going to be forced off the planet I think you have things backwards.

First, if you think about the reality for life in space it's pretty awful. Every system man creates breaks and is full of holes. Who want to eat and drink re-cycled chemicals and atmosphere? Who wants to live on a planet or in space we did not evolved for?

Believe me, I used to love space and science fiction, but having become and engineer and learning the real science as well as the biology of humans the last place I would want to live ... at least for 1000 years or so until things can develop is in a tin can in space.

Talk about radiation, the Earth's atmosphere protects us from lots of radiation. The reality of space colonization is not going to be very romantic at all. It's mostly dead out there - human beings and life on Earth wants to be around and needs other life.
 
 
+2 # Glen 2012-11-01 15:40
Number one: There are technological advances that were never considered in the past, including computers and velcro, space stations, and so much more.

Number two: When the earth is totally polluted and ruined, folks will see bubble cities on a random planet attractive, but also on earth, if they are lucky enough to be included.

Number three: Your attitude about the advent of space living and travel and disaster has nothing to do with it. Future generations, should they survive, would not be cognizant of our sensibilities. Romantic attitudes have nothing to do with it either.

Number four: Earth's atmosphere is being destroyed as I write, therefore, those space colonies could easily burgeon on this planet.

I am not one to advocate domed cities or space colonies, but it isn't that far fetched. Also, I do not want to live underground as a result of atmospheric decline or nuclear war or any other man made nonsense. That does not mean it isn't happening.
 
 
0 # Lowflyin Lolana 2012-10-31 20:06
That's funny, two people in my birth family are named Skeezix and Glenn (with two n's)

The idea that humans can build communities on other planets is a perfect example of the science community's exquisitely seductive brain rot that infects and destroys basic common sense and valuation of the Earth's natural processes.

Look into screens all day long, become divorced from three-dimension al reality. And if everyone's doing it, no one will be the wiser.
 
 
+2 # Lowflyin Lolana 2012-10-31 19:36
I'm beginning to think the human race will not survive computers.

Good intentions, road to hell.

EMFs, EMR, Stuxnet, Fukushima, HAARP, a culture and economy based on unsustainable rape of Earth's resources. Myself included, we are all part of the machine that removes us from our immediate present, our immediate communities.

The main thing our "communications " "grid" has accomplished, that I can see, is that it gives people an excuse not to speak to each other every single day, all day. Go home, sit on couch, look into machine screen. Leave home, climb into machine. Go to work, go into another building (cave), look at another screen. I see it EVERY DAY. Every single person does this. Animals despair--they'r e wiser than we are, but we lord our power over them because the Bible said God gave Man Dominion.


All attention on screen. Attention is disconnected from touch, taste, smell, the immediate physical presence of other humans.

We worship Man's ability to create ever more machines, and not the living processes that actually give us life.
 
 
-2 # MichiganLiberal 2012-11-02 12:19
Chemtrails schmemtrails!

There is plenty to worry about (as Naomi's article suggests), but conspiracy theorists have been muddying the waters (or skies) for nearly two decades now with the notion that there's a massive on-going campaign on the part of the "New World Order" (substitute the conspiratorial synonym of your choice) to poison us all by dumping chemicals into our atmosphere. Some of them think it's geoengineering to reverse global warming, others are certain that it's an effort to dumb us all down and make more compliant "sheeple" of us. (They're trying to pollute our precious bodily fluids!)

But I'm an old phart, and I remember seeing contrails back in the 1950s that look exactly like the supposed "chemtrail" photos I see posted virtually every week on the Web. Every contrail contains the byproducts of jet fuel combustion and always has. No turbojet of which I'm aware is 100% efficient, and so there's always some amount of unburned hydrocarbons and soot mixed in with the water vapor CO2 and CO in jet exhaust. When the exhaust stream is laid-down in the stratosphere and lit a certain way (e.g., by sunlight from above) it tends to be brilliant white against a cobalt blue sky, but when it is back-lit you can see the filth that's in it -- the same old pollution that has ALWAYS been in it from the first launch of the first turbojet many decades ago.

So please, let's not confuse this very real and important issue with this "chemtrail" nonsense, okay?
 
 
+2 # Glen 2012-11-02 16:55
There was a time, MichiganLiberal , that space travel itself was beyond the ken of most human beings. How about robots and drones, computers, cell phones, the space shuttle, space stations, google earth, and much much more. The intent of technology has become militarized, as well, so there is no way to discount any motive on the part of the military, the U.S. government, or any other government.

If the atomic bomb could be devised, detonated, killing thousands, without anyone's permission, why not other forms of deadly technology?
 
 
+1 # Lowflyin Lolana 2012-11-07 22:51
Thank you Glen.

I was reading "The Fifties" by David Halberstam (great book) and it talks about the Manhattan Project setting off the Trinity test bomb. Apparently the scientists did not know whether the bomb might ignite all the oxygen in Earth's universe. They thought that it could do that.

They set it off anyway.

Searching for rationality and reason as motives is a waste of time when it comes to science like this.
 
 
+1 # Lowflyin Lolana 2012-11-07 22:52
That's funny because I can clearly see jets leaving fat trails, which cease leaving the very same fat trails, and continue on through the sky leaving trails that disperse quickly.

Then sometimes they resume leaving the fat trails.

Perhaps you have not watched the sky long enough to observe this. You might be surprised.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN