Re: Breaking News: World is 10 deg chillier

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Fri Jan 26 2001 - 08:54:59 MST

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Michael Lorrey <> writes:
> > Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > > According to Martyn Fogg's
> > > _Terraforming_ it is likely technically feasible in the near future to
> > > launch enough dust into the stratosphere to induce a multi-degree
> > > cooling. So what do I do when the Netherlands decide to lower the mean
> > > temperature and I want to raise it?
> >
> > Why, you burn, and they sequester. Now, if your burning and
> > externalization of wastes causes them damage, they rightly have a case
> > to pursue compensation.
> OK, makes sense to me. Climate as an economic tug-o-war.

Sure, you want to improve the value of your land, they want to preserve
the value of theirs. If your improvements have externalities that impact
their value, you are obligated to compensate. The question, though, is
whether your pollution is going to actually damage their property or
just change its optimum use.

A smart person would see that flooding Holland would result in many
thousands of hectares of valuable mariculture lagoons to raise seafood
for europe. Is mariculture more valuable a crop than tulips?

Like the classic 'butter or guns' argument, we are dealing with a 'trout
or tulips' argument. A smart Swede would start buying up Dutch land
ahead of time while property values are low, and buy property in
Greenland as well to build communities on to handle the refugee traffic.

Similarly, a 3 foot rise in sea levels would vastly expand the amount of
coastal wetlands in the US, especially along the Gulf Coast. The
possible economic as well as environmental benefits of this are nearly

Moreover, there would be other benefits to warming: during the last
warming trend, the Sahara was a lush grasslands and forest with abundant
rainfall. The current desert environment there has been found to be a
primary cause of damage to coral reefs in the Atlantic and Indian
Oceans, where airborne dust from the desert settles so far from home.
> > The fact is that there are proposals to seed the
> > oceans with iron to stimulate plankton blooms which seems to be the most
> > effective way to sequester the huge amounts of carbon that some claim we
> > need to get rid of. Such proposals are being ignored by global warming
> > proponents, so it seems to me that they really don't have an interest in
> > solving the problem.
> As I mentioned above, I'm reading the terraforming book which has some
> older data on this. I also read the review of the issue in last week's
> nature (Earth systems engineering and management by Stephen
> H. Schneider, Nature Vol 409, 18 January 2001). Schneider gives some
> reasons geoengineering has not been pursued in recent climate debate;
> I think most of them are wrong on one level or another but
> geoengineering doesn't seem to have been deliberately ignored. Rather,
> it has been seen as too risky, distracting from anti-pollution
> initiatives, possibly unethical and not possible to implement due to
> unreliable governance. Beside the purely practical points efforts like
> this runs into the divide between what Fogg calls the ecocentric and
> technocentric approaches to planetary management; in addition both
> approaches often fall into the pitfall of outdoing each other in
> centralist technocracy. I think we can do much better in our own
> environmental thinking.

I think so too. The iron seeding proposals have already been tested to
great success, with no ill effects. I fail to see how green arguments
against them can have any significant weight outside of being a squeaky

> I disagree with your view that greens dislike geoengineering because
> it would leave them without anything to complain of and enlarged
> environment programs would benefit them. If you actually discuss with
> them you realise they think it is morally wrong, infeasible or too
> dangerous. The same with most people against breeder reactors - they
> are simply afraid of the evil nuclear power or the links to weapons
> production. We might disagree with these sentiments, but assuming your
> opponents doesn't even believe their own arguments is a dangerous kind
> of underestimation. A bit of self-serving thinking is of course always
> present, but assuming this is the main source of passion of most of
> one's opponents is a mistake.

I don't doubt that most of them *conciously* have excellent reasons,
howsoever irrational or unsupported by science. Its fitting that they
generally hate science, because it is so effective in illustrating their
irrationality. Note, however, that many people will rationalize why they
want or don't want something with reasons that are often completely
different from their subconcious motives. Denial is a powerful
subconcious drive. In my reading of their propaganda, I have come to the
conclusion that the key people can't really beleive this crap and still
be intelligent enough to lead such large numbers of people. Such people
must be completely concious of their true motives or else have severe
mental problems.

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