Why Global Warming Is Irreversible Part II
We can hope for a miraculous sudden technological or scientific breakthrough that would not only provide the world trillions of megawatts of affordable GHG-free energy, but would scrub the entire atmosphere of this planet in a gigantic, benevolent Terraforming process. Surely that would reverse the effects of ECC and prevent the economic, geographic and social displacement of billions of people in the upcoming decades. Unfortunately, not only is such a breakthrough probable or likely, it isn't even currently imaginable. Yes, miracles can happen. It might be a very good idea to pray for one.
Actually, one may already be occurring. We are experiencing a period of very low sunspot activity which diminishes the amount of solar radiation we receive. If we were in anywhere near a normal period of activity, we'd be considerably toastier already! However, the sun could start spotting again any day now and then, watch out!
Ever since I was young, I would always stop a child from playing with matches and I would always keep a puppy from running across the freeway. That same instinct was triggered when I realized that everything we recognize as human civilization was in imminent danger and the very people we had selected to save us from this peril were blissfully oblivious to the hard data of the reality of the situation.
The basic point of this Hub is that the entire "Global Warming Media Industry" is based on a fallacy: That we can actually do something, anything to reverse the climatic effects. There is nothing, repeat, nothing in current science and/or technology and/or the expectation of developments in the foreseeable future that will allow us to not only reverse the effects but to even hold them at current levels.
You might want to read that last paragraph a couple of times. Let it really sink in.
If every single man, woman and child on Earth, all 6.7 billion of us, were suddenly teleported off this planet, the existing GreenHouse Gases (GHGs) in the lower atmosphere would take the next 140 years to percolate upwards into the stratosphere. That means that ECC's climatic effects would get worse for about another century and a half before they stabilized. And that's if we can get every single human off this planet today in order to stop generating another GHG molecule.
The hard, incontrovertible, unbiased scientific evidence clearly proves this beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Then of course I have to confront those who cling to that undefinable and ethereal concept of Hope. “Oh, ECC is bad, but there is hope, there is always hope!” Hope has to be based on a realistic expectation of the application of a catalyst for positive change. The heroin addict entering the Betty Ford clinic has a realistic expectation of being cured, thus there is hope. The terminal breast cancer patient reading about advances in Herceptin can have hope that the developments will come in time to save her life. However, the Suzuki Hayabusa rider who has just sliced through a guardrail by underestimating a mountain road curve at 130 mph and is plummeting 1,000 feet to the rocky valley below doesn't have any hope. He just has some time. In his case, measured in a couple of seconds until splat!
This Hub could have gone off in the direction of advising the Suzuki rider of the possibility of re-jigging his leather jacket to serve as a parachute, or ripping off the seat foam and using it to cushion his landing, but is that a responsible response to his critical situation? Is the leather jacket-chute really going to slow down his fall enough, or two inches of foam cushion him enough to prevent grievious bodily injury or even death in exactly 2 seconds from now?
Sure, I could berate the rider for hitting such a sharp corner at 130 mph and tell him that if he had tackled it at 30 mph he'd likely not be in the situation he's in. But unless his Hayabusa doubles as a Time-Travel Machine, what good would that do?
If the rider is religious, then maybe I could advise him to pray. That would be a valuable piece of advice.
I am not an apocalyptic ogre wishing death and destruction on the only planet our race has. I will gladly rewrite or even retract this Hub outright if a scientific theory can be advanced that has exactly one percent chance of being successful at not reversing the effects of ECC, but just slowing them down at any time in this 21st century. Therefore, if Mr. Nobel Prize proposes Theory X that if implemented today has a 1 in 100 chance of alleviating ECC effects by the same one percent by 2099, I'll gladly go back into my Hub Control Panel and hit the Delete button on this. However, I have a funny feeling that it's going to stick around for a good while.
Al Gore and Sir Richard Branson have established a foundation called Virgin Earth. It offers a substantial $25 million prize to anyone who can come up with a way to "atmospherically scrub" the ECC particles and molecules from the Earth's air. It sounds like a very laudable project until we do a little math. It turns out that if we advance current technology of removing anthropogenic, atmospheric GHGs from the atmosphere by a factor of one million times, then this process becomes feasible. If by feasible we can accept that the process would:
- Be based on the immediate elimination of the generation of every single molecule of additional GHG starting today.
- Take 337 years to complete the “scrubbing” of 5,000 trillion metric tons of atmosphere.
- Cost the entire current global GDP for the next 74,158 years.
- Require the energy generated by covering every single square inch of Australia with 600MW Nuclear Power Plants. If we chose to generate the electricity with 600MW gas or coal facilities, then we would still need just as many plants, but the GHGs they would generate would swamp the scrubbers causing a huge net yearly increase in GHG.
If Sir Branson wants to apply $25 million of his money towards a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, then it's his business. However, it is quite transparent by the name of Virgin Earth that the savvy self-marketer has come up with a campaign that is little more than a promotional tool for his other Virgin brands in order to appease the green consumer market. The same one that is up in arms at jets such as his that are the major source of high-altitude "contrail" contamination. That's why it's so surprising that Al Gore, Gaia Author James Lovelock, Dr. James Hansen, the Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the other people who have signed up have been gullible enough to swallow it.
Perhaps I should launch my own foundation and corresponding prize. “$25 million to the first woman to give natural birth to a flying pig.” Why not round it up to $100 million? I'll never have to pay up anyway.
I've roamed around remote northern corners of British Columbia reviewing the Mountain Pine Beetle devastation brought on by climate change as well as visiting Nunavut and the Northwest Territories getting first-hand information on the effects of ECC on the fragile Arctic ecosystem. Am I supported by a university or institute? No. Am I part of a formal scientific research team? No. I'm a maverick Hub writer, and I'm well aware that the term "maverick" can disturb some people. I genuflect at the framed photos of Hunter S. Thompson and Ernest Hemingway. That's the way I've always been, and since I'm now old and gray and addled, it's too late to change now.
I'm sure Shakespeare ordered his dinner at the pub in iambic pentameter and I can't change my writing style either (and I'm far from being a Shakespeare). This is the way I write. I believe that it's informative and informed but in the common vernacular. I can't bring myself to compose dry peer-review prose. The IPCC report is available to anyone. I write only what I have extensively researched and verified, so there can be no disputing the hard, verifiable sources of the information I've used to come to this conclusion. And my conclusion is: "we're screwed."
Maybe this Hub could open some eyes that wouldn't ordinarily be opened, perhaps from some obscure unorthodox apostate dormant-genius who will come up with a ECC Curbing theory that will change our world much as E=mc2 did a century ago. We can only "hope". But I'm starting to lose that "hope," as I'm only seeing the motorcycle hurtling down the cliff.