Climate Control

Climate Control                                                                                                                                 caelus controlare

Unrolling tarp

A glaciologist from Ohio State University had an idea – would covering a glacier with plastic sheeting reduce the accelerating rate of its melting? Being a glaciologist, he had the means to test his theory, and flew 31 giant rolls of plastic to Greenland. His team covered about 100,000 sq ft of ice with rolls of plastic and left it to stand the test of time. When they returned, they discovered that the plastic had worked – reflecting the heat of the sun and keeping the ice below cool. The team reports that they saved 2 feet of ice from melting.

Maureen Raymo, a paleoclimatologist and professor at Columbia University suggests that, “By the end of this century we’ll have developed the technology to titrate the climate, to basically control the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. We’d have a thermostat. To me it just seems like the inevitable outcome of the rise of higher beings that can control their destiny.”

Although that sounds appealing to a lot of people, the idea has received much criticism, and for good reason.  Nature will always be smarter than humans – our attempts to control it throughout history have been feeble. Nature always finds a way. Climate engineering is full of potential for human error that could cost us everything. The better solution is to change our own ways – to adapt our lifestyle and technology to the earth, rather than forcing the earth to adapt to us.


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