I have a lot of respect for Nathan Myhrvold and his contributions to the growth of Microsoft. However, as we have seen in the past, well-credentialed individuals with a solid record of achievement can produce some pretty wacky and controversial ideas.
Associated content is reporting …
“Nathan Myhrvold is a former technology officer for Microsoft who has found his own company, Intellectual Ventures, which is involved in a number of technology development programs, including new forms of energy generation.”
“Nathan Myhrvold also thinks that he has found a cheap and reliable way to solve global warming, which does not involve upending and perhaps destroying the world's economy.”
“The global warming solution proposed by Nathan Myhvold involves running a hose up to the stratosphere with balloons and using that hose to pump out enough sulfur particles to dim the sun's heat just enough to counteract the effects of global warming. The estimated cost would be about two hundred and fifty million dollars.”
“Nathan Myhrvold suggests that volcanoes and other natural processes already pump out sulfur into the stratosphere and that his scheme, if adopted, would increase that amount by only one percent. Nathan Myhrvold therefore thinks that there would not be any unintended consequences (like starting a new ice age.)”
My problem with Nathan is that he is starting from a false premise: that the Earth’s global temperature needs to be regulated by man…
Nathan is a smart individual, so one would assume that he recognizes that there is no answer to the question of what the Earth’s optimum temperature might be.
Or that man can overcome the naturally chaotic self-regulating nature of, well, nature. Admittedly, we can see that climate appears to be a cyclical process; but unfortunately we do not know it’s exact periodicity, amplitude of maxima and minima temperatures, the mean value to which nature invariably regresses or our current position within the cycle of climate change.
To assume that man can alter the macro-dynamic effects of the Sun’s energy output, the orbit of the Earth, the Earth’s precession and rotational dynamics, plate tectonics and volcano dynamics, the heat storage of the oceans, the effects of ocean currents and the behavior of the largest of greenhouse gases – water vapor – with Myhrvold’s wild-assed scheme is almost beyond comprehension.
Let us assume for a minute that Myhrvold is posing a serious solution. Consider the chemistry involved in pumping sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere where it might combine with water vapor to form sulfuric acid. Consider what the environmentalist might say about a man-made catastrophe involving acid rain to contaminate the planet, alter the acidity of the oceans, cause plant damage, cause lung damage as well as possibly affecting the weather.
I wonder if Myhrvold has ever consider how nature really does regulate temperature? Consider the following: the oceans get warmer, more moisture is released to the atmosphere from evaporation, the moist air rises to form clouds which block the sunlight and further cool the atmosphere. Eventually, the clouds condensing enough to return to earth as precipitation. Wow: a seemingly self-regulating phenomena that does not require man’s input or any effort whatsoever. That is how nature really works when politicians are not involved. While this is a rather simplistic view since it doesn’t deal with the temperature of the oceans – where almost all of the heat energy is stored and whose deep current warming may take a thousand years or so – it does sort of make one wonder about the integrity and credibility of those who claim that it is another greenhouse has, carbon dioxide, that is the problem.
Of course, one can easily disprove the effects of CO2 by considering that there is some form of natural balance between the carbon dioxide dissolved in oceans and the amount of carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere. As the oceans warm, the carbon dioxide is outgassed to the atmosphere and increases the carbon dioxide level. Since the rise in carbon dioxide lags the rise in temperature by 600 – 1000 years (depending on the dataset and timeframe), we can assume that CO2 is not a causal factor in temperature rise. Sort of like opening a cold beer on a warm day and watching the carbon dioxide leave the beer and enter the atmosphere.
We know that natural processes such as weather are inordinately complex. And to assume that governments can mandate climate changes through political action is not only laughable, but downright dangerous to those who fear the enlargement of the government, rising taxes, tariffs and fees – and, of course, the reduction in personal freedoms.
And while I am wondering, I wonder if Nathan Myhrvold has spoken with Dr. James Hansen whose computational models deal specifically with the problem of particulate aerosols in the atmosphere – whether on Venus, Mars or on the Earth?
Bottom line …
Myhrvold may be the smartest guy on the planet, but he certainly has crossed the line into science fiction. If one considers that the Earth might be a better place if it was slightly warmer (1 – 5 degrees Celsius) than colder, man’s money could be better spent building more adaptive shelters, providing clean drinking water, improving sanitary facilities, improving the food production process and really reducing man-made pollution. To assume that climate change has a political solution is to be both silly and ridiculous. Climate nor pollution is cured by allowing gross polluters to continue to pollute by buying or trading government-approved and taxed indulgences created by some mythical forest in lower Crapistan. Nor will these indulgences add up to a climate change solution as proposed by the so-called independent, international arbiter of correctness, the United Nations. An organization which is thoroughly corrupt and sits idly by while its dictator-members slaughter their own people for political advantage.
Today, and on this subject, Nathan Myhrvold is one well-credentialed loon.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell