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August 28, 2006

Fixing Global Warming

Immediate personal action that can be taken. Analyze your own homes energy consumption and try to optimize energy usage in the most cost effective way.



The US dept of energy has advice and special online calculators to help you make your plans.

Some of the best first steps usually are
* Caulk and weatherstrip windows and exterior doors.
* Carefully select, install, and use window treatments or coverings.
* Energy efficient light bulbs

Other near-term technology:
Diesel engines that meet the USs strict pollution standard are coming and they provide 45% better fuel efficiency and more mid-range torque.

We need to have sustained funding of energy efficient technology research and deployment.

sulfur geoengineering
"http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060804-global-warming.html" target=blank>A proposal from a nobel prize winning scientist is to buy time by temporarily lowering the temperature in the global climate. Paul Crutzen of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Chemistry suggests injecting particles of sulfur into the stratosphere—the upper layer of the atmosphere—to cool the planet and buy time for humans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The sulfur particles would be dropped from high-altitude balloons or fired into the atmosphere with heavy artillery shells, he says. Once airborne the particles would act like tiny mirrors, bouncing the sun's light and heat back into space. Crutzen's plan would imitate the cooling effects of volcanic eruptions, which send large sulfur-rich clouds into the atmosphere. When Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in 1991, he points out, the huge plume of sulfur cooled the Earth by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degree Celsius) the following year. A relatively small amount of sulfate could produce a level of cooling similar to that caused by the Pinatubo eruption, according to Crutzen's calculations. Crutzen calculates that launching enough sulfate to have an effect for two years would cost between 25 billion and 50 billion U.S. dollars, about $25 to $50 per head in the developed world. Possible downsides are more acid rain and ozone issues. So it is not a free lunch, but this and other climate engineering (solar shield at Lagrange point) seems like necessary short term steps.

Two years ago John Latham, an atmospheric scientist from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, and his colleagues put forward a plan to whisk up seawater to encourage cloud formation in the lower atmosphere, thereby reflecting radiation back into space.

"All of us recognize that geo-engineering seems increasingly likely to be the only route to staving off a cataclysm in the short term before new, clean energy sources are developed sufficiently," Latham said.

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