By Paul B. Farrell
Yes, billionaires are playing God. They’re backing new geoengineering investments scarier plots than new weapons in James Bond’s “Skyfall.”
Yes weapons: Foreign Policy warns they’re “Playing God.” Stanford Social Innovation Review calls “Climate Science a Culture War.” And the Guardian reports billionaire “Bill Gates backs climate scientists lobbying for large-scale geoengineering.”
Yes war on Earth: Plans to dump millions of tons of sulphur high in the sky. Sure sounds like a diabolical terrorist plot. Megarisks with unintended, terminal and irreversible consequences, a hot plot ripe for a future “007” film.
But be warned: billionaire investors see geoengineering as the solution to the threat of climate change.
Geoengineering: new Big Oil trick to protect profits
But the reality is, geoengineering is a smokescreen, a strategic diversion by Big Oil to protect its $150 billion in annual profits. Yes, they’re perpetuating their myth: “Climate Science is a Hoax,” in spite of a universal consensus of scientists.
Get it? Geoengineering is the new investment fad, part of Big Oil’s campaign of making huge donations to politicians who promise to kill any climate-science policies that’ll hurt Big Oil’s profits.
Because when Big Oil is forced to admit “Climate Science is Not a Hoax,” it will have to expense the cost of emissions rather than passing along the costs to the taxpayers. Big Oil would cause a new market meltdown bigger than the 2008 bank crash, BP’s Gulf Oil Spill, and Sandy, Katrina and Fukushima disasters all together.
But just in case you need more reasons to prepare for a megadisaster to wake our world up, here are six borderline science-fiction stories about geoengineering investments backed by irrational billionaires, climate-denying capitalists who believe climate science is a hoax. And yet they will turn around and invest in costly high-risk geoengineering projects to solve an impending climate disaster they deny even exists.
1. Spray millions of tons of sulphur dioxide 30 miles high… then pray!
In “Playing God,” Foreign Policy says “scientists are looking at some radical options to save our planet. But could the cure be worse than the disease?” Yes, say authors Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman. The threat of global warming is still huge, but key climate scientists “have moved on. That doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned the issue, but they are looking beyond what all agree is the most obvious solution, decreasing the amount of carbon we spew into the atmosphere in the first place.” Why? Big Oil money has made that solution politically impossible.
So these scientists are looking “for a Plan B. There are two direct approaches under consideration,” either “sucking carbon out of the atmosphere, or creating an artificial sun shield for the planet.” So, humans just keep dumping “billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, and largely aren’t required to pay for the privilege.”
Politicians are gridlocked, so “if the world can’t get its act together to limit carbon emissions, geoengineering may be the only option we have.” Only? Bad conclusion.
The Guardian’s John Vida reviewed a $10 million deal bankrolling “a small group of leading climate scientists, financially supported by billionaires including Bill Gates” who “are lobbying governments and international bodies to back experiments into manipulating the climate on a global scale to avoid catastrophic climate change.” One geoengineering gamble is “spraying millions of tons of reflective particles of sulphur dioxide 30 miles above earth.” So billionaire capitalists and their geoengineering entrepreneurs are pushing their “Plan B,” which may be “Plan Z,” the one that could turn Earth rapidly into the new Mars.
There are more plots for investors and film buffs in “5 Crazy Ways to Stop Climate Change with Geoengineering” on Inhabitat.com. Timon Singh summarizes: “While the politicians talk, scientists are coming up with bold and … crazy ways to save the planet … by manipulation of the environment” using “atmospheric chemistry … considered dangerous” because they interfere “with the world’s delicate ecosystems.”
Here are their five more high-risk, costly geoengineering solutions on the table:
2. Dam the Mediterranean Sea
“Atlantropa” would be a “gigantic hydroelectric dam built across the Straight of Gibraltar” to generate huge sums of emission-free electricity, lowering the Mediterranean Sea by 200 meters and “open up parts of the Adriatic Sea for settlement and farming lands.” Huge costs. Risks to Europe’s climate, Atlantic’s temperature, North Africa’s ag lands, etc.
3. Wrap Greenland in a blanket
Wrapping the world largest island “sounds wildly impractical,” says one glaciologist. But the plan “will be enough to reflect the sun’s rays and prevent the ice caps from melting.” Fantasy? Two Swiss universities are already testing this technology in the Alps.
4. Shoot more clouds high in the sky
Last year Gates and NASA developed “plans for a seawater-spraying machine that could prevent climate change by creating clouds that reflect sunlight away from earth … machines suck in ten tons of water per second … spray it over 3,000 feet into the air, increasing the density of clouds.” Needed: “1,900 ships at a cost of over $7 billion to stop Earth’s temperature from rising.”
5. Flood beautiful Death Valley with water
Sea level will rise 28 inches by 2100. Scientists are “proposing a plan to lower those levels by flooding desert areas.” If ice caps melted levels would rise 67 feet, so “draining the seas into dry land would prevent … flooding populated areas.” Death Valley would “potentially hold millions of gallons of water.” Problem: The “plan would only lower the sea level by 2.5 feet.” And be a massive project.
6. Protect planet Earth with a solar shield
One of the wildest geoengineering plots is out in space, perfect for a James Bond “Dr. No” sequel. Imagine the construction of a 100,000 square mile “solar shield made from trillions of lenses” that would “deflect the sun’s rays.” Cost: Years of shuttle missions at a cost of $350 trillion, 10 times our GDP.
So, in the end, experts also pass the buck: “Our fate is in the hands of the politicians.” Actually in the hands of Big Oil. Not too reassuring, is it.
Playing God? Reminds me of an old joke monks tell: “If you really want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Yes, plans like dumping millions of tons of sulphur dioxide between planet Earth and God’s heavens. Kidding aside, there’s got to be better solution.