Who decides for the human race?

Any overall strategy to avoid catastrophic climate change will involve geo-engineering

When things get too quiet on the Times’ opinion pages, it’s always easy to get a rise out of one of our faithful readers – Jim Lamberton, also known as the Rambling Man.

All we need to do is mention the words “global warming” and we’re almost sure to get an angry letter in response. The word “roundabout” also works well.

Last week we had a letter from Jim that was in reply to the previous week’s editorial. The editorial in turn was in response to a Gwynn Dyer column that had described fears about military conflicts in the Arctic as “nonsense.”

The editorial argued that military conflicts in the Arctic are, in fact, inevitable unless we move to end global warming quickly.

The central point of Jim’s response was that global warming is not something that could be turned on and off like a tap.

In this space we have argued before that any overall strategy to avoid catastrophic climate change will involve geo-engineering – the deliberate and large-scale intervention in Earth’s climate.

The conventional approach – trying to reduce civilization’s emissions of carbon dioxide through such things as greater efficiencies and substitution of energy sources – is not working.

We have passed the safe upper limit to avoid a climate tipping point.

Geo-engineering schemes follow two basic strategies: removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and reducing the amount of sunlight reaching Earth.

Some of the schemes to remove carbon dioxide, such as fertilizing the oceans, carry unknown risks. Others, such as planting more trees, would be good things to do even without climate change, but unlikely to make a meaningful dent in the megatonnes of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere each year.

Reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth would involve schemes such as injecting sulphur-based aerosols into the atmosphere, or constructing mirrors or other structures in space.

All of these would involve unknown risks and would require further research – but we do not have unlimited time.

Ultimately it comes down to not a question of science or technology but of politics – who decides for the human race?

We have argued in this space before  that the appropriate place for those decisions to be made would be a stronger and more democratic United Nations. And we’d better get moving on that too.

And by the way, Jim, having a roundabout would help with the fight against global warming too. People would spend less time idling their vehicles while waiting for a break in traffic.

 

Just Posted

Demonstrators take to Clearwater roundabout

Yellow vest protesters say it’s time for a change

Police chase ends in two arrests

Suspects in stolen truck evade RCMP from Alberta border to Clearwater area

New winter access at Spahats Creek Falls to help winter tourism

Winter Waterfall Tours give enthusiasts unique experience

Community of Vavenby: weekly news update

Vavenby community Christmas potluck dinner was held recently with nearly 75 people attending.

A heartfelt thanks to the community of Clearwater

Editor, The Times: Our family, who gathered to celebrate Lucas Cowie’s life… Continue reading

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

‘Laverne & Shirley’ star, ‘Big’ director Penny Marshall dies

Marshall died of complications from diabetes on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at her Hollywood Hills home. She was 75.

B.C. Court of Appeal to rule in terror case that centres on RCMP conduct

B.C.’s appeal court is scheduled to release a decision today on a couple whose guilty verdict over plotting to blow up the provincial legislature was thrown out by a lower court judge.

Trump backs off on demand for $5 billion to build a border wall

Congress and President Donald Trump continue to bicker over his demand that lawmakers fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Canadian detained in China, not clear if related to two other detentions

Reports suggest the person is not a diplomat or entrepreneur doing business in China.

Trudeau sees 2019 election as choice between positive Liberals, divisive Tories

Trudeau is drawing much the same battle lines that propelled the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in 2015

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Make sure to equip winter tires if travelling

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

Most Read