Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

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sardia
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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby sardia » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:32 pm UTC

There's already a 'sorry for cutting off your modernization plan'slush fund. I dunno why you think building modern coal plants is that controversial.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:12 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
sardia wrote:There are downsides to technology like this in that having a plan B often makes people unwilling to follow through on Plan A, reducing emissions in the first place.

I disagree. There are still severe disadvantages to SRM even if it works perfectly - for example it doesn't stop ocean acidification. We still need to reduce emissions as far as possible as fast as possible.

And even if the will was there, it's not logistically possible to build enough nuclear power stations or clean coal stations in the time we have left. The lead time to building a new nuclear power station is about 15 years and we will need to mitigate the damage already done; GHGs stay around for a century or more.


The logical conclusion here is that 15 year construction times are kinda long, and we can probably reduce that. Safety standards for nuke plants are extremely high, and while that is *generally* a good thing, I would argue that the risk tolerance for nuclear plants is unreasonably high compared to say, old coal plants. Bringing down safety expectations in line with what we have, and otherwise streamlining bureaucratic obstacles should help.

Shit, some of these things would literally improve safety. LOTS of waste is kept in ad-hoc situations thanks to unreasonable expectations of risk for long term disposal solutions. Politicians keep looking for a perfect solution, rather than embracing a merely better one.

It's not impossible in a physics sense, mostly in a political sense. A few years strikes me as an entirely reasonable expectation for a timeline, and while getting to that stage might require some changes and additional facilities being approved,

Besides, we don't apply that logic to other types of damage mitigation. We enforce seat belts (plan B) even though there's evidence it makes people less willing to follow through on plan A (driving safely within the speed limits).


Backup plans are great. See also, the failures of the "just don't have sex before marriage" crowd. Sure, that *works* if done, but backup plans are wise. My issues here are that the backup plans seem to have some significant downsides. Untested, unproven, potentially large side effects, potentially quite costly. In principle, having backup plans for the world warming is good, but the geoengineering plans seem to be poor for that.

More reasonably, the backup plans will involve adapting to live with the consequences. These will still be costly(moving away from new flood risk areas, for instance), but they are a great deal better understood. They'll work, rather than ballooning into a costly/dangerous/etc boondoggle.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:43 pm UTC

Did you know that 5 years after the Japanese disaster, they are building tank farms to hold contaminated water at those plants The water table pushes water into the basement where the core material ended up.

Image

In a fit of desperation they are now trying to creat an ice dam by freezing the soil. And as of today it isn't working.
To many people, the concept of an ice wall might sound almost too bizarre to be believable. The plan, initially proposed by Japanese construction company Kajima Corporation. and approved by a government panel in late May, reportedly calls for engineers to sink an array of vertical pipes into the ground around the buildings housing reactors 1 through 4. According to experts in ground-freezing technology, several large refrigerator units—the sort used to cool hockey arenas—would chill coolant that would circulate through the pipes, gradually lowering the temperature of the wet soil around them to subzero temperatures. In about two months, the soil would solidify and form a frozen barrier that would block water from flowing into the plant, and prevent already contaminated water inside it from reaching the ocean. (See related photos: "A Rare Look Inside Fukushima Daiichi.")


Nuclear power, the gift that keeps on giving. Like a lot of other things humans do, we learn by trial and error. Backing off on safety standards isn't the way forward.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:12 am UTC

Ice-wall technology isn't unknown in sinking mineshafts through sodden layers (and not just in Dwarf Fortress!). Although concrete-injection would seem to me to be the more permanent solution. (See especially salt-concrete, for saltmine shaft sealing.)

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:23 am UTC

Spoiler:
morriswalters wrote:Did you know that 5 years after the Japanese disaster, they are building tank farms to hold contaminated water at those plants The water table pushes water into the basement where the core material ended up.

Image

In a fit of desperation they are now trying to creat an ice dam by freezing the soil. And as of today it isn't working.
To many people, the concept of an ice wall might sound almost too bizarre to be believable. The plan, initially proposed by Japanese construction company Kajima Corporation. and approved by a government panel in late May, reportedly calls for engineers to sink an array of vertical pipes into the ground around the buildings housing reactors 1 through 4. According to experts in ground-freezing technology, several large refrigerator units—the sort used to cool hockey arenas—would chill coolant that would circulate through the pipes, gradually lowering the temperature of the wet soil around them to subzero temperatures. In about two months, the soil would solidify and form a frozen barrier that would block water from flowing into the plant, and prevent already contaminated water inside it from reaching the ocean. (See related photos: "A Rare Look Inside Fukushima Daiichi.")


Nuclear power, the gift that keeps on giving. Like a lot of other things humans do, we learn by trial and error. Backing off on safety standards isn't the way forward.
wow, you opened my eyes, we should all drown from global warming instead. Sarcasm aside, you can mitigate a lot of the problems of radioactive materials via recycling back into more reactors. However at a certain point, you just have to accept that some areas are gonna be polluted with radiation that rivals coal plants.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:54 am UTC

sardia wrote:wow, you opened my eyes, we should all drown from global warming instead. Sarcasm aside, you can mitigate a lot of the problems of radioactive materials via recycling back into more reactors. However at a certain point, you just have to accept that some areas are gonna be polluted with radiation that rivals coal plants.
You drown, I'm 400 foot above mean sea level. However I was responding to Tyndmyr's suggestion that we could shortcut safety.

Rant warning for anyone who bothers to read this.
Spoiler:
But what I think has very little to do with it. The public doesn't believe you when you say things like that, else the exclusion zone around the Japanese plants wouldn't exist. The average coal plant could explode and burn. They could scrape up the remains and Trump could build a 5 star golf course, and no one would so much as blink. Coals PR is way better than the Nuclear industries. And the industry lied, or at least appeared to, because they said these type of accidents were a rare event. And the general public doesn't understand statistics well enough to understand why it isn't a lie.

In terms of global warming they can shoot as much shit as they want in the atmosphere. Since our understanding of the climate cycle is rudimentary at best, good luck with that. Elasto's article illustrates that. There is no scientific consensus. And without that consensus you are guessing. With it, you are still guessing, but at least it's a better guess. The same with orbiting sunshades. Those are hail Mary's, done by desperate people, and only when every other option has been exhausted.

As long as we keep adding people at the rate we are adding them now they could build nuclear reactors until they run out of concrete and it won't be enough. But do it anyway. If you live in a coastal area, I would sell now, to some fool who is an optimist and move to higher ground. Dig deep, like opal miners in Australia, and get the biologists to work and find crops that can thrive in the conditions that will come to exist. Get Chemists and Physicists to work on a way to weather carbon out of the atmosphere quicker, there is evidently work being done along those lines as we speak. Answer the question "How and where will rain patterns change?" And so on and so on. You know, science.

However if you want to do zany, build billions of little cube sats, with tiny solar arrays and limited AI, fueled by CO2 compressed gas. Have them orbit and filter sunlight and then decay gracefully and burn up after their thrusters are exhausted. The debris will add lots of particulate matter to the upper atmosphere. CO2 is sent above the atmosphere and blown off by the solar wind. Shoot them up with a cannon, like confetti. Problem solved.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:23 am UTC

We do have other options, for example, mass murder. Launch nukes at every country, a bunch of people die + nuclear winter. Global warming solved. I'm pretty sure the civil war in the mid east would end too. On account of being dead and all.There are ways to curb population growth, global warming, and all that nasty complex stuff. It requires political will, and uncaring institutions backed by weapons. But all those ways reveal what we really want, which is to have our cake and eat it too. People want all the babies, all the energy, and not have to sacrifice anything to get it.

In all seriousness, the most likely option is just mass murder under a more boring name. "I don't want to pay anymore taxes, instead of natural disaster relief funds, let's give white people more tax cuts."

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby lorb » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:15 am UTC

sardia wrote:In all seriousness, the most likely option is just mass murder under a more boring name. "I don't want to pay anymore taxes, instead of natural disaster relief funds, let's give white people more tax cuts."


There is a difference between murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Please be gracious in judging my english. (I am not a native speaker/writer.)
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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:00 pm UTC

sardia wrote:We do have other options, for example, mass murder. Launch nukes at every country, a bunch of people die + nuclear winter. Global warming solved. I'm pretty sure the civil war in the mid east would end too. On account of being dead and all.There are ways to curb population growth, global warming, and all that nasty complex stuff. It requires political will, and uncaring institutions backed by weapons. But all those ways reveal what we really want, which is to have our cake and eat it too. People want all the babies, all the energy, and not have to sacrifice anything to get it.

In all seriousness, the most likely option is just mass murder under a more boring name. "I don't want to pay anymore taxes, instead of natural disaster relief funds, let's give white people more tax cuts."
All that has to happen is for there to come a point where enough people are convinced. When that happens all the research that is and will be going on will come into play, and we will start to get something done. It isn't hopeless. Population growth is slowing. The race is to see if we can take care of the number of people that we end up with without wrecking the world for use, by us.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:19 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Did you know that 5 years after the Japanese disaster, they are building tank farms to hold contaminated water at those plants The water table pushes water into the basement where the core material ended up.


Yup. And while that particular situation sucks, it's a worst case scenario. And it wasn't exactly a new reactor.

On the flip side, coal kills piles of people, just in a fashion that nobody seems to care about.

Just not using power isn't really an option(and if we tried, deaths would increase for other reasons). The point is to minimize the costs. All solutions have some cost, but even a cursory comparison of nuclear power vs coal demonstrates that improvements are possible.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/#597bcf0249d2

Literally, anything but coal is the way to go, if you care about risk to life.

morriswalters wrote:All that has to happen is for there to come a point where enough people are convinced. When that happens all the research that is and will be going on will come into play, and we will start to get something done. It isn't hopeless. Population growth is slowing. The race is to see if we can take care of the number of people that we end up with without wrecking the world for use, by us.


Nah. For the most part, all the people that will be convinced are. You're not going to convince substantially more researchers. They essentially are already all converted, and have been for some time. Those who reject that global warming is a thing are mostly those who do so because it is inconvenient to other beliefs, and whom are highly motivated to come to other conclusions.

Look, everyone basically already believes we should act to limit carbon emissions*. We're already there. But the problem isn't fixed. More convincing is at this point, utterly useless and irrelevant. Belief is insufficient. It'll remain unfixed.

*http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/11/05/2-public-support-for-action-on-climate-change/#lifestyle-changes-seen-as-necessary

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:03 pm UTC

Right, hold that thought. If those people were really convinced that changing their lifestyle would fix the problem we would be on our way. What they are doing is taking out both sides of their mouths. Paying lip service, while doing little things of no consequence.

You comment on that plant in Japan as being old is ridiculous. Eventually any nuclear plant will age. They will all get old. Most plants in the US are on extensions of their operating permits. Age didn't cause the failure, the investigation determined that. The same thing that caused Chernobyl caused that failure. Human error. And to this point nobodies made a definitively better human. But under no circumstances should we reduce the margin of safety. Or the strict control over construction.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Whizbang » Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:29 pm UTC

I think your conclusion that people are just talking out of the side of their mouths is unfair. There is such a thing as "Tragedy of the Commons", and it fits the environment problem like a glove.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:10 am UTC

Whizbang wrote:I think your conclusion that people are just talking out of the side of their mouths is unfair. There is such a thing as "Tragedy of the Commons", and it fits the environment problem like a glove.
Assign any motivation you think fits. But putting solar panels on the roof and riding a bicycle isn't going to get it done. The belief that you can live in modern society and be green is a lie.

trag·e·dy
ˈtrajədē/
noun
noun: tragedy; plural noun: tragedies

1. an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.
"a tragedy that killed 95 people"

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby sardia » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:59 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Whizbang wrote:I think your conclusion that people are just talking out of the side of their mouths is unfair. There is such a thing as "Tragedy of the Commons", and it fits the environment problem like a glove.
Assign any motivation you think fits. But putting solar panels on the roof and riding a bicycle isn't going to get it done. The belief that you can live in modern society and be green is a lie.

trag·e·dy
ˈtrajədē/
noun
noun: tragedy; plural noun: tragedies

1. an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.
"a tragedy that killed 95 people"

Your understanding of renewable energy is flawed, the problem isn't generation. The problem is in transmission and storage. There's more than enough wind and solar energy to power the entire world, at whatever pace we want.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:17 pm UTC

And that type of thinking is precisely the problem. Tally your personal property. Consider the carbon footprint of every article including the house. Each of the billion or so people on the planet is exactly like you. They all want to live the way you live. Have what you have. Do you really think putting solar panels on your home makes a fucking difference? What are you willing to surrender to make their aspirations possible?

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby sardia » Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:55 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:And that type of thinking is precisely the problem. Tally your personal property. Consider the carbon footprint of every article including the house. Each of the billion or so people on the planet is exactly like you. They all want to live the way you live. Have what you have. Do you really think putting solar panels on your home makes a fucking difference? What are you willing to surrender to make their aspirations possible?

And YOUR type of thinking is precisely the problem. Think about a solar panel on top of your house, what is it suppose to do in concept? Generating power for your house right? WRONG. It does nothing for your house. If a blackout happened, you'd be out of power too. Why is that linked to energy transfer and storage? Because the power grid doesn't store energy. It generates energy to meet demand by shutting down and starting up boilers fired by coal or gas. That solar panel will mean a coal plant shuts down for the day. Then when the sun goes down, someone calls the coal plant, and start them back up. It gets trickier from here, say a cloud rolls over a town full of house panels, that forces a coal plant to start up, and then shut down as the power output of the panel crashes, and then rises. Transmission & storage of energy is a field with huge potential, but it's incredibly frustrating because advances have been very slow. That, combined with high startup/infrastructure costs means that applied to our lives, the technology simply hasn't advanced very much.

You're tilting at the wrong windmill here. Having billions of people live at US levels of energy consumption is very hard to impossible, but that's not what I said the problem was with renewables. Transmission and storage have almost nothing to do with how much energy we consume. The issue with solar and wind power is there's no current way to store any excess energy, nor a really efficient way of transmitting it from say, the windy plains of the Dakotas to the industrial Midwest. If you're not willing to address the individual parts of the problem, you might as well end every post in "and in the end comes the heat death of the universe, so it didn't really matter."

As for what we would surrender? Our ethics. Just kill a billion people. Nukes, neglect, 'natural disaster', it doesn't matter.* Carbon and Energy consumption problem solved.

*Morris, the dying consider murder and manslaughter a semantic argument. There's a billion white people out there who would happily live out their lives neglecting and ignoring any external problem brewing in the world. You're one of them. It's funny because you were full on isolationist & 'fix our country first' , but for abstract climate change you're this herald calling for change, massive involvement, and sacrifice.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:23 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Morris, the dying consider murder and manslaughter a semantic argument.
I doubt they are considering issues of semantics at all. Murder and manslaughter are words for the living to make sense of death.

sardia wrote:There's a billion white people out there who would happily live out their lives neglecting and ignoring any external problem brewing in the world. You're one of them. It's funny because you were full on isolationist & 'fix our country first' , but for abstract climate change you're this herald calling for change, massive involvement, and sacrifice.
On being white and an isolationist.
Spoiler:
I'm going to respond to this first. You've just effectively called me a racist. Using a ad hominem attack which by definition is an rebuttal unrelated to the subject under discussion. However let's dispense with it so it doesn't get to hang around in the background. I'm not ashamed of being white. I, after all didn't have a choice. I can't say I believe that I have been particularly oppressive to other races. I'm aware that I can be racist however, and it has gotten worse as I have aged, but I struggle with it and do the best that I can do.

On my isolationist tendencies. What I dislike is killing to no point. But if killing must be done than I would rather it be precise rather than general. So I support drone strikes and precision munitions. What I haven't noticed, particularly in the Middle East, is that our Military adventures have made much of a difference. And part of my process involves not doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I don't get worked up overmuch when things don't go the way I like. Because that is the way things work. Sometimes you win, other times you lose.


No that we have gotten that out of the way back to the point. I used the phrase talking out of both sides of your mouth to represent the idea of actions versus narratives. Using solar panels as a metaphor for taking actions which make people feel good but do nothing to solve the problem. That is, that they support peoples narratives, while doing little or nothing to make anything better. The problems with the execution wind or solar aren't really the point.

This was discussion of the theoreticals of how you might attack the problem of global climate change, not a discussion of what I think the chances that we might accomplish it. Or for that matter if the human race is worth it.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby sardia » Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:22 am UTC

Morris, These are the main points I see in this thread.
Should you do solar radiation management as proposed in this thread? No, that's pretty stupid and desperate considering most of the good ideas we already trying are struggling for completion/haven't started.
Is renewables a good idea? Yea with a big but. There are nuances and dangers of green halos creating perverse behavior, I'm very well aware of that.
Spoiler:
Of course, I didn't mention any of how pointless or not all this was, or what kind of sacrifice was needed. I simply said there's a lot of potential renewable power out there but there's no good way to store or transfer it. You chose to be a big jerk, bemoaning the pointlessness of it all instead of addressing my point in any way. So don't get all uppity at me that I went 'personal' because you chose to be a jerk repeatedly.

As for what to sacrifice, you asked how to get a green future without sacrifice, and I answered. You ignore the poor suffering "others" and focus on yourself/country/region. The developed countries should try to fix the problems internally, and the poor have to help themselves. Sound familiar? If I make Westerners sound callous and horrible, I'm merely reflecting the reality of how modern society reacts to global problems.

This conversation is leading somewhere dark, should we move on?

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:43 am UTC

First of all, I'm sorry that I seem to be a jerk. It wasn't my intent. Second I am aware as you of the limitations of solar and wind power within the context of the modern grid. There isn't any point in discussing it, since it has been hashed over in another thread ad nauseum.

It had nothing to do with my response to Whizbang. My response was to explain what I meant by the phrase, talking out of both sides of their mouth. With solar cells being a metaphor. I could have just as well used recycled grocery bags. Or any number of stupid and foolish memes associated with lowering someones carbon footprint. And now I have explained this twice.

Consider the sentence you used to respond.
sardia wrote:As for what to sacrifice, you asked how to get a green future without sacrifice, and I answered. You ignore the poor suffering "others" and focus on yourself/country/region.
The question I asked was
morriswalters wrote: What are you willing to surrender to make their aspirations possible?
Not how to get to a green future without sacrifice. Why would I ask that, since I don't believe it is possible? Reasonable people can disagree on this topic and while I respect your position, we seem to unable to focus on the others point. So perhaps we should let it go.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:52 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Right, hold that thought. If those people were really convinced that changing their lifestyle would fix the problem we would be on our way. What they are doing is taking out both sides of their mouths. Paying lip service, while doing little things of no consequence.


Oh certainly, even those who believe often do extremely little to fix it. As mentioned by others, classic tragedy of the commons issue. If the US passes harsh laws to mitigate emissions, sure, the world as a whole will benefit from that, but the US will pay all of the costs. Everyone's incentivized to do as little as possible while attempting to look good. So, it's an endless clusterfuck of virtue signaling.

You comment on that plant in Japan as being old is ridiculous. Eventually any nuclear plant will age. They will all get old. Most plants in the US are on extensions of their operating permits. Age didn't cause the failure, the investigation determined that. The same thing that caused Chernobyl caused that failure. Human error. And to this point nobodies made a definitively better human. But under no circumstances should we reduce the margin of safety. Or the strict control over construction.


It is, in part, a result of new power plants being so expensive/difficult to get built with all the approvals. Increasing safety standards rapidly enough will make it more cost effective to run an old, grandfathered plant/technology rather than using a somewhat better model.

Increasing safety standards is not the same thing as increasing safety. Demanding the utmost safety from nuclear plants, while permitting old coal plants to run that are killing piles of people is not actually producing safety.

morriswalters wrote:
Whizbang wrote:I think your conclusion that people are just talking out of the side of their mouths is unfair. There is such a thing as "Tragedy of the Commons", and it fits the environment problem like a glove.
Assign any motivation you think fits. But putting solar panels on the roof and riding a bicycle isn't going to get it done. The belief that you can live in modern society and be green is a lie.


Setting up a strict dichotomy between choosing "modern society" and "being green" is not going to result in people choosing to be super green. It's going to result in them picking "modern society" and ignoring those crazy hippies who are never satisfied.

We need actual, practical solutions that enable modern society to continue at minimal cost. Things like replacing coal plants with nukes are an excellent example of this. Are they green/natural/whatever is hippie friendly? Apparently not, judging from the reactions. But practically speaking, they're way better than coal.

morriswalters wrote:And that type of thinking is precisely the problem. Tally your personal property. Consider the carbon footprint of every article including the house. Each of the billion or so people on the planet is exactly like you. They all want to live the way you live. Have what you have. Do you really think putting solar panels on your home makes a fucking difference? What are you willing to surrender to make their aspirations possible?


Yes and no, respectively.

I can and will use solar when it's a reasonable option. Solar isn't inherently evil or something. It just isn't practical right now on my house because I rent it. If upstream generation is done via solar or whatever else, there's nothing wrong with that. It's just power. I don't give a crap where it comes from.

My goal isn't to make everyone's aspirations come true. That's unreasonable. I'd simply like power sources to be less costly in terms of lives, and less risky in terms of escalating emissions. This is good for me in some small part, and incidentally helpful for those others. Win/Win. It is far from the only thing they need, but whatever. It still helps.

Assuming, of course, that it's not done terribly. I still want solar(or nuclear or whatever) to be reasonably cost effective. If it costs six times as much, well...very few will opt to pay that premium, and it will be pointless. Ignoring costs by relying on lots of subsidies frequently results in additional problems.

Sometimes you have to attack costs directly. I think it's ridiculous to oppose experimenting with slightly lowering costly standards on things that rarely ever have accidents(nuke plants), while being FOR experimenting with the entire earth at once.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:37 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Setting up a strict dichotomy between choosing "modern society" and "being green" is not going to result in people choosing to be super green. It's going to result in them picking "modern society" and ignoring those crazy hippies who are never satisfied.
I agree oddly enough. Which was my point. People want to be green as long as it doesn't cost them, a perfect coda for me in this discussion.
Tyndmyr wrote:Increasing safety standards is not the same thing as increasing safety. Demanding the utmost safety from nuclear plants, while permitting old coal plants to run that are killing piles of people is not actually producing safety.
You do realize that coal plants will be killing people for centuries even if we leveled them all today. That's what global warming is all about. With that thought in mind boil water in teacups with uranium if it suits you. Given the relative time frames, even with the shoddiest construction, my personal universe will end before it's ever a problem for me, if it is ever a problem at all.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby elasto » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:01 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Setting up a strict dichotomy between choosing "modern society" and "being green" is not going to result in people choosing to be super green. It's going to result in them picking "modern society" and ignoring those crazy hippies who are never satisfied.

I think this is true. Hence I think not enough will get done over the next decade. Hence I think we will have no choice but to go for the bandaid of SRM.

Sometimes you have to attack costs directly. I think it's ridiculous to oppose experimenting with slightly lowering costly standards on things that rarely ever have accidents(nuke plants), while being FOR experimenting with the entire earth at once.

There isn't enough industrial capacity to build enough nuclear plants in time even if we lower safety standards - which seems dangerous given the probability of someone like ISIS doing a suicide attack or someone like North Korea doing a cyber attack.

And we do experiments on the earth all the time: Overfishing, deforestation leading to desertification, and massive CO2 output are but three ways humans are affecting the planet in a global and largely irreversible way - at least on normal human timescales.

At least with SRM we can ramp up slowly so effects will be both small and reversible.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:09 pm UTC

elasto wrote:And we do experiments on the earth all the time: Overfishing, deforestation leading to desertification, and massive CO2 output are but three ways humans are affecting the planet in a global and largely irreversible way - at least on normal human timescales.


Yes, yes they are. You've succinctly summarized my case against it.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:32 pm UTC

You know how it is, if at first you don't succeed, try until you make things worse. :shock:

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby D-503 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:18 pm UTC

The activities that lead to anthropogenic global warming are not evidence of the perils of climate engineering because they were performed without regard for their effects on the climate.

The the rise in sea-level that sulfate aerosols could reduce/slow will probably lead to far worse casualties and economic losses than the aerosols. Starting a limited time stratospheric sulfate trial in an area over the oceans would allow us to better assess the trade-offs involved in a large scale operation and minimize the damage climate change will cause.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby SDK » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:37 pm UTC

D-503 wrote:Starting a limited time stratospheric sulfate trial in an area over the oceans would allow us to better assess the trade-offs involved in a large scale operation and minimize the damage climate change will cause.

Is this possible? To contain a trial to a particular region?
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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:28 pm UTC

D-503 wrote:The activities that lead to anthropogenic global warming are not evidence of the perils of climate engineering because they were performed without regard for their effects on the climate.
Unintended Consequences
Most modern technologies have negative consequences that are both unavoidable and unpredictable. For example, almost all environmental problems, from chemical pollution to global warming, are the unexpected consequences of the application of modern technologies. Traffic congestion, deaths and injuries from car accidents, air pollution, and even global warming are unintended consequences of the invention and large scale adoption of the automobile. Hospital infections are the unexpected side-effect of antibiotic resistance, and even human overpopulation is the side effect of various technological (i.e., agricultural and industrial) revolutions.[58]

Because of the complexity of ecosystems, deliberate changes to an ecosystem or other environmental interventions will often have (usually negative) unintended consequences. Sometimes, these effects cause permanent irreversible changes. Examples include:

During the Four Pests Campaign a killing of sparrows was declared. Chinese leaders later realized that sparrows ate a large amount of insects, as well as grains. Rather than being increased, rice yields after the campaign were substantially decreased.[59]
During the Great Plague of London a killing of dogs and cats was declared. The animals could have helped keep in check the rat population carrying the fleas which transmitted the disease.[60]
The draining of American wetlands since colonial times, resulting in flash-flooding and seasonal droughts.[citation needed]
The installation of smokestacks to decrease pollution in local areas, resulting in spread of pollution at a higher altitude, and acid rain on an international scale.[61][62]
After about 1900, public demand led the federal government to fight forest fires in the American West, and set aside land as national forests and parks to protect them from fires. This policy led to fewer fires, but also led to growth conditions such that, when fires did occur, they were much larger and more damaging. Modern research suggests that this policy was misguided, and that a certain level of wildfires is a natural and important part of forest ecology.[63]

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:06 pm UTC

D-503 wrote:The activities that lead to anthropogenic global warming are not evidence of the perils of climate engineering because they were performed without regard for their effects on the climate.

The the rise in sea-level that sulfate aerosols could reduce/slow will probably lead to far worse casualties and economic losses than the aerosols. Starting a limited time stratospheric sulfate trial in an area over the oceans would allow us to better assess the trade-offs involved in a large scale operation and minimize the damage climate change will cause.


Everyone who wishes to experiment on a climate-wide scale promises to consider the risks.

But, as noted above, humans have a rather lengthy history of not considering all the risks properly beforehand. They might not even know them in order to give them due consideration. So, the actual risk is certainly much higher than what proponents believe it to be.

Given that we don't have backup climates laying about, a certain degree of caution is in order.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby EMTP » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:12 pm UTC

There are a number of problems with SRM. I'll focus on one that hasn't been referenced here so far: duration of the effort.

Aerosols and their cooling effects, cloud brightening, etc., last for a few months, whereas CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for centuries. This means that once you start SRM, you can't stop, not for hundreds of years. If you do, all the warming you have been delaying with SRM will assert itself in a few months' time. Rapid warming of that kind is extremely unsafe, and could cause mass starvation as harvests fail, among other things.

So by attempting SRM, we are expecting the next few centuries to be without major wars, revolutions, economic depression, epidemics or natural disasters that would disrupt the fleets of aircraft that have to dump aerosols in the atmosphere 24/7/365 (or the fleets of ships brightening the clouds, or what have you.) Looking back at the last several hundred years, that seems wildly unrealistic. I mean, at this very moment there seems to be a significant chance Americans will elect a demagogue who would junk any such commitment. And Trump is not an anomaly, historically speaking: self-destructive, short-sighted selfishness laced with jingoism is how most democracies collapse.

To say we are going to be able to successfully maintain SRM for centuries is essentially to say we are on the cusp of successful world government or a strong international order which banishes war and poverty for all time. And if anyone seriously expects this to come about, consider that if it did, it would be fairly easy to cut our CO2 emissions to net zero and stop further warming that way.
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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby D-503 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:04 am UTC

SDK wrote:
D-503 wrote:Starting a limited time stratospheric sulfate trial in an area over the oceans would allow us to better assess the trade-offs involved in a large scale operation and minimize the damage climate change will cause.

Is this possible? To contain a trial to a particular region?


Aerosols cannot be completely contained, but they can be targeted so that they are concentrated within a particular region.

EMTP wrote:There are a number of problems with SRM. I'll focus on one that hasn't been referenced here so far: duration of the effort.

Aerosols and their cooling effects, cloud brightening, etc., last for a few months, whereas CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for centuries. This means that once you start SRM, you can't stop, not for hundreds of years. If you do, all the warming you have been delaying with SRM will assert itself in a few months' time. Rapid warming of that kind is extremely unsafe, and could cause mass starvation as harvests fail, among other things.

So by attempting SRM, we are expecting the next few centuries to be without major wars, revolutions, economic depression, epidemics or natural disasters that would disrupt the fleets of aircraft that have to dump aerosols in the atmosphere 24/7/365 (or the fleets of ships brightening the clouds, or what have you.) Looking back at the last several hundred years, that seems wildly unrealistic. I mean, at this very moment there seems to be a significant chance Americans will elect a demagogue who would junk any such commitment. And Trump is not an anomaly, historically speaking: self-destructive, short-sighted selfishness laced with jingoism is how most democracies collapse.

To say we are going to be able to successfully maintain SRM for centuries is essentially to say we are on the cusp of successful world government or a strong international order which banishes war and poverty for all time. And if anyone seriously expects this to come about, consider that if it did, it would be fairly easy to cut our CO2 emissions to net zero and stop further warming that way.

A small scale aerosol SRM trial could be stopped with little to no termination shock. Similar fluctuations in the amount of solar radiation the earth receives happen frequently through the solar cycle and volcanic eruptions. If SRM needed to be stopped after it was scaled up to a global level, a gradual termination would be required.

One advantage aerosol based SRM has over other methods of reducing global warming is that international cooperation is only required for approval rather than enactment. Since several governments could run their own independent SRM programs, if one government behaves erratically and suddenly stops their SRM program it would not cause a major termination shock since other programs could remain active.

Tyndmyr wrote:
Everyone who wishes to experiment on a climate-wide scale promises to consider the risks.

But, as noted above, humans have a rather lengthy history of not considering all the risks properly beforehand. They might not even know them in order to give them due consideration. So, the actual risk is certainly much higher than what proponents believe it to be.

Given that we don't have backup climates laying about, a certain degree of caution is in order.


Allowing global temperature to continue rising without a reliable plan to stop it could also have unintended consequences and risks we have not yet considered. Since the expected effects of global warming are worse than the expected effects of SRM, it is rational to choose the path of SRM.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:33 pm UTC

D-503 wrote:Allowing global temperature to continue rising without a reliable plan to stop it could also have unintended consequences and risks we have not yet considered. Since the expected effects of global warming are worse than the expected effects of SRM, it is rational to choose the path of SRM.


A. SRM is not the only possible reaction to global warming.
B. We know more about the risks of global warming precisely because we HAVE studied it longer. Your heuristic is wildly biased towards new things we don't know much about. That's exactly the problem.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Whizbang » Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:46 pm UTC

Relevant XKCD comic is relevant.
Spoiler:
Image

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby EMTP » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

A small scale aerosol SRM trial could be stopped with little to no termination shock. Similar fluctuations in the amount of solar radiation the earth receives happen frequently through the solar cycle and volcanic eruptions.


Yes, you could experiment and get a better sense of how it would work. But it is not safe to use at a large scale, for the reasons I outline.

If SRM needed to be stopped after it was scaled up to a global level, a gradual termination would be required.


This begs the question. How can we guarantee a gradual process? How gradual -- decades, centuries? For you can manage two-hundred-year taper of SRM, You may as well keep it up. And if you can keep it up, you may as well just stop emitting CO2 and not having the warming in the first place.

For example: If you have 4C of warming in the next hundred years (a reasonable estimate for business as usual) which you avert with SRM, how do you taper that? Tapered over 20 years, it would cause 2C/decade, roughly ten times the current rate of warming. Forty years? Five times the current (historically unprecedented) rate of warming.
One advantage aerosol based SRM has over other methods of reducing global warming is that international cooperation is only required for approval rather than enactment. Since several governments could run their own independent SRM programs, if one government behaves erratically and suddenly stops their SRM program it would not cause a major termination shock since other programs could remain active.


Because governments are ever-watchful and eager for opportunities to spend their citizen's money on projects which benefit the world as a whole. They are especially attracted to projects selfishly abandoned by other governments, and like nothing better than to spend money to prevent that selfish government from facing any consequences of their actions by doing their share of the work.

Again, I don't say it's impossible for governments to behave in this unselfish and far-sighted way, only that, if you can get that behavior out of them, you may as well just have them stop CO2 emissions.

Allowing global temperature to continue rising without a reliable plan to stop it could also have unintended consequences and risks we have not yet considered. Since the expected effects of global warming are worse than the expected effects of SRM, it is rational to choose the path of SRM.


A) No, if humans behave as they usually do the expected effects of SRM followed by rapid warming when SRM falls apart are worse.
B) Even granting your premises, your conclusion is only logically true if SRM and unchecked global warming are the only two options. In fact, there are other options, most notably "stop burning fossil fuels."
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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:38 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:This begs the question. How can we guarantee a gradual process? How gradual -- decades, centuries? For you can manage two-hundred-year taper of SRM, You may as well keep it up. And if you can keep it up, you may as well just stop emitting CO2 and not having the warming in the first place.


I don't think we can guarantee ANYTHING for 200 years. I mean, that's almost as long as the US has existed, and it's changed pretty wildly a bunch since then. Nations rise, fall, circumstances change, different parties gain power.

If not impossible, it is at least extremely unlikely that we can get humanity to execute a plan of such scope. In the real world, planning 5-10 years ahead is considered quite long term for most government purposes.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby EMTP » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:03 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I don't think we can guarantee ANYTHING for 200 years. I mean, that's almost as long as the US has existed, and it's changed pretty wildly a bunch since then. Nations rise, fall, circumstances change, different parties gain power.


Exactly which is why it would be foolish to embark on a centuries-long geoengineering project which would cause massive disruption if interrupted for any reason.
"Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby sardia » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:55 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I don't think we can guarantee ANYTHING for 200 years. I mean, that's almost as long as the US has existed, and it's changed pretty wildly a bunch since then. Nations rise, fall, circumstances change, different parties gain power.


Exactly which is why it would be foolish to embark on a centuries-long geoengineering project which would cause massive disruption if interrupted for any reason.

Isn't that what the climate accords are going to become? A Centuries long geoengineering project which would cause massive disruption if interrupted for any reason?

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:36 pm UTC

Yes.

Which, incidentally, is also rather pessimistic for the long term stability of them.

But climate is all about the rate of change. I mean, that's why global warming's a problem to begin with, it's way too fast compared to geological rates. This would be way faster yet.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby D-503 » Sat Oct 01, 2016 7:01 pm UTC

@EMPT
Governments are already attempting to limit CO2 emissions. SRM programs are not being undertaken, even though they are far cheaper per degree of heating averted. SRM need not be applied to completely negate warning. If it is only applied partially to slow the warming expected to happen over the next 100 years to happen over the next 200 years it would still be useful since we would have more time to build sea walls and try to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

If SRM was scaled primarily by starting new independent programs rather then growing existing ones, we would have protection against termination shock due to political volatility. Globally, governments are already spending around 100 billion on renewable energy subsidies, so I think spending 10 billion on SRM programs would be achievable. While that would not be sufficient to negate all warming, it would allow us to put the breaks on it somewhat.

@Tyndmyr
I acknowledge that additional research does reduce the chance of an unanticipated effect. I think the probabilities of an unexpected disastrous side effect from global warming and SRM are about on par because global warming has more expected effects than SO2 SRM leading to more ways for unexpended things to happen.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby morriswalters » Sun Oct 02, 2016 1:27 am UTC

sardia wrote:Isn't that what the climate accords are going to become? A Centuries long geoengineering project which would cause massive disruption if interrupted for any reason?
Actually we are scaling back the ongoing experiment in to the effects of uncontrolled injection of CO2 into the atmosphere. That experiment has be running since man domesticated fire.

To the other guy. What do you think the result would be if whatever SRM is, worked. The smart money would be we would continue to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, because, well it worked, so why stop burning hydrocarbons? I believe that is called a perverse incentive.

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Re: Should We Try Solar Radiation Management?

Postby sardia » Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:02 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
To the other guy. What do you think the result would be if whatever SRM is, worked. The smart money would be we would continue to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, because, well it worked, so why stop burning hydrocarbons? I believe that is called a perverse incentive.

Best case scenario? Buys more time and/or eases the pain of carbon cuts.


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