Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Geoengineering in the present, future - and past?

Comments from Kevin Hester -

"The Harvard experiment may fly in the face of a moratorium on geoengineering adopted in 2010 by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which was reaffirmed in December in Mexico. The United States is one of the few countries to not ratify the UN convention, creating a potential loophole for experiments."

This is one of the multitude of mad cap outcomes of runaway abrupt climate change I'm dreading.

We've destroyed the biosphere, this will make it worse according to the referee journal literature.

I suspect they will choose the nuclear winter option.

Geoengineering: the God complex

Trump presidency 'opens door' to planet-hacking geoengineer experiments
As geoengineer advocates enter Trump administration, plans advance to spray sun-reflecting chemicals into atmosphere

27 March, 2017

Under the Trump administration, enthusiasm appears to be growing for the controversial technology of solar geo-engineering, which aims to spray sulphate particles into the atmosphere to reflect the sun’s radiation back to space and decrease the temperature of Earth.

Sometime in 2018, Harvard engineers David Keith and Frank Keutsch hope to test spraying from a high-altitude balloon over Arizona, in order to assess the risks and benefits of deployment on a larger scale.

Keith cancelled a similar planned experiment in New Mexico in 2012, but announced he was ready for field testing at a geoengineering forum in Washington on Friday.

The context for discussing solar geoengineering research has changed substantially since we planned and funded this forum nearly one year ago,” a forum briefing paper noted.

While geoengineering received little favour under Obama, high-level officials within the Trump administration have been long-time advocates for planetary-scale manipulation of Earth systems.

David Schnare, an architect of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition, has lobbied the US government and testified to Senate in favour of federal support for geoengineering.

He has called for a multi-phase plan to fund research and conduct real-world testing within 18 months, deploy massive stratospheric spraying three years after, and continue spraying for a century, a duration geoengineers believe would be necessary to dial back the planet’s temperature.

Geoengineers argue that such methods would be an inexpensive way to reduce global warming, but scientists have warned it could have catastrophic consequences for the Earth’s weather systems.

Scientific modelling has shown that stratospheric spraying could drastically curtail rainfall throughout Asia, Africa and South America, causing severe droughts and threatening food supply for billions of people.

Clearly parts of the Trump administration are very willing to open the door to reckless schemes like David Keith’s, and may well have quietly given the nod to open-air experiments,” said Silvia Riberio, with technology watchdog ETC Group. 

“Worryingly, geoengineering may emerge as this administration’s preferred approach to global warming. In their view, building a big beautiful wall of sulphate in the sky could be a perfect excuse to allow uncontrolled fossil fuel extraction. We need to be focussing on radical emissions cuts, not dangerous and unjust technofixes.”

A White House report on climate change research submitted to Congress in January called for the first time ever for research into geoengineering.

Within Republican ranks, former House speaker and Trump confidant Newt Gingrich was one of the first to start publicly advocating for geoengineering.

Geoengineering holds forth the promise of addressing global warming concerns for just a few billion dollars a year,” he said in 2008, before helping launch a geoengineering unit while he ran the right-wing think tank American Economic Enterprise. “We would have an option to address global warming by rewarding scientific innovation. Bring on American ingenuity. Stop the green pig.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also appeared to support geoengineering, describing climate change as an “engineering problem.” ExxonMobil’s funding of the climate denial industry is under investigation by attorney generals in the United States, but it’s less well known that ExxonMobil scientists under Tillerson’s reign as CEO were leading developers of geo-engineering technologies like carbon dioxide removal.

Asked about solutions to climate change at an ExxonMobil shareholder meeting in 2015, Tillerson said that a “plan B has always been grounded in our beliefs around the continued evolution of technology and engineered solutions.”

We are not unalterably committed to doing the experiment,” said David Keith on Friday. “We’re headed down the road of doing that, but depending on what an advisory committee says and what we learn technically we’re certainly willing to stop. Our long term goal is to build a sustainable effort in solar geoengineering research that allows us to say more about ways it might actually provide public benefit.”

Critics like Riberio point out that those who don’t believe in human-induced climate change may still support geoengineering, which can be presented as a method to deal with the consequences of a warming planet without stopping the burning of fossil fuels.

The Harvard experiment may fly in the face of a moratorium on geoengineering adopted in 2010 by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which was reaffirmed in December in Mexico. The United States is one of the few countries to not ratify the UN convention, creating a potential loophole for experiments.

The experiment’s site in Tucson, Arizona may also invoke issues of jurisdictional controversy with Mexico – stratospheric winds can blow up to 200 miles per hour, and the border is only 75 miles away.

Other geoengineering experiments like cloud whitening may go ahead in the United States, as well as experiments supported by the governments of China and Russia, though both are signatories to the UN moratorium.

Read geoengineers David Keith and Gernot Wagner’s response to this story HERE

Fear of solar geoengineering is entirely healthy. Its mere prospect might be hyped by fossil fuel interests to thwart emissions cuts. It could be used by one or a few nations in a way that’s harmful to many. There might be some yet undiscovered risk making the technology much less effective in reality than the largely positive story told by computer models.

Yet that healthy fear can distort discussion in unhealthy ways. A reader glancing at recent coverage in the Guardian, especially a piece by Martin Lukacs, might assume we were capitalistic tools of Donald Trump, eager to geoengineer the planet, democracy and justice be damned.

Naomi Wolf reveals real geoengineering program - Scopex

I was alerted to this talk by progressive journalist and feminist, Naomi Wolf in which she talks about geoengineering.

She reveals a geoengineering program that, it turns out, is very real. By fudging this with a putative geoengineering program (“chemtrails”) has she put on her tin foil hat?

For the second part of her presentation GO HERE
When I searched for SCOPEX this is what I found.

World View Spaceport
Tucson, Arizona, USA
Key Players:
Frank Keutsch, David Keith, John Dykema, and Lizzie Burns, all Harvard Professors. Burns and Keith head the Harvard Solar Geoengineering Research Program.
$20 million ($7m raised as of Oct. ‘17)
The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) is a planned experiment in a form of geoengineering known as Solar Radiation Management (SRM). SRM techniques aim to block or reflect sunlight before it reaches the earth’s atmosphere, which would hypothetically slow down  global temperature rise. SCoPEx aims to develop a form of SRM known as Stratospheric Aerosol Injection.
The SCoPEx project would spray water, finely-ground chalk and sulfur particles into the upper atmosphere from a high-altitude balloon and measure  how effectively the resulting clouds block sunlight, while also tracking any effects on the air in the upper atmosphere. While the environmental impacts are currently unknown, the political effects of the project, however, are the  most consequential: if the experiments are allowed to proceed, they would legitimize geoengineering and move us one step closer to a global sun-block and more geoengineering in the region.
Funding comes from Harvard University and its Solar Geoengineering Research Program, which is funded by Bill Gates, several venture capitalists and hedge fund higher-ups, a former senior VP at Google, the Hewlett and Alfred P. Sloan foundations (among other philanthropic organizations), and a foreign policy research centre with military ties.
Key dates:
Project initiated: 2015
Research activities: 2017-2024
First field tests programmed: 2018
Regulatory status:
The UN Convention on Biodiversity has passed a moratorium on ocean fertilization (2008) and on  geoengineering (2010) that cover SRM and experiments like this. However, the US is not a party to the CBD. The UN Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD) prohibits military use of weather modification technology globally.
Under US Federal law (National Weather Modification Policy Act of 1976), any modification of the weather is required to be reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the results of research must be made public.
The O’odham Nation, represented by a  handful of tribal governments, have lived in the area around the World View Spaceport for thousands of years. The reservations where the tribal governments exercise extra-constitutional sovereignty under US law cover a vast area of southern Arizona, with traditional territories extending into Mexico. For example, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s offices are a 20 minute drive from the Spaceport that will be the SCoPEx staging area.
While the sovereign rights of tribal governments over airspace is an emerging legal area, the Air Force and others have signed Memoranda of Understanding with the tribal governments about their use of O’odham airspace, indicating that government agencies are aware that they have some rights. One lawyer has made a persuasive case that tribal governments have sovereignty over what happens in the airspace over their lands.
Possible impacts:
The environmental effects of SCoPEx are mostly unknown. The project’s web site claims that the amounts released by the project will be “very small compared to other routine releases of material into the stratosphere by aircraft, rockets, or routine balloon flights.”
However, the political effects of the project are easier to predict. As governments continue to fall short of climate targets, David Keith and other geoengineers will be able to point to research findings to bolster the case for larger geoengineering experiments. However, these are not dispassionate scientists, but entrepreneurs backed by venture capitalists who stand to become fabulously wealthy if governments should opt to move forward with an SRM project in the future.
If SCoPEx moves forward, it will contribute to entrenching technology, capital and public relations power of geoengineering and divert resources away from real climate solutions.
Project details:
David Keith, among others, has proposed a suite of field experiments, some to test the effectiveness and risks of geoengineering and others to develop technologies for larger-scale deployment. The closest to execution is SCoPEx. This experiment would try to understand the microphysics of introducing particles into the stratosphere to better estimate the efficacy of different materials to reflect sunlight as part of an effort to develop SRM techniques. They first plan to spray water molecules into the stratosphere from a balloon 20km above the earth, to create a massive icy plume to be studied from the flight balloon. They then aim to replicate it with limestone or calcium carbonate, followed by sulphates.
David Keith’s Earlier Attempts
In 2012, news broke that David Keith and Harvard engineer James Anderson were planning the first outdoor experiment in solar geoengineering. This would have involved the release of particles into the atmosphere from a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Their stated aim was to measure how releasing sulfate would impact ozone chemistry, and to test ways to make the aerosols the appropriate size.
The announcement came soon after a controversial proposed field test of another SRM scheme – the British government-funded Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) – was cancelled after a global outcry. Keith bemoaned its fate: “I wish they’d had a better process, because those opposed to any such experiments will see it as a victory and try to stop other experiments as well.”
After media revealed Keith’s own experiment, it too was cancelled, and Keith shifted energies to a new incarnation of the project. In early 2017, he helped launch Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program, backed by several million in funding by billionaires and private foundations.
Now, Keith is covering his bases politically: he claims the amounts of particles released will be small, and  in an attempt to win support among civil society, the project says it will have an independent advisory process for the experiments. This is in keeping with what constitutes a problem with all small-scale experiments like this: the slow and careful accumulation of mainstream legitimacy for large-scale experiments in solar geoengineering in the media, scientific bodies, and institutions of governance, both regionally and globally—ultimately leading toward full deployment.
SCoPEx Funders include:
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; The Open Philanthropy Project; Pritzker Innovation Fund; The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; VoLo Foundation; The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; G. Leonard Baker, Jr.; Alan Eustace; Ross Garon; Bill Gates;  John Rapaport; Michael Smith; Bill Trenchard.
–November 2017 , info@etcgroup.org
And here is an explanation from one of the engineers.

The creepy David Keith

One of the key figures in the program is geoengineer, David Keith who is one of the biggest advocates of geoengineering. whose views (even if discusses in the most modulated tones) gives me the creeps.

Here he is, back in 2010, explaining why using aluminium in solar radiation management is preferable to sulphur.

This video hones in on where he admits that thousands could die from the Harvard Solar Geoengineering Program

This provides more context

Clive Hamilton exposes geoengineering

If I find David Keith ‘creepy’ then Australian, Clive Hamilton is very clear in his message as to why he thinks geoengineering is a very, very bad idea.

Here he is being interviewed by Democracy Now!

Luke Rudkowski has a different agenda and asks different questions from the liberal Democracy Now!

Geoengineering in the past and present?

All of the above is predicated on the premise that geoengineering is a "theoretical option" in the future, although the material above indicates that is rapidly moving beyond the 'theoretical'

What Naomi Wolf is saying (along with Dane Wigington) is that this is fake and there has been a secret program for years that encompasses attempts to mitigate rapid climate change as well as weather warfare and weather modification.

To say this is controversial would be an understatement.

As I have pointed out previously I am increasingly agnostic about this although my concern about it distracting from the very real rapid, global warming leading to catastrophic climate change.

However, as I have stated I am dead against reductionism and ‘either-or’ dichotomous thinking. It does not take much imagination for those that have a deeper understanding of how the world actually works to come to the conclusion that something could be happening and it will have covered up.

When I heard Paul Beckwith in conversation with Dane Wigington he almost had me convinced that there is something going on, so bad were his arguments

On the other side of the coin someone has put together a collection of photographs from the past that would indicate that contrails have always lingered. 

Here is one example:

1967 – Plate 113 from Cloud Studies in ColourRichard Scorer and Harry Wexler.  Shows over 30 contrails, some criss-crossing:

One of the ways I have of determining where truth might lie amidst all the contradicttory information (and disinformation) is to listen to the subject being debated and looking at the quality of argument from both sides.

I will conclude with this interaction

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