A handful of very rich Masters of the Universe have plans. These are not the oil and coal billionaires who try to pretend warming is not happening. These are the billionaire geoengineers who want to artificially lower the global temperature so we can keep on polluting. It would be unimaginably profitable.
They have no interest in doing the only reasonable thing, but want to embark on one or more full-scale schemes to reduce Earth’s temperature, something that cannot be studied and tested before launching a massive full-Earth program. They presume to be able to alter the upper atmosphere to reflect enough of the sun’s rays to cool things off. Or to dump enough sulfur or other noxious substances into the upper air to mimic an enormous volcanic eruption. Or to launch millions of reflective balloons into the stratosphere. Or place huge numbers of reflective sheets in the oceans. Or invent technology to remove carbon dioxide from the air over the whole planet. They also presume to know how to make their schemes stop.
Their plans are madness beyond belief, all of them.
These are classic cases of hubris, put forth by self-congratulating billionaires who view themselves as masters of everything because they are just too too smart. They believe that achieving great wealth gave them great understanding and intelligence. But they are wrong; money does not bestow wisdom. Many of them stand to profit hugely if any of their schemes is actually put into play, some because they have patents or copyrights on their plan. Each of them sees these schemes as entirely reasonable.
They are not. Their plans are madness beyond belief, all of them. Nobody has the first clue what the real results would be, and by the time we learned the damage would be irreversible and most probably catastrophic.
Assuming their plans did actually lower the temperature, and that we could stop them as needed, the madness of each and every one of these grand plans is that we don’t know what else they would do. Even with our great computing power, precise measurements of thousands of variables, and hugely complex computer models, we only imperfectly understand the functioning of natural laws that determine what happens on the planet. Nor can we, because the climate acts in interdependent ways that create systems of chaos. The weather is an example of a chaotic system, which is why it is inherently unpredictable beyond a few days. The same is true of global climate: Earth responds to our insults in ways that are inherently unpredictable.
We don’t know what else
these grand plans would do.
However, we do have some pretty good clues about what could happen from periods when the planet responded to major events, particularly large volcanic eruptions or, in the distant past, crashing asteroids. Several volcanic events in recent centuries interrupted the monsoon rains on which billions of people depend, along with many other effects. They also reduced crucial rivers such as the Nile to nearly nothing, and made agricultural land unusable for years. In ensuing years Earth recovered at her own rate, and we were helpless to do anything about it.
The climate change caused by First World pollution has already created decades of severe climate difficulties for the Third World, particularly in Africa. The billionaires’ Big Plans would even further dry up some of the driest countries on the planet, placing the lives of hundreds of millions at grave risk, and all but guaranteeing great suffering and large numbers of deaths. Without doubt there would be enormous unpredictable outcomes. There already are, from altered seasons, weather extremes, species extinction, and much more.
Leaders and scientists of Third World countries call these grand plans for what they are: genocide.
Have we given up all hope that the infinite greed of a handful of fossil fuel magnates can be controlled? These few men are almost the entire reason the whole world is in rapidly worsening climate difficulties, with increasing sea water encroachment in coastal areas around the world. Greed is the only possible source of such madness. Why else would we be ripping open vast Canadian territories for dirty oil, leaving water and soil pollution in moonscapes the size of states?
Third World leaders call these
grand plans for what they are:
These few men are the reason that greenhouse gasses have passed the danger point, and will continue to rise for decades even if emissions were reduced to zero overnight. They are the reason sea levels have risen six inches in my lifetime, and will rise a lot more by century’s end.
Unfortunately, we ordinary First World citizens have more than a passive role in this nightmare scenario. Our worst failing is in allowing the plutocrats to gain such unchecked power in the first place. But right now we believe we can simply continue living our outlandish and wasteful lifestyles. We cannot. We absolutely must make major changes in our individual lives, now, and we’re not doing it.
Oversized vehicles are still the norm in the US, and in increasing numbers. Big oil companies receive billions of dollars in market-distorting subsidies, thus allowing fuel prices to remain artificially low, which encourages proliferate fuel burning. Car makers still encourage us to buy their expensive and inefficient SUVs because they bring more profit. The marketing industry designs dozens of plans designed to keep these trends growing, and responsible actions at bay.
We ordinary citizens
have more than a passive role
in this nightmare scenario.
Is control of our carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses even possible? Yes it is. The northern European countries, particularly the Scandinavian countries, are on a sharp downward slope toward 100% renewable energy and zero waste. Why? Because the government in these places is not controlled by plutocrats whose entire goal is to make themselves richer, but by the people, represented by strong unions. Because the governments cooperate with the people’s representatives for the common good, and not for the further enrichment of fabulously wealthy people.
[For an excellent summary of our self-made crisis, and a discussion of some effective actions, read Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything.]