Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Left Masthead
October 28, 2016
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed


Truthdig Bazaar
Critical Thinking Unleashed

Critical Thinking Unleashed

By Elliot D. Cohen

Dark Hope

By David Shulman

more items

Ear to the Ground
Print this item

Obama Considering Radical Solutions to Climate Crisis

Posted on Apr 9, 2009

The president’s new science adviser tells ABC News, “We don’t have the luxury ... of ruling any approach off the table” in the fight against global climate change. Geoengineering, once the province of science fiction and climate eccentrics, may now be necessary. One approach involves blasting sulfur into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays.


[John] Holdren, a 1981 winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, outlined these possible geoengineering options:

— Shooting sulfur particles (like those produced by power plants and volcanoes, for example) into the upper atmosphere, an idea that gained steam when it was proposed by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen in 2006. It would be “basically mimicking the effect of volcanoes in screening out the incoming sunlight,” Holdren said.

— Creating artificial “trees” — giant towers that suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it.

Read more

More Below the Ad


Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By Mbadger, July 8, 2009 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

is polluting the atmosphere with even more chemicals the real solution to our current global warming problem? Wont the sulphur just re-enter the air and water supplies, causing further problems for the environment and biodiversity, surely sulphur will mix with other chemicals and make some hideously poisonous compound?

Report this

By Louise, April 12, 2009 at 11:41 am Link to this comment



I don’t have the answers to climate control, or how to stop global warming. But I do know the glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, the temperature where I live is ten degrees below normal and all over the world people are desperate for water. Perhaps because for generations we have allowed Corporations to syphon off the little they had, to mine and refine and operate huge production facilities. Maybe exploring and destroying the natural wetlands that acted as a barrier to Hurricanes along the Gulf Coast make Hurricanes worse.

Of course we aren’t responsible for earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Maybe Mother Earth has a tummy ache and that growing bubble of hot gas is getting ready to burp. Maybe the melting ice is altering the currents that often control the sea temperatures and the jet stream and everything is getting ready to do a complete turn-around. Or maybe the Earths magnetic field is getting ready to reverse. Or maybe this is a normal cycle that we cant understand because the last time it happened predates our knowledge.

When I was seven, almost seven decades ago, we had snow in July. And we also had a thick blanket of smoke and soot hanging over the city. Two years later we had eight feet of snow in the driveway that winter, but I don’t know if there’s any connection.

I’ve been waiting all my life for someone to tell me which came first, the chicken or the egg. Maybe Climate Change and Global Warming are kinda the same. Which came first? Maybe in our infinite conceit we want to blame ourselves, or maybe we are to blame. And maybe in our infinite conceit we think we can control the consequence.

But I do know the thick blanket of smoke and dirty soot are gone. I can now fly into LA and actually see it from the sky. I know I live on a fault line (most of us do) and I have no control over that. Likewise I have no control over any of the active volcanoes on this side of the continent. But I do know what to do if an alarm is sounded, or if it just starts to shake.

I don’t understand what I don’t understand. Nor can I control what I cant control. But since herbicides and pesticides are absolutely forbidden in my yard, I have less bad bugs, more good bugs, less weeds and more blooming stuff than any of my neighbors. But the cost of my water has doubled, so I use less and nothing growing seems to mind.

Maybe patching a hole in the sky will help. Maybe not. Maybe we need to bubble wrap the whole planet. Or maybe we each in our own little way need to do what we can to conserve and preserve and be ready for that day when Mother earth says, OK, I cant hold it in any longer. But the one thing I do know for sure is doing something is better than doing nothing. The trick is figuring out what to do.

Report this

By rollzone, April 12, 2009 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

hello. the government manipulating our weather is an option that should be thrown off the table. has our haarp program just resulted in the devastating earthquake in Italy? will geowhatever result in the depletion of the ozone layer? can anyone stop the flow of money into government before the carbon tax becomes reality? don’t the fossil fuel burning barons need to be kicked off the planet? is clean air and water a modern commodity, or a prerequisite to the survival of every living entity of/and including our planet earth? clean the environment, and that will improve the weather.

Report this

By Louise, April 12, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment


Thanks. smile

The strange thing about “sarcasm and wit” is it’s usually lost on the ones who most adequately define the group it’s aimed at.

Consider, the absence of Andy Borowitz who use to be here on a regular basis. Reading the majority of posts following his humor was kinda scary. That there are so many who regularly post here that have absolutely no sense of humor is scarier still!

But that’s no reason to stop. The ones who recognise and understand sarcasm and wit are worth taking a chance on posting it!

Humor is the only sustainable antidote to stupidity!

Report this

By samosamo, April 12, 2009 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

By Louise, April 12 at 10:59 am

Great sarcasm and wit. I tried that on a ‘healthcare article recently and was attacked by a ‘knowledgable’ expert on the ‘healthcare for all’. Just goes to show that some people aren’t amused by even a little sarcasm.

Report this

By Louise, April 12, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

There is no such thing as global warming! I know, because my Republican friends have told me so! And they are never wrong, right?

Come to think of it they’ve also told me Sarah Palin is a charming, witty, intelligent political leader ... fully capable of running the nation. And Joe (whoes name isn’t Joe) the Plumber (who isn’t a plumber) will run for political office ‘cause he clearly understands the un-understandable. And they’ve also told me Obama is responsible for the collapse of the economy that began way back in the middle of this decade. And they’ve also told me we are winning the war on terror. And they’ve also told me if I had voted for McCain we wouldn’t have the economic meltdown we now have. And they’ve also told me, we are winning the war on drugs and the war on poverty, and Reagan was a great visionary and God is gonna get me any day now for my questioning the wisdom of the Republican Party. And I am really dumb because I can’t understand double-speak and duplicity and the ideocy of seeing all things upside-down, like they do. So they must be right, right?

There is no such thing as global warming! I know, because my Republican friends have told me so!
And they are never wrong, right? (A little stupid sometimes, but NEVER wrong.)

Report this

By ridinginfaith, April 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

Global warming is a FARCE! It is only there to get into your pocketbook. Look around compare the price of green items to the things you have been using all along. Wake up! Here read this.

Report this

By Dave24, April 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

We’re screwed, ladies and gentlemen.

Report this

By richardbelldc, April 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

Has John Holdren lost his bearings? It’s hard to imagine any act by human beings, short of waging an all-out thermonuclear war, that could be more threatening to the survival of civilization than what can only be called—not to put too crude a point upon it—fucking around with the climate. We’re already in the climate pickle because of the unintended consequences of some of our previous geological-scale interventions with the planet—mining and burning fossil fuels.

Geo-engineering. The very term itself hints at the megalomania that infects the minds of people who think that a rational response to global warming is to initiate such uncontrolled experiments with the planet’s atmosphere.

The last person I can remember who entertained such fantasies was Edward Teller, who called for using the explosion of nuclear weapons as a geoengineering tool, which became the delightfully named Project Plowshares.

John Holdren was once a voice for sanity in the energy debate. But President Obama would be well advised to fire anyone who suggests that such geoengineering schemes are the solution to global warming. There’s nothing the coal boys could want to hear more than the President’s highest science advisor signaling them that they can keep the pedal to the metal because we’re going to bet on some unproved, immeasurably dangerous engineering gimmicks instead of coming to grips with the finite

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 11, 2009 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Some of “us” could go to other planets and stay there.

Report this
johnnyfarout's avatar

By johnnyfarout, April 11, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Wouldn’t it be more sensible to shoot gold nano-particulates into low orbit as both an antenna and a shield to keep bad stuff out and good stuff in, instead of poisonous sulphur? Isn’t gold like the best inert stuff we have lying around doing nothing except being useful for technology and medicine. When we need some here we just send up our gold plated space sweepers and harvest some of it back. So what if it has absorbed a lot of radiation —hell we can use that to torture tribal warrior fighters who think it’s not a good idea to be just like Americans. But, you object, maybe there’s not enough gold to shroud the earth completely. Then we can go to other planets in the solar system and find it, dig it up, or reduce it from its oceans of elemental weirdo alien freakishness, and ship it back to earth and shoot it up into the atmosphere where it will do so much good. Hell it would be just like a big bank in the sky and we could all pray looking up and get back all that confidence we lost by looking down in the big money pit the earth turns out to be. Gosh this idea just sounds better and better all the time when I think of it. Wait a minute! Didn’t I read about this in Zacharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles books? Why yes—Nibiru was shrouded in engineered gold particulates because it was loosing its atmosphere due to the Nibirians shooting rocket ships into outer space all the time. So they came here, landed in the Tigris Euphrates valley made their space ports into the pre-diluvial 7 cities and invented mankind from their own genetic packages to work for them and send all the gold back to Nibiru so they could shoot it into their atmosphere and retain all the life giving heat and elements that the rockets were dragging into outer space! Jeezu it’s come full circle now. We can do it too, just like the alien big boys did 532,000 years ago! We earthlings sure are getting smarter everyday. As we used to say—“Space is the Place”.;-keywords=sitchin+earth+chronicles&sprefix=sitchin

Report this

By samosamo, April 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, April 10 at 2:07 pm

Yeah, I could have expressed that better as I believe it has more to do with my take of the msm reporting more fear in climate change, in short irresponsible reporting, as I do see a whole lot of thoughtless reporting which I have become to expect from the msm which makes me think of those poor people that don’t or can’t access the internet to get the real or the other view of what is what. Or don’t read for whatever reasons.

Report this
knobcreekfarmer's avatar

By knobcreekfarmer, April 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

yea~ lets just fuck with our environment some more! how can we go wrong?

Actually, this is really happening and the term is “global dimming”

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 10, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

samosamo: ’... But right now the number of people on this planet and the demands of providing for all those people is seen in the everyday shit that you get to see, hear or read about.’

Actually, I don’t see or hear all that much shit, to do with the climate, anyway.  I live in New York City, so things are more crowded lately than I like, but I understand that this corresponds to the hinterland being depopulated and left to crazed Bible-beaters, fire ants, and feral pigs.  The climate here is pretty much as always: too cold and damp in the winter, too hot and humid in the summer, too wet in the spring, and you might get four or five nice days in the fall.  So basically the shit is in stuff I read about, rather than experience directly, and I would say these crazed “doomsday machines” (apt sobriquet) are the outcome of the broader enthusiasm for eschatology (doomsday theory) which is now as popular in science as it is in fundamentalist religion.  It’s very odd.  I suppose there might be the possibility of some grant-sucking in it.

Report this
Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, April 10, 2009 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Did someone say, “Doomsday Machine?”

Report this

By samosamo, April 10, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

By SteveK9, April 10 at 11:11 am
“”“” but there are really only two alternatives for the world - burn coal (which would be a disaster for the environment, the climate, and public health) or burn uranium—- no CO2, no dispoiled landscapes, no air pollution”“”“
Good try but the only real solution, and it’s in the works right now, is to reduce the number of people on this planet to under 800,000,000 people and don’t let it get higher than 1,000,000,000. If you want to be humane about it, so be it. But right now the number of people on this planet and the demands of providing for all those people is seen in the everyday shit that you get to see, hear or read about.

Report this

By SteveK9, April 10, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

A much less radical solution is to embark on a sustained program to build Nuclear Power plants (I know, waste, etc., etc.—- they are all fallacious arguments).  Fortunately the Chinese and Indians have already figured this out.  We will either lead or follow, but there are really only two alternatives for the world - burn coal (which would be a disaster for the environment, the climate, and public health) or burn uranium—- no CO2, no dispoiled landscapes, no air pollution.

Report this

By noper, April 10, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pathetic. A country using 36% of the world’s resources cannot wean itself from the bottle??? Addicted beyond the ability to change?

Manipulation of the environment is not the answer—leadership and living by example is the best start. Obama, you have already lost your course.

Report this

By dihey, April 10, 2009 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

The problem with this proposal is that these particles will eventually return to the lower atmosphere where they will react with ozone to form SO2 and then with water to form sulfuric acid. The mass of sulfur particles needed will have to be replenished continuously.
Is this the way in which “intelligent” but obviously also stupid beings on Venus destroyed their environment a long time ago and died?
I understand that Mr. Obama’s adviser is a nuclear physicist. Nuclear physicists, especially from the theoretical clan, are known to be notoriously ignorant of basic chemistry. I know. I have worked in nuclear chemistry.

Report this

By ridinginfaith, April 9, 2009 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment


Report this

By geo, April 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

these geo-engineering proposals have been around for at least 60 years, although not always in the interest of preventing climate change.

by the 1960’s various proposals falling under the general banner of “radiation belt remediation” sought applications of various geo-engineering approaches to make the atmosphere more amenable to secret radio communications.  “project west ford” involved launching millions of tiny copper needles into the upper atmosphere to create an artificial ionosphere for communications purposes.

Report this

By samosamo, April 9, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

I found this post on common dreams and this on commenter gave this link to a site.

For what it is worth and there is a lot of stuff on this site:

Another thing, if it is ‘engineered’, I hope the army corp of engineers aren’t in charge, help us if they are, think new orleans’ levees.

Report this
skulz fontaine's avatar

By skulz fontaine, April 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

We fired a “particle” into the air. It drifted down somewhere, we don’t know where. Or what it’ll do. Or if it’ll work. Oh hell, that’s never stopped the politically insane before. Nope.
Oh my gawd… WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!

Report this

By bogglesthemind, April 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ll go along with this only if it’ll make FOX pundits and Neocons sterile.

Report this

By samosamo, April 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Please tell me this is not true! Blasting sulfur into the atmosphere? Hell, all you have to do is burn coal. If this is legit, obama doesn’t have the sense god gave a screw driver. Imagine the damage:

Poison the people slowly. Try this one also:

Report this
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

Like Truthdig on Facebook