Catastrophic Climate Change:
Step 1: Stop digging. Step 2: Don't start another hole.
Change and Improvement are not Synonymous
It's easy to decide something is wrong, and decide to make a change. It's hard to figure out what
is the best solution in even a simple case; there are so many assumptions, unstated requirements and
lack of complete and correct information. In a complex situation, even finding an acceptable solution
is a challenge. There is a lot to be said for the status quo (presumably it has let you live this long),
and making incremental changes, evaluating the consequences, and then making a new decision based on the
new information available. Making big changes without understanding or taking heed of the consequences
are a big part of how we got here (catastrophic climate change). One logical and likely viable solution
would be to back out of our current state by undoing behaviours of the past 50 to 200 years, and quickly.
However, due to political and financial power bases, that does not seem to be a solution anyone is
seriously putting on the table. Presumably we want to keep some of our advances, while tweaking
at the edges to undo the worst of the current situation. My caution: do nothing unless you know
where the 'off-switch' is, and are able to use it. We have done this sort of thing before, and
the outcomes are not always desirable.
If you still thing massive geo-engineering is the way to go, I urge you to find a copy of Naomi Klein's
book This Changes Everything, and read chapter 8, Dimming the Sun. If that doesn't change your
mind, consider some of the cautionary tales below.
Intentional Introduction of Invasive Species
GMOs released into the wild
Just because we try to ignore or minimize a problem does not mean it does not exist.
A comment I hear frequently is that GMOs are well regulated and managed, and have not escaped into
the environment. When I reply there is actually a
register of GM contamination events (2014 onward)
2013 and earlier, I am met with disbelief.
Human Caused Extinctions
The Passenger Pigeon, Dodo, West African Black Rhinoceros, Pyrenean Ibex, Quagga,
Caribbean Monk Seal, Sea Mink, Javan Tiger, Tasmanian Tiger, Tecopa Pupfish, Great Auk.
This is just a partial list, being larger animals we actually noticed and where there is
a strong evidentiary record that human activity was the key factor in their extinction.
The list of species we are now endangering or have extirpated grows by the day.
We are not good at predicting or understanding the consequences or our actions when
we interfere with ecosystems and the planetary biosphere. Which is dangerous because
we depend on it for our survival.
We have rendered lakes and seas unfit for life due to industrial pollution, and removed
some from existence in order to irrigate crops. The point is, we're not very good at thinking
things through which can have major consequences.
Greenhouse Effect and High Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Well, that's the experiment the fossil fuel industry is running on our planet now.
We only have one planet. The one we're living on. How many uncontrolled experiments do you want others
running using your home as their lab? With no 'undo' button.