Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans


I was about to write that the use of cloudbusters might be an early example of geo-engineering. Then I noticed the history of geotechnical engineering up until 1700 by Jean Kérisel. He considers the use of tools as the earliest human example of what would ultimately be called geo-engineering: “the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system”.

A more recent example of geo-engineering is the proposed use of a giant space parasol or sunshield. Wiki: “First proposed in 1989, the original space sunshade concept involves putting a large occulting disc, or technology of equivalent purpose at the L1 gravitation point (Lagrangian point) between the Earth and Sun”. Also see BBC-2016, Phys-2017.

A more realistic geo-engineering proposal was made by marine-geologist Gert Jan Reichart in Dutch newspaper Trouw (my blog). Given that oceans store 98% of CO2, 97% of all greenhouse related warmth, and 95% of “free” carbon, it makes much more sense to focus on water rather than the 2% of air-based CO2.

Trouw: It’s not a matter of if but mostly of when and how engineers will be tweaking the climate through oceans, according to Reichart. “Obviously, the big question is whether it is ecologically responsible to manipulate oceans in this way. You can only hope that all options will first be – as good as possible – investigated scientifically, before we cause various unpredictable consequences.” Note: Dutch to English translation and bold markings by LO.

Geo-engineering might well be the next wave in the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 which shows the following major waves: (1) mechanization (c.1800-1900), including the Industrial Revolution (1760-1820/40), (2) automation (c.1900-2000), (3) robotics and Artificial Intelligence (c.2000-onwards), and possibly (4) geo-engineering (c.2050-onwards).

If and when geo-engineering would fail then the need for space travel would become more urgent. It’s hard to imagine that basic technical issues (eg, gravity, electromagnetic propulsionhyperdrive propulsion) would be resolved before the year 2500. The year 2200 in my initial 2015 blog was probably (much) too optimistic.

Geo-engineering may ultimately be nothing more than “buying time” before humans must leave an inhabitable planet Earth. In that context, space travel might be viewed as a modern version of Noah’s ark. Another example of history repeating (lyrics, video, Wiki)

“Geoengineering – the deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the earth’s climate to offset global warming – is a nightmare fix for climate change.” A quote by Jeff Goodell, (b.1959) American author.

Cloudbusting (1985) by Kate Bush
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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