Saturday, 6 April 2013

An inconvenient truth

Jim Thomas from ETC group has written a blog post on the Haywood paper:

In the interests of fairness I should say there are some fascinating points in there. Maybe I'll come back tomorrow and try to go through the positives of this article - for now I'm a little irritated to do so. It's the first paragraph that really got my blood pressure up:

'Climate Drift: Geoengineers have a problem. Computer modeling suggests that blocking solar radiation in the temperate zone (to preserve Arctic ice or to forestall massive methane releases) could cool the Northern hemisphere but its impact could also drift South, creating severe climatic disruptions by dampening down Asia’s monsoon while drying out Africa’s Sahel. Not a popular proposition.

Now, geoengineers may hope they have a solution. A new study in Nature Climate Change[i] by the UK Government’s Meteorological Office suggests that some form of solar radiation management could mitigate the conventional vicissitudes of nature. According to the report, volcanic eruptions north of the equator in the 20th century either contributed to – or caused – droughts along the African equator and further South. The Met Office guys reason that if the North (home to most volcanoes) were to have another major (and, ultimately inevitable) eruption, drought might be prevented by unleashing counter (artificial) volcanoes below the equator.  The sulfuric blasts could even increase precipitation in sub-Saharan Africa, increase  biomass growth and benefit regional food security.'

Wow! So, who are these heroes? Those clever chaps with their computer models who have pointed out the problems with asymmetric deployment of sulfates? Hang on, oh no! You're not going to believe this, it's only the same people who wrote the Nature Climate Change paper, and, I know you're going to laugh, it's the same paper! Well, that is awkward. I tell you what, let's ignore that part, make the authors out to be 'geoengineers' and the cherry pick the bits we don't like. What we absolutely shouldn't do is given the authors any sort of credit for pointing out (yet more) problems with a dash towards deployment in the Northern Hemisphere.