How to Fight Global Warming
By Arnold Kling
I elaborate on the idea of using man-made climate change to fight climate change, whether man-made or not.
Climate engineering, or what I call Operation Sunscreen, would mean trying to alter the heat absorption properties of the atmosphere. The goal might be to reduce average temperatures by, say, 2 degrees centigrade.
I have no idea how to reduce heat absorption, but one can imagine a number of possible approaches to climate engineering: putting reflectors out into space; using some physical or chemical process to “wash” carbon out of the atmosphere; or coming up with a way to reduce concentrations of water vapor (the most abundant greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere.
… it would be rather a shame to toss away $400 billion dollars a year using the de-industrialization strategy and then discover “Oops, the cause of global warming wasn’t carbon-dioxide emissions after all. It must have been something else, because temperatures are still rising, even though we reduced emissions to levels that we thought would stabilize global temperature.” Instead, climate engineering could reduce global average temperature regardless of whether global warming is caused by carbon-dioxide emissions or not.
UPDATE: Astronomer Roger Angel thinks that the reflector idea could work.
“The concept builds on existing technologies,” Angel said. “It seems feasible that it could be developed and deployed in about 25 years at a cost of a few trillion dollars. With care, the solar shade should last about 50 years. So the average cost is about $100 billion a year, or about two-tenths of one percent of the global domestic product.”