Obama’s Current Science Advisor Warned in the 1970′s of a New Ice Age … And Is Open to Shooting Soot Into the Upper Atmosphere

Preface: My entire purpose for writing this essay is to urge that decision-makers do what is best for our planet and not do something which will cause more harm than good. Environmentalists should check my background below before dismissing this out of hand.

When I pointed out a couple of days ago that a group of scientists and much of the popular press warned in the 1970s of an imminent ice age, I didn’t realize they had such a prominent member.

Specifically, as New York Times science columnist John Tierney noted in September:

In 1971, long before Dr. Holdren came President Obama’s science adviser, in an essay [titled] “Overpopulation and the Potential for Ecocide,” Dr. Holdren and his co-author, the ecologist Paul Ehrlich, warned of a coming ice age.

They certainly weren’t the only scientists in the 1970s to warn of a coming ice age, but I can’t think of any others who were so creative in their catastrophizing. Although they noted that the greenhouse effect from rising emissions of carbon dioxide emissions could cause future warming of the planet, they concluded from the mid-century cooling trend that the consequences of human activities (like industrial soot, dust from farms, jet exhaust, urbanization and deforestation) were more likely to first cause an ice age. Dr. Holdren and Dr. Ehrlich wrote:

The effects of a new ice age on agriculture and the supportability of large human populations scarcely need elaboration here. Even more dramatic results are possible, however; for instance, a sudden outward slumping in the Antarctic ice cap, induced by added weight, could generate a tidal wave of proportions unprecedented in recorded history.

Shooting Soot into the Upper Atmosphere

And when I wrote that some scientists considered pouring soot over the Arctic in the 1970s to help melt the ice – to prevent an ice age – I didn’t realize that soot was still on the table as a way to battle climate change.

Specifically, Dr. Holdren has suggested (as a last resort):

Shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays.

The most common type of man-made “pollution particle” is soot. Indeed, as the American Lung Association points out:

Soot is an old name for particle pollution.

So President Obama’s science advisor, Dr. Holdren, is now saying that we might need to use soot to stop runway global warming. (Soot in the upper atmosphere can reflect sunlight and cool temperatures, but soot on the surface of ice helps warm and melt the ice by absorbing sunlight).

What’s Wrong with That?

What’s wrong with that?

Well, soot is a major cause of ice warming and melting in the Arctic and in the Himalayas.

And as NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has shown, soot in the upper atmosphere ends up on the surface of ice sheets and glaciers, such as Arctic ice cap:

South Asia is estimated to have the largest industrial soot emissions in the world, and the meteorology in that region readily sweeps pollution into the upper atmosphere where it is easily transported to the North Pole.

I don’t know whether Dr. Holdren was one of the scientists recommending using soot to melt the ice cap in the 1970s, but the fact that he would even consider shooting soot into the upper atmosphere now to cool the planet is very troubling.

If scientists had convinced policy-makers to pour soot over the Arctic ice cap in the 1970s, we might have had real problems. If scientists convince them to shoot soot into the upper atmosphere now, we might get the exact same end-game.

First, Do No Harm

I have previously pointed out numerous decisions regarding the environment which have caused more harm than good, such as the government forcing a switch from one type of chemical to a chemical which turned out to be 4,470 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Here’s another one.
The mongoose was introduced to Hawaii in order to control the rats (which were eating the sugar cane used to make rum). It didn’t work out very well – mongeese are daylight-loving creatures while rats are nocturnal – and the mongeese trashed the native species in Hawaii.

My whole point is that we should make sure that our actions do not cause more harm than good.

Note 1: I have an extensive background working to preserve natural areas and reduce urban pollution. Indeed, my environmental resumé is as good as just about anyone’s. I studied environmental science at a top university in the early 1980′s.

Note 2: I not only do not receive a penny from oil or any other energy, industry or political person or organization of any nature whatsoever (I make a few peanuts from ads on this site, which I do not choose, but are selected without my input by my ad service), I am also wholly and completely against big oil, big coal and big nuclear. As I have repeatedly argued, power should be taken away from the oil giants and decentralized. I have repeatedly argued for microgeneration and for alternative energy. These things are beneficial for a number of reasons – including better health, less corruption of our political systems through decentralization of power, and a boost to our economy – in addition to the environmental benefits they may have.


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  • http://DaveofMarylandnoreply@blogger.com Dave of Maryland

    And your point is – ? That scientists (so-called) blow with the wind?What the fuss was about in Copenhagen I can't imagine. Unless it was another way of a few getting rich at the expense of the many. That's an old story. That the weather is getting more extreme is clear. Outside right now is a freak December snowstorm dumping two feet. In my whole life, I've never seen snow like this in December. Why the weather is more extreme is unclear. Remember that extreme weather includes earthquakes, volcanoes & tidal waves. Can't leave them out. Unclear means nobody's got any ideas & all we hear are guesses. Guessing isn't science, even if the guy guessing has a fancy Ph.D.You might as well ask the Old Farmers. They actually have a philosophy behind their work (even though they hide it), which means it's not guessing. I could elaborate on this point, but what passes for science has so many lines in the sand, it's a wonder they know anything at all. I gave up on them years ago.

  • http://dissention.wordpress.com/ dissention

    Have you seen 'Animatrix'?It was the final solution implemented by humans to stop artificial intelligence before they lost to it.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    "[...] I am also wholly and completely against big oil, big coal and big nuclear. As I have repeatedly argued, power should be taken away from the oil giants and decentralized. I have repeatedly argued for microgeneration and for alternative energy. These things are beneficial for a number of reasons – including better health, less corruption of our political systems through decentralization of power, and a boost to our economy – in addition to the environmental benefits they may have."In short, your views are those of someone who thinks their ideas justify a little more experimentation as we head down the ignoble path of self-destruction, -to see if the planet cannot be improved upon -trusting of course- that the world isn't already near another imminent self-immolation, eh Nero?This is all a problem of perception. And it seems it is always a rose-colored-glasses problem -built into our perception about human competence."Oh! Look at that clever monkey -Einstein- over there! He's so handsome smoking that cigarette someone threw into his cage!"Humans, to the very last one gnawing on the end of his shovel with which he digs his potatoes or his own grave, -think they are the Ubermensch, or superman. No, we are all just average human beings.The whole notion of genius is nothing more than self-inflated thwop of yet another primate infant being born -and landing on his head in the process.Here's the proof.Think of skiing, -snow skiing.Okay, you have an image in your mind. You're likelier than not thinking of some Jean Claude Killy screaming down the slopes, or a Peekaboo Street gliding effortlessly across some pristine snow-scape looking like the big-assed snow-bunny she so amply portrayed for a while before Olympic TV cameras.In reality, 99.9999% of the time! -human beings on skis generally look very much like gorillas on skis.And no one gets down the slope without looking -at some point on their way down- like some ridiculous fool headed for one of those life-ending -or- minimally-life-altering disasters -skiing is known for.Our intellect is no different, if we should leave open the more likely prospect -our intellect is making us look even more absurd, eh, Percival Lowell?The problem is, -these intellectual skiers, -the scientific geniuses, -if-you-will- are saying, "Give me you newborn child, and watch me ski off the 100 meter ski jump with it!""Shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays."I can add -a no more convincing statement concerning the efficacy of any scientific approach -likely to be advanced- for improving life on earth.And -BTW- there is no -energy crisis-. There is only the continued crisis of the wasteful use of the energy already being used. "Alternative" is only -more-. It's consumption is not -better- in any way.Developing alternative energy sources won't use -less- energy anywhere along the way.Alternative energy efforts will only make more energy available, -and use more energy -every step along the way.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    There already is a massive global weather modification program that involves using aerosols in the atmospere. Google: chemtrails, HAARP, geoengineering. The jets are releasing aluminum and barium aerosols. There is a long patent trail for this and many have documented videos of the chemtrail jets and air samples with shocking results.

  • jones

    I think I’ve found a sane voice.

  • stvjns daughs

    The idea of spreading upper-atmospheric particulate as an approach to addressing climate change sure sounds resonant with the so-called “chemtrails” subject, wherein we can observe quite commonly over population centers upper-atmospheric cloud-like deposits spread like high-tech crop-dusting. These very high altitude jets laying out long lines, and rows of lines, of a dense white material that gradually spreads out into miles-wide wispy cloud layers. The official story from our Government is that this activity does not exist, and that only ridiculous persons thoughtfully point to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregg-Jones/527975393 Gregg Jones

    Clearly he owns stock in SOOT

  • whewett151

    This guy is just as big a moron as algore. They believe they are so powerful they can change the world and fix everything about it. The saddest part about this is way too many people in this country believe the crap that roles out of these idiots mouths. AMAZING!!!!

  • wunsacon

    When it comes to modeling complex systems and running simulations on them for various changes, the 1970s were practically the Stone Age. Don’t make too much out of what a handful of scientists back then contemplated with little information and no means to test hypotheses.

    >> Although they noted that the greenhouse effect from rising emissions of
    carbon dioxide emissions could cause future warming of the planet, they
    concluded from the mid-century cooling trend that the consequences of
    human activities (like industrial soot, dust from farms, jet exhaust,
    urbanization and deforestation) were more likely to first cause an ice
    age.

    Either way, it’s human pollution affecting climate. We’ve cut down on the growth of industrial soot, probably because people can see soot and, psychologically, that helps people appreciate the consequences. Whereas many people don’t appreciate the significance of invisible gases. So, a couple of decades later, scientists have more data and see which human factors have proved dominant.

 

 

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