Are these people just mind-bogglingly naive, downright dangerous – or something else? You decide. And for the record we don’t support the ‘scientific consensus’ claim in this Mercury News report:
A team of elder Silicon Valley scientists is building an audacious device that might solve one of humanity’s most profound dilemmas — a “cloud whitener” designed to cool a warming planet.
The men — retired physicists, engineers, chemists and computer experts from some of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies — have been meeting four days a week for seven years in the Sunnyvale lab of the Marine Cloud Brightening Project to design a tool that creates perfectly suspended droplets of water resembling fog.
Their goal is to launch the nation’s first open-air field trial of controversial “geoengineering” at a still-unidentified site in Moss Landing. There, they would test the ability of an energy-efficient machine to hurl tiny seawater droplets into a graceful trajectory — the first step of a research project to boost the brightness of clouds to reflect rays of sunlight back into space.
“We are interested in an insurance policy for global warming,” said Jack Foster, 79, a physicist and laser pioneer. “We are not interested in deploying it unless it’s necessary. But we’d like to have something available, so we know what works and what doesn’t work.”
The effort to conduct even a small-scale test — overseen by the University of Washington, which has numerous experts in atmospheric science — represents a dramatic shift in thinking in the scientific community, which until recently resisted conversations about deliberate manipulation of the climate.
The reason for the change: There is scientific consensus that even if the world succeeds in shifting away from fossil fuels, warming of the planet is inevitable — and it may have catastrophic consequences. [Note: Talkshop disputes this view]
Critics of geo-engineering, however, warn against altering nature’s patterns, arguing that we don’t yet understand all the potential ramifications. And they worry that if people see a quick fix for climate change, they may not try as hard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Personally, I doubt that the world is ready for this,” said Stephen Gardiner, a University of Washington philosophy professor who studies the ethics of environmental policies. “Geoengineering raises huge ethical and political questions, nationally and internationally.”
But the Silicon Valley scientists say the world might not have a choice. “We need to research the technology,” said project leader Armand Neukermans, 74, whose achievements include the development of the earliest ink jet printers and who led teams at Xerox Labs, Hewlett-Packard, Tencor and Xros.
None of the men will be alive by the end of this century, when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is expected to be double what it is now — and temperatures are likely to be so high they will harm ecosystems and human health and welfare.
“But all of us have children or grandchildren,” Neukermans said. “We’ve got to preserve the future.”
The group favors an approach that wafts tiny aerosolized water droplets into the atmosphere, creating a natural mirror that increases clouds’ reflectivity.
The cloud-brightening concept was first proposed in 1990 by British physicist John Latham, who published an article in the journal Nature called “Control of global warming?” And in February, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences said the concept deserved greater research.
But no one has ever tried to deliberately brighten a cloud.
Full report here.
It seems sad that some people feel the need to mess around with this kind of nonsense.