Dark Skies Ahead - Global dimming plan to curb warming
2008-05-20 0:00

By Cathy Alexander | theage.com

Ed Comment: For more on the insanity of the sulphur screen, take a look at: Five Ways to Save the World (Video).

Scientist Tim Flannery has proposed a radical solution to climate change which may change the colour of the sky.

But he said it may be necessary, as the "last barrier to climate collapse".

Professor Flannery said climate change was happening so quickly that mankind might need to pump sulphur into the atmosphere to survive. Australia's best-known expert on global warming has updated his climate forecast for the world, and it's much worse than he thought just three years ago.

He has called for a range of radical emergency measures.

The gas sulphur could be inserted into the earth's stratosphere to keep out the sun's rays and slow global warming, a process called global dimming.

"It would change the colour of the sky," Professor Flannery said. "It's the last resort that we have, it's the last barrier to a climate collapse.

"We need to be ready to start doing it in perhaps five years' time if we fail to achieve what we're trying to achieve."

The 2007 Australian of the Year said the sulphur could be dispersed above the earth's surface by adding it to jet fuel.

He conceded there were risks to global dimming via sulphur: "The consequences of doing that are unknown."

Professor Flannery, who spoke at a business and sustainability conference yesterday in Parliament House, Canberra, said new science showed the world was much more susceptible to greenhouse gas emissions than had been thought eight years ago.

Regardless of what happened to future emissions, there was already far too much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, he said.

Cutting emissions was not enough. Mankind now had to take greenhouse gases out of the air. "The current burden of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is in fact more than sufficient to cause catastrophic climate change," Professor Flannery said.

"Everything's going in the wrong direction at the moment; timelines are getting shorter, the amount of pollution in the atmosphere is growing. It's extremely urgent."

As well as the global dimming plan, Professor Flannery said carbon should be taken out of the air and converted into charcoal, then ploughed into farmers' fields.

Wealthy people should pay poor farmers in tropical zones to plant forests, possibly through a direct-purchase scheme like the eBay website.

And all conventional coal-fired power stations that did not have "clean coal" technology should be closed by 2030.

Capturing carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations and storing them underground was a good idea, Professor Flannery said.

Article from: http://www.theage.com.au/news/environment/

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