Daily Archives: April 2, 2017

Fear of solar geoengineering is healthy – but don’t distort our research | The Guardian

“The amount of material we would release is tiny… For example, if we tested sulphates, we would put less material into the stratosphere than a typical commercial aircraft does in one minute.” Photograph: ISS/Nasa

David W Keith and Gernot Wagner   Wednesday 29 March 2017 04.30 EDT

Models suggest solar geoengineering could reduce climate change and our independently assessed studies are vital to understanding its full potential

Even if the world were to cut emissions to zero tomorrow, global temperatures and sea levels would rise for decades. If our roll of the climate dice is unlucky, they could rise for centuries. It is in this context that some climate researchers have begun to reluctantly take seriously ideas first proposed in the 1960s: the possibility of using solar geoengineering to help restore the world’s climate, alongside aggressive actions to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions to zero and below.

Fear of solar geoengineering is entirely healthy. Its mere prospect might be hyped by fossil fuel interests to thwart emissions cuts. It could be used by one or a few nations in a way that’s harmful to many. There might be some yet undiscovered risk making the technology much less effective in reality than the largely positive story told by computer models.

Yet that healthy fear can distort discussion in unhealthy ways. A reader glancing at recent coverage in the Guardian, especially a piece by Martin Lukacs, might assume we were capitalistic tools of Donald Trump, eager to geoengineer the planet, democracy and justice be damned.

…(read more).

See also:

Trump presidency ‘opens door’ to planet-hacking geoengineer experiments | The Guardian

Martin Lukacs   Monday 27 March 2017 01.05 EDT

A ring around the sun, is seen over Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, May 17, 2002. The halo is a rare effect on the sun caused by a layer of ice crystals in the atmosphere refracting light from the sun. Photograph: Lou Toman/AP

As geoengineer advocates enter Trump administration, plans advance to spray sun-reflecting chemicals into atmosphere

Harvard engineers who launched the world’s biggest solar geoengineering research program may get a dangerous boost from Donald Trump, environmental organizations are warning.

Under the Trump administration, enthusiasm appears to be growing for the controversial technology of solar geo-engineering, which aims to spray sulphate particles into the atmosphere to reflect the sun’s radiation back to space and decrease the temperature of Earth.

…(read more).

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to Lead New Technology and Global Affairs Effort at Harvard Kennedy School | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Mar. 28, 2017

Carter will also serve as Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Media Contact: Katie Gibson – (617) 495-1115, katie_gibson; Sharon Wilke – (617) 495-9858, sharon_wilke

Cambridge, MA – Former Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter will join the Harvard Kennedy School as the Belfer Professor of Technology and Global Affairs and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. As Secretary of Defense, Carter, a physicist, became known for pushing the Pentagon to “think outside its five-sided box” in order to transform the way the military fought adversaries and strengthened alliances, managed its budget and talent, developed its technology, and more. He will now lead the Belfer Center’s programs and will focus his scholarship on the role of innovation and technology in addressing challenges at home and around the world.

(read more).

Comment on Trump Executive Actions on Climate Change, March 28, 2017 | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

| Mar. 28, 2017

President Trump’s executive actions of today, which attempt to undermine progress made under President Obama to combat the menace of human-caused climate change, are yet another example of the new administration’s propensity to let blind ideology “trump” clear-eyed science and good sense.

It is clear beyond reasonable scientific doubt that: (1) climate change is occurring globally at a pace and in a pattern not explained by natural influences; (2) the pace and pattern are explained by human emissions from fossil-fuel burning and land-use change; (3) the ongoing changes in climate are already causing serious harm to human health, property, and livelihoods from increases in heatwaves, wildfires, pest outbreaks, torrential downpours, and the most powerful storms, as well as sea-level rise and shifts in the abundance and distribution of species (those we need, those we love, and those we hate); and (4) future harm in these categories will be far less if the world continues to act collectively to reduce the offending emissions than if it does not.

To ignore these realities, as the Trump administration is now doing, not only will slow global progress on preventing a truly catastrophic degree of climate change; it also will unilaterally surrender the leadership position the United States has enjoyed, under President Obama, in the global effort to meet this common challenge; and, by abandoning the U.S. Government’s efforts to support development and implementation of the most cost-effective remedies, it will ultimately sacrifice this country’s global economic competitiveness as well.

John P. Holdren
Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University


Senior Advisor to the President
The Woods Hole Research Center

Urge Congress to Limit the President’s Power to Start a Nuclear War – Union of Concerned Scientists

Did you know that President Donald Trump—like every president for decades—has sole authority to launch a US nuclear attack? And no one—literally no one—has the authority to stop such a launch. That is unacceptable.

It’s time to change this deeply flawed system. Congress must get more involved, working to reduce nuclear risks and prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

Here’s a simple yet important step you can take. Write to your members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act,” which would prohibit the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war from Congress.

Introduced by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), this bill can serve as a powerful vehicle to stimulate debate in Congress and get many more members of Congress speaking out and demanding changes to a system that puts civilization-ending power in the hands of one person.

Our current policies increase the risk of nuclear war in very real and dangerous ways—they need to change. The Markey-Lieu bill is a small step in the right direction that allows you—and all of us—to demand that Congress takes these dangers seriously and works hard to change a system that puts all of our lives at real risk every day.

Please make your letter personal by adding in your own thoughts and concerns. Every letter makes a difference, but customized letters have the greatest effect!

Learn more about why no president should have absolute authority to launch nuclear weapons.

Japanese Company May Invest ‘Billions’ In US Nuclear Power | The Daily Caller

Andrew Follett
Energy and Science Reporter   12:01 PM 12/27/2016

The Japan-based Toshiba Corporation is pouring billions of dollars into the U.S. nuclear power industry, despite expecting to lose money in the process.

Toshiba is considering formally listing U.S. nuclear companies that it purchased for billions as a net loss, then investing more into other companies.

Toshiba purchased the American nuclear company Westinghouse in 2006 for about $5.4 billion and added another nuclear engineering firm called Chicago Bridge & Iron’s (CB&I) last December for $229 million. Toshiba will turn an estimated profit of $1.2 billion in 2016.

Japan previously pledged to abandon nuclear power by the 2030s. Officials promised to replace nuclear power with wind or solar power, but this caused the price of electricity to rise by 20 percent. Japan’s government aims to restart at least 32 of the 54 reactors it shut down following the Fukushima disaster, and wants nuclear power to account for 20 percent of the nation’s total electricity generated by 2030.

…(read more).


Should We Be Worried About President Trump And Nuclear Weapons?


Published on Mar 28, 2017

Joe Cirincoine, an expert in nuclear weapons policy, tells us exactly how much power President Trump has when it comes to launching nukes. Things got pretty scary.