Boulder’s voluntary “Decarbonization Tech Team” is not the first to demonize an element. A professional version, “The Carbon Modification Institute” was founded at Princeton University by Robert Socolow in 2000. Socolow was the keynote speaker at my fiftieth college reunion last June. He mentioned that it will probably be necessary to tackle the CO2 problem indirectly. Specifically mentioned was the possibility of artificially stimulating volcanos to eject stratospheric haze. A “Mt. Pinatubo a year” is the suggested standard. Imagine my surprise when,two month’s latter, a news item, “China’s Human Volcano,” appeared in Science Magazine. It looks like the rapid, coal-based industrialization of China is effectively producing the required haze. Why was such an eventuality not envisioned in the latest, 2007, report of the International Panel on Climate Change? A member of that panel told me that the realization came too late to be part of the report, and that the haze will – eventually – lead to acidification of the oceans. The moral is that Decarbonization is a complicated task that will require partnering. (The Princeton institute lists Ford Motor Company and BP as partners.) Dismissing Public Service of Colorado, our energy partner of the last 90 years is not a good way to begin. We all might read something more recent than “An Inconvenient Truth”. “Beyond Smoke and Mirrors”, by the Nobel Prize winner Burton Richter or “The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You about Global Warming” by CU Prof Roger Pielke Jr are good places to start.
David F. Bartlett