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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Warming Up to Jerry Pournelle

I've always found Jerry Pournelle an interesting science fiction writer. He and his sometimes partner Larry Niven sometimes write books about humans using their brains to overcome stronger, faster, often more technologically advanced alien adversaries (see The Mote in God's Eye, or any of the Man-Kzin Wars series -- the earlier ones are quite good). Well, Jerry has an interesting solution to Global Warming.

Jerry writes on his blog: The problem is not warming, it's CO2; and if that's the problem, why not address that problem? But we see almost no studies of how to reduce the CO2 levels, which certainly are high, perhaps alarmingly so. We are running an open-ended experiment on CO2 levels, and this is not a sensible thing to do.

Jerry's solutions include stimulating plankton blooms. He says this would cause ocean life to make insoluble carbonates out of CO2 extracted from the atmosphere: they then sink and the CO2 is gone.

Jerry also writes: "there are processes that will remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Some of those may require power; lots of power; but we have nuclear power technology. If CO2 levels are critical, why are we not trying to DO something about it?"

His final suggestion is to create a scientific contest, loaded with rich prizes, to DO something about it. It's one of the better ideas I've heard. Go, Jerry!


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