Friday, February 13, 2009

EPA official: we may need to stimulate volcanoes to slow down global warming

We've heard from far-out talk in the past about trying various ways to slow down global warming, including trying to set off volcanic eruptions.
Yes, it sounds like vintage Ray Bradbury. But now the idea is getting blessed by a top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientist.

The topic of stimulating volcanoes (“Geoengineering”) is on pages 29 and 35 of the presentation by EPA's Frank Princiotta:

“…It is the author’s opinion to consider geoengineering options, which although radical in concept, could potentially buy the time we may need to make the necessary adjustments in our energy and industrial infrastructure.”

According to Inside EPA Weekly Report, the presentation was given earlier this month:

A high-ranking EPA official lays out in a new analytical paper key
technological and other mitigation options the United States and other countries
should pursue to delay the impacts of climate change in an effort to allow time
to develop other, more advanced technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)

Some of those technologies include a controversial concept called
"geoengineering," which amounts to the government simulating volcanic eruptions
by releasing massive quantities of sulfate particle into the stratosphere that
can cool the planet by reflecting solar rays.

The paper primarily consists of suggestions about how the government
should help research, develop and deploy advanced technologies in the power
generation, transportation, building, and industrial sectors to significantly
reduce GHG emissions over the coming decades.

The paper may help form the basis of future EPA strategies or
recommendations to Congress and other federal agencies regarding how the nation
should pursue and budget for GHG emission reductions at a massive scale, and
points to several areas where agency programs might be expanded to aid the

The paper, "Global Climate Change and the Mitigation Challenge," by
Frank Princiotta, EPA Office of Research & Development's (ORD) director of
the air pollution prevention and control division at the National Risk
Management Research Laboratory, has not been published but was outlined by
Princiotta at a major energy and environment conference earlier this

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