The series of measures aimed at solving climate change problem advocated by James Hansen--limiting fossil fuel burning by raising the price of coal, oil and natural gas, promoting alternative, especially renewable, energy sources, forest preservation and reforestation, population control and an enhanced regime of international accountability and cooperation are all very admirable and surely need to be implemented. But notice the caveat proffered by none other than the venerable author of the article himself, viz. "Global phaseout of fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions is a stringent requirement. Proposed government policies, consisting of an improved Kyoto Protocol approach with more ambitious targets, do not have a prayer of achieving that result!"
And although I don't agree with Alexander Cockburn ("From Nicaea to Copenhagen") about his disdain for the anthropogenic greenhouse phenomenon because the theory smacks of pseudo-science, his overall argument is unassailable. Recent prevalence of very cold weather over large areas on both sides of the North Atlantic, which may well be due to the paucity of sunspots recorded over the last two years and which may well presage a full-blown "mini" ice age like the Maunder Minimum of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, could make the general public sceptical about the very real threat of accelerating CO2 concentration and of a planetary heat stroke looming further down the road. The organizations like 350.org need to keep up their sustained campaign of public education and should receive full support from the governments, the academia and other nongovernmental organizations around the world if we are to avoid the "Venus Syndrome" about which Hansen warns us.
Having said this, I am at a loss to understand why the public attention has been so intensely focused only on the measures enumerated by Al Gore, James Hansen, IPCC, 350.org and other like-minded individuals and organizations to the complete exclusion of other alternative space based approaches such as placement of a barrier between the sun and the earth in a cum sole trajectory with the aim of curbing insolation. In my new book (Al-Battani Shield--Counteracting Global Warming: A New Approach) I have proposed such a solution in considerable detail and also explained the overall climate phenomenon in a simple language understandable to non-specialists. The attraction of implementation of the "al-Battani Shield" is that it imposes no immediate limits on emissions and thus does not roll back the march of industrial revolution and thus smother the less develop nations' dreams for better lives for their citizens.
Not being a member of any "inner circle"--academic or journalistic --leaves me to wonder what it takes for an "outsider" to get noticed, especially with somewhat of a "maverick idea. Maybe The Nation can make a start by publishing this letter.
Inayatullah Ibrahim Lalani
Jan 8 2010 - 12:06am