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UN May Ban Blotting Out the Sun 377

Posted by samzenpus
from the since-the-beginning-of-time-man-has-yearned-to-destroy-the-sun dept.
Supervillains and Mr. Burns are among those to be most affected by the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity decision on space sunshades. Even though organizations like NASA have been looking into them as a possible way to slow climate change, the UN is expected to limit research into the technology or ban it outright. From the article: "The Convention may consider banning or limiting research into space sunshades. Some question their wisdom. A space sunshade would have a rapid effect on global warming and provide time to develop more permanent measures, they say. The technique has already received serious attention from NASA and other organizations. But others, such as the ETC group, an environmental and social advocacy group, fear simply blocking the sun is a bandage, meant to cover up the problem, and allow humans to continue using fossils fuels. Another fear is that geo-engineering, as techniques like this are called, could have unforeseen consequences on the weather, ecosystem and agriculture."

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UN May Ban Blotting Out the Sun

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  • Maybe they just don't want any competition with their frikin' sharks...

  • FOX News Headline (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:38PM (#33935210)
    UN bans shadows!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dancindan84 (1056246)
      UN bans Persian arrows!!
  • by suso (153703) *

    Even if the sun isn't shining on your side of the planet, its still shining on the planet. If you block it all together, I think it would have unforeseen consequences. Like a sudden chill.

    • by Cwix (1671282)

      What if we put the shades into a geo stationary orbit hovering only over the deepest parts of the ocean. I don't believe the sun does much over deep ocean. I suppose it could change the warming of certain currents. It could play a major role in hurricane development that way I suppose.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wierd_w (1375923)

        The problem with that is that the shadow does not always point straight down. It points in the direction normal to the sun; EG, even a geostationary shade would have a shadow that moves around thousands of miles as the angle of incident with the sun changes due to the earth's rotation.

        Much more interesting would be to deploy something like this on Venus, to halt the greenhouse effect and cool it down.

        • by Cwix (1671282)

          Good point. Hadn't thought that one through I guess. Time for more coffee.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          Much more interesting would be to deploy something like this on Venus, to halt the greenhouse effect and cool it down.

          I agree, but given the fact that Venus is so much closer to the sun (and of a pretty similar size to Earth), you'd need a much larger "shade", since the sun's apparent size in the sky would be much larger.

          Not undoable, but certainly a bigger challenge.

          There's also the problem of the atmospheric pressure. Surface pressure is 93 bar - or roughly 93 times that of Earth. It's mostly CO2 (97%), so you'd need to remove a LOT of carbon from the air to get an oxygen rich atmosphere, and even then you'd have too m

      • What if we put the shades into a geo stationary orbit hovering only over the deepest parts of the ocean.

        As somebody else pointed out, that's not how GEOstationary orbits work. They are stationary with respect to the Earth, not the Sun moving across the sky. Rather, the notion is to place sunshades in orbits around the Earth-Sun L1 point (Lagrange worked out these specific solutions to the three-body problem) where the teeter-totter gravity of each body balances out. Google "Roger Angel".

        Also, the atmos

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bluefoxlucid (723572)

        This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard. It's the same idea as "let's just destroy the desert, because it's a wasteland with no ecosystem anyway." The sun shining over the ocean has the LARGEST effect on our planet, because it's a giant fucking thermal battery (look up SPECIFIC HEAT OF WATER). Yes, it has spectral refraction and reflects a lot of light back out; but colored shit like trees reflect a LOT more infra-red... green leafy plants reflect a ton of heat away, and the ocean heat sinks it. Of c

      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        What if we put the shades into a geo stationary orbit hovering only over the deepest parts of the ocean. I don't believe the sun does much over deep ocean. I suppose it could change the warming of certain currents. It could play a major role in hurricane development that way I suppose.

        The fact that you put "I suppose" at the end of that comment shows the real problem with it: It's a complete guess.

        This is the biggest problem with all atmospheric sciences: There is too much guesswork involved since the science is incredibly complicated and relies on physics we cannot model correctly. Think thermodymics and the fact there is no such thing as an ideal gas and you get the picture about how hard this stuff is to predict on a global scale.

        I personally think we should be careful making massive

    • >>>Even if the sun isn't shining on your side of the planet, its still shining on the planet.

      What???

      I for one welcome the new "no free speech" policies of our UN Overlords. Just ban any research you don't like. Two thumbs up for oligarchy.

    • Yeh.

      The problem is: we're getting too warm. Mostly from the heat generated from the light is trapped in our atmosphere by green house gasses. NOTE: my description is like the 6th grade book report version, not 100% accurate.

      So the problem is excess heat lingering.

      A large sun shade would limit the amount of light coming to earth.

      A lot of things need light (independent of heat): plants, algae, lord knows what else. Limit the light and it might have unexpected side effects on a lot.

      Besides, as others said..

  • ... but when has any UN resolution stopped Montgomery Burns?

  • by yincrash (854885) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:39PM (#33935228)
    we already blocked out the sun 500 years ago to try and kill the machines, but they won anyways and we're all just blue pills lying in our pods
    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      There is a way out, but you're not ready. When you are, we'll come and get you.

      I will warn you though, it's not going to be comfortable. Your body has never developed many real muscles, so you won't be able to walk or talk. Even once you are, the reality here is not anywhere near as pretty as the simulation that you are currently in. You may believe decisions are life and death there, but they simply restart you in the simulator. Out here, there is no second chance.

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:39PM (#33935232) Homepage
    That when you try to fix one problem, you almost always invent a new one? Prime example, using cats to get rid of mice....but than theres to many cats right? well lets roll in the dogs.. what? now too many dogs? ok lets bring in........ Some things are just better left alone
    • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:42PM (#33935280) Homepage

      You've haven't been watching enough Looney Tunes. You get rid of the elephant with a mouse and the cycle repeats.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender (156273)

      Orbital sun-shades are by their very nature temporary. If we don't like the side-effects, we can stop replenishing them and let them burn up in the atmosphere as they lose momentum.

    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:49PM (#33936280)
      This is a bit of a rant, and I'm putting it as a reply to you, even though I don't really know whether you subscribe to this fallacy...

      Your "when you try to fix one problem, you almost always invent a new one" is folk wisdom and, as such, unconvincing. Creating new problems, even unanticipated ones, is not really a counter-argument against a suggested action. What matters is whether the proposed solution leads to a better or worse outcome than no solution at all. For instance organ transplants are rife with side-effects, risks, and problems. But an organ transplant is still often justified: e.g. when it saves a person's life, it's probably worth the downsides. Obviously it would be nice to have solutions without side-effects, but here in the real world every decision is about weighing pros against cons.

      Similarly with geo-engineering. Will there be side-effects? Yes, almost certainly. Will there be unintended and unforeseen problems? Yes, probably. Does that mean we shouldn't even consider such options? No, we should certainly consider them.

      Buried in the folk wisdom of "creating more problems" is some notion that we have no hope of predicting the outcome of complex events, and so we shouldn't even try. But taking a position on an issue like "Is it a net positive to put a shade between the Earth and the Sun?" inherently means that you believe that you are able, in fact, to predict the outcome with some confidence. Namely, you believe you sufficiently understand the problem and myriad of counter-balancing forces, such that you know that, on average, more harm than good will come from that kind of intervention. But, if you're able to make that kind of prediction ("Making those kinds of changes in this complex system will lead to outcome X, where X is bad.") then why is it impossible to make other kinds of predictions ("Making those kinds of changes in this complex system will lead to outcome Y, where Y is good.")?

      Put otherwise, if we were really in a state of complete ignorance with respect to a decision, then all we could do would be to flip a coin. By taking a side ("We're better off not messing with it.") you inherently agree that we can, in principle, predict the outcome of meddling. In which case, we should be able to mount enough evidence to propose a solution that, on the balance, we predict will do more good than harm.

      I'm not saying that this particular solution is a good idea. It may turn out that all geo-engineering solutions are, on the balance, bad ideas. But I dislike this defeatist "better not meddle" attitude. Either: (1) the balance of evidence says that solution X is a bad idea, in which case we shouldn't do it; or (2) the balance of evidence says that solution X is a good idea, in which case we should do it; or (3) we have no data one way or the other, in which case we may as well just flip a coin. The problem is that people don't acknowledge that "doing nothing" is inherently a decision. You may have other reasons for thinking that "doing nothing" is the better idea: e.g. it is cheaper to do nothing... but in that case just be honest and say "Since the evidence isn't persuasive, I say we do nothing for now, but if someone can mount enough evidence of X being a good idea, then I will support it". Having a generic "don't meddle" rule may make you seem wise to some people, but it's actually a lazy and fundamentally unscientific stance.
  • by JonySuede (1908576) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:39PM (#33935234) Journal

    UN ban Eclipse, Oracle rejoice

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:39PM (#33935240)
    I don't want to spend the rest of my life
    Looking at the shade of a Satellite
    I don't want to spend the rest of my days
    Keeping out of sunshine like the mayor say
    I don't want to spend my time in hell
    Looking at the moon from Google Earth
    I don't ever want to play the part
    Of a statistic on a government chart


    There has to be an invisible sun
    It gives its heat to everyone
    There has to be an invisible sun
    That NASA has taken away I'm done
  • by Toe, The (545098) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:40PM (#33935248)

    Gigantic shades in the sky, with patterns of light coming through them. Just think of the sponsorship opportunities! Every time you look at the Sun, you could see an Apple or Coca Cola logo.

    Clearly, they aren't thinking this through. The monetization could be extraordinary!

  • Reflective rooftops (Score:5, Informative)

    by by (1706743) (1706744) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:40PM (#33935252)
    Reflective rooftops [washingtonpost.com] have some conceptual similarities, but are somewhat less drastic.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:51PM (#33935408)

      The UN should forbid them anyway, if they allow you to change the climate without reducing your fuel consumption. This is not about changing global warming - it is about sacrifice to show your worship of planet earth!

  • Sorry you can't limit or ban research when there can be only one with the knowledge.
  • Typical UN (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimbobborg (128330) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:41PM (#33935266)

    But others, such as the ETC group, an environmental and social advocacy group, fear simply blocking the sun is a bandage, meant to cover up the problem, and allow humans to continue using fossils fuels. Another fear is that geo-engineering, as techniques like this are called, could have unforeseen consequences on the weather, ecosystem and agriculture.

    Wow, so let's block research to prevent knowledge. Because information is evil. And we don't agree with this line of thinking, so let's ban it. Hypocrites.

    • by Tom (822)

      So, you'd rather support trying it out, consequences be damned?

      As I read it, it is not research that is being banned, but actually deploying it, even if you call it "experiment".

      • Re:Typical UN (Score:5, Informative)

        by Aqualung812 (959532) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:55PM (#33935456)
        Then you need to work on your reading:

        The Convention may consider banning or limiting research into space sunshades.

      • by Tailhook (98486)

        So, you'd rather support trying it out, consequences be damned?

        The parent said nothing of "trying it out" and only mentioned research. The person that advocated "trying it out" is your straw man to which you then attribute indifference where it does not exist; "you disagree therefore you don't care about the environment!"

        As I read it, it is not research that is being banned

        What part of "limit research" did you fail to understand?

        You didn't really fail to understand it did you? Thought police deserve a free pass as on behalf of "the environment." Environmental catastrophe might be preferable to being ruled by enviros l

  • The real issue... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:46PM (#33935324)

    But others, such as the ETC group, an environmental and social advocacy group, fear simply blocking the sun is a bandage, meant to cover up the problem, and allow humans to continue using fossils fuels.

    I think this should lay to rest any doubts as to the motives of some of our friends in the Green community. Their primary concern is to cause humans to stop using fossil fuels. The actual need to do so isn't strictly relevant. They'd rather there not be any conflict of interests, so rather than mitigating the issue in any other way, they'll continue to press their agenda.

    This should be seen as problematic. If for no other reason than it illustrates that the actual problem (dead humans) is secondary to their agenda.

    Food for thought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209)
      Not sure whether I'm in the green community, but I do think NOT damaging the environment is better than going ahead and damaging it with impunity in the hopes of patching it back up with some unproven scheme.
      • Not sure whether I'm in the green community, but I do think NOT damaging the environment is better than going ahead and damaging it with impunity in the hopes of patching it back up with some unproven scheme.

        And the scheme will remain unproven because the ban targets research into that scheme. I could understand limiting deployment without sufficient safeguards, but limiting research? Putting a black eye on this specific research because of the potential side effect of its deployment (not of research itself) is based on a claim that is itself as unproven as the scheme you think you are debating.

    • Re:The real issue... (Score:4, Informative)

      by wierd_w (1375923) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:06PM (#33935632)

      the burning of fossil fuels has other issues, and blotting out the sun would only address one of them.

      Let's break it down:

      CO2 is toxic. Above a certain concentration, CO2 becomes a toxic agent. [wikipedia.org]

      Sunlight is needed to safely remove CO2 from the atmosphere (via photosynthesis. Yes, the oceans can absorb a good deal without the sun, but this results in ocean acidification, which leads to biosphere collaspe, which leads to a spiral of death and destruction in the ocean-- resulting in a massive release of CO2 as all those organisms die from toxic water.)

      Continuing to release geologically sequestered CO2 reduces the earth's ability to eliminate waste heat into space as infra-red radiation-- EG, it causes global warming.

      Attempting to blot out sunlight (energy in) to compensate for the obstruction on energy out of our planet to regulate global temperature would make the current energy crisis look tame; Plants and animals would be dieing left and right from the reduced energy reaching the earth. this would slow the earth;s ability to re-sequester that carbon, and make a bad problem into an even worse one.

      The whole "We need to stop burning fossil fuels!" cry from the scientific community (and from your much derided 'greenie weenies') is non-trivial. It's like saying we need to stop dumping toxic waste in landfills, or stop producing biological weapons of mass destruction; the CO2 itself is dangerous. We need to stop INCREASING it's free levels in our atmosphere, if we intend to continue living on this planet.

      It has nothing to do with money, or some insane desire for everyone to live in mud huts; It's a desire for everyone to CONTINUE living.

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        It has nothing to do with money, or some insane desire for everyone to live in mud huts; It's a desire for everyone to CONTINUE living.

        You might be correct, and probably are, in certain cases, but not in every case. You simply cannot deny that there are many seeking to profit off of this agenda.

        Take for example, Al Gore. His own 'footprint' is disgustingly selfish, but he buys carbon credits to offset it. He buys them from his own company. The one he created just before releasing a gigantic advertisement for it called "An Inconvenient Truth", or what have you.

        The Catholics have used this same scheme [wikipedia.org] it the past to great success, so I'm

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          From what I can gather, this "Ban" simply prohibits testing on EARTH.

          There happens to be a nearby goldilocks planet (venus) who is DEEP in the throws of runaway greenhouse effects, which would make a PRIME test target, devoid of any bioethical considerations, since it is devoid of life.

          We can do all our system tests there, and gather all the crucial data we need without the risk of fuxxoring up our planet even further.

          • by BobMcD (601576)

            Indeed. We could likewise have built the LHC in space. And yet, the risk of creating blackholes is deemed less than that of moving a solar screen out of the way should something go wrong.

            There's no logic here. Only politics.

      • by thynk (653762) <slashdot@@@thynk...us> on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:34PM (#33936062) Homepage Journal

        I think your arguments would have more impact on me if CO2 was more than 3 hundredths of a percent of our atmosphere and there were not billions to be made in the US alone on carbon credits.

      • Re:The real issue... (Score:4, Informative)

        by blueg3 (192743) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:32PM (#33937090)

        CO2 is toxic at about 100 times the current concentration in the atmosphere. I don't think we could reach that atmospheric concentration if we burnt up every bit of fossil fuel on the planet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)
      No, the primary concern of many (but not all) environmental groups is to further their own interests and increase their influence. Any simple solution to environmental problems will be rejected out of hand if it makes their cause obsolete.

      Note: environmentalists are not alone in this behaviour; many large organisations shift from pursuing their ideals to self-serving behaviour.
      • by BobMcD (601576)

        No, the primary concern of many (but not all) environmental groups is to further their own interests and increase their influence. Any simple solution to environmental problems will be rejected out of hand if it makes their cause obsolete.

        Note: environmentalists are not alone in this behaviour; many large organisations shift from pursuing their ideals to self-serving behaviour.

        I do agree, on both counts. As I said to another poster, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this behavior. It is very normal. But let's call it what it is, shall we?

  • well...... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:48PM (#33935354) Journal

    Does any Nation actually listen to the UN?

  • What about?... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:50PM (#33935382) Homepage Journal
    What about blanketing large tracts of land in solar-cells? Is that still okay?
    • What about blanketing large tracts of land in solar-cells? Is that still okay?

      That ought to heat things up a whole bunch. (Ditto solar heat concentrators, such as the solar power plants using parabolic-cylinder reflectors to make process steam for generation.)

      Solar panels are a pretty good black color and reflect very little light. Maybe a fifth of it is turned into electric power (to make heat elsewhere when it's used). The rest makes heat locally. Both become infrared radiation which is largely blocked

    • by nametaken (610866) *

      Sure, if you've got a trillion dollars and need to power a handful of incandescent light bulbs. I tease, I tease. ;)

  • The UN should only have one policy on space: getting humans off planet Earth.

    The only thing (most) humans can agree on is that humans should outlive their home planet.

    I hope the US/NASA reaction to any possible UN resolution on this subject is the typical "it's nice that you think so".

    • I hope the US reaction is to de-fund the UN.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I hope the US reaction is to de-fund the UN.

        More likely it'll be to patent the business process of banning research.

        If those morons actually enact their ban, I'd like to see them try to stop a private citizen doing research such as computer simulations, or banning a wiki devoted to researching / discussing the topic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rubycodez (864176)

      I propose a simpler project, get the UN off of Earth. And the IMF and CFR. They are threats to freedom, democracy and national sovereignty.

  • Aside from the fact that a working sunshade is likely decades, if not centuries, in the future and therefore may occur past the lifetime of the UN, aren't there other applications for a planetary sunshade such as blocking solar storms? I'm referring to ACC and Stephen Baxter's Sunstorm [wikipedia.org]
  • We're ridiculously far from a technological level where we can do this. Also, it'd require huge amounts of energy to get it up there in the first place...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:57PM (#33935502)

    Where are they going to make billions from letting their well-connected friends sell carbon offsets if we just build a giant shade?

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday October 18, 2010 @01:58PM (#33935522) Homepage Journal

    if a sunshade were installed installed then global warming could not be used as a tool to control people and governments. I hate to bring up tinfoil hat topics, but sometimes I wonder if the UN has some dishonest ambitions when it comes to the topic of global warming. a centralized system of carbon credits and regulation to limit carbon footprints including mechanisms to enable inspection by some central authority seems like crazy conspiracy stuff, but it also seems plausible to me.

  • Bribe Lady Deirdre (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Y-Crate (540566) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:00PM (#33935548)

    It's the only way to get the votes needed to stop this. We can raise sea levels and recover the Unity core while we're at it!

  • Now the meddling do-gooders want to do to the environment what they've done to the economy. Enough with the grand schemes to control complex systems you don't understand, assholes.
  • by gmuslera (3436)
    Somewhat we take measures to stop a problem that make even more damage than the original problem, like with the cane toads in australia. Could have been predicted, or calculated with what was known in that time? Maybe not, or maybe yes, but the original concerns dismissed as something improbable (or that winter will kill the gorillas anyway). Playing with no fully understood things in global scale makes an "oops, didnt know that it could happen" pretty dangerous.

    But i suppose that when (if) we undertand ful
  • There are a number of things that could be done here on Earth. Paint the roofs white and use lighter colored pavement. Reflect the energy back into space, reduce air conditioning costs. Come up with a method of reliably re-planting the vast stretches of land with trees (I'm not talking about mere acres here, but rather hundreds or thousands of square miles). Pick (or genetically engineer) trees with lighter colored leaves so that they too would reflect more energy. Make coal fired power plants more expensiv

    • I'm still waiting for a USB CO2 sequesterisation device to appear on slashdot 2.5 watts to suck carbon out of the air and put it in a little tray underneath. of course it would only help if millions were sold and the computers they're connected to run off wind turbines
    • Paint the roofs white and use lighter colored pavement. .

      I'm not sure about the effect on the environment, but light colored roofing makes a big difference on how hot your damn house is. I've never understood how here in the US we decided the standard is to cover our houses with broad expanses of BLACK shingles...and then we crank up the air conditioner to offset it. Am I missing some key point of heating/cooling physics?

  • Blocking out the sun in any significant ways seems kind of... difficult. Do we have the knowledge and resources to even build one and maneuver it? Is this any more useful than banning time travel?

  • I find myself in the unusual and uncomfortable position of agreeing with the UN.

    If there is one thing we've proven over and over throughout the decades, our climate scientists have an INCOMPLETE understanding of global climate change issues. Through the course of my lifetime I've heard new ice age coming, acid rain will dissolve our cities, farm animal flatulence is going to doom the planet, ozone layer, global warming, blah blah blah.

    No matter what you think about global warming (which we're now sup
  • Demand for oil and natural gas is still increasing faster than production, so even if you ignore the CO2 problem there is still the question of where we'll get our energy from. Unless you want to expand coal mining significantly, we have to switch to non-fossil fuel anyway.
  • Now all they have to do is ban blowing up the moon, ban the construction of death stars, and ban initiating an inverse tachyon pulse at the same coordinates in space in three time periods.

  • How does Cloud Seeding compare with blocking out the sun? Cloud seeding contributes to Global Dimming, and has been considered as a possible way to fight Global Warming. But is cloud seeing similar enough to the Simpsons-style large sun shade to block out the sun?

  • by Flambergius (55153) * on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:42PM (#33936166)

    There are people who oppose geoengineering, some of them have good arguments, some of them are worthless pieces of garbage that need to die before they spread their diseases any further.

    People with good arguments say things like "we need to think about this a lot more", "a environmental benefit for one nation state may be an act of war for another" and "please, please, for the love of all that's good in the world, don't try anything that's irreversible". You can deal with people like that, study the issues together, strike bargains - and the part about no irreversible large scale prototyping just plain makes sense.

    People who need to be removed from serious conversation with a hazmat suit and a chainsaw say things like "it's unnatural", "we need to leave this to God" or, my favourite, "you shouldn't goeengineer because it might work and that would prevent the collapse of western consumer capitalism". That's the people who think we deserve to suffer for knowing too much, asking too many questions or having too much stuff. They think there's something inherently wrong about wealth and technological progress, something that removes us from nature, destroys out humanity or makes us impure. They cannot be reasoned with as the source of these views is usually their own sexual maladjustment. Working with people like that is always about minimizing the damage they cause. I suggest using dynamite - rectally.

    (I've been watching a lot of George Carlin lately, in case you were wondering.)

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:08PM (#33936664)

    1) And orbital sun blocking system is totally reversible, unlike some of the more idiotic suggestions like pumping chemicals into the atmosphere and crossing your fingers while hoping there are no side effects.

    2) The fossil fuel thing is a self-solving problem. Believe me, in 40 years or so, it's contribution to global anything will be insignificant, since there won't be enough affordable, positive EROEI liquid or solid hydrocarbons being used as an energy source to matter. We may still be using natural gas, and while it does cause some pollution, it's quite a bit less than either coal or oil.

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:51PM (#33937442)

    What has happened here is that the organization has confused it's goals and long term plans with being "right". The reason CO2 building up in the atmosphere is a problem is mainly due to the heating effects. But the climate change folks in the UN have had long term plans to force everyone to cut their carbon emissions for decades to solve this problem. These folks now see the CO2 emission itself as evil, not the effects of it.

    Another example : what if a drug chemist created a recreational drug that was perfectly safe, almost impossible to overdose on, and the effects could be reversed with a simple injection of an antidote. The DEA/Congress would still
    make the drug illegal and throw in prison everyone involved in supplying it. They would hire scientists to "research" the drug who would "discover" that it was in fact incredibly dangerous and that taking it was putting your life into your own hands. Again, the organization confuses it's purpose (protect people from the harm of dangerous drugs) with it's implementation (throw anyone in prison caught with any substance declared to be illegal)

    A final example : those electronic cigarettes. There is talk of making them illegal, not because they cause harm, but because the government's advisors sees smoking/nicotine addiction itself as being evil. The electronic cigarettes are many, many times safer than the burning paper ones, yet the government wants to ban them because the devices are not intended to help a user quit their addiction.

    The reason for getting people to quit smoking was original because cigarettes are dangerous, but now the goal has been perverted into being an end in itself.

  • by MadCow42 (243108) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:52PM (#33937472) Homepage

    Banning the use of such devices I can see... until we more fully understand them, and the potential un-intended impacts.

    But to ban RESEARCH on such subjects??? The whole idea of research would be to understand these issues in the first place. Since when is better knowledge of something undesirable (in a "free" state, at least)?

    Maybe it's an issue with the summary, and I should have RTFA... but I'm stunned that a global body would be so naieve and ignorant.

    MadCow.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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