Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Discoball Stratosphere

sequins seeded in the stratosphere would counteract global warming
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(+3, -2)
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The name is a little silly, but the idea is perfectly serious.

Global warming MUST be corrected, but cutting down on CO2 emissions before we've developed alternate technologies would exact too great an economic price. The Kyoto Accord would have cost the US 4% of GDP ($2800/household), 2% of manufacturing wages, and 2.4 million jobs. Total cost to the US economy would be $300 billion per YEAR - more than is currently spent on elementary and secondary education combined. Other, less robust countries, would be even harder hit. [But all this pain would at least halt global warming, wouldn't it?] No. We would create an unprecedented global economic depression without doing much good at all. 0.19% of a degree (C) would be shaved off the warming of the next 50 years. The Kyoto Accord - and any such talk of CO2 emissions cuts - is hysterical folly.

Thankfully, there is no need to cut emissions before we are prepared with substitute technologies. All we have to do is counteract those emissions. If the earth is absorbing heat more efficiently because of our greenhouse gasses, all we have to do is adjust (i.e. increase) the earth's reflectiveness accordingly. How to do that?

Use enormous cannon to shoot shells filled with silvery sequin-like material into the stratosphere. Only a very minor increase in the planet's albedo - something between 1 and 2% - would be required to counteract all the human-caused warming since the Industrial Revolution. This buys us extra time (20 years? 30? 50?) to develop more benign technologies and get out of our fossil fuel dependence phase. In other words, this lets us have our cake and eat it.

[What if we put up too much sequin stuff? Will we cause a new Ice Age?] No. We put the stuff up gradually and monitor it so that we know when to stop. [But there's Murphy's Law to consider.] That's why we have 100s of gigantic solar-driven unmanned airships circling the globe. These airships have baleen-like sequin-collection contrivances to lower, if needed, the planet's albedo. Of course eventually, when we have stopped burning so much oil and coal, we'll be able to remove the sequins entirely.

What would all this cost? A hell of a lot less than the Kyoto Accord, that's for sure. AND - the sequin plan is 100% effective. The Kyoto Accord (or whatever its successor proves to be) could only hope to marginally reduce - not reverse - global warming.

The sequins would not be visible to the unaided eye.

This idea won't go over well with the cuts-at-any-cost or the sacrifice-is-righteous crowds, but they're not interested in rational action anyway.

Let me add that I am not American (I used US statistics because it's easier to imagine on a national than a global scale). I consider myself an economically-minded environmentalist. And no, I have no financial interest in sequin manufacture.

cheeselikesubstance, Jul 19 2001

Ping Pong Resevoir http://www.halfbake..._20Pong_20Reservoir
Tangentially related halfbakeme. Probably cheaper. [hippo, Jul 19 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

similar idea... http://www.halfbake..._20Global_20Warming
[mihali, Jul 19 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Chemtrails http://www.rense.co...6/chemdatapage.html
Barium and/or aluminum particles [quarterbaker, Jul 19 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Chemtrails...NOT! http://goodsky.home...om/files/index.html
Horribly designed site, but links to lots of info. [Dog Ed, Jul 19 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       One problem would be light pollution as anything that reflects the sun will probably reflect terrestial lights.
Aristotle, Jul 19 2001

       hippo: ? The Ping Pong Resevoir is a great idea, but it's about cutting water evaporation. How is that related to reversing global warming?
cheeselikesubstance, Jul 19 2001

       PeterSealy: Mount Pinotubo gave me this idea. I thought about using chalk dust, but then I considered that a mirror-like substance would work better. We wouldn't have to throw as many tons of sequins up there.   

       Aristotle: Good point, but I'll take light pollution over global warming anyday. Besides, we could get around light pollution with more space-based telescopes.
cheeselikesubstance, Jul 19 2001

       My dear cheeselike,
re: the Ping Pong Reservoir.
the hydrosphere and atmosphere (and indeed the biosphere in which we find our good selves) are umbilically linked. A significant change in the amount of water vapour available to drive the weather would certainly affect other climatic symptoms of global warming. However, this may be counter productive, since (admittedly my first and very crude assumption) less water would cause droughts, and droughts don't leave much healthy vegetation, and less vegetation (a) means less CO2 getting converted and (b) a change in the surface albedo of the earth, which in turn might reflect too much sunlight, which would bounce back on the sequins... <ad infinitum>

I'll keep my stratosphere unsequinned, thanks. But a nice idea (I'll neither croissant or fishbone), and the disco influences are appreciated. (Says she who bought a bubblegum pink handbag last week in honour of Welsh Helen on the telly. Discotastic)
lewisgirl, Jul 19 2001

       *tsk tsk* lewisgirl, lewisgirl: I realize that water vapour is another - and very important - greenhouse gas, and I suppose I can see, in that sense, how the PP Resevoir is linked to this idea. I don't think it was suggested, however, that the decrease in evaporation would have a significant effect on the planet's heat absorbtion. I can further appreciate your holistic everything-is-connected outlook, but if we go down that road we have to stop and ask ourselves what colour the UnaBubba's Angry Young Man Hats are going to be. [If they're navy blue, won't they absorb more heat? Better make them beige!] Maybe we should all wear white Bee Gees suits with extra-wide lapels? Wouldn't that help keep the heat off? Some questions, though they might conceivably be by vigorous stretching of the imagination linked, are still irrelevant.   

       That said, I want to thank you for your neutrality and remind you that you are welcome to come back and drop off your croissant anytime. I also want to congratulate you on your new handbag. Sounds absolutely flash. Boogie with my blessing.
cheeselikesubstance, Jul 19 2001

       This world needs more economically-minded environmentalists.
beauxeault, Jul 19 2001

       If the Chemtrails folks (see link) are correct, then this is baked.   

       Supposedly, some scientist proposed that aluminum particles in the upper atmosphere would reduce global warming. The Chemtrails folks believe that the US gov is already doing dusting of the upper atmosphere with aluminum and/or barium powders. Check out the link, look at the sky.
quarterbaker, Jul 19 2001

       How do you propose we keep the sequins aloft? If they do come down what kind of polution would they be? Would that be worse than global warming?   

       If every country agreed to kyoto then no country would be at any great disadvantage... or would the countries releasing more CO2 be hit worse?
RobertKidney, Jul 19 2001

       quarterbaker: nice link! I guess I wasn't first with this idea after all.   

       RobertKidney: I imagine the winds would keep them airborne for years and years. Don't know about this, though. The "fall-out" impact would be very minor, I think. Because they're sequin-size, not particles, they wouldn't get into people's lungs and colons. Maybe they could be made biodegradable from harmless materials.
cheeselikesubstance, Jul 21 2001

       quarterbaker: Oh how I wish you had not sullied the Halfbakery with that chemtrails link. The chemtrail scare was started by a few con artists peddling poorly-written books and is maintained by a loose confederation of loonies.   

       cheeselikesubstance: Maybe tiny ice crystals would do the trick inexpensively and with less risk of environmental reprocussions?
Dog Ed, Jul 21 2001

       How or why would one go about putting sequins in ones colon?
No - wait - don't answer that.
thumbwax, Jul 21 2001

       It's easy. Just get the right font.   

       Oh. THAT colon...
StarChaser, Jul 21 2001

       Dog Ed: Terrific idea - better than my sequins. Thanks.
cheeselikesubstance, Jul 21 2001

       Re the chemtrails, I remember reading mild concern, years and years ago, that plain old stratospheric contrails would reflect enough sunlight to have a cooling effect. There isn't much weather up there, so they persist for a long time. (They are in fact made of tiny ice crystals condensed from the jet's exhaust.) Maybe the solution to global warming is to encourage high-altitude jet travel?
wiml, Sep 24 2001

       SO let me get this straight: in addition to the massive, uncontrolled experiment with CO2 concentrations, you want to add another experiment where we play around with albedo?   

       The atmosphere is a _chaotic_ system. You can't just tweak values willy nilly and expect to get a linear, predictable result.   

       We absolutely need to reduce CO2 and other emissions, to give us time to try these and some of the other bioremediation techniques that have been proposed.   

       Your figures sound like oil and coal industry FUD to me.   

       This is the single most important issue facing the human race today. There is _no_ debate about whether the effect is real, except that whipped up by paid industry hacks. The complete bastardry of the US government on this issue ("hey it's real, but we can afford to ride it out, so SCREW YOU WORLD" - White House memo) is only matched by my own, Australian, government, prisoners respectively of Big Oil and Big Coal.   

       Meanwhile, as far as it goes, it's a nice idea and might help. But it is _no_ substitute for reducing emissions. Failing to do so because it *might* hurt the _economy_ is pretty much akin to playing Russian Roulette for money. Which only suicidal drunks do.
BunsenHoneydew, Dec 09 2003

       Don't worry B-Honey the fashion industry will never allow such a criminal waste of sequins. Half-bakery suggests playing with ideas not ideologies. The idiot two years ago who stated the "debate" is over misunderstood the fundamentals of the issues involved. Nobody even the "hacks" derided by B-Honeydew disputes the globe is on a warming trend. That's what this section is all about. To shut up discussion about it is unproductive. Playing with ideas MAY produce a solution of sorts. Hopefully not a nuclear one which would be out of the frying pan...
Sendra, Apr 27 2009


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