Harper's Conservatives look at geoengineering to stop global warming

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      Newly declassified documents suggest Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is taking climate change more seriously than many critics have alleged. However, environmental advocates say its approach remains troubling.

      On June 5, 2012, then–Environment Canada deputy minister Paul Boothe convened a meeting to discuss geoengineering, according to documents posted online by Mike de Souza, a Postmedia national political reporter.

      Geoengineering, which has been advocated by Straight columnist Gwynne Dyer in the past, was defined as "the intentional, large-scale intervention in Earth’s environmental systems". The list of invitees included the deputy minister of defence, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the national security adviser to the prime minister.

      Slides for the meeting acknowledge that the Earth’s climate is warming as a result of human activity, and warn that even a rapid implementation of emissions-reduction measures may not prevent a temperature rise of more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by mid century. A graph projects a global mean temperature increase of 6° C by 2100, a change that scientists warn would likely be catastrophic.

      Two classifications of geoengineering are presented as options to reduce future warming: carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) and solar-radiation management (SRM). CDR methods include afforestation, ocean fertilization, and the direct extraction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the slides explain. One example of an SRM approach is to install "space-based orbiting mirrors" that would "reduce solar input". Another is to continually inject sulphur aerosols into the atmosphere "to mimic the effect of volcanoes".

      On the phone from Edmonton, Mike Hudema, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Canada, told the Straight that it’s encouraging to see the Harper government acknowledge climate change as human-driven, but argued that the Conservatives have reached the wrong conclusion.

      "If you admit that the climate crisis is happening and you agree with the scientific consensus that humans and greenhouse-gas emissions are the cause of it, then it is the government’s responsibility to reduce those emissions," he said.

      Hudema called attention to Harper’s support for the development of the Alberta tar sands, which he noted is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

      Kevin Washbrook, director of the Vancouver-based Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, similarly told the Straight that the government should be focusing on ways to reign in sources of pollution, such as the tar sands. "The core thing we need to do is reduce emissions, and there is nothing about that in there," he said.

      You can follow Travis Lupick on Twitter at twitter.com/tlupick.




      Jun 26, 2013 at 7:21pm

      How retarded are these people?

      Do they think that Super Powers like China, Russia and the US would let these bunch of Morons running their Neo-Con Gong Show Geo engineer the Earth with whatever stupid scheme they come up with?

      Fucking Mirrors are they serious?

      Apart from the fact they can't afford any large scale project like geoengineering due to the Record Deficits and the on-going cut backs.

      Of course if these idiots actually put in a Norway type Royalty regime whereby some 70% of the profits of Oil & Gas is kept by the Government instead of greedy price fixing Oil Corporations...

      ...than these idiots could actually pay for whatever the hell they wanted to do even though no other major Power would allow them to do anything so stupid.

      I guess they don't teach these things in Mail Room 101.

      Steve B.

      Jun 26, 2013 at 7:46pm

      Reducing the cause of global warming will require intelligence, progressive thinking, common sense, a desire to do the right thing. Yep, we're screwed.

      Michele Baillie

      Jun 26, 2013 at 8:31pm

      Global warming? Lot's of controversy about that issue and the validity of that theory. I'm sitting on the fence on this one. Of course, this "interest" could be an entrée to attempting to validate the heavy metal poisoning we are subjected to called chemtrailing.


      Jun 26, 2013 at 8:34pm

      Seriously? A Bizarre Sci-Fi Technological Fix? Jesus Christ on a Stick.

      Billy B

      Jun 26, 2013 at 9:42pm

      How about curbing the production of meat and dairy. Reducing green house gases and improving health.

      James Blatchford

      Jun 26, 2013 at 11:24pm

      Harper geoengineered the Senate didn't he? Global warming should be a snap.

      VanIsl Bob

      Jun 27, 2013 at 9:22am

      Dyer doesn't actually endorse geo-engineering. He thinks it will become inevitable due to the inability of governments to act effectively. He also warns it will likely trigger a major war. With a warning like that (echoed by many others) it's hard to see how Dyer supports geo-engineering.

      Uncommon Sense

      Jun 27, 2013 at 1:59pm

      How on earth have we gotten to the point of even talking about Geo-engineering without even discussing the simple solution of going sustainable? If we have money for that, then we should have money to give everyone a solar power and get off our oil addiction. This is a very short term solution that will fail because it doesn't address the cause, I thought we learned this kind of problem solving skills in elementary? Harper, are you smarter than a 5th grader?


      Jun 27, 2013 at 10:36pm

      Geoengineering is like fitting a condom on a penis after ejaculation -- it won't work.
      Good words won't either, not even from Obama the coward.
      Says the UK's The Guardian newspaper headline about Obama's latest efforts: "Obama's fracked-up climate strategy will guarantee global warming disaster." adding in a subhead: "Fatally flawed energy policies and inadequate emissions pledges cannot prevent dangerous climate change."
      Worse yet, Harper is a dumb ass compared to Obama.

      P Simpson

      Jun 28, 2013 at 8:15am

      They might be heading in the right direction with mirrors, but use Photo Voltaic pannels instead, and beam the energy back to earth. Japan is already developing this technology and should have something up and running in the next decade.