Geobollocks

geoengineering-planeKarl Marx famously wrote that capitalism will turn any boundary it encounters into an opportunity for a fresh round of accumulation.

This logic is presently unfolding in relation to the climate crisis. The details are so absurd that they are difficult to believe.

Faced with the increase of atmospheric carbon concentration above 400ppm, scientists, venture capitalists, and Panglossian government bureaucrats are developing schemes for a geoengineered solution to the climate crisis. Democracy Now recently ran an interesting debate on this issue, which they rather reticently titled “Can We Save the Planet By Messing With Nature?”

Among the geoengineering schemes under consideration: spraying sea water into the air to whiten clouds so that they reflect greater amounts of solar radiation back into the upper atmosphere; pumping sulfur aerosols into the upper atmosphere in order to bounce more of the sun’s rays back into space; fertilizing the oceans with iron in order to get them to absorb greater amounts of CO2.

Many of these schemes are patently absurd even to the least scientifically educated member of the public. The oceans, for example, are already acidifying at an alarming rate; seeding them with iron in order to get them to absorb greater imagesamounts of CO2 will only exacerbate this problem.

In general, these solutions are based on ideas about natural systems that are completely outdated. At this late date in human history, we should understand that the planet’s biosphere is a holistic system. A massive intervention (such as geoengineering) in one part of that system is likely to trigger significant, unforeseeable reactions in other parts of the system.

We cannot geoengineer our way out of this fix. Geoengineering, in fact, is just another way for venture capitalists to make money by destroying our common wealth: the planetary environment upon which we all depend.

The problem is the capitalist system’s drive to expand incessantly on a finite planet. Geobollocks is no solution to this problem.

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