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Study Shows That Instead Of Actually Responsibly Reducing Our Fossil Fuel Use We Could Instead Inject Chemicals Into The Atmosphere. Maybe.

By Petr Knava | Miscellaneous | October 27, 2015 |

By Petr Knava | Miscellaneous | October 27, 2015 |

Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 English-language debut is an incredible movie. A stunningly shot, perfectly acted, divinely demented vision of a nightmarish, Gilliam-esque future.

It follows the last tiny remnants of humanity, surviving on a train that has to endlessly circle the globe, as all other life perished in a new Ice Age brought about by pumping chemicals into the atmosphere in an effort to lessen global warming. It’s a movie that leaves you absolutely breathless as you try to keep up with it throughout, only for it to plomp you down on a bench at the end of the ride and jauntily scrabble away, cackling to itself as you try and piece together what the hell just happened.

I really like this movie, is what I’m trying to say; and it seems apt to bring up now, as my favourite group of people — Some Scientists — apparently either watched it recently and got the completely wrong end of the stick; or they just loved the world depicted so much that they’re now doing their part to bring it about as quickly as possible (let’s take bets on who wins — these guys, or Volkswagen’s emissions-test-cheating Mad Max team!).

Contender 1:
snowpiercer frozen.jpg

Contender 2:
mad max snowpiercer.png

Yes it turns out that Some Scientists have now postulated that with a sustained and coordinated global effort the effects of global warming could be counteracted by dispersing specific chemicals into the atmosphere.

Now, to be fair, considering that our governments — slavishly enthralled as they are to the lumbering, destructive monolith that is the fossil fuel industry — seem to approach the greatest threat to our species’ wellbeing with an attitude a bit like this, any proactive thinking is always welcome.

Unfortunately the go-ahead to pepper the atmosphere isn’t likely to happen any time soon, as the sulfates studied in this case — were they to be dispersed — would have a similarly catastrophic effect to the 20th century CFC-hairspray orgy (looking at you, mid-1980s Sunset Strip): tearing a massive hole in the ozone layer.

The good news is that one solution could be, ‘to design and produce custom-made aerosol particles, ones which reflect sunlight but don’t have a corrosive ozone effect. Other geoengineers are already working on designing such particles.’

So, it’s a choice between:

1. Actually managing to force our governments into not acting like short-sighted, profit-driven psychopaths, or

2. A futuristic, anti-heat space-coat.


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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.