Sunday, 3 January 2010

Cheery New Year's Stuff

There was a lot of talk last year about the use of geoengineering to help stem seemingly rampant climate change. People proposed solutions from giant sunlight-reflecting mirrors, to pumping various gases into the upper atmosphere. These ideas are tempting because they seem to say that we can just carry on acting in the same way, and science will find a way to save us. Bruce Sterling, cyberpunk pioneer and all round genius, begs to differ:
On the subject of geo-engineering, I think it's a crock. We'll never get there. They're all techie fantasies, far-out sci-fi notions, Star Wars physics-style. The cheapest and most effective method of geo-engineering is to cut the world's population in half.

Just a tremendous massacre. That's the genuinely effective geo-engineering: it's fast, it commonly works, it's been proven effective for centuries by lebensraum exponents everywhere, and if you chose the right tactics and weaponry it might even look like a big accident.

You don't have to put on a fascist armband and start ranting for the public's blood; an effort like that could be quite subtle and covert, the very opposite of showboat geo-engineering. "Mysterious deadly flu in the Congo? We'd better keep all our health workers right here, they're badly needed in New York!"

Maybe it's just me, but that seems horribly plausible. More, along with some other fascinating ideas on where we are and where we're headed, here.

On a more positive note: apparently when you take into account the easily overlooked fact that we in the West do not constitute "the world", this decade wasn't as terrible as some people have said.


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