People are making fun of Ezra Klein’s podcast title, also classified as an op-ed for some reason, titled, “Should We Dim the Sun, Do We Even Have a Choice”.
The title obviously plays into every grandiose critique of environmentalism. It’s not a new idea though and it suffers from a misleading name. Obviously, nobody’s dimming the actual sun. What’s being referred to is a solar geoengineering project to reflect more sunlight in order to cool the earth by spraying particles into the atmosphere.
It’s actually a fairly old idea that’s been repurposed by a fairly small faction to fight global warming.
Global warming is obviously nonsense. We’re not experiencing warming or climate change due to human industrial activity. The climate has its own rhythm, but solar geoengineering is intriguing because it raises the possibility of being able to control the climate on a macro level.
Environmentalists are a plague. But environmentalism that embraces actual pioneering technological solutions, whether it’s nuclear power or solar geoengineering, has some positive potential, if nothing else because it sidelines the luddite back-to-the-caves-and-solar-panels crowd that dominates everything.
Weather engineering is one of those areas that people thought we would go into, but never did, partially because of environmentalists, and because of our own diminishing ambitions beyond making portable skinner boxes to shove our heads into. Soviet and Russian experiments in that regard didn’t go very well.
I don’t think we know nearly enough to be embracing any kind of ambitious solar geoengineering idea. But it would be good to explore some of the technology and see what we might be able to do with it down the road because we never know what might happen.
It also really needs a name change.