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Global Warming, Climate Engineering and Epigenetics

Engineering, Climate Engineering


Climate engineering might be one of the most important conversations related to global warming conversation. But, in order to have this conversation, we should ask ourselves, have scientist properly investigated the epigenetic consequences of blocking the sun and increasing the amount of pollution in the atmosphere?

This article is dedicated to the discussion of the global warming issue, the dangers of property rights qualifications in environmental decision-making processes and the strategy of solar radiation management.

What We Know

We know the current cycle of global warming is mainly a problem of too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere – which acts as a cover, trapping heat and warming the planet. The fossil fuels we burn for energy – coal, natural gas, and oil – and the loss of forests due to deforestation, greatly contributes to the excess carbon in the atmosphere. At the same time, certain waste management and agricultural practices aggravate the problem by releasing other potent global warming gasses, such as methane and nitrous oxide.

CO2 survives in the atmosphere for a long time, up to many centuries, so its effects are compounded over time. To put this in perspective, the carbon we put in the atmosphere today is essentially free riding on the tax dollars of future generations.

According to work published in 2007, the concentrations of CO2 and methane have increased by 36% and 148% respectively since 1750. [1] Furthermore, these intensities are much higher than at any moment during the last 800,000 years, the period for which reliable data has been studied from ice cores. [2][3]

The scientific evidence is clear enough, there is virtually no debate: an overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is taking place but still some industry players are unwilling to face this reality.

Instead, a vocal minority of special interests has proposed to delay action on climate change by releasing additional pollution into our atmosphere. How? What we are about to discuss should be seen as a clear example of the dangers related to property qualifications rights in the legislation and decision-making processes of political leaders.

Reducing Emissions

According to a 2005 study, the top 5 annual greenhouse gas emissions were as follows: electricity and heat 24.9%, transportation 14.3%, industries 14.7%, agriculture 13.9% and, land use changes 12.2%.

Between 1972-2012, on a percentage share of cumulative energy CO2 emissions, the United States leads all nations at 26% of total emissions while European Union members and China are not far behind. [4]

In 2006, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest emitter annually. Now – over 82% of climate scientists believe that actions must be taken to combat climate change, to cool the planet, by reducing emissions. [5] [6]

Much of the discussions amongst scientists have been centered on replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, halting deforestation and adopting sustainable farming practices. In the end – the solution is likely to be a mixture of these different initiatives.

While nations argue on what to do — one specialized Harvard professor recently shocked the world by proposing climate engineering as a temporary solution to our problems. This is what happens when private interests limit possible solutions and experimental questions, in addressing our environmental pollution problems. 

Climate Engineering – Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosols

In 2013, David Keith released a book, A Case for Climate Engineering, which details a highly controversial strategy for slowing climate change. [7] In this, Keith suggested that by spraying sulfate or sulfuric acid aerosols into the atmosphere, a reflective shield could be created to block sunlight and buy more time for humanity to curb emissions, i.e. increasing atmospheric pollution. Delivery methods would be by artillery, aircraft or balloons. [8]

To be effective, these aerosol programs would contain very small particles of aluminum, barium, and strontium to temporarily reflect sunlight and these hard metals would then return to the surface after rainfall.

Overall, this strategy also known as Solar Radiation Management (SRM) creates a global dimming effect, which is not a climate engineering specific consequence. It occurs in normal conditions, due to pollution from natural phenomena such as emissions from volcano eruptions and major forest fires.

Known environmental consequences of these programs include ozone depletion, severe droughts and agricultural damage. [9]

Whether you believe in global warming or not – it’s critical to recognize that a strategy to block sunlight and cool down the planet is actively being pursued. And, it’s likely to have many negative health effects on an unknowing population.

Only A “Grace Period” and Limited Effects

Scientists who propose introducing these additional sulfate particles or aerosols into the stratosphere acknowledge that this strategy would only provide a “grace period” of up to 20 years before major cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions would be required. Furthermore, these methods do not reduce the greenhouse gas effect and thus, do not address problems such as the ocean acidification caused by CO2

David Keith, Harvard University professor and president of Carbon Engineering, based in Calgary, Canada, confirmed in a 2012 updated documentary “Look Up,” that no detailed tests have been conducted to assess the full spectrum of global risks to human health associated with releasing these additional toxins into the atmosphere. [10] [11] [12] [13]

The reality is that Mr. Keith and many of his super specialist followers simply do not understand the entire system well enough to promote these broad experiments onto a mostly unknowing population.

Epigenetics

As previously discussed, in the 1970s it was discovered that feedback from the environment not only determines which genes are activated or turned off, where, when, by how much and for how long, but also how it marks, moves and changes the genes themselves. In addition, an individual’s exposure to environmental toxins can be passed on to future generations.

Evidence of the inextricable entanglement between environment (life experiences) and genetic expression, is irrefutable. This means that new genetics and environmental effects are inseparable.

And, while epigenetics is an immature science, it is quickly developing into a mature scientific platform for innovation. But, our understanding of the biological consequences of increasing the toxins into the environment, while also blocking the sunlight, is absolutely not well understood.

And, while geoengineering may benefit the property right qualifications of a few, this should be forcing legislators to rethink the toxins we release into the air to protect the majority.

See related article on epigenetics on Concept Evolution here:

Epigenetic Study Finds Socioeconomic Status Influences Brain Function
Histone Acetylation Changes May Contribute to Parkinson’s
Research Shows How Cardiac miRNA Expression Can Be Effected by a Western Diet
The Epigenetic Wars, Starring Siddhartha Mukherjee
Your Income May Be Changing Your Genes, Epigenetic Markers Show

See below for an expanded view:
– Unintended Hazards of GeoEngineering – Institute of Science in Society
– GeoEngineering A Measure of Desperation – Institute of Science in Society
– Epigenetic Toxicology – Institute of Science in Society
 Concerns Grow Over Effects of Solar GeoEngineering – Sci Dev Net
– Experts propose new structure for regulation of GeoEngineering research – Phys Org
– GeoEngineering Research Needs Better Guidelines, Climate Change Experts Say – Huffington Post

Sources:
[1] http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/index.html
[2] http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/ice_core_co2.html

[3] http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/bas_research/science_briefings/icecorebriefing.php
[4] http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Global_warming
[5] http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Greenhouse_gas_emissions_by_the_United_States
[6] http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
[7] http://www.amazon.com/Climate-Engineering-Boston-Review-Books/dp/0262019825
[8] http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Stratospheric_sulfate_aerosols_(geoengineering)
[9] http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Solar_radiation_management
[11] http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Unintended_Hazards_of_Geoengineering.php
[12] http://www.i-sis.org.uk/GeoEngineeringAMD.php
[13] http://www.scidev.net/global/earth-science/news/concerns-grow-over-effects-of-solar-geoengineering.html

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    By: Honey Goode

    Honey Goode is a Registered Nurse and became an International Yoga Teacher, Project Contributor and Writer at ConceptualRevolutions.com. She is currently traveling in South East Asia and exploring the entrepreneurial world while teaching yoga at various fitness gym, studios and private classes. Honey believe in attaining one’s highest potential with the guidance and understanding of the inner philosophy of yoga and mindful meditation.

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  • Cindy Ackley

    Thank you for sharing! Very interesting and I have not ever seen so much info on this subject. I look forward to learning more.

  • Sabine Konrath

    Interesting read, good information, thanks, Alan.

  • C W

    One edit suggested: Change ” It’s clear to everyone that the United States leads all countries in emissions…” To China and it would be correct. They over took us a while ago…

  • C W

    Did you just delete my comment? I thought it was rather accurate. You noted that you were addressing cumulative (72 to 2010) however, if China has passed us..and done so significantly and on a steeper curve, our reduction would mean little. Indeed, we actually cut emission and have meet the goals set for Kyoto for the US…and we did it by accident. But, if you delete or don’t post this comment, I’ll simply not read another article by you.

  • Arunachala Karanam

    Interesting

  • Ac Bayudan

    Hi, I’d just like to ask for permission to use and edit your picture for our school project (creating a video game). We will list down your name in the game’s credits, along with any other people whose assets we may use.