Importance of Natural Resources

Could We Geoengineer Ourselves Out of Climate Change? | Retro Report on PBS

♪♪ -Administration officials
from the president on down have been using
hard-line rhetoric against the Soviets
all year long. -The administration’s message
to Moscow has been that it’s not going to be
business as usual anymore. -Today, in virtually
every measure of military power, the Soviet Union enjoys
a decided advantage. The Soviet military buildup
must not be ignored. -If the United States are
going to continue their cause, then I’m afraid
that the world is doomed to be on the brink
of nuclear war. -It was a real fear
in the early ’80s that we were in a more dangerous
period than we had been perhaps since the missile crisis
in 1962. -In the 1980s, tens of thousands of nuclear
warheads already faced off, but Cold War calculations
pushed the superpowers to build even more. -It was a balance with
tremendous destructive power on both sides, so we were in this
very, very tenuous situation right at the edge of a cliff. -There are 40,000
nuclear warheads in the inventories of the U.S.
and the Soviet Union today. We must ensure it not be used. -It started quietly, but it is picking up steam
and may be gathering strength, the movement,
if that’s the right term, to somehow bring pressure
on leaders of both the United States
and the Soviet Union to stop, just stop the nuclear arms race. -That movement was called
Nuclear Freeze, and as its message
spread across the nation, it brought together
a wide swath of Americans. -In order to stop
this arms race, you first got to freeze it. -One of those was
the astronomer Carl Sagan. -Imagine a room
awash in gasoline, and there are two implacable
enemies in that room. One of them has 9,000 matches. The other has 7,000 matches. Each of them is concerned about
who’s ahead, who’s stronger. Well, that’s the kind
of situation we are actually in. -Sagan was a very effective
communicator. I mean, he was a voice for the scientific community,
in some sense. -In 1983, Sagan used that
popularity to draw attention to a troubling new scientific
finding about nuclear war. -Dr. Carl Sagan and more
than 100 other scientists have concluded that the
long-term effects of nuclear war would be much worse than anyone
has predicted so far. -We studied a range
of consequences of various
nuclear war scenarios, if I might have the first slide. High-yield nuclear weapons
explosions… -Climate scientist Alan Robock
was in the conference audience. -It was a very new idea, that smoke from fires
started by nuclear weapons would go up in the atmosphere,
block out the sun, and make it cold and dark
and dry at the earth’s surface, having impacts
on agricultural production. -As Russian counterparts
weighed in via satellite link, this view of nuclear war’s
destructive power took hold. -For the first time, we see that the consequences
of a nuclear war might be absolutely devastating for nations far removed
from the conflict. -The initial splash
on this story was profound. It was kind of self-assured,
even existential destruction. Nuclear winter, even
the verbiage, is portentous. -To illustrate the point, Sagan helped produce
a short film showing just how devastating
nuclear winter might become. -Beneath the clouds,
virtually all domesticated and wild sources of food
would be destroyed. Most of the human survivors
would starve to death. The extinction
of the human species would be a real possibility. -It is known as nuclear winter. -This is not some
peacenik nightmare. It is a theory supported by at least 40 American
scientists of high repute. -Today, a panel appointed
by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences
agreed with Sagan. -The Pentagon
has accepted as valid the theory of a nuclear winter. -The implications
of nuclear winter are that we shouldn’t build
more, but we should build less. -It was a combination
of everybody’s work that kept making a stronger
and stronger case that this theory was true. -The fear of nuclear winter soon became another
of the many issues impacting Cold War strategy. -A great many reputable
scientists are telling us that such a war could just
end up in no victory for anyone because we would wipe out
the earth as we know it. What are we talking about with
a whole nuclear exchange, a nuclear winter? -Gorbachev certainly
has testified to the fact that this increased his concern about the consequences of
nuclear war and the arms race. -Today, I,
for the United States, and the General Secretary
for the Soviet Union, have signed
the first agreement ever to eliminate an entire class of
U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons. We have made history. -But even before that treaty
was signed, some of the gravest predictions
made by nuclear winter theorists had begun to thaw. -Those of us who were doing
more global models, we didn’t get anything like the
result that Sagan was getting. I mean, we got a climatic effect if you put that much smoke
on there, but we didn’t get
the kind of effect they were talking about. -Nuclear winter, argues
one group of scientists, is what will surely
follow nuclear war. Other scientists with
their own computer calculations of the doomsday scenario
say life after nuclear war will not be so much
nuclear winter as nuclear fall, severe but survivable. -Nothing we’ve seen
in our simulations or in the work going on now leads me to believe that
the extinction of the human race is a real possibility. -Over time, better modeling caused many of the original
nuclear winter theorists to agree
that nuclear winter’s effects were likely more moderate than
they had initially supposed. -There’s a pattern to how some
phenomena and stories play out. The first idea is very stark, and then the scientific process
is like piranhas that nibble away
at the soft stuff, and whatever’s left is
the hard skeleton of the ideas, the enduring part. -Even when you get back
to the nuclear autumn thing, you’re still having
huge environmental effects that would have
agricultural effects, so it was more a matter
of nuance in intensity rather than a matter of,
is it real or not? It didn’t have to be
quite hyped so much, but that there were
climatic effects was important. -But as the predicted effects
of nuclear winter became more subtle,
the headlines faded away. -I think a lot of the public
went away with just the message that this
was an exaggerated concern and they didn’t have to
worry about it. -Over the years,
another global issue began to focus
the public’s concern. -When I show my results
of the climate response to smoke from nuclear war,
inevitably I get a question, “So is that a solution
to global warming?” -Nobody’s talking about
exploding a nuclear bomb, but the idea of harnessing
a nuclear-winter-like effect to reduce the global temperature has intrigued policymakers
and scientists for some time, and it is gaining traction. -The scientific evidence
that these technologies could reduce risk
is very strong. -One technique
under consideration involves dispersing
a cloud of sulfate particles into the stratosphere
to partially obscure the sun and reflect sunlight
away from the earth. -The main benefit is
it would cool the climate, and so it would reduce all
the impacts of global warming. There would be fewer
severe storms. There would be
less sea-level rise. There would be less
temperature change, which might affect agriculture, so all the negative aspects
of global warming would be reduced
if you could do it. -The concept is not
without controversy. -This idea of responding
to global warming essentially with
nuclear winter light, I guess you could call it, the science leads to some
very worrisome questions. -The problem is,
it’s unclear what else solar geoengineering would do. -I should mention that
I have written a paper with 26 reasons
why geoengineering would be a bad idea. Anything built by humans
and operated by humans can fail, so would you trust
our only planet to this? -Meanwhile, the Cold War danger that pushed scientists
like Robock to study these
climate effects remains. In fact, the nuclear landscape is more complex
than ever before. -There are a lot of weapons
out there. -Rarely has North Korea
tested missiles at this pace. -I want this,
our nuclear arsenal, to be the biggest
and the finest in the world. -It’s important for countries
and leaders to be keeping in mind
what nuclear war would do. Even small exchanges
could be absolutely devastating. You’re gonna have first
the destruction effects. You’ll have fallout. You may have some climatic
effects that — that spread. -Heaven help us if there were
a small nuclear exchange. You could end up with being
on the worse end. It’s like with global warming. You know, the worst-case
scenarios can happen. I guess the good news
about nuclear winter is it remained a theory. -The global consequences
of nuclear war is not a subject amenable
to experimental verification, or at least not more than once. Maybe we’ve all made
some serious mistake in the calculations, but I wouldn’t want
to bet my life on it. ♪♪

Reader Comments

  1. If we turn off a ton of our power in the USA, and convince China and India to do it to. But good luck with that.

  2. My way of fixing it makes unlimited free energy. Its an idea that's designed to not only make the energy free  society possible to live in but also by  adding  the requirements neccessary to create another new and increasingly applied   solution to better our lives.  I have a idea to put a couple neyodimium magnetic motors in every home across  the country and link them to already installed system  to combine together in a massive grid. In this fashion should one generator fail the rest would compensate  and help keep the system running until maintenance  was done properly.  These right here provide 12 kilowatts  unlimited  free of climatic impact AFTER they are built  generators.
    They are.frigging genuine awesome to behold. Omnidirectional magnets are stronger on one side then the other. They can create a kickback effect that pushes more then it pulls in the direction a person wishes to spin a rotary  coil. They REQUIRE  resistance  or they burn out. These are worth the effort to make  since  once built it spins FREE FROM INPUT  and producing a massive amount of power. The Linked up system would be maintained by an industry we need to have in place to do it and to make it.We would need rare earth metals and we were looking for an excuse  to compete against
    Chinese controlling the only source of that kinda product that is creating the stranglehold  we have in such an item. We would still need fossil fuels as  its only homes that would no longer require  to be powered by gas or coal or oil power which means it would be stopping all homes energy costs from imapcting the environment. for 1000s of years until the magnetsntun dry. Neyodimium  magnets take 100 years to lose 5 % of their power. And Why kill off the industries at all like gas and oil and coal? UTILIZE ALL OF IT dont  bother wasting the systems or give them other delegated tssks. Make the gas oil and such keep its systems as fail safes and find MORE applications  for them to be utilized  in. 
    My idea does not squash and ruin the economy it is just making more industry to be employing workers in a time that robotics  is making jobs obsolete. instead of stopping critical industry let us adapt to the systems  required and potentially in future that are neccessary to  our  survival and our betterment.  Why go backwards making free energy when we could adapt new possibilities and grow exponentially as a result. We got the ability to do it but I'm just a homeless man I have a phone for a limited time and dead by the end.of December.  This is my gift to the world.   And I hope that its utilized I really do it would make mankind have a shot at a better future. Otherwise I die valueless and for nothing. Think about  this idea please. It's not just probable. its VIABLE its incredibly  efficient  and its increasingly  neccessary  to survive  or we all will devolve  into argument  after  argument   that wastes our time resources  and patience  and gets  nowhere. Find solutions  to problems  instead of making more. Good idea?

  3. The problem with AOC, or "The GND", or climate activists like "Greta", is – they are retro-thinkers. Failure to understand that correction technology moves ahead FASTER than the "benefit of regressive policies" can improve the situation is a position of common "uninformed" people. (Case in point: Carbon Dioxide) AOC (and DEMS) all talk regressive "we have to STOP" plans – and technology is already available to solve the problem.

  4. The last time co2 was this high, the temperature was in free fall because the ice age had already begun. Co2 could not stop it so how would it end the ice age.

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