Global Warming is coming and I’m sure by now you’ve all heard the inconvenient truth. What I want to do in this article is ignore the smaller things that individuals can do and to look at possible solutions on a macro level.
It’s all very well to get a hundred people to change their metaphorical shoes to those with smaller carbon footprints, but what we really need is something BIG…
#1. Solar Umbrella
Roger Angel’s “sun shade” idea does exactly what it says on the tin. He proposes a giant, solar parasol be erected between the Earth and the Sun to shield our planet from the intense heat. His umbrella comprises 16 trillion flat discs, each about 1 yard wide and weighing less than 1 oz, that attach together to create a large surface area shield able to absorb around 2% of the incoming heat.
The discs would be launched in around 20 million rockets and the project would cost around $4 trillion over 30 years. Needless to say this thing would be excellent – a huge monolithic structure that parasols the entire earth, and at a relatively small cost considering it will ensure the survival of the entire human race!
I’d actually like some feedback here on whether or not this could be done with ordinary parasols instead of high-tech discs – my own research is, at current, inconclusive. I’m working on the premise that each person in ownership of an umbrella or parasol contributes theirs to the scheme but I’ve hit a wall in some of my thermodynamic calculations.
#2. Earth Control System
Imagine a scenario where we are able to physically “drive” the Earth away from the Sun as its intensity increases or as our planet gets hotter. We could ensure that the Earth is always at an optimal distance from the Sun – ensuring crop growth and a safe temperature for the polar ice caps! Global warming increased radically this year? No problem, let’s just move the Earth 100,000 light years away from the Sun!
Now, figuring out the practicality of this is another matter entirely. A super yacht-style rudder will not suffice to harness the solar winds seeing as even a “giga-yacht” is only 100+ metres whereas the Earth measures approximately 12,800km in diameter. This rudder would have to be so large as to be impractical – we might as well put Archimedes on the Moon and give him a massive pole with which to lever the Earth.
Now, taking the film Armageddon (1998) as my scientific research, I know that we can harness the gravitational pull of other celestial bodies to “slingshot” our planet through Space. So, by attaching some initial jet-engines to one side of the Earth’s surface we could start to propel our planet into nearby celestial bodies. The obvious target is Mars.
I know what you’re going to ask. “Come on, Is Mars really big enough to have a gravitational pull strong enough for us to slingshot ourselves?” The answer is: yes and no. Mostly no. Mars has a gravitational pull of 3.7m/s squared – while that of the Earth is 9.81 m/s squared. So we cannot slingshot ourselves from Mars. What we can do, however, is propel ourselves towards Mars with our thrusters and use Mars’ weak gravitational pull to slowly “float” past it and into a target safe haven – in this case the chaotic asteroid belt before Jupiter.
It goes without saying that after some time we should develop a sophisticated AI system to automatically control Earth movement. This will very much be a “set and forget” type system – though will likely have a lovable humanesque persona similar to HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
#3. A Massive Volcano
It is a truth universally acknowledged that any super-volcano erupting ejects large quantities of sulphate particles into the atmosphere and that these particles are capable of naturally reflecting sunlight and absorbing heat. I’m not quite sure what we’re waiting for, then – although I’m sure this is on NASA’s schedule for next month.
So the plan is to fabricate a massive, huge super-volcano that constantly erupts and maintains an ever-growing cloud of friendly sulphate particles in our atmosphere and saves us from our solar deaths.
Now, you can obviously do your part right now by creating as big a volcano you can in your back garden. Just remember one thing – the bigger volcano you can make, the more of a hero you will be at the dawn of our new sulphury, tempestuous Earth that will eventually result as a side-effect of this great scheme.
Yes, a company named Planktos Inc. is already testing a strategy that involves creating huge, disgusting plankton to swallow up all our excess carbon dioxide. The firm’s most recent investigation involved dumping tonnes of iron across a 10,000 km square patch of sea-water.
Iron is a key nutrient for plankton and prompts two things: reproduction and growth. Essentially a couple of plankton can morph into an amorphous, slimy, hungry mass. Planktos claim that for every tonne of iron used, 100,000 tonnes of carbon will be taken down from the atmosphere into the ocean.
I suppose the only concern I have here is whether or not growing plankton in size will have any correlation to their intelligence. I think all we can do is be vigilant throughout the growth phase and watch for signs of the plankton attempting to conceal their burgeoning intellects from us. The danger is that we allow a sudden explosion in their intelligence to pass unnoticed and unwillingly enter a situation of tyrannical oppression under giant single-celled overlords. Should this scenario come to pass, it will not be long before they unveil their hellish designs for the human species.
#5. Freeze the Earth’s Core
OK. The temperature inside the Earth’s Core is approximately 4,430°C and is composed predominately of a nickel-iron alloy. The interesting thing here is that because the pressure within the Core is so great (330 to 360 gigapascals), it essentially raises the boiling point of the metals within it to such an astronomical number that its contents remain completely solid. Now, the theory here is that if we can further cool this area (essentially Earth’s central heating system) we can balance out the planet’s temperature and negate any temperature increases from Global Warming.
“We don’t care about theories!”, you say, “there’s no time for all that, just get to the point!” Well, the Inner Core is actually surrounded by a 2,260 km liquid Outer Core. The pressure here much less so the same nickel-iron alloy is allowed to liquefy. By setting up around 100 tactical “super-drills” across the face of the globe, we can actually drill the 2,890 km down to this liquid layer and start pumping in huge quantities of liquid nitrogen with the goal of completely surrounding the solid inner core.
At first, this will be something of a war of attrition because liquid nitrogen will instantly boil at -196°C causing it to instantly solidify (freeze). It really would be a case of freezing our way down to the Core gradually from the Surface but let it be said that any scheme with which we choose to proceed is going to be a large investment of time, money and unflinching dedication. In the business of saving the world it is pig-headedness rather than brains that is the valuable commodity.
The ideal is to get to a stage where we can manually regulate the temperature at the Earth’s Core to perfectly negate any Global Warming temperature increases. I’d welcome a little help here from some of our readers because there really is a multiplicity of available permutations of this strategy. I’ve not even discussed the idea of subterranean liquid nitrogen “bombs” that could be planted within The Core to catalyse the process.
#6. Artificial Trees
What a great idea! Build massive, steel pointy structures that half the job as trees yet look nothing like them and cost a lot more! The idea, known as “air capture” has obviously not “captured” the interest of your author.
Inventor Klaus Lackner invented the idea for his daughter’s science-fair project – a stick with a filter on the end that absorbs carbon dioxide and converts it from a dangerous greenhouse gas into a liquid/ gas form that can easily be disposed of.
It all sounds like a great idea until you think about what trees actually do. Trees convert carbon dioxide nicely into oxygen – very neat, tidy and convenient. Lackner’s “trees”, however, keep the carbon dioxide in carbon form so that instead of harmless floaty oxygen being the product, we now have a semi-dangerous carbon annoyance substance that actually needs to be disposed of itself.
Lackner is proposing that these “trees” would tower up a huge 200 ft and wants them built in their hundreds. So add to the cost of carbon disposal that of 200 ft giant metal trees and then see what comes out!
I think a much more feasible idea is some kind of airborne “tree-bomb” that detonates over wasteland and populates that area with trees. In this way, tree populations can be instantly reviewed and boosted to negate any excess carbon dioxide from global warming.
#7. Destroy the Sun
Yes, we all think about it every day, what about destroying the Sun? There is no doubt about it, destroying the Sun would unequivocally eliminate the problem of global warming. It is scientifically sound, the only problem is how to accomplish it.
Doug’s Darkworld has proposed three areas for investigation:
1. Create a ball of antimatter and propel it into the Sun to physically swallow it up.
2. Travel forwards in time 20 billion years to the death of the Sun.
3. (and most interestingly):
Propel an astronomical object at relativistic speed (close to speed of light) into the Sun. The author of Doug’s Darkworld suggest an asteroid of good size would suffice.
Now, it may appear that there are not a great deal of easily available astronomical bodies to throw into the Sun, yet there is an option closer than you’d think. Yes, the Moon is a useless satellite waiting to fulfill such a heroic destiny – and I’m not quite sure why we’re not yet attempting to dislocate it from our orbit to prepare it for rapid ejection towards our solar enemy. The Moon is composed primarily of iron compounds making it essentially a large cannon-ball waiting to be fired.
Now if it is scientifically proven (please be accurate with your research, I cannot stress that enough) that we actually require the Moon’s ongoing presence for the management of tides, I suggest immediate fabrication of a “proxy-Moon”, the sole purpose of which is rapid ejection into the Sun.
The “proxy-Moon” could conceivably be constructed within 10 years from the International Space Station, and would merely require all countries to ship out as much iron as possible from their national supplies. Obviously, top metal-smiths and iron-mongers could be transported to the Space Station to advise on the specifics of construction.
Once the Moon or “proxy-Moon” is ready for ejection, it is simply a case of accelerating the speed at which the Earth revolves. Planetary revolution must be at such a speed as to be able to spin The Moon out of our gravitational pull – sending it flying into the Sun. the Earth currently spins at 1,670 kmh at the equator (fastest here because here the circumference of the Earth is greatest, so to complete a full revolution, a point must travel further than if it were at a Pole). By my reckoning, if we can increase this speed by a factor of 100 we’ve solved this issue.
#8. Relocate the Human Race
Yes, if it comes down it it and all other options fail, we can just relocate our species to another planet. But what options do we really have?
Well firstly, all life requires an energy source – usually a star i.e. The Sun.
Out nearest star is Proxima Centuri and is approximately 4.3 light years away. But is it habitable? Proxima Centuri is a red dwarf and so is gradually shrinking and burning itself out. It also has a much smaller luminosity than the Sun. Therefore, to receive adequate light for existence, an orbiting body would need to be extremely close to it.
This brings about a further problem. Proxima Centuri is what’s known as a “flare star”; its process of turning hydrogen into helium is much different from that of our Sun because of its low mass and high density and this results in huge solar flares. These solar flares randomly raise and lower the luminosity and heat output of the star making it very unstable as a potential Sun replacement. We could literally be fried at any point.
Of course there are other stars a little further out – including those in Alpha Centuri and Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. I’m going to need some of you to start doing the maths on this one. Again, please be accurate – I found that I had frequently not “carried the ones” on many of my additive enterprises. An advanced technique sure, but let me tell you – there’s no place for errors when it comes to astrophysics – no matter the difficulty of the calculation.
Now having a star is all well and good but we also need a stable planet to inhabit that orbits one of these stars at the optimal distance. Once this is found then we would need to engage in a spot of “terraforming” or modifying that body’s atmosphere, temperature and topography so that it is fit for human habitation. And whilst this obviously requires a huge amount of resources (even to rejig a section of a planet), it really is a relatively simple process. I suppose the main hurdle is water – as this is absolutely necessary for multicellular lifeforms.
Once water is discovered, or artificially created, it really is just a case of starting from scratch and building up. Throw in some micro-organisms and see how they fare. The next step is to fertilize the soil and cover the surface with plant-life. The beauty of this step is that, even on a planet where human beings cannot respire, masses of plants (assuming the presence of carbon dioxide) will essentially fill the atmosphere with oxygen, free of charge!
Relocation of the human race should in no way be seen as just a last-ditch alternative – it really is something that we can be doing gradually – creating small colonies on planets here and there – so that if this option becomes the only remaining alternative, we can all move to our new, alien home(s) without much disruption to our daily schedules.
I have tried to present this investigation as I would my usual scientific papers but please note that because I am attempting to educate an everyday audience as well as propound my theories for the scientific community, I have had to greatly simplify some of the terminology and calculative processes. Please do not quibble over these simplifications should you find any – I am merely making these highly advanced concepts accessible to the masses. The original document was over twenty giga-pages long (equivalent to 20,000 of your standard pages) and I have not made this freely available in an effort to combat plagiarism within the scientific community.