Climate change is big news; at least it’s big news in the circles I keep. Just the other day I was wandering around the Climate District – as you do – and overheard a couple of kids talking about ocean salinity levels. And while buying a weather machine from Tesco over the weekend I became engaged in a frank discussion of mean temperature effects on algae and the numerous knock-ons up the food chain with the checkout operator. I believe her name was Hayley and one of her false nails had fallen off.
We have to stop the mean temperature from rising or we’re all doomed. More accurately, our descendants are doomed, and that’s the major problem. Nobody wants to change how they live now and by the time it becomes really, really important to change things now we will have reached and passed the oh bugger, too late point. We need thinkers outside the box.
Enter Lowell Wood … one of the Pentagon’s weaponeer scientists, champion of X-ray lasers and cold fusion, right-winger, and part-time children’s entertainer. Last year, during the annual Scientific Square Dance and Sciencey News Symposium held in Aspen, the topic of discussion was "how would you stop the global mean temperature rise right now if you had to, and you do, you’re scientists damnit!?" Lowell Wood’s plan was outside the box. It was in another box entirely. A better-looking box, because the baddies always have the best looking boxes.
You can read more about Wood’s plan here but, to summarise: simulate massive volcanic eruptions by burning sulphur and despositing it into the air over the poles, reflecting back sunlight, cooling the area below, and even regrowing the ice.
Ingenious with a hint of diabolicism worthy of a James Bond villain. Some people liked it. Some people hated it. Some people phoned up their stockbrokers and asked them to invest heavily in Sulphur-U-Burn Corp on the off-chance it would be embraced. Wood’s plan was cheap, would work fast, and had only an 88% chance of making the situation worse with the upside that nobody need stop burning oil, driving eight cars, or chopping down the forests.
In the shadow of that bombshell of a scientific plan for climate cooling a number of other "outside the box" ideas have been submitted by scientists who had hitherto been struck down with fear of being ridiculed by their peers.
Borrowing from Wood’s plan the idea that reflecting back the sun’s heat will bring down the mean temperature of the Earth, countering the carbon dioxide levels’ warming influence, Operation Guano proposes an alternative – yet still natural – method. The colour white is a great reflector of light and heat and the more white the planet is, the cooler it will be.
Now, painting the rooftops of every building on Earth will take too long and be exorbitant in the extreme. The answer is birdshit. It’s white, it’s natural, and the means exists – via birds – to deliver it worldwide. This plan will require significantly more birds on the planet than currently exist and may involve genetic tinkering to make the birds friskier than normal with dodgy stomachs. The payoff at the end will be enough fowl-based meals to feed the world’s starving populations.
- birds are cunning buggers and some – like crows – are positively evil. Remember that they are just a couple of evolutionary leaps from dinosaurs and pray they do not become organised,
- the weight of birdshit on some houses may render them structurally unsound leading to their collapse. The people inside may become trapped under the layer of crap and be forced to adapt to a subguano existence,
- white is not very flattering and the Earth will appear fat to aliens.
The Chlorophyll Maneuver
Gene-knowledge is now at the level where modifications to humans is well within our grasp. With that in mind it should be a relatively straightforward solution to put something in the water that adds chlorophyll into our genetic makeup. By becoming photosynthetic we humans will be able to convert the carbon dioxide already present in the atmosphere into oxygen, the job normally performed by all the greenery we’re killing.
The extra oxygen will also make everyone feel light-headed and happy which should lead to a reduction in wars or, at the very least, the end of emo music. Climbing mountains will be easier and recovery from burns will be swifter.
- we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide which we’ll be able to convert to oxygen before we breathe out so we won’t need to breathe out or in and we might all suffocate through confusion,
- our skin may shift to a green pigment which will be a problem for those who are colour-blind and a nightmare for fashion designers,
- for the love of God nobody light a match or the whole world will go up.