Argument: Solar shield reverses global warming; emissions reductions do not
Michael Graham Richard. "Crazy Solar Shield Not 100% Crazy". Tree Hugger. 3 Apr. 2006 - About a year ago, before I wrote for Treehugger.com, I had what I then called a "crazy idea" (so crazy that Lloyd winked in my direction in the World Jump Day post). I wrote: "Global Warming is not caused by greenhouse gases themselves but by the solar energy that they trap on Earth. If we can't reduce the amount of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere fast enough, we are faced with a problem. But what if we could influence the other variable: the amount of solar energy that gets to the Earth?"
Russel Dovery. "Supervillainy: Astroengineering Global Warming". Kuro5hin. 8 Apr. 2005 - Using the "best case" global warming numbers agreed on by the summit to destroy one solution popular among the ignorant, he showed that for nuclear power to make enough of a difference to stop global warming by 2030, the world would have to replace the electrical output of one large coal-fired power station with an equivalent nuclear power station, EVERY DAY for the next 25 years. Every damn day. 365 per year. I would not have believed the figures if I hadn't seen every step of his working-out in that meeting.
Stopping global warming by 2030 is vital because it is a tipping-point where the rising temperatures begin to trigger the release of carbon dioxide and methane from natural sources, which raise temperatures, which release more carbon etc; in other words, after the expected temperature rise by 2030, we will experience a runaway greenhouse effect resulting in huge increases of eight degrees Celsius or more by 2100.
The effect of an eight degree rise in global temperatures would be catastrophic. One effect would be rising seas flooding the land upon which around half the world's population currently lives. Another would be the destruction of biodiversity on a scale dwarfing even our current extinction rate, as entire populations desperately flee to remote areas, rising seas drown whole ecosystems, and habitats disappear due to the climate shift.
In any case, it is clearly impossible for us to stop global warming solely by replacing our current and future power generation with nuclear power. Quite apart from the expense of building a new nuclear power station every day for 25 years, there is not enough nuclear fuel on the planet to cope with the demand. We must think of other ways, such as solar, wind, geothermal or tidal power, architectural albedo modification (Painting roofs and roads white, since white will reflect sunlight more effectively and increase Earth's reflectivity), geoengineering (from filling the stratosphere with silver foil to burying carbon dioxide in the ocean) and lifestyle changes.