The Ten Silliest Ways To Save The Planet

There are so many silly ways being proposed to save the planet. Here are the ten silliest:

Roof over an African country with solar panels to provide alternative source of power.

Tow the North Pole ice mass south to irrigate the deserts.


Seed oceans with iron to stimulate growth of carbon-guzzling plankton


Cover deserts with plastic to reflect sun’s rays back into space


Turn cut-down or fallen trees and plants into charcoal and bury them rather than burning them or letting them rot.


Deploy sailing ships to spray sea-water onto clouds making them denser to keep earth cooler.


Launch space-based deflectors of sun’s rays


Put sulphur into atmosphere to make clouds denser and keep sunlight out.


Put pumps in ocean to mix hot and cold water and prevent hurricanes.


Deploy machines which suck carbon from the atmosphere.



  1. > Oh, and doesn’t Mr. Lovelock > understand that the CO2 is
    > also acidifying the oceans . . .
    Of course he does – he writes about it. I think we need to sit down and _read_ his books (eg: “The Revenge of Gaia”). It’s serious stuff.

  2. The silliest suggestion of all is carbon trading. The only people who benefit from that are governments who collect tax and bankers who get a cut from and gamble on the carbon markets.
    Just look at the UK electricity companies. They send everyone low energy lightbulbs without considering whether they even fit the fittings in that persons home. For each lightbulb they send they work out how much carbon would be saved if it actually was used continuously and replaced a conventional bulb of the nominal wattage. Then they get credit for saving that amount of carbon. Despite the fact that half the bulbs have been chucked out, adding mercury to the environment, and a lot of the rest are used in low-use applications where they are rarely switched on.
    Then we shut down a steel works in the UK so someone can open one in India. The UK is a developed country and has to pay for carbon emissions where India is a developing country and is allowed to emit more carbon.

  3. James Lovelock is very clever, but he is not an engineer, and does not appear to appreciate that if we can reasonably generate electricity from solar power stations in N Africa, and thereby stop producing colossal amounts of CO2, then surely, if only as a precautionary principle, we should. Oh, and doesn’t Mr. Lovelock understand that the CO2 is also acidifying the oceans, a fact that in some parts of the world has already stopped sea creatures from forming shells, an effect that will overtake the whole upper ocean if we do nothing.

  4. here is a link to that bbc today page that dbs partly mentioned.

  5. Yes indeed, dbs, some of the scientists seem a bit self-seeking

  6. Yes, I’ve read some of Lovelock’s pieces in the Guardian. (And I don’t believe in AGW — the earth is much tougher than that.) But in the BBC videos, he seems to have mellowed a bit. He talks about man’s “hubris” in trying to “save the world” from AGW — that the earth will pretty much go on doing what it’s been doing, regardless. He also points out and derides the “career track” that modern scientists IHO have staked out for themselves — somewhat less glorious than scientists of yesteryear.

  7. Yes, dbs, Lovelock’s the Gaia guy who reckons the end of the world is nigh and only nuclear power can keep us going a bit longer. As I understand it, Gaia theory sees the world as one unified organism and it’s dying due to global warming. But the world’s been hotter than it is now and hasn’t died.

  8. The BBC just released a series of 1-minute interviews with 90-year-old British Professor James Lovelock titled ‘We can’t save the planet’, in which he gives (among other things) a perspective on science as practiced in yesteryears and today … … 594561.stm

  9. You seem to have forgotten cap and trade 😉

  10. Sorry, JP, I gave you the wrong link. The right one is:
    Thanks for the desertec link – looks very interesting indeed.
    Also I have just finished Ian McEwan’s new book Solar which suggests that using African/Desert sun and dc one way to solve the energy problem

  11. David, that link doesn’t work.
    Looks like these guys are working on it…
    Geoff, read the book I linked earlier. He reckons that with all vehicles electrified, you can use the batteries in chargers as a buffer for the half hour from when the wind drops to when you can power up a generator.

  12. You’ve gotta add windpower!
    Given that wind blows arbitrarily, it is necessary to design a power generation system that can handle 100% of our countrys potential needs at any point in time, in other words when the winds not blowing. Lets call that our nuclear option.
    Sure we can supplement nuclear et al with windpower when the wind blows…but now we have to pay for the infrastructure for 2 separate power generation systems. But you cannot arbitrarily turn off the power station when the wind blows, or suddenly stop burning coal!
    No business would choose to run itself with such an overhead, why do we chose to run our country this way. Its expensive madness and we cannot afford it.
    What’s even funnier is the the UK (like our Euro counterparts) runs with a CO2 cap, which means whenever one part of our economy manages to reduce its CO2 output (at some vast expense to someone…usually the taxpayer) some other part of our economy can legally up its CO2 output and profit thereby (to the gain of some private business usually).
    The whole systems completely gaga. I know that moving money around helps an economy grow, but when energy costs directly impact our ability to be competitive on the world stage, such mechanisms are ultimately flawed.

  13. The solar panels in Africa is not actually such a silly idea.
    If you haven’t read it already, check out David MacKay’s (free) book at
    Chapter 25 deals with this.

  14. Yes, JP, a colleague and I had the same idea some years ago and the year before last I put up a post about it when the EC got interested:
    It’s obviously something which has kicked around for a while and makes you wonder why it isn’t done.

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