Cool the planet, re-introduce the risk of old diseases.
MALARIA FROM GEOENGINEERING?
Geoengineering the climate would have massive repercussions for the health of at least one billion people at risk of malaria in tropical countries, according to a new finding by scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center and colleagues.
This is the first assessment of how geoengineering the climate could impact the burden of infectious diseases.
The study appeared April 20, 2022, in Nature Communications.
A team of eight researchers from the United States, Bangladesh, South Africa, and Germany used climate models to simulate what malaria transmission could look like in two future scenarios, with medium or high levels of global warming, with and without geoengineering.
Additional study authors also included collaborators from the University of Maryland, College Park; the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh; the University of Florida, Gainesville; the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Germany; and Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The models identify which temperatures are most conducive for transmission by the Anopheles mosquito and identify how many people live in areas where transmission is possible.
In both warming scenarios, malaria risk was predicted to shift significantly between regions, but the simulations found that a billion extra people were at risk of malaria in the geoengineered world.
“Compared to extreme warming … geoengineering would nullify a projected reduction of nearly one billion people at risk of malaria.”
Cooling the planet might be seen as an ’emergency option’ to save lives, but by doing so, it would also reverse course on infectious disease declines that previously impacted the world.
“The implications of the study for decision-making are significant,” says Colin Carlson, PhD, an assistant research professor at the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center and lead author of the study.
The study follows a 2018 commentary in Nature Climate Change by Carlson and the study’s senior author, Christopher Trisos, PhD, a senior researcher at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
In the commentary, the researchers proposed a hypothesis now confirmed in the new study: because malaria transmission peaks at 25°C, cooling the tropics using geoengineering might ultimately increase malaria risk.
“The potential for geoengineering to reduce risks from climate change remains poorly understood, and it could introduce a range of new risks to people and ecosystems.”
Yet another reason to draw concerns to the controversial, emerging industry of solar geoengineering.
The Bill Gates Initiative
The study in question focuses on solar radiation management (SRM), an intervention that hypothesizes emergency actions aimed at reducing ‘dangerous impacts of climate change’.
One action that has been proposed is injecting aerosols into the stratosphere that reflect incoming sunlight, thereby temporarily “pausing” ‘global warming’. Though SRM is often discussed as a way to reduce ‘climate injustice’, its potential impacts on health have seldom been studied.
Proponents of solar geoengineering, such as tech billionaire Bill Gates, say techniques intended to block a portion of the solar radiation reaching the planet ought to be considered.
Gates himself has put his money where his mouth is, backing a Harvard University experiment to look at the effect of spraying particles into the stratosphere to, in theory, create a global cooling effect.
“Calcite aerosol geoengineering may cool the planet while simultaneously repairing the ozone layer.”
It sounds very much like the plot of one science fiction movie in particular — namely Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 film Snowpiercer, in which scientists release aerosols into the sky in a desperate bid to stop rampant warming.
However, when the world freezes, the ultimate tyrannical system is established in its wake.
It would seem this type of push is no longer science fiction.
Outside of recently discovered malaria risks, solar geoengineering was already an idea causing controversy.
In an open letter, the 16 initiators of the Solar Geoengineering Non-Use Agreement — all scholars in their own right — argue there are grounds for preventing the use of such technologies.
The group points to the unknown risks, such as how deploying solar geoengineering technology could backfire, potentially catastrophically.
“The risks of solar geoengineering are poorly understood and can never be fully known,” the scholars say.
“Impacts will vary across regions, and there are uncertainties about the effects on weather patterns, agriculture, and the provision of basic needs of food and water.”
This type of technology allows for the ability to ‘play God’ with the weather.
The researchers also ask who would get to decide how solar geoengineering is used — and how would such a decision be fair?
“The current global governance system is unfit to develop and implement the far-reaching agreements needed to maintain fair, inclusive, and effective political control over solar geoengineering deployment,” they say.
“The United Nations Security Council, dominated by only five countries with veto power, lacks the global legitimacy that would be required to effectively regulate solar geoengineering deployment.”
Very true and all valid concerns.
Frank Biermann, professor of global sustainability governance at Utrecht University and one of the letter’s initiators, summed up the signatories’ stance by saying:
“Solar engineering is not necessary. Neither is it desirable, ethical, or politically governable.”
The letter goes on to call for five measures to be adhered to by the international community: no public funding for solar geoengineering; no outdoor experiments; no patents for solar geoengineering tech; no deployment of such tech; and no support for solar geoengineering from international institutions.
More than 45 heavyweight academics, law professors and writers have signed the letter, including award-winning author Amitav Ghosh, Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer professor of science and technology studies at Harvard Kennedy School, and Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, Halley professor of physics at the University of Oxford.
Yet, despite this, the United Nations are leading the way on a united geoengineering front.
Countries like China also continue to expand their vast geoengineering program — covering an area of over 5.5 million square kilometers — more than 1.5 times the total size of India.
Will we soon begin to see widescale, open geoengineering chaos unleashed on the planet?
How do these pushes relate to Australia’s move towards Agenda 2030?
Ultimately, are there more lasting effects (like a malaria rise) that could result from these mad scientists?
Make sure to leave your thought below!
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