Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TB and geoengineering responses to climate change

Joe Romm recently posted on research that further discredits the geoengineering proposal to seed the world's oceans with iron. The iron seeders think that an algae bloom would store CO2 in ocean sediments, but Joe points to studies  that show the effects would be flawed and or short-lived.

My comment was so much fun to write that I've copied it here:

The iron-sprinkling notion reminds me of the 19th century belief that wearing garlic around one’s neck would ward off tuberculosis.
Because TB takes time to become fully symptomatic, the garlic wearers refused to believe they were making a mistake until it was too late. That surely sounds like the current inadequate measures to reduce symptomatic climate change.
The iron sprinkling and the garlic are also somewhat similar in terms of dose and effect.
Garlic extract can kill Mycobacterium tuberculosum, at least in a Petri dish, but it’s not proven that eating a huge amount constantly is possible at therapeutic doses. Similarly, the iron sprinkling has the now-identified bad side effects and is not possible at a therapeutic dose.
To wrap the analogy, TB levels go down when preconditions for communicability are reduced. Even today with cures available, prevention is a better epidemiological approach than trying to treat millions of cases.
Same goes for climate impacts.
Being hopelessly addicted to puns, I must say that it felt good to get that off my chest.

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