As the alarm over global warming spreads, radical ideas are taking hold: if cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient, let's use reflective nanoparticles to bounce sunlight directly into space or launch mirrors into orbit around the earth. We could make clouds thicker and brighter or surround Arctic sea ice with a huge plastic flotilla. Yet while these proposals seem edgy and exciting, they often test the limits of scientific possibility and overlook the political, ethical, and social consequences of climate management. Revisiting over a century of efforts at weather and climate control, James Rodger Fleming shows what can happen when fixing the sky becomes a dangerous experiment in pseudoscience.Fleming's absorbing history is filled with scientists, soldiers, and salesmen who are either the victims to hubris or have perpetuated ancient weather and climate myths. Weaving together stories from elite science, cutting-edge technology, and popular culture, Fleming examines issues of health and navigation in the 1830s, drought in the 1890s, aircraft safety in the 1930s, and world conflict since the 1940s. Killer hurricanes, ozone depletion, and global warming fuel the fantasies of today. Based on archival and primary research, Fleming's compelling and highly original story speaks to anyone who has a stake in sustaining the planet.
- Publication Date:
- 22 / 08 / 2010