Proposed Solution To Global Warming

It is almost universally accepted now that the Earth is getting warmer. Simply looking at the statistics will tell you this - people who would argue otherwise tend to be the kind of tinfoil hat people who also believe that imminent magnetic pole reversal will kill everybody on Earth in 2030-something and that comets don't exist and so on and so forth. The real question that we should all be asking ourselves is not whether the Earth is getting warmer. The question is: how will this affect us?

Obviously there will be positive effects - for example, to delineate the new period of heat and sunshine, a new fourth season, provisionally titled "Sum-mer", may have to be introduced into the regular Spring-Autumn-Winter calendar in the United Kingdom, and the opportunity to consume ice cream all year round may also prove attractive. Also, who wouldn't want to live on the sunny Swiss coast? But, like any change anybody ever made to anything ever, there will also be negative effects, which will most likely outweigh the positive. As the equatorial regions of our planet grow hotter, vital industries serving the Western world from that region may diminish in capacity and - to put it bluntly - life will not be so cushy. People will have to relocate in the wake of extreme weather conditions like floods and hurricanes, which will cost the global taxpayer a stunning amount of cash overall. Granted, it may be that the changes occur smoothly enough that very few people actually perish as the Earth grows warmer, but we will NOT enjoy the transition period and the brave new world WILL prove relatively expensive to adapt to.

Overall, then, the prevailing opinion among scientists (although this is by no means as universally agreed upon as the existence of global warming itself) is that global warming would be a bad thing. It is only upon agreement of this point that we move on to the third question, which is "Can we reduce global warming?", and the fourth question, by far the most contentious, "What is causing global warming in the first place?"

Now, some people take the highly controversial view that global warming is a wholly natural event - the Earth is well known to have gone through phases of being warm and being cold in the past. The implication they take from this is that global warming cannot, or should not, be fought - we have no choice but to put up with it! (Note that this isn't actually a logically airtight argument. Mankind fights and generally wipes the floor with nature all the time.) Most of the people who put forward this point of view tend to be the kind of people whose corporations' factories' continously accelerating output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are what most sane observers believe is the actual reason behind global warming. (GLOBAL WARMING IS PEOPLE! PEEEEEEEOPLE!)

I take a third point of view. I'm of a more scientific bent - I am a mathematician, a logician, a rational reasoner. I say that reducing CO2 output wouldn't do the job - even if we reduced it to zero and planted trees to scoop up the excess - because that's not the CAUSE of global warming. We need to cut straight to the source.

The Sun is the cause of global warming.

We need to turn off the Sun.

Don't worry, I don't mean permanently.

Proposal

The average surface temperature of Earth's atmosphere is about 14°C or 287 Kelvins. This has been measured to increase by about 0.6 Kelvins over the last 200 years, or about 0.2% of its absolute temperature. Which means the Sun is giving out roughly 0.2% more energy than we need to keep it at the required temperature. Therefore, if we make it so the Sun gives out about 0.2% less energy, everything will be fine!

Thus I propose that we turn off the Sun for roughly 0.2% of each solar day, or two to four minutes every 24 hours.

Naturally if these back-of-the-envelope calculations prove inaccurate we can increase or decrease the period of deactivation as needed.

The effects of turning the Sun off for 2 to 4 minutes per day will not differ significantly from those of a total solar eclipse. Eclipses occur roughly twice per year and typically last a comparable period of time, although eclipses lasting as long as 11 minutes are known to be possible. Light-sensitive street lights on the affected hemisphere of the Earth will temporarily light up; birds will stop singing; people will not be able to see each other very well; that sort of thing.

Assessment

Pros

  • We can end global warming now and forever by this method.

  • We no longer have to worry about strictly limiting our CO2 output, which would require an enormous effort, as well as being time-consuming and unprofitable. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations will no longer be a problem (until around the year 2100 when they approach the level which is lethal to human life - at which point other solutions will doubtless present themselves).

  • We can save 0.2% on our energy bill, which, I'm sure we all know, is both very large and almost completely unpaid.

Cons

  • The onset of the deactivation would be much more rapid than the minutes-long lead-up period to a solar eclipse - in fact, nearly instantaneous. In particular, this will catch motorists and cyclists by surprise.

    To minimise the danger thus posed, I would propose that the deactivations be arranged to occur as predictably and regularly as possible - preferably at the exact same time every day. In order that the minimum number of people are inconvenienced by the momentary loss of illumination, I would also propose to arrange for the deactivations to occur at midnight UTC, while the Sun is approximately centred over the Pacific Ocean. Japan would thus see the deactivations around dawn; the American west coast, around dusk. Most other places would be unaffected, as it would already be night-time. Still, bad luck for Hawaii.

  • While the Sun is known to vary slightly in luminosity over an 11-year cycle, the long-term effects of entirely deactivating our parent star for 3 minutes are unknown and unexplored, as the temporary total deactivation of a star is totally unprecedented in astronomical science.

    It can be conjectured that without the supporting pressure of internal fusion the Sun's layers will most likely collapse inwards under gravitational attraction until one of two things happens - either it becomes a neutron star, or we switch it back on again and normal operation is resumed. This raises the additional questions of whether switching the Sun back on after it has collapsed too far (say, fifteen minutes) would cause a supernova to occur, and what (if anything) would happen if we attempted to reactivate nuclear fusion processes in a neutron star.

  • Moderating the amount of heat reaching the Earth by this method is specifically forbidden in the Sun's user manual, and voids the warranty.

Conclusion

Clearly the major issue arising from the proposal not whether we should go ahead with it (we should) or even when (as soon as possible) but where and who. Specifically, where should the Switch be built? And who should be permitted access to it?

Once these admittedly knotty issues are resolved, however, the hard part is over with; all we need to do is persuade every nation of the world to cooperate and global warming is as good as ended!

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