Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just 50 Cool Yachts Are Needed to Reduce Global Carbon Emissions

China builds the equivalent of a new 1,000 megawatt coal plant every 5 days, and India every 2 weeks. Stopping these activities, as well as reducing the developed world's carbon emissions may be a little unrealistic.

In contrast to the futility of turning the world into a carbon-lean machine, Professor Stephen Salter of the University of New Edinburgh has come up with the "cool yachts". These are wind-powered yachts that throw salt from the ocean into areas with low level stratocumulus clouds. Brightening these clouds with sea salt to increase their reflectivity by a mere 3% will be enough to counteract the global warming caused by increased CO2 emissions. All it takes is 50 of these machines to navigate the globe. Each would cost about $500M. Prof. Salter’s boats would be powered entirely by wind but with conventional sails replaced by Flettner rotors — vertical cylinders that rotate as the wind passes over them.

Environmentalists are opposed to the plan because it would keep us from changing our ways and reducing our carbon emissions. The machines promise to save the world for a pittance without making us pay the price for our ways. I say let Prof. Salter's salting machine test his technology.

Prof. Salter is one of the finest engineers" Scotland has ever produced, according to Alex Salmond, Scotland's Firth Minister. He is an authority on energy matters and renewable energy. The UK Environment ministry says that the public may not like the yachts, when it may actually fear that they like them too much.

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