Monday, December 21, 2009

Does Nathan Myrhvold Have a Workable Plan to Help with Global Warming?

Put aside any questions you may have as to whether global warming exists, is a problem, or is created by human beings. Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere isn't a good thing for the planet, whatever your views of global warming.

Nathan Myrhvold is accustomed to thinking differently about problems. The former chief strategist and technology officer at Microsoft has several plans for dealing with global warming. One scheme, which seems plausible as he explains it, would call for sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere with the equivalent of high-tech garden hoses at the earth's poles.

Now, being an Apple man, I treat just about anything that comes from a veteran of Microsoft-world with--I'll be honest--derision. I love the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" ad campaign by Apple, mostly because, having suffered long with a proliferation of PCs and then gotten first, an Apple desktop, which is still going strong after six years, and then, an eMac that has been fantastic over the two-plus years I've had it, the ads ring true.

But Myrhvold offered some intriguing ideas for dealing with global warming yesterday on CNN's GPS with Fareed Zakaria.

Zakaria's and Myrhvold's reference to a sort of post-Christian environmental Calvinism that insists that cleaning up the planet must hurt is, I think, interesting. Over the long haul, doing anything worthwhile entails costs. But if solutions are workable without hurting people in Third World countries, particularly, the lack of pain is no reason to immediately dismiss an idea.

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