Finally: A Garden Hose to the Sky

Well, it’s actually happening. An idea reported extensively in SuperFreakonomics has come to fruition, and some mad scientists are getting their way (and a little government funding) to build a garden hose to the sky — and potentially save the world by cooling it down.

A team of British researchers called SPICE (Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering) is trying to pump particles of water into the atmosphere as a test run before moving onto sulfates and aerosols that would reflect sunlight away from earth, mimicking the aftereffect of a massive volcanic eruption. SPICE is building the garden hose at an undisclosed location, with £1.6 million in U.K. government funding and the backing of the Royal Society.

Check out Steven Levitt’s interview with Jon Stewart from 2009, where he discusses the idea (beginning at about the 2:20 mark). And below, from SuperFreakonomics Illustrated, is a look at Intellectual Ventures’ plan to pump liquified sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere.



Eric M. Jones

A lot of these projects fail when things are "sized up". A cloud of no special importance weighs five million tonnes. Care to duplicate one?

Better yet--quit having kids. The average first-world baby contributes over one-million kilograms of CO2 throughout its lifetime.

This truth always generates a lot of negative votes....


Great, now the mad scientists get their way on this, what's next?

Just kidding, sounds cool.


This sounds like a terrible idea...


The SPICE must flow!

Baron H

He who controls the SPICE, controls the universe!


Um, those of you who haven't read SuperFreakonomics really have no excuse for posting- yeah, the idea sounds dumb to the average reader, but with a bit of background knowledge you may be a bit more enamored by the idea.

Joshua Northey

Its not a horrible idea, but continuing to us the air and oceans as a commons/dumping ground for waste is definitely a horrible idea.

I am always concerned that we will use short term mitigation options like this as a way to rationalize not actually internalizing the costs of a lot of our activities.

Personally I think in a couple hundred years when we start thinking about terraforming other planets we will notice how much cheaper it is to start by terraforming earth.

We will decide WANT to warm earth enough to melt the Antarctica to increase rainfall/carrying capacity, and make more land productive. Of course climate change will involve massive infrastructure dislocation/reinvestment, but in the long run our current infrastructure investment is frankly trivial. In 2100 Bangladesh will have a higher GDP then we do today. Technology is amazing.

Joshua Northey

That should be GDP/capita not GDP.


What's the decision process for deciding what temperature the planet should be?


Great. Thermostat arguments on a global scale.

Michael Linke

I was sold on the hosepipe solution as presented in SuperFreakonomics, but found some persuasive arguments against it on George Monbiot's site:


mmm, acid rain. because who needs to grow plants, drink water, or have building facades anymore?

José Augusto Cleber

Make people, government and companies work together and globally to do something to totally stop global warming with PREVENTION just won't happen. It's near impossible. So instead of PREVENTION we're probably gonna solve this problem with POST SOLUTIONS. And it's ok!

This space hose test is one of a set of possible solutions: let's test it. Once global warming start to make real trouble on Earth, we're gonna try to solve it with tools. IF global warming causes trouble.

Because so far, saying that USA Katrina and Japan Tsunami is result of global warming, it's wrong.

Jonathan Baird

I don't really like this idea. We need to lobby for our continued existence and control over what kind of toilets and light bulbs people can use. This doesn't help us toward that end.
~EPA crony

Vangel Vesovski

Perhaps you have not heard this but the problem for our planet is not a warming trend. It is a return to the cooling that reduced growing seasons and decreased food production from 1945 to 1975. The IPCC and the warmers have yet to produce a single paper that has used empirical evidence to show that human emissions of CO2 have a material impact on global warming. The actual empirical evidence shows that the change in warming trends come first and that CO2 concentrations follow around 800 years later. That makes the temperature change the cause and CO2 concentration changes the effect, not the other way around.

And if we look to history we find that times of prosperity coincided with warm periods that had temperatures at or higher than current levels. During the Holocene Optimum the Sahara was green and olives could grow as far north as Berlin. During the Roman Warming the fields of North Africa were able to produce huge quantities of wheat for the empire while Chinese orange orchards grew hundreds of kilometers further north than their current locations. During the Medieval Warm Period the Vikings grew crops in Greenland and the English exported wine to France.

How much longer will the AGW charade go on before you finally point out just how corrupt, political and unscientific it is?



I agree 100%. It's the same way with the anti-smoking political correctness. No one has ever clearly shown causation.

And now those corrupt, political, and unscientific forces go around passing big government laws that limit when and where you can smoke. And there's no clear proof it causes harm.

Next they'll be mandating teaching evolutionary theory. It's obviously just a theory with no absolute proof either.

Eric M. Jones

I thought readers might be interested in my sister-in-law's answer to global warming (I kid you not!):

"The claim that the present global warming is caused by pollution is false. The Russian Academy of Sciences has devoted two decades in researching the cause of the warming. Dr. Alexei Dmitriev is the foremost Russian expert on rapid climate change. He and his team discovered that the global warming is the result of a supernova that occurred in the Ophiucus constellation in 1987 (this constellation near the galactic center, is the astrological 13th House). The supernova created a super wave of phenomenal energy which has pervaded our Solar system, causing global warming on all the planets and creating magnetic pole reversals on Pluto and Uranus. The team discovered that the super wave energy has entered the Earth's Poles and is heating the Earth's crust, resulting in the ongoing global warming."