At present there is more CO2 in the atmosphere than there has been for a very long time. CO2 effectively blocks some of the radiation that is trying to leave the system: there is now more energy coming in than there is going out. The result is that the temperature of the earth-atmosphere system will go up, shedding more energy in the form of radiation.
If the problem will correct itself as the temperature of the system changes, who cares? Well, there are a few important things to consider:
- We keep adding to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere which means the temperature has to increase at an even higher rate to keep up.
- As the temperature of the system increases, more water will evaporate, which will block radiation from leaving the system, which will increase the temperature, which will cause more water to evaporate.
- Coral reefs are sensitive to temperature. If we let the temperature rise too quickly we could find that 70% of our planet's surface is covered by septic tank rather than ocean.
Solutions to this imbalance come in two flavours: decrease radiation entering the system; increase radiation leaving the system. Actually all of the currently proposed solutions that I know of are of the first flavour. So why, thought I, aren't there any of the second flavour?
My proposed solution is this: We build an enormous geothermal power plant. Normally this would result in no net change in the radiation of the system. But, what if we use the electricity generated by this system to power a giant laser which is tuned to the atmospheric window? Bam, we have now increased the amount of energy leaving the planet. And, since building a giant laser and a massive geothermal generation facility is no mean feat, we will have to employ thousands of labourers, thus sovling the world's current economic woes.
No plan is perfect, of course. Drawbacks of this plan include a defacto no-fly zone in the beam of the laser (I propose we place the laser in an area with a high seagull or pidgeon population) and the possibility that we will accidentally hit a distant planet, thus precipitating an interplanetary war thousands of years in the future. But really, that is some future generation's problem.