Geoengineering

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It's gettin' hot in here

Global warming

Globalwarming2.svg
Feverish dreams
Hot-headed goons
Anyone who says that geoengineering offers a policy solution to climate change is decades ahead of the science... and that's not a safe place to be.
—Jay Gulledge[1]

Geo-engineering is the idea that, rather than deal with the insane amounts of pollution we are spewing into the air, people can just engineer a solution (which usually involves spewing other kinds of pollution) to solve global warming.

In August 2009 the Institute of Mechanical Engineers called for a ten million pound government project to investigate potential geo-engineering technologies.[2] In September of that year New Scientist printed an opinion piece "Geoengineering is no longer unmentionable."[3] It's interesting to note that the price-tag attached to some geo-engineering proposals lies within the range of eccentric millionaires, rather than world governments.

Geoengineering proposals range from ideas that could be feasible some day to "ideas" that wouldn't pass muster with the craziest Bond villain. While some use of geo-engineering may be necessary (and even then, we should study it further to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks), claims by some that it will suddenly end the problem of climate change altogether are simply science woo; the environmental equivalent of snake oil. According to a recent study released in 2013, starting geo-engineering and then stopping could also "dangerously accelerate climate change."[4]

Examples[edit]

  • Create "solar dimming" to off-set climate change by either putting large amounts of sulfurous compounds into the atmosphere, or else a space-based mirror system to reflect the sun. Of course, this would also reduce the amount of evaporation in the oceans, causing a massive reduction in precipitation that would turn many fertile land areas into deserts. And if sulfurous compounds were used, then the little precipitation that did fall would likely be sulfuric.[5][6]
  • Dumping iron into the oceans to create a plankton bloom, in order to remove CO2 from the air, possibly causing a red tideWikipedia's W.svg that would kill a substantial amount of submarine life in the process.
  • Suck CO2 out of the air using synthetic trees.[7]

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References[edit]